A few years ago, we were in a much worse place financially, spiritually, physically and mentally. I stressed about having plenty of food for our little family at all times. Later, I stressed about being a productive and contributing member of a two family household. I stressed about a lot, at all times and continue to stress a lot. I think somewhere in an unwritten contract established for Caregivers it states that “thou shall stress your little heart out at all times;” as if it is some sort of requirement in order for me to be qualified as a Caregiver.
When we moved into our first house stateside after the military, we didn’t have much. (There seems to be a theme going on here with us not having much when we move from one house to another.) I chose to start my long journey of going to college, while we tried to figure out our bearings of what is called family life after the military and at the same time get my husband the care he was promised and desperately needed. Elijah had just turned 1 year; which meant we needed to make sure we had plenty of diapers/pull-ups, food, Orajel, etc.
A few months before we moved into our own first (rented) house, my mother-in-law had briefly explained the concepts of coupons to me. She said she had used them and often times saved quite a bit of money. I was very intrigued! Long story short: I started couponing and became quite good at it, too. 🙂 Over the years, I have developed what is called a Stockpile. No, I’m not a Crazy Couponer and no, I am not a Tinfoil-hat wearing Prepper either! Sometimes it’s quite debatable though, but I always have a logical reason for my 20 packs of Pasta I have stashed away in my pantry. 🙂
One of the most stressful things I’ve experienced on a weekly and daily basis is not knowing whether we would have enough food. Or whether we would be eating Beans & Rice or Beans & Cornbread for 2 weeks straight. Or whether I would have to pay $5 for Shampoo or go with a less preferred kind since I ran out and my usual Shampoo isn’t on sale. And let’s not get started on the snacks and special foods Elijah wants, because it’s one of the few things that doesn’t throw him into a full-blown sensory overload. Or the snacks my husband wants, because he doesn’t really eat a normal meal all day and is pretty much burned out on soups, spaghetti and chicken from his ‘days in Army.’
So when I started to really get into using Coupons, I looked for Blogs and websites where I could learn the rules and find any tips and tricks that would be helpful. One of my favorite Blogs is Crystal Paine’s Money Saving Mom! I have been following her Blog for years now! Not to sound like a creepy stalker or anything, but I have found many inspirations and encouragements on her site. One of the first posts I read was a series she coined 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget and I was amazed at the subtle changes I could make to completely change the way I shopped and spent money on food! One part of the series explained what a Stockpile is and how to establish one based on the Buy Ahead Principle. (A side note: I personally really enjoy Crystal Paine’s Blog and encourage y’all to check it out if you haven’t yet! She has so much more to offer than just Coupons and Sales deals.)
I decided that a stockpile would be my mission. After a few drug-store (think Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid) and countless Walmart trips, I had my little stockpile of Shampoos, Deodorants, Soaps, diapers, pull-ups and wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, dish washing liquid and pods, laundry detergent, dog food, snack foods and cereals! I had a stockpile of all the essential things and items we used on a regular basis- all for a FRACTION of what I would normally pay for these things.
I cannot explain the excitement and relief I felt knowing that I was able to get these items for far less than what the regular price tag shows. Eventually I became so good at timing the sales that I would have enough in my stockpile to last me until the next sale.
Still to this day, I try to keep a small stockpile; never anything too big or crazy, because I don’t want to waste money or food if it won’t get eaten before it expires. That is money that could go towards something else; and for those of y’all having to make it on just the disability payments or other limited income- you know exactly what I mean, right?!
So how has that stockpile reduced my stress?
It’s simple. I don’t have to worry as much.
- I don’t have to worry about running out of Ketchup and risking a potential meltdown in our house, because Elijah doesn’t have Ketchup to go with his French Fries.
- I don’t have to worry about not being able to make Dinner Rolls, if I happen to crave some, because I have enough flour to last me till the next sale.
- I don’t have to worry about my husband not having Jalapenos, since he seems to eat Jalapenos and Tabasco Sauce on everything. (Well, with the exception of this week; I kind of ran out of Jalapenos…whoops! Good thing Fred Meyer has Military Discount this Thursday and I can stock up on a couple of Jars!)
- I don’t have to worry about running out my favorite Shampoo and Conditioner and pay $6 a pop and feel guilty afterwards; because my hair can be extremely difficult to deal with and I found this one brand to work so much better than any other I’ve used before.
- I don’t have to worry about running out of Toiletries; because I have enough to last for at least 3 months.
Having to deal with these small, but essential, duties I’ve often times felt extremely stressed; because I knew that if we didn’t have Ketchup in the house a meltdown would ensue. We always have Ketchup! Right? How could we run out Ketchup? I knew that if my husband didn’t have his Jalapenos and Tabasco, he would eat a little of his dinner and pick at it. While I would be left to deal with the ruins of a dinner gone wrong and the rest of the night was shot!
To an outsider this may sound quite trivial! Why can’t Elijah just deal with NOT having Ketchup? Why does you husband act like a super picky child; he’s a grown man?
Well, to Elijah routine and logic is EVERYTHING! His entire world revolves around routine and logic. My husband has eaten bland food for years. He’s eaten food that most Americans probably wouldn’t touch with a 10 ft. pole; because he HAD to! So the least I can do is have a jar of Jalapenos and a bottle of Tabasco in our home!
So something that seems trivial and childish to someone else, is quite logical to us!
Therefore, a small Stockpile in my house serves multiple purposes:
- I save money!
- I always have essentials in my house.
- I reduce the risk of meltdowns.
- Not to mention, my Stockpile saved us all the times the VA mysteriously messed up on my husband’s checks or decided to downgrade him based on errors they admitted to in hindsight!
- And all of the above, reduce my stress level!
Want to create your own Stockpile? I really encourage you to check out Money Saving Mom’s 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget Series.
Disclosure: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. Some posts may contain affiliate links. For more details please view my disclosure policy.