Stockpiling takes extreme couponing to the next level

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If extreme couponing is a game, stockpiling is the championship round. Timing is everything. You collect lots of coupons and wait for the in-store sales to use them, so you get multiple discounts. Then you buy the items you use regularly in large quantities (three- to six-month cycles or longer, depending on the item and the sale) so you never have to pay full price. • Take a look at the following list of ideas for grocery items to stockpile, plus a few more stockpiling tricks.

Toilet Paper

Lately, the price of TP seems to be going up, making it definitely worth stockpiling. So go forth and collect toilet paper coupons. Wait and watch for your favorite to go on sale, which is easier than you think. Some stores puts new items on sale every Wednesday like clockwork. Check the paper or look online for the store circular. When a sale hits, do the math to figure your discount. If it meets your target of a 50 percent discount, go for it!

Toothpaste

Let's say a large tube of Colgate toothpaste is on sale for $1.99. Add onto that a 75-cent coupon plus another $1 off from a sale booklet the store passed out three weeks ago, and the final price is 24 cents.

Deodorant

Sometimes you don't have to worry about limits. Some grocers have "Mega Event" sale, during which you're royally invited to buy more items, with a discount on all of them. If you've dutifully collected your coupons, these are great times to stockpile. If the store sells out, ask for a rain check. If your coupons expire before the item is restocked, the store should still honor them.

Cereal

Families need a discount on cereal. There are always grocery coupons for cereal, but you should stockpile it because it's so expensive to begin with and it lasts (unopened) for a long time.

Olive Oil

Olive oil will keep for about six months in a cool, dark pantry and up to a year in the refrigerator. Unopened peanut oil, corn oil and vegetable oil will keep for at least a year. Once opened, they last four to six months.

Vinegar

The Vinegar Institute says vinegar's shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acidity, vinegar is self-preserving and doesn't need refrigeration. Even the super-cloudy type that looks like it'll kill you is still good. Plus, white vinegar has so many uses.

Shampoo

If you're not picky about brands, you can get stuff for nearly free. Sometimes you can actually get products for free or even "make money" with negative balances.

Laundry detergent

This is a frugal-friendly item, even without a sale. Never use more than half the manufacturer-recommended amount of detergent! You just saved 50 percent right there.

Laundry detergent is an example for Catalina coupons, another way to save. Those "check-out coupons" that print out with your receipt are also called Catalinas. Generally, they're manufacturer's coupons, but sometimes you'll get a store coupon to use like cash on your next purchase.

Say Purex laundry detergent is on sale for two for $5. And — get this — if you buy $20 worth, you'll get a $5 Catalina coupon at checkout. If you're stockpiling, of course, you're ready with eight $1 coupons, so you buy eight bottles on sale, pay only $12 with coupons, and get back $5 as a Catalina coupon. Your final cost per bottle is 88 cents.

Condiments

Stock up on ketchup, mustard, relishes and mayonnaise. The Fourth of July will bring sales on these toppings for your grilled burger or hot dog, so gather your coupons.

Stockpiling takes extreme couponing to the next level 06/25/11 [Last modified: Saturday, June 25, 2011 5:30am]

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