Today I have no advice, suggestions or tips for you. Today, I want to start a conversation and get your opinion on this: stocking up versus keeping on hand only what you need. When do you stock up on things like groceries, toiletries and office supplies? How much do you stock up? At what point do you think stocking up has crossed more into the compulsive buying or hoarding territory?
For example, if a family of four has 10 rolls of toilet paper on hand in their “back stock,” does that seem excessive to you or practical? What if they have 20 rolls, 50 rolls or even 100 rolls? What’s an appropriate size for this family’s back stock?
I can see the sense in stocking up if you live nowhere near a store or if you live near a store, but have a hard time getting there. You might not be able to shop for months at a time, so you better get everything you need to survive in between grocery store trips.
But many of us live near stores that we can access just fine — and yet we are still buying ungodly amounts of non-perishable foods and toiletries as if we might not see a store again for a year. I’m talking amounts so large it would take a family of 4 a year to use everything up. And then where to store it all? Some people have to designate a large space in their home just to store everything. Is it worth sacrificing a potential craft room, play room, etc. to store items that you might not touch for a year or two?
Some people stock up because they say it saves them money. But is buying one dozen can of peaches on sale for $20 to eat some day cheaper than buying one can of peaches for $1.50 to eat that week ? Is that truly cost-effective? How much space are you willing to sacrifice in order to save money?
On the other hand, having on hand enough items to last you a week or two might save you a ton of space and organizing headaches, but it does make you vulnerable in the event of a disaster or crisis (eg. loss of income, car breaks down, long term illness).
It’s an interesting question to me in these days of extreme couponing, stocking up in case of disasters, and canning/preserving hundreds of jars worth of food. I honestly don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to stocking up versus keeping on hand just what you need for the week, so I’m coming to you. What do you think? When would you stock up? How much is too much to keep on hand? If you don’t stock up, why not?
Image courtesy of TLC’s Extreme Couponing.