We recently received a great question from HotCouponWorld reader Gretchen W. from Spokane Washington asking us how many coupon inserts she should get each week.
Dear Coupon Girls,
I have recently taken up couponing and would like to build a modest stockpile of grocery items. However I was wondering if you could suggest to me how many coupon inserts I should get each week so that I have enough coupons to build a stockpile. We are a family of 5 (myself, my husband and our three children ages 3, 5 and 10).
Thanks for your help,
Gretchen W. Spokane WA
P.S. Love your site, keep up the good work!
Thanks for the compliment on the site, it is always nice to hear that we are helping folks save money! Your question is such a good one and one I think other new couponers may be asking too. As you have learned in order to save money with coupons one of the fundamental keys is to build a stockpile. The size of your ones stockpile is going to vary greatly from the size of another persons stockpile based on many deciding factors. We recommend that you take into consideration the following before deciding on how many coupon inserts you will need.
- The size of your household
- Available room for stockpiling
- Consumption rate for each item you buy
- Financial stability
The fact of the matter is, there really is no “rule” set in stone on how many coupon inserts you should try to obtain each week. However, I personally find that 2-4 coupon inserts per member of your household is about right. So for your family of 5 you may want to aim for 10 to 20 coupon inserts per week.
Couponing is more than just “get the coupons, find the deals and buy a bunch of stuff and stockpile it”. In order to be a SMART couponer it is important to think and evaluate your own person situation in order to stockpile smartly.
The size of your household: For obvious reasons the larger your household the larger your stockpile will probably be. We are a family of 6 people plus 3 cats, 3 dogs and a guinea pig. My stockpile needs are probably going to be greater than a single person as we consume more food and household goods.
Available room for stockpiling: You need to plan before you stockpile where you are going to store these items. Each persons home is different. If you live in a small apartment or trailer with little extra storage you will need to either dedicate a closet, cupboard or shelving unit for your stockpile or get creative with your space. I won’t presume to tell anyone where they should not stockpile items, but I personally think having stuff stored in plain sight or in valuable living area creates mental clutter, and for me, no deal is worth the anxiety caused by having an extra mess in my home (I have 4 kids at home…they make enough of a mess already!) On the other hand if you are lucky enough to have extra storage space in your garage, attic, basement, spare room then you are only limited by as much space as you have. I am blessed to have a 2 car garage where I store most of my food items, a unused linen closet (we store linens in the bathroom or in the bedroom instead) which I use for health & beauty products, and a ample laundry room where I store cleaning and laundry supplies. Before stockpiling assess what sort of space you have and get creative if you need to!
Consumption rate for each item you buy: For each item you plan on purchasing with your coupons you need to think not just “how many coupons do I have” but also “how much of this product will my household use”. There are some items that you will find that you all the time, every day, every week or only a few times a year. For example, most households use toilet paper everyday (we hope), so that is something you may want to stockpile more of versus something you may only use a few times a year like oven cleaner. If you are a from scratch baker you may want to stockpile more baking supplies like flour and sugar than boxed cake mixes. Think about how often you will use each item before you buy it. Just because you have 10 coupons for something does not necessarily mean that you need to buy 10 if you will not use 10 before that item expires.
Financial stability: Ones financial situation does come into play I think when one is considering how much of something they should stockpile as well. Right now the economy in the US is rough for so many people, with 13.9 million people unemployed (according the the US Department of Labor), many people are struggling or are worried about possible job lay offs. This is a real situation for many who are turning to couponing as a way to help economize their households. So I think that it is important to take into consideration where you are at financially when planning how much to stockpile. If your job, for example is pretty secure and you have ample savings to get you though a few months if you were laid off then you may only want to stockpile enough to last you 3 to 6 months. However if you are worried about your job stability you may, if you have the room to do so, want to stockpile a little bit more to last you a longer period of time should you loose your job, say 6 to 12 months or more. And if you are already unemployed and are living paycheck to paycheck or find yourself on a very small budget no matter what the circumstances then you are going to want to stockpile enough based on what space you have and what you can afford. I have been in that situation myself, living on a very tight budget when my husband was injured at work and couponing and our subsequent stockpile literally saved us. So I think it is something worth considering.
I wish there was a cut and dry answer to your question Gretchen, but I hope that I have given you some sound advice for you to begin to think about and start planning a coupon and stockpile strategy that works for you and your household.