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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Guest Post:: Stockpiling vs. Hoarding

While I am not going to tell you how much or how little to stockpile - because that should be determined by the number of people in your family and how often you shop - I thought that this blogger had a good perspective on stockpiling. I have received lots of emails thanking me for posting the deals on this blog because it has enabled them to share and give to others on a budget that would not otherwise allow for this. This thrills me! I never thought that this blog would be able to help so many people! Not only is God providing for me and my family, but he is helping me share my knowledge with countless others and they are helping other families in times of need! God is truly amazing.
Denise Sawyer

The "Cent"sible Sawyer


Stockpiling vs. Hoarding

I was visiting some blogs recently and saw stockpile pictures that made my chin hit the floor. There were people who had 50 bottles of shampoo, 100 boxes of mac 'n cheese, and more toothpaste than my family will use this century. It made me consider the concept of stockpiling from a different perspective.

I have been using coupons, pairing them with store ads, and CVSing for free and almost free items. I've accumulated a couple of nice stockpile areas in my home. (We have almost NO closets, so things are stashed wherever they'll fit without being in the way too much.) I don't have replacements at the ready for every item we use in our home, but we have a lot of personal care items now. It's nice to know that when we use up our daughter's current bottle of bubble bath, there are two more waiting for us in the kitchen cupboard.

Notice I said that there were two bottles of bubble bath.... not 20 bottles of bubble bath. I can't see the purpose in stockpiling more than we know we'll use in a reasonable amount of time. So I have adopted a save-and-give mindset. I knew that there must be a way to make better use of the free and almost-free deals that seem to keep popping up.

I've decided to share the blessings. Several months ago, I read on a blog site that Johnson & Johnson's Buddies soaps were at Wal-Mart for under $1. I had several $1 off coupons for those soaps. However, I had just scored a great deal at CVS on body wash for my daughter. I have enough to last her for several months. But I also had the coupons, making the soaps free.

I decided to go ahead and buy all the soaps that I could with the coupons I had. I then put them in a bag at my house. Since then I've added things like facial wipes, dish soap, and other items that would be useful at our local battered women's shelter. Once this bag is full, I'll drop it off at the shelter's office. Hopefully the women who come there for refuge will enjoy using the things that I got for free, especially when they often arrive at the shelter with nothing but their clothes and their children.
I guess I could make it my goal to increase my own stockpile when I find freebies. So what if I already have four bottles of shampoo for myself? Don't I need sixteen bottles? No! But there are ladies who do need those bottles of shampoo.

I've found that the stores offer sales on a rotating basis. If shampoo was on sale this week, it's going to be on sale again in a few weeks or months. If I can keep enough in my stockpile to last a few months, I can be assured that the items will be available at a decent price again before I run out. By remembering that sales aren't a one-time thing, I keep myself from hoarding things. I can gladly pass them along to others who need them even more than I do.

And I can be ready to help my friends… On New Year’s Day of last year, a co-worker of my experienced tragedy as her home was completely lost to fire. Her family was safe, but they were operating with the personal care items provided by the Red Cross. While these items were sufficient, they were also reminders of what had been lost. I quickly went to my stockpiles and filled a brown bag with shampoo, razors (the good ones!), toothbrushes, facial cleansers, Band-Aids, and other items that I thought might be useful. When I brought the bag to my co-worker, she was thrilled. It’s amazing how healing a bag of “the good stuff” can be. It lends a sense of normalcy to a time of tragedy. The funny thing is that I haven’t yet missed anything that I gave her. Those items have been replaced with others, and I haven’t once wished that I had kept something for myself. When she moves from the hotel to an apartment, I’m hoping to be able to offer her a bag full of cleaning supplies too.

Maybe the people whose stockpile pictures I found have much larger families than mine. Maybe they have been through some trying times emotionally and/or financially. I don't know their stories. But I know that my family doesn't need more than we can reasonably stash away for the next few months. I know that God is our provider, not CVS, Kroger, or Walgreens. I appreciate those stores, but I know that it's God who helps me find the deals that I find. I also know that He smiles when I share those deals with His children who need them most.

This post was written by Jennifer Bruce of Saving and Giving.

34 Comments:

Tammigirl said...

I never saw myself as someone who would have a great big stockpile. But I lived through a time (in Venezuela) when the country went on a general strike for over a month. The grocery store shelves went bare. And nobody was making/shipping anything. We feed anywhere from 6 - 9 people any given night. We make sure we have enough to last more than a month if we can't leave the house at all.

I realize how life can change, not just for me, but for a country, in a day. It pays to be as prepared as you can afford to be. And I agree. Even with this many people counting on us, there are still limits. There are still times to give away bunches.

Sarah@VintageChic said...

Very good post!!! I am grateful to have found these ways to get household items for next to nothing, but my small storage can only hold so much. We've made care bags for families we know are in need with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. I'm happy to help and to give. I agree there is a limit to stockpiling. I try not to get things that I won't use - even if it is free or almost free.

tracy said...

I totally agree, I know people who have closets full of stuff, food and beauty supplies. I keep about 2 months worth of stockpiles handy just because you never know what the future i sgoing to hold.

Ladybug's Mom said...

I am re-stockpiling at the moment. It was great to have the stockpile available for my friends who lost everything in Hurricane Ike. The Febreeze really came in handy. But the giving for me is the fun part of stock piling.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. No on NEEDS every tube of toothpaste in every CVS for 5 miles around every time it goes on sale. Stripping stores and taking more than you need will end up costing us all in the long run as stores and manufacturers cut back on the freebees because a few have some emptyness to fill. I have a nice stockpile but I just cleaned out 24 deoderants I had accumulated along with many extra toothpastes and some other goodies that we will never be able to use up. They went to both the women's shelter and the homeless shelter. My new Mantra is Reasonable....

Willowbeth

Kelly Via said...

Thanks for sharing a great post. It is definitely great (and smart!)to have a few extras in the pantry to provide for our families until the next great deal comes around! But we all need to be careful not to get carried away with hoarding and not just being smart with providing frugally (without crazy excess!) for our family. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I have been having fun with this new "game". The most fun part has been sharing my buys. College kids love these gifts!

Misty said...

This was a wonderful post. I have been thinking about taking my "extras" someplace for a while now but haven't made the effort. Thanks for giving me a kick in the heiny. I'm going to find a local woman's shelter right now. Thank you so much!

Leah said...

i guess i have two comments...i can see why people would want to have 25 bottles of shampoo and 15 bottles of spaghetti sauce..because it's a very uncertain time in our nation...and people are VERY scared. having such a surplus, allows people to feel a little more safe about the future--and God DOES provide..but I also believe He helps those who help themselves too. so i guess i would probably tend to be a little less critical of people with large stockpiles..there are reasons for having those. (and no, unfortunately, my stockpile isn't really that much of a stockpile yet!)

second, if you do want to donate, another idea is saving up all those freebie and nearly freebie items and making CHristmas packages for people in need...i just received a sample today for selson blue..i didn't need it, so i put in a big basket in the top of a closet..it's going in a gift bag during Christmas for someone that really needs it....an elderly person on a fixed income for example...cleaners, food items, personal health items..those are all great for those type of bags.

Donna said...

Great post. I am growing my stockpile for us AND for giving!!

I love to give and this a a great way to do it=)

Melissa said...

One thing I have been doing A LOT lately is going through my food storage and donating things that will expire in the next 3-12 months to food banks as they are going though stuff at record speed right now. This helps me keep my storage up to date and also helps out local families who are barely getting by right now.

sassy stephanie said...

Great post. I originally started couponing to save, not necessarily to create a stock pile. When I started, I would pick up odds and ends and super cheap prices to give. Then, quickly, the saving habit turned into planning for a stockpile. I too fill a box with items and donate on a regular basis. We had a family in our community also lose their home to a fire. It was so great to quickly make a care package that contained something for every member of their family.

Libby said...

WONDERFUL post! I think peopel need to realize that the point of couponing is not to accumilate as much "stuff" as possible, we all have enough "stuff." The point of couponing and stockpiling is to use what you need, give what you can, and save as much money as you do it.
Libby

cheapsk8mom said...

great post. i am learning how to keep my stockpile under control... but am grateful that i'm able to have so many things to use and give.

Tammy said...

I have to agree with Leah. I'm not going to judge the person who has 25 bottles of this, or 15 of that. My friend who has 11 children, some of them married with children of their own, are blessed to "shop" their mom's stockpile when they have a need. And, that mom, even with her big brood, can assist other families as she hears of a need. While I don't condone clearing store shelves for miles around, I don't have a problem with slowly building a stockpile that can meet your own needs and instantly enable you to be a blessing to others because you have extra to give. In everything, seek balance.

Sherri Walker-McCann "sha" said...

I'd say that I have a huge stock pile...but like you I give away a ton! I am always looking for people to bless! Just recently I asked people via my blog, to let me know of anyone in need, as so many people are. I'd be very careful about how you judge people based on the stock pile closets....it looks like I am a HOARDER by the looks of my closet, but nothing could be further from the truth! Just as soon as I clear it out....God fills it back up again. Just be careful not to judge a book by it's cover.....so to speak.

HotMommy said...

I'm in such agreement! I try to encourage all my frugal shopping buddies to donate all those deals they can't resist.

Right now in this economy, it sometimes feels like we don't have a penny to spare, but I have such joy every month when I drop off the free or low-cost-to-me toiletries, food, etc. to my church's homeless charity.

Not only does God provide for my family, he provides the way for us to share and give to others.

DramaMama said...

Awesome post! I will be linking it on my blog.
I've been couponing, getting freebies and the like since October or November. I was hesitant at first beause I was worried about the whole stockpile thing. I read about people with stockpiles in all sorts of places in their home and would shake my head and say why would I want to do that?? What do we need with so much stuff?
Well, I too recently adopted the save and give mindset. I was able to give great Christmas gifts; give to my mother who recently lost her job; give toothpaste and toothbrushes to a woman who ministers to women in prison in another country; give food to our church food pantry and give to a program collecting personal care items for homeless shelters.
I am not doing these things for recognition but because I feel God has led me to couponing as an opportunity ro reach out to the poor, the sick, the needy, the orphaned and widowed, the ones who are thirsty or need clothes, the ones who are imprisoned and forgotten.
We cannot be greedy, especially if we have the opportunity to help those in need during these economic struggles.
So I thank God for all His blessings. And the many people who are eager to share freebies and deals!

Heidi said...

I agree that having 100 boxes of mac and cheese is excessive, however having somewhat of a stockpile is a good thing. My husband recently lost his job, and it is a comfort to know that I have enough personal care items, and household cleaners that if it takes a while for him to find a job, I won't have to worry about finding money to buy things. God does provide and that should be a Christians comfort first and foremost. But being a good steward of what He gives us is also important. I have loved being able to share my cheap or free items with friends, family and for people in need. Our daughter was able to take items to church for Christmas boxes and it was a great way to teach her about sharing what we have with others.

Mark and Emma said...

I love this post, Denise! A battered women's shelter is the perfect place to donate those items! When I worked with victims of domestic violence, it was astonishing to see how, even after leaving and starting over from their abusive relationship, their mindset was still that they were not good enough or important enough to be pampered. I think it's soooooo important to love on these women and really take care of them so that they will have the courage and feel the self-worth to care for themselves (more so in the act of leaving their abusers). Thank you for the reminder that God will take care of us and bless us when we trust Him enough to help others.

Alexia said...

I don't have a stock pile... I haven't even been able to CVS right. lol but I do have a thought that no one touched on....

A couple of people mentioned where we are as a country right now.... If something happened where we couldn't get to food or a store for a long period of time... I would love to be the person that friends, and church family can come too, knowing that I will have more than enough to bless others.

Just MHO. :-)

Alexia in Las Vegas

Gloria said...

Excellent post! I will share on my blog.

Corrie at "Cents"able Momma said...

I could never use all the shampoo and toothpaste that I've bought at the drugstores, but I like to buy it for the same reasons as you...to give it away. Since food stamps don't cover toiletry items (but they are necessary to live), I give mine away to a family member who's going through financial difficulty and to my church's food pantry.

Allie said...

I agree that we should depend on God, and I do try to do that every day. I also share extra items with shelters and other charities around my home. But one way that I am earning extra income for my family is by selling those extra things at a flea market this spring. I have been building up my stockpile and while i gladly dip into it if someone i know had a fire for example, and i watch exp dates closely, I am saving up and I am fortunate to have room to do so, to see these free/almost free items at a profit for my family. Its a great way to contribute financially as a stay at home mom.

Kate B said...

Thank you for posting this,I so needed it! There is a thin line between stockpiling and being a good steward of God's provisions, and being a greedy hoarder.

My job hangs by a thread, I have been stockpiling in the event of a lay off. I know God will provide for me should the need arise.
Since I am close to my goals, I have switched my mindset over to sharing my freebies/deals.
I donate whatever I can to our local food pantry.
I am contacting a women's shelter near where I work for a drop off of unused cosmetics and hair dye, among other various personal items.
I must admit, I am so blessed by God's provisions and the joy I feel in sharing with others. Yesterday, driving home from work on icy roads, I was grinning from ear to ear at the thought of preparing my "goody" bags for our food shelf and the aforementioned women's shelter.
~Be a blessing.

Puanani503 said...

Love this post. Well said...

Milk Donor Mama said...

I have quite a large stockpile, but I regularly donate a large amount of items to a neighborhood food pantry. I also have my parents shop my stockpile since they are both out of work. Another thing I do is donate to a domestic violence shelter. I enjoy sharing the bounty with others. I think it is irresponsible to not be prepared for an emergency for your own family, so everyone should have some kind of stockpile, especially water, first aid and canned foods. However, hoarding is a separate can of worms from stockpiling. Hoarding is the collection of mostly useless things to the point where a person cannot move through their home, cannot part with things, does not allow others to see their home, does not leave their home, and lacks hygiene and doesn't houseclean. True hoarding is pretty rare.

Anonymous said...

I love this article- funny though to us a 100 boxes of mac and cheese is not hoarding LOL. With a 7 person family, we go through about 15 boxes of mac and cheese a month so the 100 would only last about 6 or so months for us :) I think it really depends on what your family uses and doesn't. I think if you have food that is going to go bad before you use it, then you have WAY too much. We go through our stock every 2 months and check to see what are we using and what are we not and donate the extras to church, family, friends.

The Thrifty Geek said...

Thank you for the post. I think the Lord has given us this to be able to help others. Our hearts are in Honduras and I save through out the year and take with us items that I am able to get a discounted price to share with the people of La Paz.
Thank you again for reminding me of my purpose and desire.

Anonymous said...

Our children are grown with families of their own and my sister is a single parent of a teenager. I'll admit to having a small stockpile of toiletries and I will NOT pass up free hair products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deoderant, or shower gel through a Walgreens or Rite Aid rebate, especially when I can make a profit on it. I sometimes get mascara, nail polish, etc if it's free or really cheap. I make gift bags for my family at Christmas. Even though we give them their "real" gifts, they always look forward to their goody bags because each family is on a budget and everything in their bag is something they won't have to pay for. I also donate extra food to the food bank. My stockpiling DOES have a purpose and I will never stop until I am no longer able to shop for bargains.

Adrian said...

Great post but I've read that some religions are expected to have a year's worth of food items in their pantry for the "end times" so be careful you just might step on someone's toes.

TammiD said...

I'm fairly new to couponing and have a small stockpile, but not huge. I've already been thinking about donating some of our extras, but we just moved within the last year so I don't know of donation places yet. However, this has inspired me to take the extra step to actually seek out a donation location....thanks!

Jennifer said...

Thanks, everyone, for the great feedback to this post. I think that most of us are on the same page. We agree that having a stockpile is responsible and wise, especially when jobs (like Kate's) are uncertain. Most of you who mentioned having large stockpiles also had them for a purpose. Either your family/extended family was going to need them, or you were planning ahead for specific sharing. The huge stockpile photos that I referred to were posted by people who were bragging about their stockpiles. From what I read, they had no intention of sharing.

I also sell some things for profit like Allie mentioned. I usually do my selling on eBay, and I only do it with bigger-ticket items. But the idea of saving items for a garage sale/flea market is a great idea for providing for your family. That's far from the mindset of accululating just to accumulate.

Please don't think that I am looking down on anyone with a big stockpile. Again, everyone's life situation is different. For me and my small family, I'm going to stick with the anonymous commenter's mantra of balance. I want to keep what we need and will use, and I want to share the extra. At this uncertain time in our nation, what we need is probably a bit more than it was a few months ago. But we still have more than enough to share some too.

If you're still trying to figure out what you can do with your "extras", you might also consider Operation Christmas Child from Samaritan's Purse. This organization takes shoeboxes full of personal care items to kids around the world. We used many of our CVS freebies to fill 6 boxes last year. If you want to learn more about this project (and prepare for this November's drive), their website is http://www.samaritanspurse.org

Cheap RN said...

I buy everything I can then I have one shelf in a small linen closet that I keep my items in. I rotate my products and everything else goes to the Hope Rescue Mission's Family shelter. I am not sure they can always use everything I buy but I am sure they steward their resources and get the items to the right place. I also keep track of everything I donate to take as a tax deduction at the end of the year.