The Fru-Gal: Tips for creating a stockpile of items your family will use

The Fru-Gal Deborah Morris
The Fru-Gal Deborah Morris

Be prepared is the Boy Scout motto. It means that you should always be in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty. The motto can be used in your everyday life to save money.

I have never been a fan of the Extreme Couponing show that promoted buying items you really don't need. Who needs 50 bottles of mustard and salad dressing in their stockpile?

What I do believe in is not paying retail for anything. In order to do this you need to be prepared and start a stockpile. I have a few places in my house where I store my extra products that I have gotten for free or extremely cheap.

To start your stockpile, clear out a place or two in your pantry and freezer, or designate an area in your basement to keep your stash. Don't store items in an area that fluctuates widely in temperatures. Next, make a list of items that you use often plus ones that you always can find coupons for like toothpaste, pasta, shampoo, soap and canned vegetables. Don't fill your pantry with items that aren't on sale; wait for markdowns and apply that coupon.

The size of your stockpile correlates to the size of your family. Making sure you have enough of your staples on your list for six months is a great starting guideline. This list will also help you with using items before they expire. The Family and Consumer Sciences at Fayette County Cooperative Extension has a detailed list of recommended food storage times for dry, refrigerated and frozen foods at or you can call Diana Doggett at (859) 257-5582 for information on food storage.

Remember when adding items to your stockpile always put new ones behind older items to ensure that nothing sits in your pantry for a long time. You can also take a marker and write the product expiration date in clear view (not the date you bought it).

Take your time. It could take up to three months to build a complete stockpile. It also will cost you a little extra money while gathering those supplies. But, by the end your grocery spending should be around 50 percent less than before your stockpile.

Now that you have your product stockpile, let's work on your money stockpile. This comes in the form of an emergency fund. Everyone should focus on having a six-month cash cushion for emergency expenses. Financial guru Suze Orman recommends cash savings equal to six months living expenses. That doesn't mean six months' salary, but six months of what it would take to live on. This will enable you to responsibly make decisions if you lose your job, need to fix a furnace or help you if you get sick.

Being prepared in every aspect of your life not only will give you a safety net but will help you save money.

Other savings

■ Through Nov. 30, whenever you spend $50 on qualifying beauty purchases at CVS you'll receive a $10 extrabucks reward instead of the usual $5. Sign up for the Beauty Club at

■ Now through Nov. 14, earn $25 real women dollars for every $50 spent at Lane Bryant in store or online. Your real women dollars can be redeemed on a future purchase of $50 or more.

■ Print out a coupon for Yankee Candle and buy two large jar candles and get two free. Good until Dec. 1 or use promotional code CANDLES online.

■ Through Nov. 10, print out a coupon valid at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a free two-piece boneless combo whenever you buy one.

■ Kmart is offering a 2013 toy coupon booklet. Print out your coupons yourself or go to the store and ask for the booklet.

■ Get your batteries now for all your holiday gifts by taking advantage of this Energizer promotion. Now through Aug. 14, 2014, whenever you buy two specially marked packs of Energizer MAX batteries at Walmart, you'll be able to apply for a free $10 Walmart gift card rebate.

■ If you are a parent, caretaker or expectant mother, take advantage of Amazon Mom program. Through Nov. 10, become a new member and you'll get a free $25 credit to use toward your first purchase of select diapers.

■ From Nov. 6-24, Brides Across America are giving away free wedding dresses to qualifying military members in select cities.

■ Winkflash is offering 10 free holiday photo cards. Just pay 99 cents for shipping. Enter promotional code FREECARDS1013 at checkout before Nov. 5.

■ Print the $1 off Butterball coupon from Butterball's Facebook page to get free Butterball Turkey Bacon at Walgreens.

■ Sign up for the Home Depot eNewsletter to receive $5 off a purchase of $50 or more.

■ Some dentist offices around the country are offering to "buy" back Halloween candy from neighborhood kids, then send it to the troops overseas. When a kid brings in their Halloween candy to a local registered dentist's office the dentist's office will "buy" the candy with cash, coupons, toothbrushes and or other creative exchanges.

■ If you have a Twitter account, you can get a free $5 Starbucks e-gift card when you send a $5 e-gift card to another Twitter user.

■ Print out a coupon that's good for a free three-item sample pack of Aveda Invati products from a local Aveda salon.