"I am enjoying your columns so much. I must tell you about my experience with Yes detergent. I have been using it for years. I only buy on sale, and I had a lot in the garage. Last month, I saw that I was down to 5 packages of Yes. It hasn't been on sale in a long while, so I looked at the store to see the current price. I couldn't find any Yes on the shelf, so I called the manufacturer and found out that it was discontinued in November of 2007! That's how long it's been since I last bought detergent. I do dread looking for a new brand, but if I hadn't stockpiled, I would have been without my favorite brand long ago. Thanks for your great columns."
This e-mail from a column reader made me smile for several reasons. One, I can absolutely relate to having several years' worth of laundry detergent in the house! Two, while it's never fun to have a favorite product taken off the market, there certainly are times as shoppers when we're less aware of brands and product varieties coming and going, simply because we're "shopping at home" from what we've stocked up on.
When we stockpile, we typically buy what our household will use during the next twelve weeks statistically speaking, the sale prices will cycle around again at that point, and we can go buy more at a very inexpensive price. But what about those mega stock-ups, when you come across a wonderful sale where things are ridiculously cheap? Do the guidelines go out the window?
For me, any time something is at an extremely low price and is a truly nonperishable item (paper products and cleaners especially) I will stock up beyond the typical 12-weeks' worth of that item. As long as I have the space in the house or garage, I'll buy just about as much as I can store and use.
Almost nine months ago, I came across a great deal on paper towels. By stacking a store and manufacturer coupon and taking advantage of a money-back store promotion, I took home eight-roll packs of paper towels for $1.50 each. That worked out to about 19 cents per roll! It was the kind of sale I knew I would likely not see again anytime soon. So, I gathered up my coupons and bought eight, eight-roll packs. Yes, 64 rolls of paper towels do take up a lot of space. But the average roll usually sells for about $1 on sale with a coupon. I ultimately spent $12 on $64 worth of paper towels. I am not likely to buy paper towels again for more than a year. Those paper towels are currently stashed on a shelf in our garage. They won't expire, so I bought as many as we had room to store.
Anytime an exceptional sale comes around, when prices dip to ridiculously cheap, I'll buy as much as our household can use before that item expires. This works especially well for canned foods and items with long shelf lives, too. Again, you're buying what you can reasonably store and use, knowing you won't pay full price again for that product for quite some time. And if that product happens to be discontinued, you'll likely be one of the last to know.
Incidentally, discontinued products and packaging changes can also result in big savings. One of my favorite sales happened during a packaging change for diapers a great time to buy, because they will be reduced to clear. The store was running different promotions on the discontinued diapers at the same time. Store coupons took the price down to $1.49 a pack (already a steal!) and the diapers were also part of a larger "Buy 3 baby items, get $5 off your next purchase" promotion. So, for every three packs of diapers I bought, I got a $5 Catalina coupon. Well, three packs of diapers were just $4.47. With tax, I paid $5.31 for three packs and also got that $5 coupon good for anything on my next shopping trip.
I bought enough diapers at less than 12 cents a pack to hopefully get my youngest out of them completely
at an almost unbelievable saving!