In case you missed it, you can read this post to see what this series is all about.
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s having to pay full-price for something because I was disorganized and forgot to have a back-up of a product on hand. While I don’t stockpile to the extreme, I do like to make sure I have a 3-4 month supply of the things I use the most so I can usually catch the items on some type of sale, and hopefully find a coupon to pair with it! (You can see my post on How to Stockpile Sensibly.)
I usually do a pretty good job of keeping track of things but when I do forget, here’s why I don’t let myself get upset over it – Stop for a second and think about every product that you use. After about 5 minutes of going through a list in your head this is what you’ll realize: it’s a lot to keep track of! But here are the ways that I try to stay on top of always having our necessities on hand:
1) You need to have an idea of how much of your most used products that you go through in a time frame. Pick up some small circle stickers (like you’d see used at a garage sale) – you can find them at most dollar stores – and keep some in your laundry room, pantry, bathroom cabinets, wherever you store your supplies. When you start, say a new bottle of dishwasher soap, write the date on the circle. When you are getting low on that product, check the date and it will give you and idea how long it takes you go through one. Try to keep a 3-4 month supply on hand. That should get you through your next sales cycle.
2) Keep a low inventory list. This can just be a simple piece of paper taped to your pantry or bathroom cabinet wall. Anytime you are getting low on things, jot it down on the list. When you go to make your grocery shopping list for the week, check to see if there’s a sale/coupon for those items.
3) Keep a list by the fridge. Jot down any items you need for the week as you think of them because more than likely, you won’t remember when it comes time to make your list later.
4) Get your family members involved! Make sure that they jot down on that low inventory/fridge list when something is getting low or you need a new one (for fresh food items.)
5) Make sure you always rotate your stock. Keep your soon expireds up front. This is especially important for food items. When it’s time to make your weekly menu plan, take a glance at what’s at the front of your pantry that may expire soon and try to incorporate them into your meal plan that week.
6) If there is a sale on something you use, make sure you check your stockpile. Do you have a 3-4 month supply already? You don’t want to overbuy or else you lose valuable space that you could use for other items. You could also be taking unnecessary money out of your weekly household budget that you could have used to save on something else.
7) Do your best to keep your fridge/freezer organized. If you try to keep items in a similar location each time, it might be easier to see what you are low on in case you didn’t update your list.
8) Besides checking soon expireds each week before you make your shopping list, make sure you do a quarterly check on all your items to make sure nothing has expired. You don’t want to go to grab an item and find out all your inventory has been depleted due to you not using them in time. An easy way to remember is to try to check inventory each time the season changes. This will help you get in 4 per year. The new seasons are often at the end of the month so it’s a great time to prepare for the next month, too!
I’m hoping these ideas will help you keep the necessities on hand to help you not have to ever pay full price for the products that you use, too!