How to Coupon

Tips for Stockpiling Pet Supplies

Posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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Dog and CatDo you stockpile things that your pets need? It isn’t difficult to do. You can use the same techniques that you already use when you are stockpiling food for your family. Here are some tips that will help you to maximize your savings when stockpiling for your pets.

How long does pet food last?
When you stockpile food for your family, you make sure it is safely stored. You also want to make sure that you use it before it expires. The same is true for pet food. Here is some helpful advice from Greyhound Friends NJ about when pet food will expire:

Canned food – 2 years from the manufacture date
Dry food – 1 year from the manufacture date
Dry food that contains lamb – about 6 months from the manufacturer date
Treats – 1 year from the expiration date

Not sure if the food has expired? Don’t feed it to your pet. You can also check the website of the company that manufacturers the food for more specific details about expiration dates.

Protect the pet food.
Some stockpilers discover that stored pet food may contain bugs. It also might attract ants or rodents. What can you do to protect the pet food you are storing?

* Freeze it – Take the food out of the package. Put it in sealable freezer bags, and store it in your freezer for at least two days . This should kill any bugs that may be in the pet food. Throw away the packaging.

* Store it in metal cans – Rodents will chew through cardboard and plastic packages. They cannot chew through metal. Store your pet food in coffee cans (that have sealable lids). Or, use a big, metal, decorative tin that contained flavored popcorn. Wash it out and use it to store pet food. You should label the can with the expiration date of the pet food that is stored in it.

* Store it in air tight plastic bins – These bins will prevent ants and other bugs from finding the pet food that you have stored. Make sure the lid is firmly closed. Put a label on the bin that shows the expiration date of the pet food that is inside it.

Cover the bedding.
It’s never a bad idea to store a couple of extra pet beds. Many dogs and cats like to tear up their beds. Even the more careful pets will, eventually, need a new bed. Wrap the pet bed in a sealable plastic bag to keep the dust off of it. You may be able to store smaller pet beds in an air tight plastic bin.

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Tips for Stockpiling Baby Items

Posted on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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BibsBabies need a whole lot of stuff. It’s never good to accidentally run out of what you need right at a key moment. To prevent that inconvenience, you can create a stockpile of baby products. Here are some tips to help new parents to stockpile baby items.

Baby wipes
You really cannot have too many packages of baby wipes. You’re going to need them available at every diaper change. They are also useful for quickly disinfecting high chair trays and car seats. Some parents who stockpile baby wipes combine a coupon for baby wipes with the current sale that a particular store has on them.

Baby wipes have a multitude of uses. Some women find that baby wipes are an effective make-up remover. They are generally less expensive than the products that are actually sold for that purpose. So, even if your baby becomes potty trained before you deplete your stockpile of baby wipes, its ok. There are lots of things to use them for.

Onesies are incredibly useful. They can be used like a t-shirt, or worn by themselves. They also provide some extra “protection” for the clothing that is worn over the onesies. You can even substitute a onesie for pajamas when the weather is warm.

One way to get a great deal on onesies is to wait until a store has a sale on baby products. Look for the packages that hold 3 or more of them (instead of the fancier onesies that are sold individually). Make sure you don’t go overboard. Your baby will, eventually, grow and need a different sized onesie than he or she currently wears.

Your baby is going to need bibs for quite some time. Of course, you need a clean bib for every feeding time. Bibs are also useful for babies that are teething (and drooling a lot). Again, a good way to stockpile bibs is to wait for a baby sale. Look for the ones that can easily be thrown in the wash without falling apart or having the plastic portion “melt”.

Be careful when stockpiling diapers. Go overboard, and you run the risk of having lots of diapers at home that are now too small for your baby to use. You may want to limit your quantity to the amount of diapers that you expect to use in about a month’s time.

One good way to stockpile diapers is to combine a coupon with the discount that the loyalty card from your favorite grocery store offers. Often, the grocery store will have a lower price than if you bought the same diapers from a speciality baby store or a toy store.

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How to Stockpile with Food Allergies

Posted on Thursday, November 7th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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PeanutsYes, you can stockpile even if someone in your family has food allergies. Just make sure that you separate the foods and products that contain allergens from the ones that are safe for you (or a member of your family). Here are some tips to help you create and maintain an allergy friendly stockpile.

Avoid cross-contamination
It is best to have an allergy-friendly stockpile that is located far away from your regular stockpile. This can help you avoid accidental cross-contamination. It will help prevent small particles of the foods that your family member is allergic to from making his or her food unsafe.

Purchase brand new plastic containers and resealable plastic bags for your allergy-friendly stockpile. Get a marker and write “Allergy-free” on them. Only use them to store foods that are safe for your allergic family member. Keep the storage containers absolutely separate from each other. Did you accidentally use the allergy-friendly container to store an unsafe food? That container cannot go back to the allergy-free stockpile.

How long does food last?
According to Silk, their shelf stable products (soy milk, almond milk, and coconut milk) are sterile and hermetically sealed. They can be safely stored without refrigeration until they are opened. After opening, they must be stored in the refrigerator.

Their refrigerated products will stay fresh until the date that is stamped on the carton. Once you open them, they must be consumed within 7 to 10 days. Are you planning on stockpiling the same type of products that come from a different company? Check their website for full details about safe storage.

Gluten free pasta, no matter what it is made out of (corn, quinoa, rice) can be stored just like regular pasta. Don’t open the box until you are ready to use it. Some types gluten free flour need to be put in the freezer after the package is opened. Others can be stored in a container in the pantry. Read the packages for details.

Can you use coupons?
There are some coupons out there for allergy-free foods. However, they are not as easy to find as the other coupons. So, you might find a coupon that saves you a certain amount on one product.

It is very unlikely that you find many “buy one, get one free” types of coupons for allergy-friendly foods. In other words, stockpiling with food allergies makes it harder to become one of those “extreme couponers” who walks out of the grocery store with carts of free food.

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Do a Pre-Thanksgiving Stockpile Check

Posted on Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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Harvest feastWhat’s in your stockpile? Lose track of your inventory, and you could end up spending money on things that you don’t actually need right now. Thanksgiving is the biggest food related holiday of the entire year. Do a pre-Thanksgiving stockpile check to see what you have before you go shopping.

Has anything expired?
When was the last time you bought boxes of stuffing, boxes of mashed potatoes, and cans of cranberries, mushroom soup, and pumpkin pie mix? There could be some sitting in your stockpile that is leftover from last year. Check the expiration dates to make sure everything is still good.

Throw out the expired food right now so you do not accidentally end up serving it. Thanksgiving dinner often requires a whole lot of frantic cooking in a short span of time. It would be easy to make a mistake and use the expired food if it is still sitting in your stockpile.

How many are left?
Will you be hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Take a moment to estimate how much food it will take to feed everyone. Next, take a look at the food that is still in your stockpile. Will that be enough? If so, then don’t buy any more before Thanksgiving. Use what you already have first.

Don’t have enough of a necessary item? Make a grocery list and write down exactly what you need. Wait to stock up on more stuffing and mashed potato mix until after Thanksgiving is over. I would suggest skipping it entirely unless your family also has a Thanksgiving-like dinner on Christmas. You will get a better price on the same stuff shortly before Halloween next year. Buy it then!

Unexpected things you might need
You aren’t likely to forget to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. However, there are some things that are easily overlooked until you the moment you need them. Here is a quick list of things to add to your stockpile before Thanksgiving – just in case.

* Aluminum foil – for cooking, baking, and sending leftovers home with guests
* Plastic wrap – place it over the food you are bringing to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving
* Inexpensive plastic food containers – a secure way to send home leftovers
* Paper plates – always handy
* Plastic forks and knives – great to have on hand if you run out of clean silverware
* Paper napkins – you can never have enough napkins
* Foil pan – for cooking the turkey in

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Things You Shouldn’t Freeze

Posted on Thursday, October 31st, 2013 at 7:00 am
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EggsHave you been stockpiling frozen food in your freezer? People who are new to stockpiling may believe that you can freeze food forever. This is not true! Frozen food still has an expiration date. There are also some foods that you shouldn’t freeze and stockpile in your freezer.

Yes, food that has been frozen will last longer than food that sits in your refrigerator (or in your pantry). Those who are new to stockpiling may be very tempted to take advantage of a sale and buy way more food than your family could hope to eat before it goes bad. Some things can be frozen, for a while.

The Food and Drug Administration does not recommend that you freeze everything. There are some foods that you shouldn’t freeze. Follow good food safety guidelines with your stockpile, and do not freeze the following foods:

Things you should not freeze – ever
* Fresh eggs that are still in the shell
* Packages of egg substitutes that have been opened
* Commercial mayonnaise
* Leaf lettuce
* Iceberg lettuce
* Store-prepared salads
* Homemade salads
* Canned ham (with a label that says “keep refrigerated”)

Things that do not freeze well
* Hardcooked eggs
* Cottage cheese

Other important tips
* Set your home freezer to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. It is advisable to occasionally check the temperature with an appliance thermometer.

* Any cut or peeled produce that is left at room temperature for more than 2 hours should be discarded. Do not freeze it. It will not be safe to eat later on, and may not freeze well.

* Bacteria in food can double every 20 minutes that the food is left in room temperature. Freeze prepared foods and leftovers within 2 hours.

* Divide large amounts of food into small portions before you freeze it. This will make it easier to thaw out exactly what you need (and avoid waste).

* Never thaw foods at room temperature. The FDA says it is safer to thaw frozen foods by placing them in your refrigerator (instead of on your counter). It takes 24 hours for 4 or 5 pounds of food to thaw.

* Yes, you can thaw food in the microwave. However, if you choose to do that, make sure you cook that food right away.

* What about leftovers from Thanksgiving? Remove the stuffing from the turkey (or other poultry) before refrigerating or freezing it. Place gravy, potatoes, and other vegetables into shallow containers before freezing.

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Tips for Stockpiling in Your Freezer

Posted on Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 at 5:54 pm
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freezerHow long will the food in your freezer stay good? Obviously, the frozen food you have stockpiled in your freezer will stay fresh for a longer amount of time than if it sat in your refrigerator. Did you know that you cannot store frozen food forever? Here are some tips for stockpiling in your freezer.

Label everything!
What is inside that frozen bundle of aluminum foil? How long, exactly, has this plastic freezer bag of chicken been stored away? One of the easiest ways to waste food is to forget to label it. You aren’t sure what’s inside, so you grab something else to thaw out for dinner instead.

Food in your freezer will not stay good forever. This is why it is vital that you label everything with the date that it went into the freezer. It is smart to label the contents of each freezer bag and bundle of aluminum foil with the type of food that it contains.

How long will it last?
Is that frozen food still safe to eat? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a helpful list that will tell you exactly how long a food can be stored frozen.

Unopened egg substitutes – 1 year
Milk – 3 months
Yogurt – 1 to 2 months

Blanched/Cooked Vegetables
Beans (either green or waxed) – 8 months
Carrots – 10 to 12 months
Celery – 10 to 12 months
Spinach – 10 to 12 months
Summer squash – 10 to 12 months
Winter squash – 10 to 12 months
Tomatoes – 2 months

Hot dogs & Luncheon Meats
Unopened package of hot dogs – 1 to 2 months (if you put it in freezer wrap)
Opened package of lunch meat – 1 to 2 months
Unopened package of lunch meat – 1 to 2 months

Frozen Dinners and Entrees
Keep it frozen until it is ready to heat – 3 to 4 months

Beef (steaks or roasts) – 6 to 12 months
Pork (chops of roasts) – 4 to 6 months
Chicken or turkey (whole) – 1 year
Chicken or turkey (pieces) – 9 months
Lean fish (cod, flounder) – 6 months
Fatty fish (salmon) – 2 to 3 months
Bacon – 1 month
Sausage – 1 to 2 months
Pre-cooked smoked breakfast links or patties – 1 to 2 months

Cooked meat, meat dishes, egg dishes, soups, stews and vegetables – 2 to 3 months
Gravy & meat broth – 2 to 3 months
Cooked poultry & fish – 4 to 6 months

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How to Stop Stockpiling

Posted on Thursday, October 24th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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grocery-bagSometimes, people decide that they do not want to stockpile anymore. I know, that may sound hard to believe if you are currently an enthusiastic stockpiler. Many find that it takes a lot more work to keep up with a stockpile than they realized. If that describes you, here are some tips about what to do with the remaining all the stuff you have been saving.

The main reason you started a stockpile was because you wanted to save money. Your stockpile probably helped you to do that. But then, things changed, and you just don’t have the free time to spend shopping, comparing prices, finding coupons, and rotating stock anymore.

It would be such a waste to throw everything away. As you may realize, tossing things into the trash means that you really didn’t end up saving any money on them. Fortunately, there are other options.

Donate to a Food Bank
Food Banks are sometimes called Food Pantries. Their purpose is to provide food for individuals and families who cannot afford to buy groceries themselves. As such, they are in constant need of food donations. You can donate the food that is in your stockpile.

Feeding America has a list that will help you to find a food bank near you. Ask what grocery items they are most in need of right now.

Donate to a Food Drive
We are approaching the time of year when a lot of food drives are organized. Typically, the food gets donated to a food bank, food pantry, or church, that will redistribute the food to those who are in great need.

Ask your children if their school will be doing a food drive. See if your workplace is planning on collecting food for one. Typically, people are asked to donate canned goods. You may be able to unload your stockpile of canned food and help those in need at the same time.

Share with relatives
Contact your relatives that live near you. Tell them you are dismantling your stockpile, and ask if they need anything. They will probably give you a list of stuff that they are out of. Pack it up and bring it over to them.

Or, you could go the other way around. Email your relatives. Let them know you will be getting rid of your stockpile. Ask them to come over on a specific day to pick up whatever they want from it. Relatives that have teenagers tend to go through a whole lot of food in a short span of time. They will appreciate your generosity.

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Tips for Stockpiling Scented Products

Posted on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 am
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Collection of bottles of health and beauty productsThere is a reason why grocery stores stock scented products far away from the food. No one wants their food to pick up the scent of deodorant, laundry detergent, or hand soap! You need to be careful with your stockpile to prevent scent contamination. Here are some tips for stockpiling scented products.

Switch to unscented products
There is a very simple way to prevent your food products from picking up the fragrance of the scented products that are stored near them. Choose unscented products. There are many companies that make at least one version of their soap, deodorant, lotion, or detergent that is unscented.

People who have a sensitivity to certain scents can use the unscented variety. Your family can, too! What if you really like a particular scented cleaning or hygiene product? Follow these suggestions to help prevent a thick miasma of scents from surrounding your stockpile.

Plastic tubs with air-tight lids
Many people use large plastic tubs to store Christmas ornaments. They are great for protecting things that you do not want to accidentally crush while it sits in storage. The air-tight lids keep out the dust.

They can also keep in the fragrance that comes from scented products. If your family uses a particular type of scented soap, or you all use the same scent of deodorant, a big plastic tub might be just the thing. Ideally, you want to fill it with products that all smell the same.

Ziploc plastic bags
What if you are stockpiling a lot of deodorant in a variety of scents? Maybe you are among the people who enjoy stockpiling the small soaps, conditioners, shampoos, and lotions that come with your hotel room? Here is an easy way to separate all those different scents.

Buy a box of plastic freezer bags. You will need the ones that zip shut. Sort out all those little soaps, lotions, etc. based upon what scent each has. Fill one plastic bag with products that all have the same scent. Get a new bag for the next batch of differently scented products.

Now, you have two choices. You can store the plastic bags on the shelves of your stockpile. Or, you can stuff the plastic bags into one of those plastic tubs that has an air-tight lid. Either way will prevent the scents from spreading.

Small air-tight containers
The plastic containers that you use to store food can be repurposed. Use them to store a small batch of scented products. Just make sure that everything in the container has the same scent. The lid will keep the scent from spreading.

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Things to Stockpile for Next Year’s Halloween

Posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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halloween-cupcakesA typical stockpile is made up of groceries and other household goods. But, it doesn’t have to be limited to those types of things. It is perfectly acceptable to stockpile things that you don’t need this Halloween, but will need for next year’s Halloween. Here are a few suggestions on what to stockpile.

Halloween is still a couple of week away. Even so, the stores have already started sales on Halloween decorations, costumes, and party stuff. Now is a good time to pick up what you will need for next year’s Halloween (while it is on sale).

Halloween plates and napkins
Some families enjoy having a Halloween party for all the kids. Stock up on some extra paper plates, napkins, and paper cups that are decorated in a Halloween style. You won’t have to search for them next year.

Paper plates and cups are great for children’s parties. They won’t break if dropped, and they make cleanup really easy. Families with teenagers might want to pick up some of the plastic mugs that are shaped like skulls and plastic plates with spider webs drawn on them.

Pumpkins for Trick-or-treating
Your infant or toddler might be too young this year to “get” trick-or-treating. Next year, he or she should be ready for it and will need one of those orange plastic pumpkin shaped buckets to carry around.

It isn’t always safe to assume that your oldest kid will lose interest in trick-or-treating by next Halloween. There are plenty of teens who love it! It is better to pick up an extra one than to have your children fight over the pumpkin buckets next Halloween.

Costumes for grown ups
Kids grow quite a bit from one Halloween to the next. Adults, on the other hand, are done growing. There may be some weight gain or loss, but, most adults stay about the same size for years. Costumes go on sale shortly before Halloween. What do you and your spouse want to dress up as next year? You can save money if you buy it now and store it with the rest of your Halloween stuff.

Halloween treats that are not food
Every kid needs a plastic spider ring to gross out his friends with, right? They make good (and inexpensive) party favors, too. Pick some up for next year. Halloween temporary tattoos, barrettes, and bracelets are other good choices.

Avoid stockpiling Halloween makeup. Just like regular makeup, it has an expiration date. It may not be so safe to use next year. Instead, treat yourself to that kitchy Halloween decoration that caught your eye. You can’t go wrong with a couple of gold colored plastic pumpkins, or a glitter coated skull, right?

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How to Plan Meals from Your Stockpile

Posted on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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hamburger, food, recipesA stockpile can be a money saver. That is the main reason why people put together a stockpile. However, you won’t save any money unless you actually remember to use the foods that are in your stockpile. A good way to do that is to plan meals that use the foods that you already have.

Get organized.
Take the time to plan at least a week’s worth of meals for your family. Figure out what to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start by seeing what you have in your stockpile. What meal can you make from those foods?

Many people will use a white board for this task. That makes it easy to write down your plan and erase it when the week is over. This extra effort at the beginning of the week will save you time later (on school or work days).

Shop your stockpile first.
After you figure out what meals you will be making this week, it is time to shop for the ingredients. Start with the ones sitting in your very own stockpile. This prevents you from spending money on something that you already have.

Make a grocery list of the ingredients that you are lacking. While you are at it, take a close look at your stockpile. Are you about to run out of something? Add those products to your grocery shopping list (even if you aren’t planning on using those foods this week).

Gather your coupons.
By now, you have likely become an expert at finding and using coupons. This time, get a bit more focused and target the coupons for the things you are going to buy on your next shopping trip. See what special coupons and savings are offered through the loyalty card of your favorite grocery store.

Do your homework.
Before you head to the store, make sure you check their weekly ad. You may find sales that you weren’t aware of. Or, you could discover that a sale you thought was happening has ended. That is disappointing, but it is better to find it out now than when you are at the register.

It is possible that a different store may have a better deal on the things you need. One good way to save money is to keep an open mind and avoid brand (or store) loyalty. Your shopping bill should be smaller as a result of the effort you put into figuring out what you absolutely need to get this week.

Repeat the process.
At the end of the week, erase the white board. Time to start all over again! This process will make it much easier for you to plan meals from your stockpile. Having an extra busy week? Leave the white board alone, and save yourself a step.

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