I have to admit—I find a certain singular exhilaration in building and maintaining my stockpile. Every time I look at my stockpile, I see more cash in the bank for my family, and I feel proud.
But over the years I’ve also learned that there’s a point at which enough becomes enough. Too much of any good thing—even savings—can become burdensome, not to mention expensive!
If you’re struggling to find that middle ground in your own stockpile, read on!
1. You’re fighting with your stockpile for living space.
Does your stockpile have its own space…or is it claiming all available space? How many rooms in your house can you walk into without being aware of where your stockpiled items are hidden? How do your housemates feel about what you’re bringing home—and how much you are bringing home?
If you find yourself tripping over stockpiled items…or shoving them into closets and cupboards when company or in-laws arrive, it may be time to a) rethink your storage space, b) cut back on your stockpiling activities, or c) both.
2. You’re going over budget.
Even when you’re saving money, it’s still critical to keep your overall budget in mind. For example, in months where I overspend, I make SURE to spend less than my budget the next month. Otherwise, I’ll wind up with both budget and cash flow problems.
If you’re constantly going over budget in the name of stockpile savings, it’s quite likely time for you to regroup and rethink what you truly need.
3. Family and friends are starting to make "hoarder" jokes.
If your best friend wants to submit you as a candidate for the next episode of "Hoarders" or your new nickname is "Stockpiling Sarah," this may be a good indication your family and friends see something you don't in your stockpiling activities.
When stockpiling becomes habit-forming, it’s time to take a step back. As a person who tends to get "addicted" easily (to hobbies, habits, food, and more), I know to monitor my stockpiling to ensure I don't cross a line from healthy to unhealthy absorption.
4. You’re ignoring other financial goals in the name of stockpile savings.
As someone who has personally struggled to manage her finances, I can attest to the allure of doing well in one area, and letting that lull me into a false sense of overall financial complacency.
In other words, it makes no good sense to stock up on six months' worth of groceries and paper goods if I can't pay my light bill that month.
Key questions to ask yourself:
In addition to your stockpiling…
- Are you paying down any debt you have each month?
- Are you saving towards a rainy day fund and your retirement?
- Are you paying all your bills in full and on time?
- Are you buying everything you need from your list, or just what you can save the most on?
If you answered "no" in any of these areas, it may indicate you've crossed your own personal "enough is enough" stockpiling line.
5. Your stockpile is not able to meet your day-to-day household needs.
If you routinely find yourself heading to your stockpile to replenish some commonly used item you've run out of, only to discover you don't have any of that item, this may be a sign that you’ve lost sight of the original purpose for building your stockpile.
As well, when you’re finding more and more that items you retrieve from your stockpile are near or past their expiration dates, when items you do have on hand have been invaded by pests or mold and are no longer usable, or when you’re simply surprised to discover certain items in your inventory (i.e., you didn't know you had any of whatever-it-is on hand)—these are all signs it may be time for a stockpile "inventory intervention."
Bonus tips: What to do to get yourself some help.
If you’ve become "addicted to stockpiling" for its own sake, help is available! The KCL community is always here to help you stay on track with making wise as well as economical stockpiling selections.
You can also ask a fellow couponer to serve as an accountability partner for you to help you stay on budget and on task.
If you really struggle, you may want to consider loading a prepaid credit card with a specific amount of funds for each weekly grocery trip, knowing in advance that the card must cover EVERYTHING your family needs for that week.
It can also help to decide to give back a portion of your "savings take" each week to a local charity or family in need. This way, when you shop, you keep more than just the bottom-line savings in mind.
Also, by designating a certain set amount of space for your stockpile (which your family will likely be very happy to help you enforce!) you can support yourself in not overbuying.
Related article: Stockpiling Pitfalls: 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Stockpiling