Does TLC's "Extreme Couponing" inspire you or just really tick you off? Everyone has their opinion on the highlighted shoppers who hoard a lifetime's worth of grocery items into the tops of their closets and under their kids' beds. And most of those opinions aren't positive.
So, let's set things straight. Hoarding = bad; stockpiling and being prepared for any crisis = good. That being said, here's our list of the five items you SHOULD hoard (and at what price you should start your "collection"):
You can't go wrong with water (after all, it never goes bad). Every chance you can (when sales come around), stock up on bottled water or water in jugs. As well as being useful in emergencies, if you hoard water you will also save a pretty penny by using up your stockpile rather than purchasing a new bottle of water every time you're at the store.
With a shelf life of 3-4 years, canned or pouched tuna is definitely a food item you should hoard (be sure its stored appropriately). If you're a savvy shopper (and by that, we mean "couponer"), wait for the sales when you can get tuna for a quarter or less, then stockpile as much as you can. Who's in the mood for a tuna sandwich?
3. Toilet paper
OK, let's face it. You're never NOT going to need toilet paper (unless you prefer "roughing it"). When the sales roll around and the price of toilet paper dips to around a quarter a roll (or less), you should hoard as much as you can. This way, you can avoid the anxious yell down the hall when you accidentally sit down with no paper in sight.
We're talking about lots of soap items here: shampoo, hand soap, bar soap, dish soap, laundry soap, etc. Like with toilet paper, you're never NOT going to use and need soap every single day. When you find dirt-cheap deals (like 25 cents or less for hand soap or less than 50 cents for shampoo), start stockpiling. You'll be surprised how much money you'll save in the long run when you don't need to trek down to the convenience store at 11 p.m. to buy laundry detergent.
5. Canned vegetables
The shelf life of most low-acid canned vegetables is between two to five years. Granted, they're not as nutritious as fresh or frozen vegetables. However, we're talking about creating a stockpile, and you really don't want to hoard fresh veggies (frozen veggies only have a shelf life of around 8 months). If you did, well, you'd be crossing the line of "good hoarding/stockpiling" into very bad territory.
That being said, canned veggies can last you a long time. Wait for a sale when they're 25 cents or less, and start stocking up. Just be sure to keep a can opener in your stockpile.
Now, just because we recommend purchasing large quantities of these five items doesn't mean we're encouraging you to be inconsiderate, obnoxious shoppers. Respect your fellow shoppers and leave a few items on the shelf for someone else (after all, everyone's entitled to a good sale).
Sources: - Frozen Vegetables, Shelf Life Advice. - American Dietetic Association, What is the Shelf Life of Canned Vegetables?, EatRight.org. - National Fisheries Institute, Tuna Facts, HealthyTuna.com. - Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Does Bottled Water Go Bad?, About.com