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Little Miss Moneybags: The downsides of stockpiling

Little Miss Moneybags
by Little Miss Moneybags, Dimespring 30  (@lilmsmoneybags)

All over the personal finance blogosphere, you’ll see the benefits of stockpiling extolled. Watch for sales! Use coupons to get the best deal possible! Build up a stockpile and “shop” your closet!

This is all well and good, with one caveat -- the money wasted if your stockpile gets destroyed.

READ: The financial benefits of being a pessimist

We lost power a few weeks ago for several days, and I had to throw away everything in our fridge and freezer. I had been building a stockpile of leftover bits of things -- fresh herbs frozen in water, tomato sauce, chicken stock, extra burritos, biscuits and egg rolls -- and of course I’d just made a big Costco run. All tossed in the garbage.

Since we were filing a claim with our homeowner’s insurance for other reasons (ahem, flooded basement), we included the lost food in the claim as well. This will replace the full bags of chicken and strawberries and veggies, but it won’t recover my stockpile of little bits of things and homemade stuff. So it’s the same as if all that stuff had gone in the trash to begin with.

Luckily, we managed to save our belongings from the flooded basement, but what if we hadn’t been home? We might have said goodbye to our stockpile of paper products like paper towels and bath tissue.

From this experience, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you to protect your stockpile.

READ: Does buying food in bulk save you money?

Consider your storage situation

Place stockpile items somewhere they’ll be safe, and not just out of the way. Consider things like a flooded basement or an infestation of fruit flies or a curious toddler, and stash your treasure where it won’t get damaged.

Keep an inventory

I might have been able to claim some of the homemade stuff if I’d had any idea what was in the gross soggy bags that I was throwing away. I didn’t get to this icky task until a few days after the power had gone out, and I was not getting my face close enough to those stinky bags to read the tiny writing of what was in them. If I’d kept a separate inventory, I would have known for sure what was there.

Rethink what you bring in your house in the first place

Stockpiling can definitely be a way to save money, but it’s not the only way. And if you’ve got a serious stockpile, you are taking up space to store it. Try keeping a stockpile of only a few months’ worth of items, instead of years, or just two or three extra tubes of toothpaste.

READ: How frugal is too frugal?

In my situation, I will be making a point to use up those freezer bits on a more regular basis.

Have you ever made a big stockpile and then lost it?


Little Miss Moneybags has been blogging about personal finance for more than five years, sharing her thoughts on life and money. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband Peanut, Baby M, and a small black cat. Little Miss Moneybags is a member of the Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.