When does stocking up cross the line into hoarding?

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Guest Post from Abby at Steals & Deals:

Okay none of us want our homes to turn into something that looks like this right? There is a fine line between stocking up for your family and turning into the crazy lady down the street right? Well where do we draw that line? That question is very debatable but let me tell you how I make that decision for myself and my family. I have read studies that show that sales run in 12 week or 3 month trends. So I tell myself when I find lets say a can of Baked Beans (which my son absolutely adores) on sale for 25 cents a can instead of the regular price of $1.29 a can

* how many of these cans do I think we will need in the next 3 months?
* does that number fit into my budget for this week
* am I cleaning this store out as to not leave another can of Baked Beans for this entire store until restock day and leaving it unfair to other shoppers who may like to take advantage of this deal as well?
*do I have enough room to store what I am buying?
*is there a limit to how many the store says I can get?

These are all questions that only I can answer about my own financial, spacial, and well lets get right down to it moral situation. Now I am wondering how is it you decide how many items will be enough for you to stock up on? Do you see the free or little to no money and get giddy? Don’t be ashamed we have all been there I know I have in the past but after doing this for a while now I have stopped to readjust my thinking to use these above questions in my weekly shopping outings. Instead of seeing that big time sale and grabbing my full outstretched arm to wipe the entire shelf clean of Baked Beans I think hmmmm okay good deal now lets stop to think …. just how many do I need?

I should say also that the above scenario is a hypothetical situation (no baked beans that I know of this week are on sale for 25 cents a can) of an item I know my family loves and would most certainly use. How do you handle a situation of it is a free or next to free item you are unsure of whether your family may like or use? For me personally these are the times I only take one or two because to be honest with you I just hate to be wasteful too.

So I am curious how do you guys decide how much is enough when you are stocking up?

My name is Abby and my sister and I co-author the blog, Steals and Deals . We both do all we can to strive to be able to stretch our family budget as far as it will go while being able to be stay at home moms of three kids each. I live in the Tacoma/Seattle area while she lives in the Kansas City area so we have readers from across the US (and many from other countries as well). On our blog, you will find many online finds that are amazing deals that we feel fit our readers needs. Please come over and check us out we love to have new readers!


  1. To me, there are three parts to this:
    1) If I see a really good deal on something my family loves, I think of how much we will eat it in the next few months, as well as how much room I have in my pantry for storing it.
    2) If it’s something we haven’t tried before, I think of how the price of it will affect my budget, so if my family likes it we can have it more than once, but if they don’t I have to have something else to feed them instead.
    3)I also keep a big box on the bottom shelf in my pantry for canned food drives, so even if I find items on sale that my family doesn’t like, I try to keep that box full so when there is a food drive, I have plenty to donate without cutting into my grocery budget to purchase donations at full price.

    I try not to be greedy and take the entire stock of the items, although if there are only a few left I may take the rest….

    The main questions I ask myself are: 1) do we have room for it? 2) do we like it and how much do we eat it? 3) if we don’t like it (or don’t know), is it cheap enough that I can purchase it and still have enough $$ in my budget to get something else in case we don’t like it?

  2. If you run out of Pantry space your OVER doing it! Save some for the other shoppers out there.

  3. It depends on the item and price for me. My stores are pretty good at ordering extras or giving me rainchecks and in return I try not to wipe shelves. lately my area has gotten a bad group of couponers that go around and completely wipe shelves, so for items that I NEED I will wipe a shelf because I know that if I want to come back for more it will be gone (if the coupons expire soon anyway).

    I donate alot of things, and I am always giving stuff to friends and family. I HATE to throw anything away, even if it is free. I felt so guilty throwing away 1/2 of box of stale cereal the other day.

  4. Great article by my fav gal, Abby!!! :)

    I believe that stockpiling and hoarding can become one and the same, if you let it. When you stockpile and stockpile until you have no more room, and then you let it overflow into living spaces, then you have a real problem. If you stockpile because you (a) have a space and a true purpose for your stockpiled items and (b) you really do use from your stockpile, then there isn’t a problem.

    My stockpiled items come in so handy; I donate to other family members in need, I donate to the local food pantry, and if I have cereal or other items that have gone stale (doesn’t happen too often, thank goodness!), that even gets fed to my little birdie family that lives in my tree! :)

  5. For me, it depends on what the item is. We are on a rather strict diet being GF/CF/soy and corn free. When I buy a package of Tinkiyada noodles, it is near $5 a pack. Regular wheat based noodles, you can get the same pack for under $1. So, when I ran into these noodles on sale at a discount store for less than half what I normally pay, I bought all the 14 packages that they had. I keep them in a plastic bucket in my garage (mice proof). I know they wont go bad and that we will eventually use them all. Other items, like my DH’s grillin’ beans, I will take maybe 6 cans at a time. They are easy to find, often marked down, I can afford to leave them.

  6. I make the decision based on the price and how many I can afford to buy to stock my pantry but more importantly to stock our local food pantry. I don’t feel any shame in wiping out the shelf it I know that it is going to a food pantry. Unemployment rates in our county in nationally one of the highest so I feel that I have a responibility to help if I can.

  7. I agree with everyone. The important thing is NOT to go overboard (I did when I first began and had cerealing coming out my ears) but to carefully think it through.

    I do buy extra of tolietries since they are what I used to donate to Youth for Christ West Sound independent living – where foster kids turn 18 and have to make it on their own.

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