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How to 'shop from home' more often

While we'll always need to go to the store for fresh produce, dairy and bread, a large portion of the groceries we buy are easily stockpiled for later. Boxed foods, snack foods, canned foods and bottled beverages all store easily and have expiration dates almost a year out from the time of purchase. Personal care products - such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream - have an even longer shelf life. And don't forget household cleaners and paper products, both of which can be stored indefinitely.

You don't have to devote a special area of your house to stockpiling. And you don't need to stockpile on a large scale. If toothpaste is on sale, buy several tubes and store them under the sink. If trash bags and paper towels are on sale, store them in the garage on a shelf. I enjoy having a corner of my basement devoted to my pantry, but you can stockpile wherever you have the space.

And remember, too, that while your stockpile grows, it's also constantly in rotation. Old things come off the shelves as quickly as you add new items, just as they do at the regular grocery store. At one time I had 40 boxes of granola bars in my basement pantry, which elicited lots of jokes and comments from friends. But what they don't realize is that my children are quite aware of Mom's home pantry and they run downstairs and help themselves whenever they'd like a snack. So as the granola bars start to disappear into hungry little mouths, Mom may be bringing home cans of soup to take their place. And my stockpile continues to rotate and evolve.

(c) CTW Features

Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about couponing at her Web site, www.super-couponing.com. E-mail your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.

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