What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling?

I ask this today because I’m trying to make sure I’m not showing hoarding tendencies. Because if hoarding tendencies are genetic, I think it’s something I have to be on the lookout for.


What Has Me Worried About Hoarding?

My preferred type of running shoes is no longer being produced by the manufacturer. I’ve been wearing this brand and style of shoes for the last two years, and it’s been the best (read: most injury free) two years of running in my life.


Too tight, too bulky, just right…

Back in November, I needed a new pair of shoes pretty urgently, but the local shoe stores (which I generally try to visit since they are great supporters of the running community around here) were out of stock on my favorite shoes! They wouldn’t be getting any more in that style. Here’s the gist of what happened:

  • I tried another model by the same manufacturer, ignoring the fact that they felt a little tight in the toe box.
  • Ended up with an injury (it’s probably a morton’s neuroma if you must know).
  • To give the MN time to recover, I tried another pair of shoes (a pair of Brooks – thank you, Warren Buffett!), and they did have plenty of toe space for the MN to calm down…
  • But they left everything else feeling strained – aching knees, strained arches, shin stress.

Ugh! Running is something I love, and it’s way less fun to do when you’re sore and limping after a PR.


I was starting to feel like Goldilocks. I had shoes that were too tight, too bulky, and just right. But the just right ones were disappearing from store shelves!

By some miracle, I found one last pair of my original shoes locally, and have been transitioning back to them for the past few weeks, which so far is going very well. No aches, pains, or bad MN flare ups. Yay!

So now I want to buy every pair of my original shoes that I can find in my size.

Am I crazy? Please don’t answer that. =)


Our Typical Stockpile Strategies

I like to think that PoP family stockpiling strategies are a happy medium where we have enough, but not too much (after all sometimes it makes sense to pay more).

  • We’re not hoarders/preppers/extreme couponers who have an exteremly low cost per stockpiled unit but might waste a ton of stuff.
  • But we’re also not like the “just in time” folks who get to the point where they need something so immediately that they can’t wait to get a good price.

For us, this means that I’m generally okay with buying a 2-4 month stockpile of stuff that I know will get used and won’t go bad. (Household items, non-perishable foods, etc.)  That gives us room to buy the next batch of dish soap (or whatever) when sales (I like the BOGOs) overlap with good coupons.


A Year’s Worth of Shoes?

After the last couple of weeks being back in my original shoes (the ones that are being discontinued), my feet feel mostly normal again. Hallelujah!  So even though this pair still has a good 300 or 400 or so miles left in them, I was feeling good enough about wearing them that I didn’t want to give it up.  I looked online to see what I could find.

Jackpot! I found my faves online. In my size. On closeout. (Ya know, ’cause they’re being discontinued.) $70 instead of the usual $100 per pair. I put 4 in the online shopping cart and texted Mr. PoP.

Then I spent 30 more seconds googling hoping for a free shipping code. Found a 20% off code instead.  Sweet!  So $236.95 later (after shipping), I have 4 pair of shoes that I hope dearly will keep me running problem free for another 12 months.

Part of me wants to buy more. At $60/pair they really are a heck of a deal. But the other part of me says there’s no need to be a hoarder and I’m going to have to switch shoes eventually anyhow.


I Bought Time

I guess what it comes down to is that I feel like I just spent $236.95 to buy about a year to figure out my shoe situation on my own timeline. (If you saw my Costs of Running post, you saw I go through about 4 pair of running shoes per year with all my mileage.) Instead of feeling pressured to find new shoes in the height of the racing season (winter = racing season in FL!), I can take some time and try out different shoes without it being an urgent need. (Which is pretty much what started this mess in the first place!)

But I still need to make sure I figure it out, lest I end up in this same boat next year.


For runners – what would you have done? And for non-runners – what’s your stockpile strategy? Does it change depending on what it is you’re stockpiling?

69 comments to What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling?

  • Our stockpile strategy is 3-6 months on food and up to a year on non-perishable items. A big one for us is contact solution. My wife uses 6 bottles per year and $8.00 per bottle is a lot. So when they have them for free at CVS we usually buy to our six bottle limit, but no more.
    We don’t like to waste, but also don’t want to pay more than we have to.
    Justin@TheFrugalPath recently posted..January & February Income Plus Some UpdatesMy Profile

  • I personally am not a stockpiler… there’s just no room in my tiny house for it! But my mom is a rural-route postal person. She’s in and out of her vehicle all day, in all weather. She’s found a good pair of boots make all the difference in being able to do her job without feet and back problems, and without being miserable. Ecco made hiking boots that she loved. She can usually make it about a year before she has to start breaking in a new pair (she wears an old pair longer than she should, to the point where they start to have issues). So when they discontinued her boots, she bought all she could find. I think she ended up with a 6 year supply? She’ll be breaking in her last pair sometime this year. She’s been on the lookout for a replacement, but no luck so far. She often jokes that she’ll have to retire once that pair is done. She also combs through Goodwill looking for the cut of Levi jeans she likes, which they no longer make. She has them now in every possible size, “just in case”. Being comfortable makes all the difference!
    Ms. W @ GrowingHerWorth recently posted..My Big MistakesMy Profile

    • Okay, your mom’s actions definitely made me feel like I’m less crazy for wanting to ensure my supply of shoes I know “work” for me. =)

  • I don’t stockpile much food because it could attract more insects and the humidity makes it hard to keep things good for long. If I had a great pantry and access to coupon I would probably be a compulsive extreme couponer! Back to the shoes I would have done the same, I have sometimes bought two pairs of the same because if I like them, finding the same model a year later makes things complicated. 4 pairs seems like a lot but you go through them quickly, it is just a year worth.
    Pauline recently posted..Friday recap, no more love and a carnivalMy Profile

    • Yeah, if stockpiling food creates too much waste from the humidity or invites too many pests into the kitchen, I can definitely see why you’d stay away from it.
      Usually if I’m buying two of something clothes-wise, it’s because it’s comfortable and I want it in a couple of colors. This is a new thing for me buying 4 of the exact same shoes at once!

  • Brian

    Having just finally got my first pair of running shoes that were actually fitted for me, I would say I would have done the same. In general I don’t like running, I do it to stay in shape and conditioned for the my prefered sport. Now that I have a pair of shoes that feel good I don’t hate it quite as much and the comfort level probably has something to do with it.

    As far as other hordering, I mean stockpiling, we don’t do much other than paper towels/toilet paper. We do have a shockingly large amount of Honey, but that is because my grandfather had a pallet of the stuff, you know just in case, because it never goes bad!

    • Doesn’t a good pair of shoes make a world of difference? I’m glad that your fitting went well. I’ve had mixed luck with those over the years as they tend to want to put me in structured shoes (like the Brooks pair above), but those are really hard on my joints. I think it’s because most of the fittings are done statically, but I must run very differently from how I carry weight when I stand.
      I thought honey did go bad? What about when it crystalizes? Have I been throwing out perfectly good honey?

      • Jamie

        Honey is still fine when it crystallizes– It is actually the only food known to never ever spoil!

        Once it crystallizes, just put the jar of honey in a pot that has a bit of water in it (that comes about half-way up the honey jar) and put it on the stove over low heat. The crystals will melt back into the original liquid-ey honey form.

      • Amanda

        Crystallized honey can be rejuvenated by placing it in a bowl of warm water. The flavor does degrade a little over time, but the general use of it remains the same.

  • If these shoes have worked reliably for you, I would stockpile More than a years worth. I am impressed that you can run so far in the vffs!! My husband and I have them and both have maxed out at about 3 miles – this is with about 6 months of conditioning & slow mileage increases.

    • I’ve been in the VFFs for either 3.5 or 4.5 years now (I’d have to check race pics to be sure!). They’re just what works for me. I know other people that wear them for short runs, but switch to traditional shoes for long runs, and I think that would disorient my stride too much.

  • This reminds me of a Seinfeld episode about Elaine and closet full of a product she used but was withdrawn from the market.

    “You’re just not sponge worthy”
    Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle recently posted..My Family’s Money HistoryMy Profile

  • I think I would’ve done it, especially as you enjoy running so much and if you can afford it then great. We don’t really stockpile that much in terms of stuff around the house. If something that we use is on a good sale then we’ll buy extra of it but do not tend to go overboard with it.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Frugal Friday: Blog Posts That Ruled This Week, Top Ten EditionMy Profile

    • I think that’s generally how we try to approach it. If I’m going to feel bad giving that much of something away or having it otherwise rendered unusable, then it’s too much to buy at once.

  • We do one big grocery shopping trip per month, so we sort-of stockpile food then. I guess we always have enough beans and rice to stretch for about a month.

    Back when I was really into volleyball (like, practicing/conditioning 10 times a week) we always had to purchase 4-5 pairs of the same shoe that we would wear for the year, so what you did seems completely normal to me.
    Sara recently posted..American Austerity … and meMy Profile

    • I’m impressed that you can get away with one big grocery trip per month. That’s impressive and I imagine requires planning. Getting down to one main shopping trip per week was a big deal for me.

  • I don’t blame you for wanting to get the shoes that make you feel best in case you can’t find them again. I wish I would have done that with some favorite pair of jeans because you can NEVER seem to find them again. I can’t really say though that I stockpile much of anything. My place is just too small and can get cluttered easily if I’m not careful. PS, I run on the beach without shoes so this is helpful financially. :) BUT, on the rare occasion I run on pavement my calves ache so bad because I’m used to running on my toes in the sand. Any suggestions?
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Link Love/Week in Review 3/7/13My Profile

    • Jeans are tough! I tend to buy the same pair once per year from the same company. If they ever stop making them or change them a whole lot I’ll be very disappointed.

      Beach running is definitely good! And limits the wear on the shoes. Unfortunately our beach isn’t lit at night (it’s bad for baby sea turtles!) so when I’m out before dawn most days it’s too dark. That and since races are on the road I like to do the bulk of my training there.

      Are you changing your stride between sand and pavement? I wear the VFFs on both, so my stride is pretty similar with both and don’t feel a big difference either way. If anything, I think beach running is harder for me on the little stabilizer muscles since the ground gives a little.

  • I have been known to stockpile some things. With clothes only on the things that fit me perfectly. I have a hard time finding things that I like and make me feel good, so when I do I get stuck on a certain style and even look at thrift stores for it. The only other things I stockpile are the things I don’t want to be out of and have to run to the store for like toilet paper or frozen veggies. lol. That’s about it for me, everything else can be purchased when I make a grocery run, or I find a sale.

    Since I have trouble finding clothes that aren’t either a size 2 or 14 I am all for picking up a couple of extra pairs of shoes like you did. I have probably 12 long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts by the same manufacturer because I live in them, and they make me feel good. :)
    Financial Black Sheep recently posted..Update: Losing Money EditionMy Profile

    • I love that you have a dozen of the same shirts =) I was the same way for a long time, but am trying to buy different ones when I want shirts now. It got to the point where I had one in almost every color, so as they get stained or wear out they’re being replaced mostly with shirts that are a little different in style.

  • I would have done the exact same thing – it’s analogous to finding a job. Before you go to another job, it’s better to look when you’re in a stable one so you can be more picky and find the one that’s just right. Do they have a Road Runner Sports around you? They let you try it out for a certain amount of days, and if you don’t like them you can return them.
    anna recently posted..Generation gap situation and training like I’m running a race eventMy Profile

    • I’ve never heard of Road Runner Sports, so I’m assuming we don’t have them nearby. But a lot of the other running stores are pretty good about letting you try a shoe and exchanging it if it doesn’t work out. Sometimes it takes putting some decent miles on it before you really realize it, though. (At least for me!)

  • Ivy

    We don’t stockpile in general to avoid waste, but this is a non-perishable item that you won’t be able to easily get afterwards, so I would have bought even more and pushed the problem back not 1 year but more. After all, the only way it would be a waste is if you do stop running, or if you have a baby (your shoe size increases). And I am sure you would get some resale value even then.

    We stockpiled medication twice:
    – once we had leftover FSA end of year and OTC was still allowed, so we bought a bunch of pharmacy items(and used them comfortably for 1-2 years)
    – last year I noticed that one medication my husband uses daily is disappearing from the shelves. I checked online and saw some news that the producer has closed down the main plant for it due to quality issues. From experience (in pharma) I know it takes time to transfer or restart production, or even for alternative suppliers to fill the gap – so I went to 4-5 pharmacies and grabbed the last bottles off the shelves for a year and a half supply (checking the expiration dates of course)
    All this is smart stockpiling for me, because we know we’ll use it.

    • The possibility of a major change in my running (if the MN persists) is the main reason that I wanted to hold it to a year. For now, the doc is talking as though surgery is an inevitability and I’m not really sure about that. Not to mention the baby thing. That’s something I think about more than I probably should.
      I had completely forgotten about Pharmacy stockpiling, but I definitely do a bit of that. I’m about 3 months ahead on most of my Rxs right now, and I like to keep it about there. But one I’m considering buying even more ahead since I’ve got a copay discount that makes it half price, but the discount expires in a few months – whereas the medication won’t expire for a few years. But again, this is an Rx that I wouldn’t be able to use at all if I wanted to get preggers, and legally wouldn’t be able to resell…

  • I think iif you can afford it it is a great idea. We don’t stockpile much where we currently live because we don’t have hardly any storage but I am hoping we can take advantage of good sales in our new house. We just have to make sure our consumption doesn’t rise because we have more on hand.
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..USAA Car Insurance and USAA Bank – Great Products I UseMy Profile

    • Watching out for increases in consumption is definitely a smart thing to do. It’s one of the main reasons we can’t stock up on sweets in our house – we’ll eat too many of them!

  • Lara

    In the very early 90s I wore Nike air pegasus running shoes. I LOVED (insert the sound of angels singing) those shoes. A couple of years later Nike restyled the pegasus and destroyed the best shoe ever made. I tried the new pegasus and another brand, but ended up with injuries. I now wear Brooks and they work okay, but I still miss those old shoes. I’d suggest getting a two year supply of your favorites and use that time to search for an acceptable alternative. Buy another shoe style while you still have reserves and test it out. If it doesn’t work as well as your old style, use the new shoes only on easy workout days or for non-running purposes and begin the search anew. This is expensive and obnoxious, I know, but it beats missing your favorite races due to tibial tendonitis or infected blisters.

    • haha, I totally get the feeling of angels singing when you have a pair of shoes you love. The clouds open up, rays of sun pour through… absolutely heavenly!
      Tibial tendonitis? Infected blisters? That sounds awful! So sorry and I hope that your Brooks are treating you better than they treated me.

  • I stockpile – I have two pairs of my favorite riding boots, two pairs of my favorite skinny jeans, two identical sweaters, the exact same coat in two shades of purple, and a couple of other duplicates. I am trying to wean myself of the habit because it’s getting a little out of hand… but it is nice to know I have something that I love and that fits well, and I don’t have to spend more time looking for something else.
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..Veterinarians facing a beast of student loansMy Profile

    • Could not agree more. Knowing that you have something that fits and flatters is definitely a huge luxury. Saves so much time, too! But the two different shades of purple cracked me up. Dare I take a wager on your favorite color?

  • I’ve purchased two pairs at once before, and I felt a little bit like a hoarder. That being said, I typically pay about $110 for my shoes. What sites do you use to search for shoes? I really like my Saucony’s, but it’d be great to get them for $60 instead of $110!
    CashRebel recently posted..My Thoughts on Credit Karma: A ReviewMy Profile

    • This was one of the first times I’ve ever seen them discounted – but it’s because they’re being discontinued, I’m sure. They’re still full price in a lot of stores, I think I just lucked out. To search I just use google and search for the brand + model + size. Google shopping comes up automatically and is usually a good place to start, then I click through to check what’s in stock and shipping, etc.

  • My mom did this with Clinique when they discontinued their purely porcelin brand. Though she couldn’t go too crazy as make-up goes bad eventually.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Ask the Grumpies: Horsie help! (Calling Bogart…)My Profile

    • Wow. In high school a friend’s mom got her lip liner tattooed on permanently. One thing that tipped the scales was that they were discontinuing the color she had been wearing for 20+ years.

  • trudy

    I stockpile, but not the megasized stuff some stores sell. Rather:

    Enough non-perishable food, water, paper products, and meds in case I’m snowbound or sick.

    Clothes and shoes. It’s hard to find things that fit, so I do stock up, trying to get different colors. If I were in your shoe situation, I’d have bought 2-3 years worth, because some things I just haven’t been able to find substitutes for.

    • We don’t have to worry about snow, but we do let our non-perishable food stockpile grow a little bit during hurricane season. =)


    If you go through running shoes that fast, and they cost that much, I would buy as many pairs as I can afford. If you need foot surgery, you may possibly need other shoes afterwards, but there will be others just as dedicated to these shoes and you’ll probably be able to sell them for a profit. A year goes by fast, and you may not be able to find something that works well for you without spending a pile of money on a bunch of shoes that don’t work for you.

    • I don’t know about selling them for a profit… Minimal loss, perhaps. But I tend to wonder why Vibram would be discontinuing them if they were super popular? Honestly, I think their other styles tend to be more popular, so I’m not sure how many people are really going to be looking for these shoes (color, size, etc) in a year or two.

  • […] Pop is stockpiling on running shoes, to keep her running habit going smoothly through the […]

  • […] Planting Our Pennies wants to know What is the Appropriate Level of Stockpiling? […]

  • If I were you, I probably would have done the exact same thing. I’m all about making sure I have the things I need and stocking up when a good deal comes along.
    Lisa @ Lisa the Vegetarian recently posted..Dietary Differences in a RelationshipMy Profile

  • You’re not crazy!!! Of course, I wonder just how many shoes you’ll need to buy to make it a few decades. :)
    Cat@BudgetBlonde.com recently posted..How To Be Self-Sufficient: A Comprehensive A-Z Financial ChecklistMy Profile

    • Haha, I think trying to get enough to last decades would be pushing it =) I’d have to change my pen name on the blog to Imelda Marcos!

  • Lucy

    I am right now working on stockpiling walking sandals to last for decades because there is literally one model, one brand that I can wear without pain, and their quality has been deteriorating lately, so I try to buy an “old version” whenever I can (they are $180 shoes, so on sale for $130 is a good price). But I have a very weird foot shape and a foot fracture that never fully healed (which I got from being poor, not having a car, and wearing second hand and poorly fitting shoes for years).

    • Oooh, I hate when the quality of something that you’ve been buying for years starts to decrease! Sometimes you don’t notice the decrease in quality until it’s too late and you can’t return it.

  • That seems really cheap compared to some hobbies. I would have bought that many or more as long as I had the money to pay for it and did ‘t have to put it on credit. I stockpile laundry detergent. Tide and Gain are my favorites and usually once or twice a year, they go on sale for $3.99 and I’ll buy 10. I don’t think I’ve bought detergent in over a year. I really hate it when they discontinue something you love. They do that with glasses all the time. Some people, especially men, always buy the exact frame when one wears out. We had one guy who loved this ugly, plastic, utilitarian frame. He came in one year and we told him it was being discontinued. He told us to buy all we could find. I think we found 6 or 7. He probably will have frames for the rest of his life!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Eyes on the Dollar 20/20 Roundup #29-Gotta Love the NeighborsMy Profile

    • I think there’s got to be a business opportunity out there for crafting one-off eye glass frames to match peoples’ old pairs. I know a gentleman in his mid-60s who has more money than he knows what to do with (like “I have a private plane money” – okay, so he knows what to do with some of it), and yet he has been wearing eyeglass frames that have been falling apart for years for lack of a replacement that he likes as much.

  • You bet I would have bought them. IF you find something that you are comfortable with and works for you but is limited or discontinuing then yes, buy it. We’ve done that before with shoes that we see that are a great price. My every day walking shoes were around $50 and I picked them up, yellow tag for $5… I bought the last 2 pairs in my size. I wouldn’t have bought more than 5 or 6 pairs though. It’s all personal choice really.
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..The Saturday Weekend Review #10-Daylight Savings 2013, Door To Door Sales Begins!My Profile

    • Even at 5 or 6 pairs for $5, you still would have spent less than your typical price for a single price. So I think that would have been worth trying to stock up, especially if they’re something you wear every day.

  • I would have done the same exact thing, especially with the knowledge that supply would soon be limited. The only things we currently stockpile are paper goods since we get such a good bulk price at BJ’s (it’s like Costco). But we have a small apartment so there really isn’t much storage space. As it is, we are usually storing some paper goods in the trunks of our cars! I guess you could also say that I stockpile wrapping paper. I always stock up after the holidays to get the best price.

    • So if you ever get pulled over and the police ask to look in the trunk they’re going to find 64 rolls of Charmin? =) That’s hilarious.

  • […] PoP from Planting Our Pennies asks What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling? Indeed, it’s a fine line between hoarding and stockpiling. We don’t have the room to […]

  • […] Planting Our Pennies: What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling? […]

  • CF

    I like to have at least one extra of things I use often. So I often have an extra tube of mascara and a bunch of extra socks. I just buy more than one if it’s something I use and it is a good price. Otherwise, I’d just end up spending more later. I don’t usually buy more than one or two extra though.

    The weirdest thing I’ve “stockpiled” is an umbrella. I bought one at Nordstrom and it was seriously THE BEST UMBRELLA EVER. So the next time I was in the States, I bought an extra one! I just threw away the original the other day actually (it was getting holes in it) and started using my spare. :)
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  • […] What’s an Appropriate Level of Stockpiling? As long as you have adequate storage space and are able to actually use all of the stuff you’re stockpiling before it goes bad, it’s really up to you. (@ planting our pennies) […]

  • Lucas

    That sounds totally appropriate for something you know you are going to use. If it is something that will go bad, make you use more of it (if it is sitting around), or go out of style during its shelf life then I would be wary. But for things you know you will use, a years supply is totally fine and makes sense.

  • Jamie

    I definitely support you stockpiling this shoe! I would have supported it for just the great deal, but knowing that they were being discontinued adds a whole ‘nother level of approval! :-)

  • […] who writes at NZMuse, hosted the Carnival of Personal Finance, and kindly highlighted our post What’s An Appropriate Level of Stockpiling as an “Editor’s […]

  • I would have bought them as well. Given you will use them in a year, that’s not too bad. Stockpiling food just to have something for over 6 months is not good, because you risk it going bad. Sneakers on the other hand have no expiration date if you keep them in a cool place. Happy running!