Extreme Hoarding: Pregnancy Edition…..and a Giveaway!

Extreme Hoarding: Pregnancy EditionI was a few months pregnant with my second daughter when I started getting serious about couponing.  Since I was with child, we were looking for new ways to save.  Having a baby is so expensive and I just knew that I could save on some baby essentials if I put more effort into it.  So….I started cutting coupons….lots of them.  Within a few weeks, I found out that my friend could get me 20 coupon inserts a week from her work.  This was the motherload of saving money and the beginning of some massive stockpiling in the Club Thrifty household.


I started small, hoarding diapers and baby wipes.  I would often go to Walgreens more than once in a day, using store coupons stacked with manufacturer coupons in order to score free or almost free baby stuff.  I began to amass a huge amount of baby paraphernalia and quickly became obsessed.  Then, things took a turn to crazy town.


Hoarding Baby Formula

Similac released a new coupon for $5.00 off any infant formula, any size.  Since the ready to feed quarts were priced anywhere from $4.99 to $5.99, I knew that I could get them free or almost free.  I began to scrape together as many $5 off coupons as I could get from family and friends.  I also joined hotcouponworld.com and started trading.  Within about a month, I had around 300 of the $5.00 coupons for Similar formula.


I was super stoked. The only problem with this is that many stores only keep a handful of quarts on the shelf at any given time.  So, we started buying hoarding 3 here, 4 there, 10 here, until I really began to have quite a collection.  We would hit up Walmart, Target, and Meijer at least once a week, buying as many as we could without wiping out the shelves for everyone else.  I even pre-ordered 100 quarts from CVS for $4.99 each – which made them free.  Similac formula had become my crack cocaine.  I literally planned my days around acquiring it and would spend hours on end arranging all of the quarts in my cabinets.  I even had so much at one point that I had to start storing the excess in my mom’s basement.  It was weird.


Looking back, it seems pretty crazy that I went through all the trouble to get so much free formula.  I didn’t even know whether my baby would be able to drink Similac!  Luckily, she didn’t have any sensitivities and was able to drink it.  Better yet, since I breastfed a little longer than expected, I was also able to give away about 50 quarts to our local food pantry.


Am I proud of this?  No, I actually think it’s insane and I would make fun of someone else who did the same thing. But, in my defense, pregnancy made me crazy in so many ways.  I was a crying, emotional mess almost every day, and hoarding baby formula and baby diapers seemed completely reasonable at the time.  However, it was something I used to treat myself. Couponing gave me something to do. It was a fun break from the other things I was obsessed with while pregnant – like eating Penn Station fries and blaming Greg for my uncomfortable misery. Now, I can just look back and laugh at all of my craziness.


So, what is your championship coupon story? Have you ever made a huge score with coupons?


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  1. says

    One time, I hoarded wine. No I’m not an alcoholic. I do like a glass of my house wine with a meal and I often use it cook with. I somehow found the one day where two sales overlapped and the discounts were crazy huge. So I went to three stores and bought a ton. It was kind of sad, but I saved a ton of money.

    • says

      Not only did I hoard formula, I did diapers and wipes as well. I still haven’t bought any wipes since my second daughter was born and she is almost two!

  2. says

    I can relate to how expensive baby formula is. Thankfully our last one drinks very little of it and what we do buy we get at Costco for a pretty cheap (comparably) price. That’s cool you were able to give away some to your local food pantry!

  3. says

    You know, reading about your planned raids to load up on as much Similac as you could get, I can’t help but think that had to be fun.

    Just setting aside for the moment what you’re accumulating and the excess involved, just the mental challenge, the euphoria of making the score! The push driving you to see how much of this you can legally get away with… that had to be a rush. The thrill of the hunt, I think they call it.

    And (insanity aside) my guess would be you had just a tinge of disappointment when the campaign ended. I know I do when my manic buying sprees come to an end. (No Mrs. Hubbard in this house! LOL)

  4. says

    Thank goodness you were able to use a large portion of that hoarded Similac. Us women certainly do the silliest things when our hormones are festering and raging, don’t we? Especially while we’re nesting.

    Thank you for hosting such a neat giveaway!

  5. says

    “Similac formula had become my crack cocaine” made me laugh. I did have a similar addiction to coupons when I first learned I could get stuff for free. It got a little out of control. I mean how much free floss can one woman use in her lifetime? Glad to be co-hosting the giveaway with you.

  6. Brian says

    We were given a ton of similac from friends who breast fed… the only problem was our son was a premie, so he had to be on Neosure for the first 6 months. That stuff doesn’t really cost more, but it only comes in those stupid small cans. Once he was off Neosure we used up our stash and buy the giant container from Costco (with mixed success using the $5 rebate check).

    Side note, when I worked at target a long time ago they actually had a limit on the amount of formula you could buy at a time. Something about people shipping overseas for a huge profit.

  7. says

    Ha, ha, ha :) So funny, Holly! I totally can relate to your story. Formula is so darn expensive! I don’t blame you for trying to get as much of it as possible. Pregnancy hormones can do some crazy things to us!

  8. says

    I think it’s awesome you were able to get things that you needed for free! I tried couponing (and I say tried loosely), but it always seemed the items aren’t what I would naturally buy… I think formula and diapers when you have little ones is a different story, though!

  9. says

    I don’t have a coupon or hoarding story! I just remember my normally wonderful, responsible and organized wife change dramatically in her lat trimester of her pregnancy. She can explain it better than me since she is an RN and a former labor and delivery nurse. So I fully understand how you can do things that are unusual or different from your normal routine.

  10. says

    haha gotta do what you gotta do!! I am so thankful I was able to breastfeed and bypass spending any money on formula. My niece has serious sensitivities and they pay 47.00/case of pre-mixed formula and now at 8mos it only lasts about a week!

  11. says

    Wow I envy you. I spend so much money on Similac it’s not even funny. How do you get the similac coupons, are they from their site subscription?

  12. says

    I have to admit that by the time I got to the middle of this post, I was laughing–but only because I love your sense of humor; not because I’m laughing at pregnant hormones! I imagine I’ll be a mess whenever that day comes, but I love, love, love that you found a way to accumulate a stash of the most expensive baby items for pennies! And that you donated some of it…well done (if not a bit crazy…in a good way, yes?) :)

    • says

      Nahhh…. I didn’t really risk anything. I would just have wasted a lot of time. But, I knew it I couldn’t use it then I could give it away!

  13. says

    I’m glad it worked out that you could use your formula stockpile. I spent $75 bucks on a superb formula deal! Although that went sour when our baby’s little bowels and that formula didn’t seem to get along. It’s only a deal if you use it!

  14. says

    lol! I don’t have coupons around here, which is good because I could get addicted quickly! I would certainly do some foodbank runs if the items were super cheap or free.

  15. says

    I don’t know if anyone should be held responsible for the things they do when pregnant. Our hormones just go crazy! A little formula hoarding sounds perfectly reasonable and rational compared to what some pregnant women do. I, of course, was a beacon of decorum and sanity when I was pregnant. Or at least that is how I remember it. :)

  16. says

    We spent a lot of time doing the couponing thing when we first had our babies, but it’s stressful and there are better ways to save money. We had a pretty sizable gift certificate to a warehouse club store, so we bought all the formula our newest baby could possibly drink in a year. We paid almost nothing for it, and we haven’t paid a penny since she was born to feed her! Great post Holly!

  17. says

    I’m sure it worked out to be cheaper for you, but when I think of hoarding, I remember there is a time value of money — not just because I could be earning interest on what I’ve spent, but also because of the flexibility I lose when my money isn’t in my bank account, but rather in my living room in toilet paper/bath soap form.

    Also, because I live in New York City, there’s also a storage cost :)

  18. says

    I don’t see that as insane at all. You do everything you can to save money. Raising a child is not for the faint of heart, nor is feeding a baby!

  19. says

    So I laugh at people that do this, too, but I also think it’s kind of amazing. Free formula is no freaking joke! Or diapers! It may take a lot of work, but if you have the time to do it who freaking cares. We all trade our time for money somehow, and for those who are enjoying couponing, more power to them. As long as they’re good enough at it to have it pay decent dividends to their family’s budget.

  20. says

    Infant formula is something nursing mothers need. Buying a lot of this does not translate to hoarding. Anyway, giveaways are a big bonus for all consumers.

  21. says

    I once did the same thing with a coupon for deodorant and bought 20 of them at CVS – I smelled good (for cheap) for quite a while :) I think couponing is good, but not when you start getting crazy and buying stuff you don’t need (ever see that show on TLC?) Great job on donating the extra formula!

  22. says

    As a mom, I see nothing crazy about what you were doing. Stocking up on essentials that were nearly free? Every mother would do that! Besides, kids will make you insane regardless.

  23. says

    These are great tips for moms who are just recently back at work after maternity leave, too! Definitely a time to figure out your priorities and try to keep stress levels to a minimum. Thanks!

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