Tuesday Tips: Creating your Stockpile

When most people hear stockpile, they think of a 1940’s basement filled to the brim with canned goods… total preparation for another depression era or nuclear threat. Let’s clear the air on this one – that’s not what stockpiling (in 2010) is all about. Stockpiling is filling your pantry, fridge, and freezer with items you’ll use in order to reduce weekly spending.

Things to Consider when you Stockpile

  1. Usefulness: Don’t stockpile items you don’t use. These items will take up storage space and will eventually expire.
  2. Eating patterns: The wisest stockpile choices are things you eat often. Buying these items at their lowest prices means big savings in the long run.
  3. Sales cycles: Buy as much as you’ll eat before the item goes on sale again. Sale cycles typically last between 6-12 weeks. You’ll get a good sense of this timing, particularly for your favorite items.
  4. Expiration dates: Think about how much of the item you will consume/use before it expires. Don’t buy 20 boxes of your favorite cereal if you won’t eat that much before the expiration date!
  5. Storage space: Consider how much “pantry space” you have available. Don’t overgrow your stockpile. After all, no one likes Fruit Loops on the fireplace mantel. That said, get creative! Tupperware buckets under the bed or an extra cupboard in the dining room is a great place for canned/boxed goods.
  6. Variety: Keep a wide variety of items on hand at all times. Doing so makes it hard to justify an impulse shopping trip.

How to Start your Stockpile

  1. Start with a budget: You always need to start with a budget. I had a tendency to go “stockpile crazy” when I first started out, and I ended up spending way more than I needed to. Start with your current budget and slowly decrease it. ALWAYS shoot for this number. Initially, try not to go over and try not to go under.
  2. Needs first, stockpile next: After you create your meal plan, list your needs for the week. Then, with whatever money you have left over for the week, stock up on the best deals. As your stockpile grows, your needs will decrease. This leaves more room for stockpiling.
  3. List your stockpile WANTS: List the items you use most frequently. These will be the items you’ll look for each week. When you see a great deal, scoop it up. But don’t just buy one; buy as many as you will use in the next 3-4 months (or before its expiration date) or that your budget will allow.  (Out of courtesy, please don’t clear the shelves.)
  4. Lists your stockpile HAVES: Make a list of items you have in your stockpile. As they go in, note it. As they go out, cross them off. This will help you better organize your meal plans and shopping trips.
  5. Use it up or give it away: Now it’s time to dig in! Use it up and don’t feel guilty about it. You got the item at its rock bottom price! If you realize you bought too much or the expiration date is fast approaching, give it away. There are plenty of people who need it!

Things I like to Stockpile

Being a single gal in an apartment makes my stockpile look a bit different than a family of 5 in a permanent home (as it should!) To help get you started though, here are the TOP 10 food items I love to stockpile:

  1. Cereal (you don’t even want to know!)
  2. Canned tomatoes (ROTEL!)
  3. Frozen veggies
  4. Pasta and sauce
  5. Rice and beans
  6. Cookie and cake mixes
  7. Baking products (flour, sugar, salt, etc.)
  8. Bottled juice
  9. Canned soup
  10. Granola bars

Any questions or ideas? Leave them in the comments!


3 Responses to “Tuesday Tips: Creating your Stockpile”

  1. 1 Jennifer Heerman February 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    How do you keep track of what’s in your stockpile? Do you just generally know or do you have it recorded somewhere? So far, I just remember, but I’ve been wondering if making a spreadsheet or something would help me actually use what I’ve got or if it wouldn’t be worth the extra time. Any thoughts?

  2. 2 Miss Q February 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

    At one (very slow) point last summer, I typed up a list of everything that was in my pantry. I never even went back to it once.

    I think the best thing to do is to keep a list of meals you can make. For example, if I buy chicken and know I now have the ingredients for my favorite chicken meal, I’ll write it down on a list on the fridge. It make’s meal planning really easy because I already have a list of possible meals. As I come up with a new idea or a new recipe, I’ll check to see if I have the ingredients and add it to the list if I do.

    I would also add to this list items I need to use up quickly (according to expiration dates and such). Again, when I meal plan, it’s easy to incorporate these items into the meals for the week.

  1. 1 A Single Suggestion: We Gladly Break Packages. « Miss Q to the Rescue Trackback on March 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

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