- Personal Finance
How to Create a Stockpile of Food - for Little Money
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Most people would love to spend less money each month on food. With rising grocery prices, it is becoming more important than ever to find ways to save money on food. Creating a stockpile of food, purchased at low prices, is important. Food is a consumable item and you really don't have anything to show for it once eaten. To spend a lot of money on it seems wrong.
Many people shop for just the items they need for that week. Others go to the grocery store every day or so and get only what they need for a couple of days. When you shop this way most people spend more money than they need to. Typically when you shop like this you aren't shopping the sales, but actually shopping for whatever sounds good that day. Having a food stockpile at home will help you to still be able to shop for what sounds good to eat that day - but you will be doing the shopping in your own pantry - choosing from items all bought at very low prices, not the full price you would pay today at the grocery store because it isn't on sale this week.
The first step is to do some thinking and planning. Make a list of the food items that you normally buy. Think of the meals that you cook most often. If you have spaghetti once a week, the pasta and the sauce would go on your list. If you have hamburgers every week as well, the ground beef and the buns would go on your list as well. Thinking things through and planning your list, should also help you to create a menu.
No I am not saying to decide now what you are going to be eating next Wednesday. I believe in very flexible menus. I will make a list of the meals that we will be eating over the next week and each morning I will look at the list and see what sounds good to have that day. Sometimes I pick something totally not on the list, but I always have the ingredients on hand, because I have a well stocked pantry and freezer. This is what I want you to end up with as well.
So now that you have your list of meals for the week and items you would like to start stockpiling it is time to look at the grocery ad. If you see that spaghetti sauce is on sale buy one get one free, you should stockpile this item. Just taking advantage of this deal one time will result in you having paid the same amount of money as you always do, however you have spaghetti sauce for this week and the next. If pasta is not on sale, just get what you will need for this week only. When the pasta goes on sale, you will stockpile it as much as possible, so that in the future you will not have to pay full price for it. You will work through your list like this. Do not stockpile items that are not on sale! This will not help you lower your grocery bill at all. Only buy extra of items if they are on sale.
Now it can get confusing. Knowing your prices at this point really does help. Obviously you want to buy as little as possible at full price. You might want to consider changing your menu for the week if nothing on your list is on sale. The confusing part - there are different sale prices each week. Sometimes hamburger buns are on sale for $1.09, the next week $.88 and the next $.99. Knowing if a sale price is a really good sale price can be hard, especially if you are new at paying attention to prices.
If you notice a sale on something that you use regularly and you realize that you have never seen the price this low - buy as much as you can without it going bad. Most grocery sales cycle every 6 or 12 weeks. So buy enough to last you until you think the next sale will be. If it is something that you don't see on sale very often, it is probably on a 12 week cycle. If it is an item that seems to be on sale frequently, it is probably on a 6 week cycle and you can get by with purchasing less this sale.
As the weeks go by your stockpile should be building. Sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly depending on what is on sale. As you plan your menu each week, you will probably think of other items that would be nice to stockpile, so just add them to your list and watch for sales on those things. As always coupons will increase your savings on items and can make a good deal a great deal - especially if your store doubles coupons.
I know it can be hard to get started - especially if you have a tight grocery budget. But let's take a look at our example of spaghetti sauce on sale to see how you can increase your stockpile without spending extra money on groceries. Say your favorite brand of spaghetti sauce is regularly priced $3.59 per jar. This week it is on sale B1G1 free. This is a great deal so you cut something extra out of your weekly shopping trip so that you can buy 4 of these jars. Normally this would cost you $14.36, however this week it is only costing you $7.18. As you had to cut something extra out to purchase the extra jar, let's leave it at that this week.
The next week, you do not need to purchase any spaghetti sauce. You have that $3.59 to spend on something else that is on sale that you want to stockpile. This week pasta and baked beans are on sale. The pasta for $.75 instead of $1.39 and the baked beans for $1.00 instead of $2.59. You normally purchase 2 boxes of pasta each week and 1 can of baked beans. Normally that would total $5.37, however this week it will cost you $2.50. This means you have an extra $2.87 + the $3.59 from not buying spaghetti sauce = $6.46 to spend on stockpiling the beans and pasta. With that money you are able to buy 6 boxes of pasta and 2 cans of baked beans - extra for your stockpile.
The third week you still do not need to buy spaghetti sauce ($3.59) and now you don't need to buy pasta ($2.78) or baked beans ($2.59). This week you have an extra $8.96 to spend on adding to your stockpile. This is great because this week the ground beef is on sale for $1.99 a pound, when it is normally $3.59 a pound. If you normally buy one pound a week, you are saving $1.60 this week + $8.96 = $10.56. You can purchase an extra 4 pounds of ground beef for $7.96, which leaves you with an extra $2.60 to spend on the hamburger buns that are also on sale this week for $.99, instead of $1.29. Both the extra ground beef and the buns will freeze well for the weeks to come.
By the fourth week, you should really have the hang of this. You still do not need to buy spaghetti sauce ($3.59), pasta ($2.78), baked beans ($2.59), ground beef ($3.59) or hamburger buns ($1.29) for a total of $13.84. This gives you a good bit of money to work with to purchase extra of the things that you want to stockpile when they are on sale. Maybe it is chicken or cheese or frozen vegetables. Whatever it is, you have a good bit of money to stock up on what you need.
It will just keep working like this, each week you will have a little more money to use to purchase extra of the things on sale. In the long run, you will have a very well stocked pantry and freezer with items all purchased on great sales. This way you shouldn't have to pay full price for things again. In a perfect world, anyway. We all miscalculate how much we will use, or when the next sale will be sometimes. But even if we have to pay full price for one item each week, that is much better than paying full price for a cart full of groceries that will only last you a few days. By creating a stockpile of food that you will eat, at great prices, you should be able to really lower your grocery bill. Good luck!