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How to Create a Stockpile of Food - for Little Money

Updated on December 09, 2007

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I am pretty sure that 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. Actually many people 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!

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    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      great information. My mom was good about this..I am not so great.

    • Rmnathan profile image

      Rmnathan 9 years ago from Sharjah

      It looks that you are an expert in home management. Many of your hubs can be regarded as samples for useful informative hubs. Well done.

    • IcarusInflight profile image

      IcarusInflight 9 years ago from Manchester UK

      Having to live on a limited income I think this is excellent advice.

    • Jennifer profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 9 years ago

      Thank you! Having a limited grocery budget has forced me to learn a lot about ways to save in the kitchen and frugality.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Great ideas! Thanks for this Hub!

    • maricarbo profile image

      maricarbo 9 years ago

      Thank you for this very useful information!

    • profile image

      dafla 9 years ago

      Love this article! I'm working on cleaning out an entire room and putting up shelves for stockpiling and storage. I now have nothing in my house in the way of food that I paid full price for. It was all bought on deep discount, sales with coupons, or BOGO's. I can always find something to make a meal out of.

    • The Good Cook profile image

      The Good Cook 9 years ago

      Thank you! I shop like this all the time and it's great to know I'm not alone (as I was beginning to suspect). Applying the same strategy when purchasing personal hygiene and cleaning products can help you save even more.

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 9 years ago from United States

      As an experienced grocery store shopper (when it comes to saving money with coupons and finding sales) I agree with your article.

      Please check out my article on "Free Online Grocery Store Coupons"

      https://hubpages.com/money/Free-Online-Grocery-Sto...

      Especially for one person who has to drive 25 miles to get the paper!

    • Lifebydesign profile image

      Lifebydesign 8 years ago from Australia

      Wow, great practical info.

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

      I learned to do this when I first got married and was in the military. Even with shopping at the commissary, money was tight. Today with the rising grocery prices, most people will need to be doing this at least sometimes. Great information!

    • outdoorjunkie profile image

      outdoorjunkie 8 years ago from California

      Its tough having gluten allergies and trying to save money on food like this... most people want you to load up and make meals from cheap items like pasta, bread and flour.

    • glycodoc profile image

      glycodoc 8 years ago

      Interesting Hub with good information - will have to show it to my wife!

    • Decrescendo profile image

      Decrescendo 8 years ago

      Looks exquisite. Thanks for sharing.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Excellent advice.

    • Sandilyn profile image

      Sandilyn 8 years ago from Port Orange, FL

      Good hub!

      Most people only think from week to week and not how to really save some money.

      Then there is the other consideration on stockpiling your food. I live in Florida. Yes, the hurricanes. I stock pile food. Can goods, water, sodas, detergents, boxed items, and so on. We have to think of these things because we could loose power for days or up to a week. The stores may be closed and we need to eat!

      This does not have to apply to hurricane areas only. Think of all areas where any kind of weather can strike or any other type of disaster. Be prepared!

    • Louie Jerome profile image

      Louie Jerome 8 years ago from UK

      Useful. I buy when things I normally use are on special.

    • esocial profile image

      esocial 8 years ago from California

      Just the hub we need in today's economy, thanks!

      The lady running this Refund Makes Cent$ mag: http://trackthishit.com/trackbiz/control/redirect.... has super tips each month, too. (Not my site).

    • esocial profile image

      esocial 8 years ago from California

      Oops - -that link above is wrong, so forget it, my bad :(

    • budwood profile image

      budwood 8 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Good comments on shopping.  In looking further into stockpiling, you may want to consider more natural foods.  For example, I have gotten to be somewhat of a bean cooking expert and have a good stock of dried beans.  Dried beans are  not only more nutritious than processed (canned) beans, but are tasty with the right seasoning and will cost less.  For example, a pound of dried beans which will cook up to about triple that weight costs about 75 cents.  Also, adding in rice and maybe corn (maize) you'll have a good protein food.  You can put in some dried peppers and of course add some fat (maybe from a fresh soup bone) and seasoning.  Superb - if cooked right.

       Also, nuts are good for you and economical - - and they store well. Ditto for dried mushrooms and dried parsley. Further, seeds can be sprouted for fresh greens. In other words, investigate dried foods and natural foods - -  try to stay clear of canned processed foods.  Those type foods are expensive for what you get and are not all that good for most folks.

    • profile image

      mandiedq 8 years ago

      I stumbled across a website recently that completely revolutionized the way I shop. AFullCup.com’s tagline is “a cup full of savings” and has proven to be a one-stop shop for all your savings needs. Here are some highlights that this website has to offer:

      1. Articles on how to get more bang for your buck. This includes shopping for items while they are on sale and while using a coupon (If possible, combine with a dollar off your total coupon at stores like CVS Pharmacy and Target.), using rain checks to your advantage, how to have a successful garage sale, and many others.

      2. Access the Coupon Generators and lists. In addition to a huge list of printable coupons, AFullCup.com has coupon generators for both Target and Food Lion. You can pick which coupons you like and the quantity you need then the generator will print the coupons out using the minimum amount of paper!

      3. Forums for trading coupons (and actual items, too). Got a pet? Trade with someone who does not? Got a baby? Trade for baby coupons with someone who doesn’t! It is a win-win.

      4. Forums for (nearly) every store imaginable. Just to name a few: JCPenney, Sears, Amazon.com, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Food Lion, Walgreens, CVS, Albertsons, Safeway, Big Lots, Kohl’s…

      5. Auctions, auctions, auctions. AFullCup.com members love to avoid listing fees that other sites charge and since the community is large enough with over 37,000 members, the auctions are quite successful!

      6. Community support. Most coupon trading sites do not offer the community support I found on AFullCup.com. Members here share not only their tips on being frugal and saving money, but also struggles, victories, birthdays, recipes, weight loss support, you name it! “We are a circle of friends,” said user angel wings. Another user, ashambmom89 said, “I love my family here at AFC.”

      7. Extras. AFullCup.com offers all sorts of extras to its members. There is a list of Steals and Deals for some of the most popular stores frequented by its members. There is a place for an online chat with other members. If you’re interested in mystery shopping, a huge database of companies to work for is kept on the site. A schedule of coupon inserts you can expect to find in your Sunday paper can be found here. So many more extras are available at AFullCup.com, but I guess you’ll just have to check it out for yourself.

      If all that does not convince you to check out this site, perhaps some examples from AFullCup.com’s members will convince you. One user, tklein, recently posted about her shopping experience using her savings tips from AFullCup.com: J

      ust got back from Target and got

      3 Ken’s Dressings

      2 Johnson and Johnson’s

      12 piece kits

      4 trial size All detergent

      3 trail size banana boat sunscreen

      2 6-packs of plastic tumbler cups

      2 jump ropes

      Total was a whooping $3.82

      Another user, dfed913, shared her trip to CVS Pharmacy: 1 Oral B Vitalizer toothbrush twinpack 1 pack of Dentyne Gum

      Total: approx. $8.20

      Total Out of Pocket= .77 Saved $8.47

      I tried it on my own one day. With a tip hot off of AFullCup.com, I ran to my local CVS Pharmacy and found fragrances at 90% off of the sticker price—an unmarked, unadvertised sale! Now, thanks to AFullCup.com, my own stockpile of food, toiletries and gifts is starting to grow!

    • profile image

      Ronald Daniar 8 years ago

      Good advice! I hope my monthly budget decreases from doing this.

    • himachal profile image

      himachal 8 years ago from himachal

      good article

    • morrisonspeaks profile image

      morrisonspeaks 8 years ago

      great hub! sometimes we;re too busy to even notice the price of what we buy and often too busy to look for a sale. well, this hub just changed my view! thanks.

    • profile image

      vidah 8 years ago

      You're soooo right! I usually have good intentions, but get in a hurry when I get to the grocery store and my well laid plans get put aside. Thanks for the reminder of just how much we can all save buying this way.

    • profile image

      Deb 8 years ago

      Good site! I've been stockpiling food for a while now, but find that the best way to save money on food is not only to stockpile, but also to keep fresh food items limited in the refrigerator. While my refrigerator looks "empty" in comparison to other people's, I find that I waste less food, when I buy and use only what I need, instead of shopping, sticking it all in the fridge, and letting it all go to waste. More tips? Limit condiment purchase quantities! Condiments like salad dressing can be very spendy, so find maybe 2 that you really like, and use them up before purchasing more - better yet - make your own and save even more! Discover your local "dollar store" where you can purchase lots of good stuff on the cheap, and lastly - take advantage of buying bulk stuff like rice, beans, pasta, cereal, and spices online. Sure, they come in boring plastic packaging, but you get huge quantities to stockpile (and split with someone) at reasonable prices, so it's worth it! Oh, and don't forget to cook stuff from scratch! Crockpots are great for cooking large, delicious meals while you're away at work, and you can also freeze the leftovers! So enjoy -and remember HAPPINESS IS A FULL PANTRY! Hunker down, and Best of Luck!

    • profile image

      deb 8 years ago

      Hi again!

      I forgot to mention these other great tricks! If you've got kids or teenagers who drink tons of milk on a daily basis, try this trick - when the milk gallon is nearly half empty, pour in some powdered milk and add water! We buy 2% milk, which is usually nothing but water anyway, so the actual taste doesn't change, when used in breakfast cereals etc. I've been doing this for a while now, and my son can't tell the difference! (unless he reads this, of course Ha! Ha!) Also, I know that some people rely on coupons to save money, but I really can't stress the importance of cooking from scratch! From what I've seen, most of the coupons out there are for prepared food items, that are really not all that nutritious for the money. Of course, if you find coupons for "staple items", by all means stock up - but buying stuff like "Hamburger Helper" and other prepared food items to save money is just a joke, and you'll end up "paying for it" anyway in terms of poor health etc. if the bulk of your diet consists of what I call packaged "corporate food". Another tip? Start becoming "immune" to advertising and marketing! I can say this, because I used to work in advertising and know the kinds of tricks marketers use to persuade consumers to buy "expensive" and "unnecessary" food products! So even though the picture on the packaging looks "pretty" and "makes your mouth water" - read the ingredients first, and take note of what you're really buying! In most case it's just a lot of salt and chemicals!

      Thanks again, and Good Luck!

    • nancydodds1 profile image

      nancydodds1 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Good article and nice information. With this information everyone can save money. Recently i posted an hub on mortgage https://hubpages.com/business/MortgageCalculator this will be useful for you.

    • betherickson profile image

      betherickson 8 years ago from Minnesota

      Ideally speaking, very helpful information of yours. Thumbs-up for this Hub!

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 8 years ago from Virginia

      Bravo Jennifer! Great advice and a great hub. I stockpile when there are sales, plus I save coupons to use on items when they go on sale, and it really does help a great deal.

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Excellent hub, Jennifer. A lot of folks in the simplicity/frugality movement are interested in stockpiling food. I'll refer my simplicity clients (I'm a life coach focusing on creating simple, successful, and sustainable lives) to your hubs. Thank you.

    • Jennifer profile image
      Author

      Jennifer 8 years ago

      Thanks Bruce!

    • profile image

      Rita 8 years ago

      Good advice. We should have started keeping the pantries filled a couple of months ago before people were losing their jobs.

    • indy cindy profile image

      indy cindy 8 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Very good hub. One additional tip ... remember to 'rotate' your stock. Just the other day, I threw out several items in my pantry that had exceeded their expiration date.

    • Wayne Litchford profile image

      Wayne Litchford 8 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Really enjoyed your hub and the comments it generated. Some great ideas!

    • MomK profile image

      MomK 8 years ago from Rural Arkansas

      You offerec good advice for these tough economic times! Thank you!

    • NDBEES profile image

      NDBEES 8 years ago from DEVON

      Hi. Can you give me advice on how I can do this with, caviar, Dom Perignon and Kobe beef. Thanks.

    • webjunkie profile image

      webjunkie 8 years ago from Moberly Mo

      Excellent advice.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Some good advice! Where I live in South Africa though, "specials and sales" are mostly hardly any cheaper than the regular price. I was just saying to my sister in law, that stays with us, the other day that they are advertising stuff as "specials" for prices I would not even have considered to buy it at only a few months ago. I try and do what you are suggesting, but another problem is a really "tiny" freezer and NO pantry. We have a cupboard in the dinding room that serves as a general store and pantry.

      Years ago we lived in a place that was considered a national security and we had to stockpile for at least one month, then it really worked very well, now is a problem. But, still, your info is spot on for people in the position to do it

      Thanks, great Hub!!

    • Blake Flannery profile image

      Blake Flannery 8 years ago from United States

      Good ideas to cut costs, but what if everyone did this? Will the companies lower their rates of discounts? Of course, this will probably not happen because of the amount of planning and delayed gratification involved.

    • 397268 profile image

      397268 8 years ago

      Great advice. This is how I usually shop.

      The only trap is that sometimes I've bought things I don't really need just because they were one sale.

      I also have to be careful not to stockpile junk food, because if it's in the house, I'll just want to pick at it constantly.

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr.Kulsum Mehmood 8 years ago from Nagpur, India

      Great tips jennifer. Thanks for sharing.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

      excellent advice and examples!! This shows how we can get money from the same $125 budget for groceries each week or every 2 weeks as the case may be. Very creative and good tips!!! =)) this helped me!

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 8 years ago

      Great hub on making your grocery money go farther. We all need to stretch every dollar we make and the grocery store is a great place to do this.

    • profile image

      lindagoffigan 8 years ago

      Is there a fee for fullcup.com? The savings were amazing and I was wondering whether or not some of the savings were absorbed in membership like Costco, Sam's Club or BJ's you know the big box discount stores.

    • KimmiJ profile image

      KimmiJ 8 years ago from Earth

      You're so smart! Will you go shopping for me? ;)

    • profile image

      Saving Money  7 years ago

      Saving Money is always a big deal to me, I Always try and make the most out of my hard earned dollars when shopping or eating out. Thanks Jennifer

    • vivekananda profile image

      vivekananda 7 years ago from India

      Great hub and good tips to save money. I liked it.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image

      Staci-Barbo7 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Jennifer, I love this article! This is really good practical advice that doesn't require me to deal with organizing lots of coupons to save money. I think becoming aware of the grocery cycles is key in combination with regularly shopping those cycles at two or three different chain stores that are within a 5 mile radius of my home.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      jennifer, you are absolutly right, this is the way to shop and save money so important nowadays, i once bought what the kids called a 'wall of toilet paper' that was no only way cheaper than usual but i did not have to buy tiolet paper for a year!

    • profile image

      printable Coupons 7 years ago

      This is great information for 96% of families

    • Tigermadstanley profile image

      Amanda Davey 7 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

      This hub is so relevant today that I'm surprised to see comments dating back years! Well done for writing such a great informative hub.

      You could keep the cost down further by not buying ready made spaghetti sauce but stockpiling the ingredients (or growing your own) to make it - just a thought!

    • Blogging Erika profile image

      Blogging Erika 7 years ago

      Awesome hub, thanks! My downfall is in stock rotation - using the oldest stuff first - sometimes those cans get hidden back there. But I like your "meal based stockpiling," I'm totally going to start doing that!

    • thaninja profile image

      thaninja 7 years ago from America

      Another Great Hub Jennifer....I really like this concept. I will get my girlfriend on board. I really want to have a 3-6 month food supply!

    • profile image

      jacky 7 years ago

      nice information

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      a very helpful hub....,thx

    • deancortez044 profile image

      deancortez044 6 years ago from Las Vegas

      i love to eat! and i love your tips! if you can have allot of food with a little money, what more can you have for more money. LOL

    • OmNaser profile image

      OmNaser 6 years ago from kuwait

      a very useful hub thanks, I sometimes go to the grocery needing two or 3 items and ending up taking several items which makes it harder to save money. Also taking the kids to the grocery cost a lot more because every one of them wants something so my advice...GO ALONE!! lol

    • jamiesweeney profile image

      jamiesweeney 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Cloud 5 years ago

      great advice

    • profile image

      articlemoon 5 years ago

      we must follow these steps to save money. good info thanks

    • carolinemoon profile image

      carolinemoon 5 years ago

      Good points! It's economical and practical way of budgeting. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      bri 5 years ago

      thank you very much for the tips

    • Spencer Camus profile image

      Spencer Camus 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great tips. Will definitely be bearing these in mind

    • monicamelendez profile image

      monicamelendez 4 years ago from Salt Lake City

      I could be a LOT better with this. I tend to just buy enough to last for a week, sometimes it doesn't even last that long. I especially need to buy more when things are on sale.

    • GoGreenTips profile image

      Greg Johnson 4 years ago from Indianapolis

      Great hub! We've starting doing something similar. it works great having food in the pantry. Don't forget the gas savings too.

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