How to Build a Stockpile of Food for Less

Stockpile of Food
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The concept of stockpiling food is not new. Years ago, people would have a stockpile of canned and preserved foods as a means of survival. Today, people keep stockpiles of food for various reasons. Some people do it as a means of survival if they live in areas threatened by hurricanes and tornadoes. Others do it as a way to offset the rise in food prices. The following steps are designed to help people build a stockpile of food and other household and personal items, but do it in a way that saves money.

Build, Don't Buy, Your Stockpile

The first golden rule to saving on groceries through stockpiling is that over time, you will want to fill your pantry with items purchased at great prices that you and your family will use. Useful stockpiles are built gradually, using coupon strategies that will maximize your savings.

Plan Space for Your Stockpile

A stockpile of grocery and other items takes up space. Keeping it organized is essential, and if you do not dedicate enough space to it, you risk losing track of what you own. That is why the first step is to decide where you will keep your stockpile and prepare the space accordingly. Seasoned stockpilers often have at least one freezer and storage shelf dedicated to housing the products purchased in bulk. They also set up areas to store big items like toilet tissue, paper towels, and diapers.

Collect Coupons

Coupons are everywhere and the more you collect, the more you will find.

Organize Your Coupons

There are many ways to keep coupons organized. Some people use shoe boxes. Others use big notebooks. No matter what system is used to organize coupons, having them organized is an essential step to building a stockpile.

Decide on a Stockpile Budget

Stockpiling is meant to save people money by purchasing multiple products at low prices. For most people, stockpiling does not substitute for the weekly trips to the grocery store, at least not at the beginning. It is essential for those who are new to stockpiling to decide on how much they can afford out of their weekly budgets to spend on stockpiling -- then stick to it. That means walking away from some super deals at times.

Remember, there will always be more super (and sometimes better!) deals out there and if you spend your entire grocery budget on toilet paper, what will you eat? Making a conservative and reasonable stockpiling budget and then sticking to it will keep you in the game. Getting into debt could defeat the benefits of using stockpiling as a strategy for saving money.

Read the Coupon Boards

There are hundreds of coupon boards on the internet where people post daily deals that are available in stores. Searching for forums specific to your area is a good start.

Tip: Need to refresh what all the coupon lingo means on coupon forums? This article should answer your questions: Coupon Lingo - Popular Acronyms Used On Coupon Lists and Coupon Forums.

Know What is on Sale

Sites like Couponmom keep an ongoing database of many of the national grocery stores' weekly sales information. Also, investing in your local newspaper will keep you informed on local grocery store sales.

Keep an Eye on Expiration Dates

It can be very tempting to load up with multiple items when you can get them at the "time to stockpile" prices, but if the food goes bad then there went the savings! Also, if the purchase is something that you plan to freeze, check this list that shows how long you can store different food items and before loading up the grocery basket, be sure to have a plan on how and around when the items will be used.

Let's Start Building a Stockpile

Ready to do a little math? Here are a few examples of the first steps in building a stockpile, but without breaking your budget: Sally has budgeted $20.00 a week for purchasing items to build her stockpile.

Scenario #1

  • Sally has collected 10 coupons for $2.00 off one Wisk Laundry Detergent (any kind, any size).
  • She has browsed her favorite coupon forum and learned that Target has the same detergent on sale for $2.00 off for the 32-load size. It is regularly $4.99, now priced at $2.99.
  • If she bought 10 at regular price, it would cost her $49.90.
  • Sally buys 10 and uses her coupons and pays $.99 for each one, a total of $9.90 for all 10.
  • She puts the purchase onto her Target card and receives an additional 5% off.
  • Total price: $9.41 ($2.99 x 10 = $29.90 - $20.00 in coupons = $9.90 - 5% = $9.41)

Total savings: $40.49

Scenario #2

  • Sally discovered that Kroger has the Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts on sale for $1.60 per package (regularly priced $1.90)
  • She also found a rebate for a $2.00 coupon when you buy 10. If she buys 10 at regular price, it would cost her $19.00.
  • But she has 10 coupons for the Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts for $.75 off.
  • She buys 10 of the packages using her coupons.
  • Total price: $8.50 ($19.00 - $16.00 = $3.00 in savings by getting it on sale; $1.60 x 10 = $16.00 -- $7.50 in coupons = $8.50)

Total savings: $10.50, plus later she will receive a rebate for a $2.00 dollar coupon.

Sally has spent $17.91 out of her $20.00 stockpile budget for the week, leaving her with a balance of $2.09 which will go into her stockpile budget for the following week.

For under $20.00, she now has stockpiled laundry detergent and snacks for the kids and has a few dollars left over. By using the examples above you can see how easy it is to begin building your stockpile.

Know When to Stop 

Many hardcore stockpilers will admit that they sometimes find it difficult to stop stockpiling things they do not need or even want. They simply cannot pass up a good deal. Admittedly, stockpiling can become addictive, but sticking to a strict budget will keep things under control. Stockpiling just for the sake of stockpiling is a waste of money, energy, space and time.

What to Do When Building a Stockpile

  • Check your weekly store flyers.
  • Browse internet coupon forums.
  • Collect and organize coupons.
  • Match coupons to store sales.
  • Take advantage of product rebate offers.
  • Stay on target with what you own, need and will use and buy accordingly.
  • Use what you have stockpiled.

What Not to Do When Building a Stockpile

  • Buy a stockpile of food that will go bad before you get to use it.
  • Buy more than you have space to store.
  • Buy more than you and your family can use within a reasonable amount of time
  • Buy items your family doesn't eat.
  • Go over budget.

Good luck with building your first stockpile!