In Part 1 of this series on How to Save Money on Groceries, Know What You Are Currently Paying for Grocery Items, I explained that grocery stores regularly promote their products by offering them at a sale price, usually on an 8-12 week rotation- and when you combine these sale prices with a coupon, you can begin to save significant money on your monthly grocery bill. But the key to success is to buy enough when the item is on sale to last you until the next time that the item goes on sale. This means for non-perishable food items, you need room to store a 2-3 month supply of these items.
What to Stockpile, and How to Build Up Your Stockpile
When looking over weekly store circulars and perusing through your pile of coupons, it is easy to allow yourself to get lured into purchasing something because it is “such a great deal”. But when it comes to starting your stockpile- you only want to stockpile those items that your family already buys now, and uses on a regular basis. This is not the time to try new foods or even new brands. You can “branch out” and do those things later, once you get your stockpile going, and have become a bit experienced in this new shopping approach. But right now you are concentrating on building a stockpile of items that you already use, and that you just want to pay less money for!
When you are just starting out, you will need to buy all of your regular groceries that your family needs for the coming week, since you do not have a stockpile to work from yet. And you will also need to start building that 8-12 week supply of items that you can buy cheaply this week. This means that at first, your weekly grocery bill may rise slightly. But over the next 2 months, you will buy less and less of what used to comprise a normal shopping list, because you will already have many of those items on hand- and you will instead spend your weekly grocery dollars on what you add to your stockpile that is at a rock-bottom price, as well as perishable items like milk and produce which you need to buy weekly.
Where to Store It All
I break up my stockpiling needs into several categories, and I have different storage locations for each category:
1. Pantry items– such as baking supplies, drink mixes, cereal, condiments, oils, peanut butter, pastas, snack items, and canned goods. I store some of these items (where I can fit them) in my kitchen cupboards, and the rest I keep in a closet that we have set up with pantry-type storage shelves. I make sure that I am careful to keep this closet neat and organized- and when I put new items away after shopping, I make sure the newer items are stored in the back of the shelf, so I use up the older (up front) items first.
2. Frozen foods– such as ice cream and other treats, frozen fruits and veggies, and beef and chicken. When I first started to change my grocery shopping habits, I stuffed every square inch of our freezer- but it was impossible to store enough frozen meat to really take advantage of stocking up when the prices were at their lowest. So Steve and I waited until we found a very good price on an energy-efficient stand-alone freezer that we could store in our basement. We made sure that the added expense of buying the freezer and running the freezer would be re-couped very quickly by the cost-savings of storing the lower-priced frozen items.
3. Beauty items– such as shampoo, conditioners, body washes, soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes, shaving cream, and feminine products. For a while I used old shoe boxes without their lids to create storage containers for these items, and stacked them under the sink in my bathroom. But it made that space so crowded, that I was having trouble finding what I needed. So I re-purposed an old bookshelf that we had stored in our basement, and brought it upstairs into the kids' bathroom, and was able to squeeze the bookshelf into a corner nook in that bathroom. This now holds all of my toiletry stockpile- and it is so easy to see exactly what I have, and where my stockpile is running low.
4. Paper goods– such as toilet paper and paper towels- these get their own category because they are so bulky to store. I have found that the only place where I have room to store these, is in my basement.
5. Cleaning and laundry supplies– I was able to re-work some existing shelving in the laundry room so as to increase the amount of laundry detergent and other supplies that I can store in the laundry room.
One of my favorite blogs is called “My Litter of Six“, written by a Mom who has taught me pretty much everything I now know about how to cut my household expenses and how to build a stockpile. I will be talking more about Tiffany and her blog in Part 3 of this series, but I could not complete this discussion on building your stockpiling without asking you to check out her past articles on Food Storage.
Do you subscribe to this stockpiling method of grocery shopping? Why or why not?
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