How to stockpile on a budget
Stockpiling, or buying more of an item than you immediately need because it’s free or really cheap, is essential if you really want to slash your monthly grocery budget. For some, it’s financially difficult to begin the stockpiling process as there may be little room in the budget to devote to purchasing extras. Here are some suggestions how you can free up some cash to start stockpiling:
Eat out of your pantry. Dig through those high cupboard shelves and your freezer and start meal planning around the food you find. I did this when I first started meal planning and was amazed how often I could create a whole meal without going to the store. Your slow cooker will probably become your good friend as you make all kinds of long-forgotten frozen meat into yummy dinners.
Serve more meatless dinners. Meat is often the spendiest part of a meal. Try serving a vegetarian dinner once or twice a week and pocket the savings. Beans and quinoa are great alternative proteins. We have tons of yummy vegetarian recipes on our Recipes Page.
Do without a luxury for a month. Skip the Starbucks, eating out, trip to Target, new shoes, whatever. “Little luxuries” add up quickly and could really help you build a stockpile instead. Maybe you don’t have any “little luxuries,” but you might be able to do something else like cancel or downgrade cable or DVR, drive less for a couple of weeks, or forgo a new outfit for this month.
Sell something. Hunt around your house for anything you don’t use or need, sell it on craigslist, and use the money to start your stockpile fund. Find craiglist selling tips here.
Allocate your next bonus, additional paycheck, or tax return to stockpiling. Do you have leftover money from a Christmas bonus? Do you or someone in your family get paid every two weeks, creating an additional paycheck twice a year? Are you getting a tax return this year? Plan now to use some of that money to begin stockpiling. You don’t need that much to start — even $50 will give you the ability to take advantage of a couple of sales this month.
Ask for a gift card. When your next birthday rolls around, instead of asking for a Starbucks gift card or a new scarf, ask for a Walgreens, Rite Aid, or Safeway gift card. This is especially helpful if you plan to start playing Walgreens or Rite Aid — a gift card will get you started earning store incentives (Walgreens Register Rewards or Rite Aid +UP Rewards) and if you’re strategic, you can make those rewards turn into freebies for months to come.
Start small. You don’t have to go hog wild on this stockpiling thing. Instead, focus on one group of items (canned goods, cereal, toiletries) or even one single item (pasta) that you will stockpile this month. If you get enough tubes of toothpaste for free after coupons to last your family for six months, then you don’t have to buy toothpaste again, freeing up that money to stockpiling another item. As the months go by, you’ll have more money to devote to stockpiling and need to buy less items at full price because you need it now.
I talk a lot about stockpiling in my How to Save Money with Coupons web class. It’s about 30 minutes and completely FREE to watch. You’ll walk away understanding the basics of strategic couponing and exactly how to stockpile items your family uses or eats to decrease your monthly grocery budget.
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