How to stockpile on a budget
Stockpiling, or buying more of an item than you immediately need because it’s heavily discounted or at a great price point, 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 on 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. Consider Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes or Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches to start!
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. A few to get you started are Butternut Squash Carbonara or Rice Bowls with Spicy Curry Sauce. So many ways to change it up and make delicious, filling meals without meat.
Crockpot pinto beans are economical, super easy and SO yummy. Wrap up in a tortilla, top a tostada with beans, sour cream and fresh salsa or just eat on their own.
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.
RELATED: How to establish good money habits
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, Safeway or “insert your local grocery store here” gift card. This will help you grab personal care items at the drugstore when they are marked down or stock up on a “loss leader” sale at your local grocery store.
Most grocery stores will feature a few “loss leaders” each week in their ad, with 2-3 fruits, vegetables, canned or boxed goods priced super low. These are called loss leaders as they expect to take a loss on them to get you into the store to buy more expensive items or items not on sale.
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 cheap after coupons to last your family for six months, then you don’t have to buy toothpaste again, freeing up that money to stockpile 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.
BONUS TIP: Think outside the box!
Stockpiling doesn’t necessarily HAVE to mean buying items from the grocery store. Canning fresh produce you pick yourself or find at a discount is an excellent way to fill your pantry for the coming months. We have a great beginner’s guide here!
If you’re not quite ready to start canning or are looking for other avenues to feed your family for less, consider freezing fresh fruits or other items (cheese, soups and broths, even sandwiches!).
RELATED: Making versus Buying
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any tips for stockpiling or getting started creating a small stockpile?
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Take an extra odd job!
Good points, and I hope newcomers take heed. I’m not on a budget, but I prefer to live a frugal life. A few months ago, Walgreens had 12-packs of TP and 8-packs of paper towels for $1.99. Over the course of several days and visits to several stores, I bought about 18 packages, which will last a long time. These items are $5 each normally.