Stockpiling - Building Supplies for Peace of Mind
Stockpiling is a good way to ensure you have supplies on hand in case of shortages or emergencies. It became very popular a few years back when people were afraid of a worldwide financial collapse but it’s still a prudent practice today.
Building up canned or dried goods is nothing new though. Even the cave man knew to preserve the food he had for tough times ahead.
Ever take a good look in your kitchen cabinets or your food pantry? If you’re like most people, you may find cans of foods or dried foods you’ve never used from years ago.
These maybe items that you bought for a recipe but never made, or they may be foods that you bought on a whim or on sale. The problem is that if you’re not using the foods you buy, you are throwing your money down the drain. The trick is to stick with the staple items you are absolutely sure your family will consume.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will have to
plan. It’s impossible to stock up the right items if you don’t make the time to map out what your family consumes.
Now you can do this step by yourself but why not get your family involved? Hold a family meeting to get feedback from them. Learn what dishes or foods they like best and keep them in mind when you’re planning, shopping, or making lists.
Stockpiling to Build Food Supplies
Step One – Determine what foods your family eats each week. Write down the meals you serve most often. Then make a list of the ingredients from each recipe, which may include: non-perishables (like canned foods, dried beans, pasta, rice, or frozen ingredients), dairy foods (cheese, butter, and milk products), and meats (poultry, pork, and beef). Be sure to include any extra ingredients you may use a lot like spices, herbs, oils, and vinegar.
Take a good look at grocery receipts from the last couple of months and write down items you buy every week. If you’re like me, you know there are certain foods or drinks that you buy frequently for family members. It is key that you save at least some money on these items because ultimately, you’ll need to replenish their supply often.
Include other items you use up regularly. This list includes toiletries like paper towels, aluminum foil, shampoo, lotion, or toothpaste.
Now for the fun part!
Search newspapers or online for grocery coupons so you can save at least some money while you're stockpiling. These are some coupon sites just to get you started.
When you get to the store, look for BOGO (buy one/get one) items on your list. If you see any, buy more than a month’s supply.
*Tip - If you'd like to save even more while you're building your supplies, join a club like Sam's Club. You'll earn back what you spend on membership if you can purchase items in bulk!
*Tip - Remember you are adding to your stockpile so you may have to spend a little more now to appreciate the savings later.
Step Two - Now its time to clear out a shelf in your pantry. If you find foods that are well out of date, toss them. However, if you find foods you know you’ll never use but are still good, give them to a local soup kitchen. They’re sure to appreciate any donations you make!
You’ll also need to go through your freezer to see which meats or other frozen items you already have. If you’ve got enough chicken (for example) to last a while, cross it off your list. Be sure you arrange your freezer so you can easily see what you already have in stock and make room for what you may need to buy. And be sure all the items are dated so you use what's oldest first.
Step Three - Don't try and stock everything at once unless you can afford to do so. Instead, only buy items that are on sale and use your coupons to save even more. If you don’t have coupons for the items on sale, compare those sale prices with other brands on the shelf. If you’re not getting a good savings, (50 – 70 percent off the listed price), then don’t purchase these items until you have coupons to make stockpiling more worthwhile.
Most foods go on sale every six weeks. The easiest way to track them is to use a calendar or ledger and write down when they go on sale. This makes stockpiling much easier to track.
It can take a few months to complete your stocking your shelves so don't be in a hurry. Check weekly mailers for the grocery stores in your area. If another store has items you use frequently on sale, you’ll need to make an extra stop IF it's worth the extra driving you'll have to do.
While you’re creating your stockpile, you may end up spending more money on groceries than usual. This is part of the process so be prepared for the extra costs. However, by the time you’ve finished stocking up, you should be spending way less on the groceries you buy than you did before you created the stockpile.
Step Four - Storing the foods you buy is extremely important! Just like a grocery store, you must rotate your food! How? Store older purchases towards the front of the pantry so they get used first and store the newest purchases behind older items. Place them where you can clearly see expiration dates! If they are not clearly visible, use a black magic marker and print them (using large letters) on the tops of cans for example, or use food labels.
Another objective is to buy items with the best expiration dates. Most of the time, they will be in back of the items in the front. Never buy what’s within hands reach without comparing and always buy items with the best expiration's!
Each week when you shop, look through your pantry and make note of items that are getting low. Track sales for them all to get the best buys.
Once you have finished stockpiling, your weekly grocery bill should return to normal or be a bit lower.
Also, many communities now have Liquidation Centers, where you can find some great values. These centers get their stock from other stores that are considered to be ‘leftovers’ that maybe out of date, close to expiration dates, have been discontinued, or have been slightly damaged. You will need to assess which items are a good buy and which are not, so you’ll still need to check the prices and the condition of the items.
Tips for Stockpiling
Keep your stockpiles well organized.
Arrange your stocks by category, such as; baked goods, canned goods, beverages, etc.
Keep food labels facing the front.
Store items in a cool, dry place. Use canister bins for root vegetables.
Have the right containers for your stockpiles. There are so many new types of airtight containers to choose from so be sure to check them out. Stackable clear containers are also a great idea for dried goods because you can always see how much you have and what’s inside.
Make dinner from your stockpiles at least 4 nights a week. Plan to use leftover’s on the other days or have a sandwich night, cereal night, or breakfast for dinner night. Frozen dinners are only a good idea if you can get them on sale.
The bottom line is that even small families can benefit by stockpiling. In a turbulent world, you never know what lies ahead! Most of all, having a well supplied kitchen will help you sleep better at night. Being prepared is certainly good advice anytime of the year!
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