How To Build A Realistic Food Stockpile
I want to be up front about something. I’m a guy and I don’t clip coupons to the extent that Stacy does. I think her a bit of an odd duck actually but I also respect how much she saves with her bargain hunting. What I’m about to share builds on that a bit and can make your couponing more effective.
First up is understanding what, exactly, stockpiling is and how it differs from hoarding, just to avoid confusion.
Compulsive hoarding is a form of, or related closely to, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in that the afflicted cannot get rid of anything and always needs more, not caring if anything is useful or not. The main point is that they always need more, have to possess it, and it is not only unhealthy in and of itself, but can provide a dangerous living environment. Folk who collect newspapers and keep them protected and organized in a spare room just for the sake of history are not hoarders, they just have an unusual collection. Folk who have to have the same newspapers but pile them wherever and do not care if they are ruined or not but scream, “Don’t you dare throw those out!” if you try to clean the mess up are hoarders and likely need help of the kind we cannot give.
Stockpiling is collecting consumables, keeping them neatly organized, rotating stock, and tracking what you are short on and have an adequate supply of. It’s a form of collecting. Getting the same food and other stockpile items but then tossing them into the basement willy-nilly will turn your home into a rodent bed and breakfast and is a form of hoarding.
So stockpiling is a bit odd, but provided it’s properly organized and managed it’s just a form of collecting, and one you can use to save money.
How will it save you money?
Stores have an annual schedule of what items to put on sale when so as to best use the seasonal buying preferences of its customers to their advantage. Soups in fall, egg nog at Christmastime, eggs in spring fall in this rotation. They also have a shorter rotation of about 13 weeks to keep merchandise moving off the shelves which is why you see items like tuna go on sale at regular intervals. Having a stockpile of food means that you can get most, if not all, of these sale items only when they are on sale instead of having to purchase them whenever. When you combine this with coupon clipping it becomes a powerful tool for keeping money in your pockets.
Getting started is the hardest part – right up until you do it.I know you don’t know me from “Joe Schmuckatelly” down the block but I’m going to ask you to trust me for a moment here…this will work out fine in the long run but you will have to spend the money now to save it later. I know that sounds wrong, but buying on sale now instead of buying off-sale because you are out saves money in the long-run.
I’m going to talk about food now, but everything here outside of keeping your food fresh applies to any consumable you use, be it beans and rice or toothpaste and toilet paper. So here we go, step-by-step, on how to start keeping more coin in your purse:
- Make up your shopping list. Don’t look at your coupons or sales items yet, just what you need.
- Go to your cupboard and circle what is on your list that you have enough of to last you a week.
- Now get out the coupons and sale fliers for the stores you plan to visit.
- Look at the circled items on your list and check your sales and coupons. If an item is circled and isn’t on sale, cross it off the list – you have enough for now.
- Anything on sale or with a coupon needs to have more of it purchased. If you need 4 but it’s on sale, buy 6.
- If you have a coupon and it’s on sale, double how many you need. If you need 5 then buy 10.
- Now go shopping.
Now you are on your way towards saving money. Keep shopping this way and eat like you normally would and you will never have an empty cupboard. There are some things to keep in mind when you put the groceries away:
Expiration dates matter, so rotate your stock. First bought, first used. Always put the newer stuff in back.
When your cupboards are full, it’s time to look at if you are happy with the amount you have stockpiled or if you want to go bigger and try to keep a year’s supply on hand to take care of the annual rotations.
Stockpiling can use a deep freezer as well, allowing you to get meat when it’s on sale, but keep in mind the rotation of stock and be sure to freeze it immediately.
If you write the date on the package before you put it away it will help you if someone messes things up (like my kids…) or you reorganize and/or expand your storage.
This will be enough to get you started. You’re now ready to move on to part two: Making Your Stockpile Work for You
Paul Stephens is a middle aged guy, just over the hill and having a blast. He was a Member of Boy Scouts of America as a child and young adult and has taken the motto, “Be Prepared,” to heart. Having survived floods, near misses from tornadoes, and unemployment, Paul has a small store of goods set away and does it on the cheap using methods explained for the readers of Adventures in Coupons.