For part two of our series, How to Save Money at the Grocery Store Without Coupons, I taught you How to Find Rock Bottom Sales Prices Part of that post, was showing you how to create your very own price book.
Knowing your rock bottom sales prices, and having them all in one place is key to the next article of our series.
So How do you Build a Stockpile?
Let’s take your grocery savings journey one step further, and learn how to use that price book to create a stockpile. Lets start with the basics.
What is a stockpile?
A stockpile is a stock of groceries, or other items, that you have readily available for when your current inventory runs out. survivalist, couponers, and money savers alike usually have a huge stockpile somewhere in their house.
What is the purpose of a stockpile?
Some people out there will tell you that a stockpile is greedy. I can see that, I mean who needs 10 jars of peanut butter, right? Yes, some people may do just that, and go overboard with their stockpile.
However you won’t see me getting 10 jars of peanut butter (even though my family goes through a lot), but I typically will have about 4 jars in my stockpile to last me until the next sale. That is because the real reason for a stockpile is to be able to buy enough of any staple item for your household until the next time they are at their rock bottom sales price.
This is where that pricebook I talked about last week really starts to come in handy. Yes, some people go overboard with this, however I will show you how to keep this well under control.
How to start your stockpile
Find out how long your staples last week to week.This is your “magic number”. When I first started my stockpile, I sort of guessed how much of any given item to purchase.
I was usually wrong, I either got too much or not enough. It took me a while to find a way to more easily track how much I needed between each sale cycle. I finally found something that works for me.
All you need is a magic marker, a pen and your new handy-dandy price book. I started this tracking method by taking a magic marker and dating when I opened anything. I put this date right on the package.
Then, when I was about to run out and needed to replace it, I would see how long the item lasted me, based on the date I had written down and the date of when I had to replace it. It was then that I discovered that cereal typically lasts us 5-7 days. It all depends on if I eat oatmeal for a few of those days, or not.
From here I have more recently started writing down our stockpile totals in our price book, which is what I highly suggest you do too! At one point I lost my list of what our stockpile list totals, and had to start from scratch.
Some, like the cereal, I know by memory (because we get so much) but I need to work on a lot of the others again. This is why I made the change to having the last item in my price book be the stock list, so everything is in one place.
Start stocking up on staples when they hit their rock bottom prices. In last weeks post, I mentioned that rock bottom sales prices come around about once every 6-8 weeks.
With this in mind, and to ensure you only buy items at that rock bottom sales price, you want to stock up on 8-9 weeks of your staples. This way, you will always have enough to get you through week to week, that is until the next time it’s at the rock bottom sales price again.
Keeping in mind that cereal lasts us about 5-7 days, I know that when cereal is at my rock bottom sales price, I need to get 12 boxes to make sure I have enough between this time and the next sales cycle. I could have rounded down, and looked closer to the 7 day span instead of the 5 days, however we use cereal almost every day so I would rather err on the side of caution for this one.
If it was something like salad dressing, mayo, ketchup even, I would have rounded down. Whether you round-up or down is up to you, but to me it is all based on the staple and if I would be okay if I didn’t have enough to last until the next sale.
How to store your stockpile
Your stockpile can be stored anywhere. If there is a shelf, or an empty space, you can stock your items it in. I have heard a lot of people who put their stockpile under all of the beds in their house.
As long as you have long enough sheets to hide it, no one will be the wiser. I am lucky enough to have plenty of basement space and a husband made me some rough shelving where I can put my stock pile.
He uses the area too, but he started building this when we realized that the metal rack we purchased wouldn’t stay steady on our uneven basement floor, and we started running out-of-place on it.
You can also store your stockpile in your cabinets too. The smaller your family, the less space you may need to utilize. My suggestion is to be creative with this. A stockpile is one of the best ways to stretch your grocery dollar. I highly suggest that everyone has one.
Invest in a deep freezer. A lot of items can be frozen in order to be stocked up on some of your more perishable items. We purchased ours when my husband used to work at Sears when we first got married. We had a very small two bedroom (one was the office at the time) apartment.
We put the freezer in the entryway which just fit, at least enough for us to get by in the entry. I bet you didn’t know that milk can freeze, all you need to do is pop it right in. Eggs are freezable too, if you know the right technique. I will go over some other ways to save in another post for this series. I tried to get a good picture of this but gave up, our basement doesn’t have much light and our deep freezer is off in the far corner.
Know your stockpiling resources. There are a few places I have found some great tips and advice on creating a stockpile. If you want more specific information, such as how to freeze milk.
I love the helpful information and sense of community on sites like Stockpiling Moms. Not only are the articles extremely helpful, but the tips you can find in the comments section are invaluable.
One of the main reasons I really like having a stockpile is that if someone I know is down on their luck, I can help them out by taking some of the extra that I have, and sharing with them. This means that I may dwindle down my stockpile before the next rock bottom sales, but helping others is totally worth it.
If there is a local food drive, my stockpile will take a hit too! Plus, the more I save on my groceries by stocking up on rock bottom sales prices, the more money I have to put towards the donation section of my budget. I love that freedom!
Where do you see your stockpile going?