Monday, 16 March 2009

Steps For Stockpiling

Stan Wentland and Wife Jo Restock Grocery Store, Rockford, Illinois by Margaret Bourke-White

In the comments to my last post, Shopping With a Calculator, Part Two, Em wrote:
I've been hesitant to cut back on the weekly shopping too much in case it runs
our stockpile down (usually buy any specials that might be regular stockpile
items) - but we do need to try and cut it back our budget some more - any ideas
about how to work stockpile maintainence/specials buying in with the weekly

I am no expert in stockpiling but I've been thinking about this and have come up with a plan that I think would work for me, and hopefully some of you too.

I appreciate that different cities and countries provide different shopping opportunities. For instance, we don't have Aldi in Adelaide and we don't have coupons in Australia. I have always found the Woolworths/Coles duopoly frustrating as I know they keep prices high and there is little difference between them on price. Fortunately, Adelaide has Foodland, which provides a great alternative to the "big two".

The specifics of my situation are as follows:
  • Family of six, with children aged 15, 12, 10 and 6.
  • I shop weekly.
  • All toiletries (apart from makeup) and cleaning products are included in the weekly shop
  • A budget of $200 ($135 US), which I often go over:-(.
  • All children and hubby take lunches to school/work
  • We get takeaway or eat out as a family about once every 2 months. I buy coffee out about once a week and usually buy sushi for my lunch on Friday when I do my shopping. Hubby buys coffee sometimes too. These items are not covered by our $200 per week.
  • The only freezer space I have is the small freezer above my fridge. The house we are renting has very limited pantry space too.
  • Sadly, we don't have a vegetable garden anymore, due to our recent interstate move. Once we buy a home I'll start one up again.

Here is my plan for building a stockpile on a budget.

1. Think about your budget

If you are on a bare-bones food budget there may be very little room to buy extras for a stockpile. Thus if you want to build a stockpile you may have to allocate extra funds to do so. However, as I discovered when I took my calculator shopping, I could shop for less than I usually do, just by organising myself better.

2. Create a menu plan that will come under budget

In order to create a stockpile without going over budget, your basic menu plan for the week has to come under budget. To create such a menu plan you need to shop at home first, using up existing supplies, and study grocery store catalogues so you know what will be on sale. Also, think about which fruits and vegetables are in season in your area, as they will be less expensive and will have travelled less.

3. Think about which items you are running out of, and add them to your list

If you can get some of these items in bulk or on sale, that's great.

4. Plan to Stockpile

Using sale catalogues and your existing supplies as a guide, plan just a few items that you can buy in bulk or buy extra of, to add to your stockpile, or to begin a stockpile if you don't already have one. Don't get carried away; you still want to stay within your budget.

5. Take your calculator shopping

I cannot emphasis enough the advantages of doing this. If you hit your limit, start putting things back on the shelves, beginning with the least important ones.

6. Rotate Your Supplies

There is no point storing lots of food if you allow it to spoil. So keep eating and rotating the supplies you have.

While I am not a Mormon, they are worth mentioning as they are experts on food storage. Members of the LDS (Latter Day Saints) church are encouraged to store at least a 3 month supply of food and water for all family members. To find out more about Family Home Storage, click this link. If you Google "LDS food storage" you will find lots of other links on this topic.

My next post will be this week's menu.

Have you have any tips on building a food stockpile? If so, please leave a comment.

For more kitchen tips visit Kitchen Tip Tuesday at


Linda said...

We are at the third level with no Coles, Safeway or Aldi. I prefer Coles to Safeway, but my information may be old. My son has concluded the same as me, that the Coles brands are great.

Your budget is very impressive. I have the same number of children but slightly older. Not sure how much more they would eat.

Actually at 18, 15, 12 and 7, there would be not much difference only with one person.

I have been known to tell the operator how much I have to spend so they don't go over. You have to have an idea, you probably can't get them to put back a large number of items as it would be rude possibly. If you have gone into the shop for a small amount you can count in your mind, rounding to the dollar or perhaps 50c.

Tracy said...

Once a week I am near an Aldi store. You know what? Their prices are creeping up and are not always the same great deal they once were. There are some Aldi products however, that we prefer and so when I am near an Aldi (I wouldn't travel 1/2 hour out of my way) I will get about $25 worth of items.

As for stockpiling, I don't really do it. I have enough in my pantry to ensure I won't run out unexpectedly, but generally speaking we don't get such marvellous deals (as you well know!) so as to make it a worthwhile activity. A six monthly trip to Shepparton to visit friends and go to SPC is worthwhile though. Again, not worth the extra trip, but if you're going anyway.....Jam for 90c a jar and bread flour at about $5 off 10kg is definitely worth stockpiling. If you're an RACV member you get a further discount.

xo.sorcha.ox said...

I've discovered that having a menu plan (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) really helps with maintaining a budget.

Stephanie said...

My family is the same size only slightly younger. Our budget is less, but we raise a lot of our own food. If you account for that, they are probably pretty close. My stockpiling is only what we put up from the food we raise.

Shopping with cash only has been the biggest help to me to stay in the budget. I also made fresh produce optional on my list depending on the price. We've cut out almost everything premade. Dried beans have taken a more prominent role in our meals.

mrsjones6 said...

You have some really great ideas Kate.

Budgeting for food is really a chore as prices continue to rise. There are five of us at home here. I use the calculator method and also menu plan. These two methods alone have save us quite a bit on groceries.
We really do not have a lot of space, but I have discovered shopping at a food club like Costco really helps us out. Once a month I buy toilet paper, papaer towels,trashbags, etc... This stuff is usually cheaper to buy in bulk, so I do. We also pick up grocery items that are in high demand at home.
I also try to have one or even two meatless dinners each week. It doesn't always work, but I do try. As for stockpiling food, I can using food we have grown or that has been given to us by family from their gardens. When we have rented in the past I have grown food in containers out on the porch or in a corner of the yard. I also shop farmer's markets for local produce that I can put up. I keep a running grocery list of things as we run out of them. I try to keep up with how often I am buying it at the market and decide if it needs to go on the bulk grocery list.
Over the last year have cut down our grocery bill $300/month. Menu planning makes the biggest difference in the world as I am not buying stuff that I do not need.

I look forward to seeing what everyone else does to budget and stockpile.

Have a great week,

Kasey Hunt said...

I think you are doing a great job! We only have 4 in our family. And our budget is $400. We were carelessly spending almost 600 a month on groceries. I was introduced to coupon shopping now I'm hooked. I don't find so many great freebies and deals for food as I do for personal care/cleaning supplies. I know that there a lot of good sources /blogs out there who have great links or great stores that are near by them where they really score on groceries. I'm currently building up our stock pile so I justify spending more now. I'd like to be able to cut back some more though!! I like your blog. :)

Em said...

Thanks for the ideas Kate, menu planning probably will help us stick to our budget better - I'm a bit sporadic with this but I know it's worked in the past. You do a great job budgeting for 6 people :)

white_lilly said...

You have some really good tips. My favourite store for value for money would be Aldis my next choice would be coles but watching out for the specials is important.

I have watched a few of those videos on you tube about the mormons stockpiling, which are really good. i think the one I really liked was Nancy Today, she is so funny and different. The only problem I have at the moment is running out of space in my pantry. I might have to do what Nancy Today does and store food under the floor and around the ceiling lol

Tammy L said...

Great tips! Thank you for writing about this topic... it seems like longer-term food storage (I personally don't like the word "stockpiling" as well since it reminds me of a stash of stuff that serves no purpose!) is one of the under-addressed topics regarding food. :)

Kirstin said...

I don't really stockpile because our budget just doesn't allow for it. We have 4 but we also do a lot of entertaining and having people over regularly and our budget is $210 every two weeks (american $$), that includes toiletries..I shop at different stores in order to get the best deals. I carry a calculator and if need be, return items that might put me over budget...I shop with cash too so it's harder to go over budget.

I think you're doing a great job too Kate!

debra said...

Thanks for the great ideas! We only have 3 in our family, one being a 7 yr old girl, so our budget is much less than most. My husband really likes his meat so meatless meals are hard for me to do. I do make meals a couple times a week that I can 'cheat' on - I mean use less meat in- like spaghetti, chicken alfredo, chili. There is still meat but I use much less than I would if we grilled chicken breasts or had burgers.

I don't really stockpile much but I do always have extras on hand of canned & dried goods just in case I need to cut back. The Mormons do a wonderful job of storing food. My grand parents (who are Mormon) have always had a wonderful supply. It is certainly something to look into during these times.

My best money saving advice is to use cash. Whatever your budget is is the amount you have in your wallet (or envelope in my case so I don't mix it up) There's no going over budget since you only have what you have.

Thanks again!

Elizabeth said...

I try to plan a week's worth of dinners and allow for breakfast and lunch stuff as well, not really picking a meal for a particular night but having the food on hand for a week's worth. Mainly right now I'm trying to serve cheap meals, like pasta with sauce or homemade pizza that allow me to save a little here and there.