How to Build a Realistic Food Stockpile

Food StockpileFor couponers, the words “food stockpile” means never having to pay full price on grocery items. Here are some realistic food stockpiling tips.

When you stockpile food, you can purchase multiple groceries items at a very low price, stock your pantry and waits for the next sale cycle. By stockpiling food when prices are low you get everyday low prices. Stocking a pantry is a key part of sassing money on groceries.
What is a food stockpile?
A stockpile is simply buying more than what you need for immediate use when prices are extremely low, so that you do not have to pay full price in the future.

Manufacturers and retailers run sales in cycles. Everything typically goes on sale about every 8 – 12 weeks. If you buy 8 – 12 weeks worth of grocery items that you use when they go on sale, then you will have enough to last you until the next time they go on sale.  That means that even when items aren’t on sale, you are using the ones from your pantry (that were bought on sale) so you get an everyday low prices year round.

How many items should I buy?
That depends entirely on how many items you use. Each family has a different food stockpile. For example, if your family uses 2 boxes of certain pasta each week, than you will need to by 16 – 24 boxes of that pasta. If you family uses a pack of paper towels over 5 weeks, than 2 – 3 packs will do. Remember – depending on how much you use each different grocery item, stock up 8 – 12 weeks worth of every different item.
How do I start to stockpile food?
To begin a food stockpile, all you need is proper space, coupons and sales. For the first few months or so you will be spending a little bit more money to buy your normal groceries and begin your stockpile. However, once you’ve stocked up your pantry you will be able to forgo buying items until they are on sale and have coupons available making the items very cheap and oftentimes free.

You will need a large amount of coupons for the stocking up period. Consider buying multiple copies of the Sunday newspaper, trading coupons or using coupon clipping services.
How do I know when to re-stock?
The whole point of stockpiling food is that you should only buy items when they go on sale and you have coupons for them. Usually, as explained in my Smart Coupon Strategy article, items go on sale 3 – 4 weeks after the manufacturers release Sunday paper coupons. What you want to do is collect these coupons, hold on to them until the sales start and then use the coupons on the already reduced items. This is the time to replenish your food stockpile with 8-12 weeks worth of groceries.
And if I run out on a certain item?
Occasionally you will run out on one product or another because you didn’t buy enough of it on your last shopping trip, or you’ve miss calculated, or you’ve start using more of it, or because the manufacturer broke the sales cycle period.

In such case be patient, don’t buy more then a week’s supply, and keep your wad of coupons until that product eventually goes on sale.
Any more tips for stocking a pantry?
Pay attention to the following tips if you don’t want to end up throwing food and grocery items:

  • Keep your pantry fresh
    Put new items that you’ve just purchased at the back, while keeping older items at the front. This way you won’t find yourself with a bunch of expired grocery.
  • Pay attention to expiration dates
    Keep an eye on expiration dates when you stockpile food. Almost every product has an expiration date, even toothpaste. Most items have more than a year before they expire, so you should have no problem of you only stockpiles items to last 8 – 12 weeks.
  • Only stockpile products that you know your family will actually use
    It’s very tempting to buy lots of products that you have coupons for, even if you don’t use them on a regular basis. Simply Don’t.

    Remember – you didn’t save money if you’ll never use these 10 cereal boxes that where on sale.

How large should my pantry be?
If you’ve been watching “Extreme Couponing” on TLC than you probably got a wrong impression on how big a pantry should be.

For most families the regular kitchen storage place should be enough. You may need a few more extra shelves. If you have set up your whole garage with shelves – that an indication that your stockpile is probably too large and not realistic.

Organization and free space management are two skills that you’ll want to develop over time. A deep freezer may prove very handy to store 10 weeks worth of frozen veggies and meat, and will pay itself in less than a year.

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