How To Build A Grocery Stockpile

Build a Grocery Stockpile.

Grocery Stockpile

Have you been thinking about starting a grocery stockpile to save money?

It’s really not that hard to do – I promise! It does take time to build, but having a stockpile is worth it in so many ways.

Benefits of Stockpiling

  1. You will never run out of the things you use (well, sometimes you might – but if you stock up long enough, it’s not often that you will run out of something).
  2. You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck when it comes to your groceries. If you’re short on cash one week, come up with an “eat from the stockpile” menu and only use items that you have at home.
  3. You can help out others in need. Think of all the less fortunate people in the world and imagine how happy they would be to receive some items from your stockpile. It feels so good to give back!

Are you ready to get started on building a grocery stockpile? Here are some tips:

Get Organized

Before you start building your stockpile you need to determine some very important things.

  1. Where are you going to store everything?
  2. What types of items do you want to stockpile?
  3. How long would you like your stockpile to last? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
  4. How many of each particular item do you need to stockpile to last you the amount of time you want?

How Much Should I Stockpile For My Family?
It’s important to become familiar with what items your family uses on a daily basis. Many families go through lots of cereal, soup, pasta, tomato sauce, shampoo, toothpaste, bathroom tissue, etc.

When you open a new item, mark the date on the bottom. When the item is gone, make note of the date and you will learn how long it took you to go through it.

For example, let’s say you mark a box of cereal on April 12th and on April 19th it’s all gone. That means it took you 1 week to go through that box of cereal. If you want to have a 3 month supply, you will need to stockpile 12 boxes.

Pay Attention to Expiration Dates

Be careful not to overbuy, or items could quickly become expired and thrown into the trash – which is not helping you to save money. Always put new items behind older ones to ensure you are always consuming the older items before the new stuff.

Try to go through your stockpile every 6 months and make note of the expiration dates on items. If there are some items you don’t think you will be able to use before they expire, consider donating them to your local food bank or shelter.

Figure Out What You Can Spend

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting to build your grocery stockpile is to buy too much, too fast. It can be tempting to create a huge stockpile right away, but it is extremely costly to try this approach. It takes time to build a stockpile. It took me well over a year to get my stockpile to a place where I felt comfortable.

You need to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on “stock up” items every week. You don’t need much. Even $10 or $20 per week can be enough to get you a few extras of items on sale.

When you see a great sale on something you use a lot of, buy as many as you can afford (and can use before they expire).

Pay attention to the store sale cycles so you know when to expect certain items on sale. This will be when those items are at their rock bottom prices, and the best time for you to stock up.

Where to Store Your Stockpile

Once you’ve stocked up on some items, you need somewhere to store everything. Consider a basement, garage or under your bed. Even if you live in a small place, you can still have a stockpile.

Check out my post on stockpile storage ideas for some stockpile organizing inspiration.

Building a grocery stockpile is a great way to save money. By making sure you only buy what you can afford and store, and by paying attention to expiration dates, it’s easy to keep your grocery bills low by stockpiling.

Remember to go slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to grow your stockpile too fast. It’s easy to go overboard – don’t fall into that trap.

Do you have a grocery stockpile? How long did it take you to build it?

Posted on, August 14, 2010
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Comments
  1. Amanda says:

    Thank you for the tips – my husband got laid off and I became very sick and had to take time off work … We had to live off our stock pile what a blessing !!!!! So wonderful

  2. teachermum says:

    I do have a well stocked pantry in the basement but I couldn’t tell you how long it took to build as I have only ever sale/loss leader shopped for the past 25 years! We never set a specific budget amount for groceries but it all worked out. Some months I’d spend a lot, other months hardly anything, Also, most of my pantry was filled apart from coupons as they generally don’t make them for more “real food” products. But, I’d say easily most things were bought at 25-50% off regular price. I rarely pick up one item at full price-I wait for it to be on sale and buy a dozen. In the meantime we eat what I have on hand.

    Now if someone would please put canned mushrooms on for .50…I’ll be buying 24 or more! They haven’t been on sale anywhere in AGES!

  3. Jenny says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the people who call me a hoarder are jealous of my deals and stockpile for my family, they say negative things like that then later ask me how to do it, and hoarding is totally not as organized as a stockpile anyone who has one knows this :)

  4. Saffy says:

    I really only stockpile non-edibles because there are just the two of us and we don’t eat that many pre-packaged and snack foods. Besides we both get sick of things and then don’t use them by the expiry date. My stockpile contains a lot of laundry stuff, toilet paper and tampons. I think I have enough tampons to last until menopause and probaby enough laundry detergent as well – lol.

  5. Tiffany says:

    OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR SITE.Thank you so much..I have learned alot this week.

  6. Cassie says:

    Thank you, Tiffany!

  7. Dee says:

    Hardly a thing there fit to use… most everything processed, full of chemicals and not eco-friendly. How much antipersperant and body wash (full of chemicals) can a family use anyway?

  8. krystalee says:

    I live in a small town with one grocery store and prices are unreal at times as often as i can get to the city i go and stock up on things that are on sale i do keep a well stocked pantry, but i find it hard to save as much as i would like to because i live out of the city

  9. Jessica says:

    I am working on my stockpile…getting pretty full now. Its like my security blanket…if anything happens, I know that we can feed ourselves for a few months. I’d like to eventually get it up to being able to feed ourselves for a year, just gonna have to be careful with expiration dates. I use things in our stockpile every week, so havent had anything go bad :) I just replace is plus some when it goes on sale again

  10. Tasha Gray says:

    I have a wonderful stockpile in my basement. With the cost of everything increasing, and 5 children to yet move out……. Shampoo, Conditioner, Listerine, Hairspray, laundry soap, sunscreen, body wash, household cleaners etc….. they never expire and going off to school / moving out the first time this stuff comes in handy, especially on your budget.

  11. ashley says:

    how do you get ++ coupons for one product so you can buy ++ groceries and items? to even make a stock pile on a product (s)?

  12. Shirley says:

    For about the last two years now I have been stockpiling things that we are going to need for when my husband retires, in about 18 months or so. I think this is a great way to get ready for one income, as I will still be working. Basically I am stocking up on the non-food items, laundry soap, toothpaste, Kleenex, toilet paper. When you get a bit older it get harder to carry these kind of items home..LOL I love Shopper’s, especially their Kleenex, wow .59 cents a box, even the larger stores can’t come close to that price. I think its up to us the consumer to look out for US. Here is a quick tip, did you know that if you store your sour creme upside down in the fridge,
    it will keep for months, so when it goes on sale I usually buy 4, the liquid seals it and it stays fresh for months… Mrs. January I love your site and thank you for all your hard work keeping our families feed with all your great tips.

  13. Cassie says:

    Shirley: Thank you for that great tip!

  14. Caroline says:

    Hi Cassie – great article…I have started trying to focus more on recipes and menu planning to use up food from the garden, from the stockpile, from the cupboards, before I do my shopping. It is taking quite a bit of discipline, but the grocery bills are going down.

  15. Annie says:

    I have been doing this for years. My husband was laid off many times when the kids were small (they are now grown) and would stockpile when he was working so i had stuff when he wasn’t. It worked very well. Now I still stockpile but only specific things as there is only 2 of us. Even for the freezer it worked well as I would have meat for the whole winter and just have to buy a few choice things. My girlfriend came over one time and her daughter saw my stockpile and asked if she could go buy things at the store in my basement…heehehe

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