Q&A: Stockpiling Food
I have a questions about stocking food. I currently have the “drugstore” game mastered and have a great stock on personal/household items. I currently am working very hard at lowering the grocery bill at the same time eating more whole foods. I have in the past read your post about your weekly shopping and notice that most grocery items are for the week. Do you stockpile food? I know kinda hard to do with eating more whole food. But things like meat, pasta, frozen veggies, etc. -Melissa
I get asked this question a lot and the truth is, I’m always “buying ahead” — just not usually in vast quantities since I’m more of a minimalist and typically don’t like to store more than what I’ll be able to use in the next three to six months. We also have a smaller family so food lasts longer around here than it would if we had five teenagers.
For instance, last week I stopped by the health food store to check on their markdowns. I ended buying four loaves of bread, two packages of hot dog buns, two packages of chicken hot dogs and a gallon of milk. These were all marked down to less than I can get at Aldi or on sale with coupons so I bought them and put them all in the freezer since we don’t need any of them for our menu last week. I’ll incorporate them into our menus over the four to six weeks or so.
In addition, last week I purchased three bags of turbinado from the bulk food store. This will likely last us for the next four to five months, since I try use sugar rather sparingly.
I had the extra cash to purchase these items and I knew they were all things we’d use, so I went ahead and purchased them. This is typically the way I stockpile: in small quantities here and there as I come across great deals or opportunities to buy food in bulk and have the cash to purchase them.
While we might not have rooms stuffed to the ceiling with cans and boxes of food, we always have quite a variety of food on hand, we are able to keep our grocery budget lowered since we aren’t paying full price for most items and I have a number of different options on hand to use as the basis for planning our weekly menus.
If I have the time and coupons, I also occasionally will do a major stock-up of something — such as the 31 tubes of toothpaste I got for free last year! — but by and large, I usually just buy ahead in small quantities as part of my weekly grocery shopping trips.
In all honesty, as we’ve shifted more to a whole foods diet, I’m using coupons less and focusing more on buying markdowns at the health food store and loss leaders at the grocery stores. This has simplified my shopping routine a great deal — I clip and organize fewer coupons, don’t have to spend a lot of time planning out my shopping trips and I make fewer trips to the store.
This method of shopping and stockpiling is working well for our family right now, but I can see as my children grow older and their appetites increase, we’ll likely be tweaking this in order to accommodate the need to buy more groceries. For now, though, I’m enjoying keeping it simple!
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