As we continue to prepare for our new arrival in the summer, our thoughts are obviously turning to how to cope on a reduced income. The obvious things, such as the nursery and everything related to the baby will be bought beforehand (hopefully!) but there are other things to take into account as well. One of these things is our food budget. Now, we’re reasonably good at keeping our food spends low, but preparing for the arrival means building up a stockpile of food.
Starting a stockpile means that we will have our everyday basics stocked up, so no late night rushes to the grocery store will be needed (again, hopefully). Also, a stockpile can be used to save money, providing you don’t get carried away.
The first thing to do when thinking about starting a stockpile is to work out what you use regularly, week in week out. You want your stockpile to be full of products that you use and find useful. There’s no point in buying lots of things on sale if you never use them in the first place. Remember, your stockpile can also include household items and toiletries, if you want it to. Things on my list include:
- tinned tomatoes
- basmati rice/risotto rice/pasta/spaghetti
- tinned beans
- tinned soup
- tinned sweetcorn
- tinned tuna
- toilet rolls
- hand wash
These (along with many others) are the products we use day in, day out. I use tinned tomatoes in many dishes, such as risotto, spag bol, chilli, stews. The pasta and spaghetti we use only costs 29p a bag, so it’s cheap and easy to stock up on. Cheese lasts for ages in the fridge, but it will need rotating. Anything tinned is useful to have in the cupboards; these last for a long time and can be used in a variety of ways. Toilet rolls, toothpaste and hand wash are all necessities, and can also be stockpiled.
The second bit of advice I can give is to not get carried away with buying things for your stockpile. You need to access how much space you’re going to dedicate to your stockpile and then keep to it. THere’s no point in buying 100 tins of tomatoes if you don’t have the space for them! Also, although the expiration date on tins is long, you still don’t want to let them get too out of date because you bought far too many of the product in the first place. That’s not moneysaving at all then.
Remember, starting a stockpile can be a slow process. The best stockpiles are built over time, so that the cost is spread out. Start small with your stockpile; add a couple of tins extra each week to your shopping trolley and build it up that way. As our space is a premium in our kitchen, I don’t think my own stockpile will be excessive – we just don’t have the room. I do intend to do some freezer meals as well, so that we’ll have our own “ready meals” to hand as well. Recently, a brand of toothpaste we use was over half price, so I bought 4 tubes of it for the bathroom cupboard. These should last us ages, but I might buy a couple more before the offer runs out.
You will need to organise your stockpile so that it is useful and practical. When you buy new stock, you need to put that at the back and have the older stock at the front, so that it get used first. Some people like to have lists of things they have in their stockpile, but that depends on how big you want your stockpile to be. Group similar items together, so they are easier to find; all tins are kept in the same cupboard in our kitchen, so I can see them all at a glance and see what we have and what we need to buy.
Related article: How To Organise Your Stockpile
Lastly, over time your stockpile should mean that your overall grocery spends are lower. Because you need to rotate and use things in your stockpile, you should end up buying less each month, once your stockpile is up and running. Another thing that you could add to your stockpile is fruit and veg that you’ve grown yourself and frozen which is something I want to do in the future!
Do you have a stockpile? Do you want to start your own stockpile? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!