How Much Do I Need In My Stockpile?

When building a stockpile the first thing you want to do before you get started is figure out how much your family uses. This will help you determine how much you need to buy to fill your stockpile. You’ll also want to think about how many months worth of supplies to you want to store. This will depend on your purpose for building a stockpile. You’ll need to determine how large a supply you want to have on hand. Do you want to have 3 months worth of groceries? 6 months? A year?

Each families goal will be different based on family size and the time frame in which they’d like their stockpile to last. To get started determining your stockpile needs, think about the foods you eat in a months time. The easiest way to figure this out is to look back at your previous menus.In your menus you’ll find a recurring theme. Let’s take a look at a single item to see how we are to determine our families needs. We will use Family A, as an example.

Example #1: Looking at Family A’s previous months menu they cooked rice on an average of four times a week. The family is using on average 5 lbs. of rice per month. If you want a six month supply on hand you’ll need to buy (6) 5lb. bags of rice.

Example #2: Looking at Family A’s previous months menu, they go through 1 boxes of cereal each week. If they want a 6 month cereal supply on hand they’ll need to buy 24 boxes of cereal.

How can you afford to buy 24 boxes of cereal?

(my cereal stockpile)

The first thing to remember about stockpiles is that they are built not bought. A stockpile is filled sale by sale not in one hasty swoop. The goal is to buy what you can only when the items you need are on sale. When cereal is at it’s lowest price, which is $0.75 – $1.20, that when you buy extra. So instead of buying 2 boxes when it’s $4.99, buy 4 or more when it’s $1.20 or less.

The same is true with rice, canned veggies and any other non-perishables.

Why do you want a stockpile?

Once you begin to see your stockpile grow, you can easily get obsessed with “getting a great deal” that you begin to buy things for your stockpile that you don’t need. A good thing to do before you get started is to outline a concise mission statement for your stockpile. You can read mine.

We maintain a stockpile because:

  1. It saves us money.
  2. We are prepared in case we were to ever lose our income for any period of time.
  3. We want to be able to give to any family, friends, neighbors if the need arise.
  4. We want to be able to donate to our church pantry without overly burdening ourselves.

Once you have reached your stockpile goals you will begin to see your grocery budget dwindle. Once this begins to happen you will be in position to begin allocating that savings to paying off debt or funding your retirement.

Funding a Stockpile When There Are No Extra Funds

1. Make less expensive meals for a short period of time.

One of the things I did when I first began trying to reduce our expenses in the kitchen was to figure out the cost of each meal I prepared. Once I knew what I was spending I then decided what I could afford. And then went a little lower. Calculating your meal cost will take some time but it will be worth it. Begin cooking your least expensive meals more often. This will reduce your weekly grocery expenses, thus freeing up a few dollars a week to fund your stockpile.

2. Cook from scratch.

If you learn to make your own bread, snacks and convenience meals this will definitely reduce your weekly grocery budget. You can make pizza at home with only a few everyday pantry ingredients as well as recreate restaurant favorites.

3. Find ways to fund your Stockpile with ‘new money’.

– Earn money taking Surveys & Market Studies.
– Sell stuff on Ebay.
Earn Swagbucks and trade them for PayPal deposits.
EbatesShop At Home.
Monetize Your Blog.
-Open an Etsy or OpenSky shop.

Okay…in the next part in this series I will focus on how to decide how much you need and when to buy.

Kellogg’s 50% Off Cereal & Pop-Tarts Sale

(my cereal stockpile)

Publix is having a 50% off sale on Kellogg’s ready-to-eat cereal or Pop Tarts. Here are some sources for coupons if you plan to shop this weekend.

  • $1/2 Kellogg’s cereals  – 01-09-11 RP
  • $1.50/2 Apple Jacks, Corn Pops or Froot Loops, Any Packages printable
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Apple Jacks and/or Corn Pops Cereals printable
  • Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Apple Jacks and/or Corn Pops Cereals Coupons.com
  • $1/2 Pop-Tarts, Any 2 Featured Flavor 8 Ct. Or Larger tearpad
  • $2/3 Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, Any (2) 8 Ct. Or Larger And Save $2.00 On Any (1) Ice Cream, 1.5 Qt. Or Larger tearpad

20 Laundry Soaps, 24 Rolls of Tissue & More! How I Replenished My Stockpile For Under $7

20 Xtra Laundry Soap @ $1.50 ea
Used 20 $1 off 1 Xtra coupons
Price before coupons $30
Final $10

2 Cottonelle 12pk. Tissue $4.99 ea
Used (2) $0.50 off 1 Cottonelle cpns.
Price before coupons $9.98
Final $8.98

2 Right Guard Antiperspirant $2.49 ea
Used a $3 off 2 Right Guard cpn.
Price before coupons $4.98
Final $1.98
Earned $4 in ECB’s

3 Stride Gum (fillers) $0.88 ea
Used a $0.75 off 1 cpn
Price before coupons $2.64
Final $1.89

1 Got2B Lustre Lotion $6.49 ea
Used a Get a Free Product cpn
Final FREE!

After paying for my items with coupons and extra care bucks, my total paid out of pocket was $6.88

My total savings was $100.67

Building a Stockpile: Finding Space

I posted earlier about how building a stockpile can save you money, but where do you put all of the stuff. Space is always a consideration in stockpiling and thankfully we have been blessed to have an unfinished laundry room. One half is used for laundry and the other half was just for food storage. I’ve a shared a few ideas on how to store it all.

DEEP FREEZER

We own a 75 cubic feet upright deep freezer that is located in our laundry room. This freezer holds the surplus items including 30 days worth of meat. We also have a side by side refrigerator in the kitchen that holds the frozen items that will be used for the week. Our freezer is currently filled with about 15 pounds of flour, 15 pounds of rice, 40+ packs of 8 oz. shredded cheese, 10+ pounds of margarine, 1 pound of yeast, 8 pounds of frozen bagged veggies and about 6 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast and fish. One of the ways that we are able to get so much food into such a average sized freezer is by organization.

I am wired for organization. I enjoy it and am energized by it. I enjoy fitting items into the freezer like a puzzle. I try to freeze many soft items flat and stack as much as possible. I also cook meat in advance on my cooking day. Taking meat out of original packaging and freezing it flat after cooking saved so much space. It also keeps this much more streamlined since I no long waste space with packaging.

SIDE BY SIDE

We all know about the limited amount of space available in a side-by-side refrigerator, that’s why freezing flat and stacking is all the more important. Without incorporating these techniques, I would never have room for 15 pounds of ground turkey to fit.

CONTAINERS

Freezer bags and plastic containers are my greatest resource. I usually stock up on freezer bags when CVS has their Buy-One-Get-One 50% off on all CVS items sale. They are around $1.79 on the first box and $0.89 on the second. I stick these in when I have a save $5 when you spend $15 CVS crt. This is a useful filler item to help me meet my minimum total. All of my plastic containers are re-purposed margarine and yogurt containers. These work great because of the size. They are usually around 32 ounce containers and accommodate a pound of chopped or ground meat perfectly.

SPACE LIMITATIONS

The focus of my stockpile has been to build up a good supply of dry goods and non-perishables, Once this goal is met, I will then focus on buying meat and frozen veggies 60 days at a time as opposed to my current 30 day goal. Both freezers are able to comfortably accommodate 30 days worth of meat, 15+ bags of veggies and the few other bulk items in both freezers combined. I believe that when I run out of space (or money) then it is an indication to stop shopping for a while. I for see space being a problem if I were to attempt to purchase more than 60 days worth of frozen goods. It would also become a problem if I did not organize well. Finally, I’ll end by confessing that nothing I do is spectacular. It has been God that has blessed my family beyond measure. It is by His grace that the deals and the opportunities fall into my lap. God has been able to do more with our one income than we were able to do with two. It is when we became faithful in our finances that God began to open up doors of opportunity. I am so very thankful for all of His blessings.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

How a Stockpile Can Triple Your Grocery Budget Surplus

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Photo courtesy of Irish Typepad

People either think that I’m insane or a genius when they get a glimpse at my stockpile. The ones that ponder the former have no concept of profitable stockpiling is while the latter are privy to one of the biggest financial secrets ever.

When I first began building a stockpile it was because of a post just like this one. Someone, somewhere in bloggy land, explained the concept of buying in advance the things you’d need in the future.

The goal of stockpiling is to buy in advance large quantities of items your family will need when at it’s lowest prices. For example, in June of 2009 I bought 16 bottles of Hunts Tomato Ketchup for .17¢ a bottle. The man in line behind me sarcastically commented “That sure is a lot of ketchup”, to which I replied ‘It sure is’, with an angelic smile. What he didn’t know was that I was on my way to tripling my grocery budget surplus.

After this purchase I went home and figured out how many bottles of ketchup it would take to last me from June 2009 until June 2010. This would be when the best ketchup coupons would begin circulating again and ketchup would hit rock-bottom prices.

Once I figured out how many bottles my family would consume per month I multiplied that by twelve which gave me my stock up number. I headed back to the store and bought 28 more bottles of ketchup. I haven’t bought ketchup since nor had any went to waste. We have even donated some to my church and we still have a surplus. We are in good shape as we near the warmer months when ketchup deals will begin springing up again.

So how much did I spend in total:

  • 44 bottles of ketchup @ $1.29 (Regular Price)
  • 44 bottles at regular price = $56.76
  • Total I paid = $7.48 for 44 bottles (What I Paid)
  • Total saved = $49.28 (What I Saved!)

Now imaging applying that method to other nonperishable items. If you began saving $49.28 a year on just (5) items, you’d create a $246.00 annual surplus in your grocery budget. Now apply the same principle to the items below.

Paid .25¢ box of cereal = $10.25 for 41 boxes

Saved $3.75 a box x 41 boxes = $153.75 in savings

Paid .33¢ per can of veggies or $23.76 for 72 cans

Saved .59¢ a can x 72 cans = saved $42.48 in all by buying when on sale and using coupons

 

Paid $7.89 for 1 Tide laundry detergent, 80 rolls of tissue, 5 dish detergent and  120 cans of soda

Saved close to $200

See how the savings can begin to add up. If you leave those savings in your  budget each month. By the end of the year, you’ll have a nice surplus.

HOW TO BEGIN

Think about how many months worth of supplies to you want to store. This will depend on your purpose for building a stockpile. We maintain a stock pile because:

  1. It saves us money
  2. We are prepared in case we were to ever lose our income for any period of time
  3. We want to be able to give to any family, friends, neighbors if the need arise
  4. We want to be able to donate to our church pantry with overly burdening ourselves

Our stockpile goal is 12 months plus a little extra for charity. Once you know how many months worth of surplus you’d like to accumulate, next make a list of items you want to be in your stockpile.

Now allocate a set amount each month to purchasing stockpile items. This amount cane be as little as $5 a month. With coupon-ing and sale shopping you can add a whole lot to your stockpile with a small amount of cash.

Educate yourself on when and item is a good deal. When you see a good deal, meaning the item is selling at it’s lowest price, It’s time to stock up.

Each week you’ll stock up on a different item. At first you’ll have a lot of one particular item but with time and patience your stockpile will balance out.

Note: Read my post titled Managing Your Stockpile for tips on making sure that nothing goes to waste.

WHEN DOES IT PAY OFF

As your stockpile begins to mature you’ll no longer need to buy the staple items in your pantry. Let’s say for example that you stockpiled for 12 months straight, making sure to rack up on one or two specific items a week. Now after those twelve months you would have most likely accumulated enough basic items to maintain you for the next 10 to 12 months.

Let’s say that the items you’ve accumulated use to cost you $100 or so to purchase month to month, but now that you have your stockpile, you won’t need to purchase them for awhile. The $100 you are now saving will become BUDGET SURPLUS. The $100 a month normally dedicated to shampoo, cereal, rice, etc., has now become your pay off.

But stockpiling doesn’t stop there. In order for this process to continue from year to year you’ll need to make stockpiling a monthly or bi-monthly habit. You’ll need to continue to stockpile sale items that your family uses as they begin to run low.

HOW DOES IT PAY OFF

This decision for my family was the beginning of an ingenious plan that has contributed to us paying of all of our consumer debt. It has not only gotten us closer to being completely debt free but has also given us the ability to GIVE like God wants us to. There have been numerous spiritually benefits, three of which I’ll list below.

God has blessed us with even more compassion for those in need:

1 John 3:17-18 (King James Version)

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

He has blessed us with not only a heart to give but the resources to do it:

Luke 3:11 (King James Version)

He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

And he has made sure that we all of our needs were met as a result of our trusting his plan:

Proverbs 28:27 (King James Version)

He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

Stockpiling will take planning and organization which is a characteristic of the wife described in Proverbs 31:7 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

It will also take wisdom to know when to stock up and when to pass up a deal as mentioned in Proverbs 31:16 “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”

And finally, it will take time. You will need to know where the deals are and make a plan to go and get them as stated in Proverbs 31:14 “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

I hope that you are encouraged to take your faith and finances to a whole new level this year.

Be Blessed!!