Sunday, November 7, 2010

How to Start a Stockpile

The buzz word this year in the frugal community is 'stockpile'. Stockpile can be defined as a surplus of items within easy reach. Perhaps you know someone who has an area, or areas, in their home dedicated to storing items for future use. When you look at the items the first thing that can hit you is confusion. So many items and how did they get there is the first thing that pops into your mind. I researched this before we began the food 'emergency fund', and found nothing. So I asked questions of anyone I thought would have an answer. I found out it was painless to begin. Here's what I came away with and it's worked well for us.

Begin small. If there is a sale and coupons on an item and you can get an item cheap or free, go for it. It doesn't matter what the item is as long as it has a long shelf life. I started with canned tuna.

Each week set aside an amount you can spend on stock items from your grocery budget. Again, start small. Some weeks there will be more than others and some weeks there will be less. The important thing is to add to the stock often. Before you know it shelves will be full.

When you get the items home write the expiration date on the front of the item. This saves time and energy looking for the small printed date on the top or bottom of the can later on.

Think about the four food groups that are important to a healthy diet then store them together. All items that provide protein should be stored together for quick viewing so you can see where and when you need to buy more. Or all veggies and fruits. All grains such as cereal and power bars can be stored together.

Add some comfort foods to the stock. Normally when a stock is used as an emergency fund there is a stressful situation a family is facing. Comfort foods added to the stock lessens the stress. I used our stock for well over a month after my husband passed on because it was difficult to think of going out.

Rotate items and use them in everyday cooking to prevent waste. Saving money on sale items won't be very frugal if at some point items have to go in the trash. Once in a while we have a week or two that all we eat is what is in the freezer or cupboards. This is one way to use up food before it goes bad.

Stocking sale items is rewarding and a comfort. Saving hundreds of dollars at the register is priceless.

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