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Whether you’re stocking up for a disaster or you don’t want to go to the store very often, it’s important to know how to stockpile food on a budget.
Stockpiling food is really useful in a number of situations, but it can break the bank if you are not careful!
How to stockpile food on a budget
- Shop the advertisements and deals.
Shopping the advertisements can save you a ton of money. This is never more true than when you’re buying in bulk!
Especially shop the deals when it comes to buying meat and specialty foods.
These are probably the most expensive items on your list, and your bill will skyrocket if you buy a lot of them.
Give yourself the right to be flexible when making your list.
If you see that bananas are on sale for 31 cents a pound, consider buying those over the $2 per pound strawberries.
Similarly, make sure that you buy food that you actually need and will use.
If you buy something on sale simply because it’s on sale, and you do not use it, it’s not a good deal.
- Use any coupons that you may have.
If you’ve been saving coupons for months, now is the time to use them! Check to see if any coupons come in the mail before you make your list.
Also, compare prices between stores. Mark which items you will buy at each spend your funds most wisely.
- Make a list – and stick to it!
If you’re building a stockpile, it’s not a good idea to wander the grocery store aimlessly. If you do, you’re likely to make a lot of unnecessary purchases that you neither need nor can afford.
Thoughtfully design a list of items that will benefit you and all the members of your family.
Once you have your list in mind, write it down and stick to it! If you are tempted to shop outside of the list, thoughtfully consider it.
Do you want to buy an item that your family needs and that you will use? Do you have space to store it?
Do you reasonably have funds to buy it? If the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, go for it!
Refrain from making frivolous purchases, and don’t let yourself make excuses to buy all the items that you fancy.
- Now is not the time to buy specialty items.
Stockpiling is for essential food items, not all of the specialty foods that you’ve always wanted to try.
If you’re stockpiling food, you’re preparing to feed yourself and your family during a time of need.
You want to make sure that you’re buying food that everyone will actually eat!
Stick to the basics, and choose foods that you know will give you sustenance.
If there’s a little money leftover in the budge, perhaps select one or two “wants” for the list.
However, make sure that your focus is on the foods that you really need!
(Let’s face it, we all need some comfort foods once in a while, but don’t go crazy with these.)
- Plan for specific meals to cook.
If you merely bring home a collection of odds and ends, how will you cook a meal? This will be more stressful for you later.
Instead, plan out at least a few meals that you can put together with the items you buy.
You don’t have to plan meals for every day of the month, but make sure that you’re purchasing items that you could easily see as an appetizer, entree, or side dish.
If you don’t know how you will use it, you don’t need it.
- Choose the time to go to the store wisely.
If possible, go to the store as soon as a new shipment is unloaded. This will help make sure that the items you need are available.
If you go to the store when the stock is running low, you’ll likely be faced with the decision to buy higher priced replacements or to forgo the items all together.
- Go to the store alone if possible.
Try to go to the store by yourself. If you take friends or family members, you’ll probably be influenced by their wants, too.
We can all agree that sometimes it’s simply easier to give in to your childrens’ (or significant other’s) wishes if it means that you can shop in peace.
While it may seem fairly innocent in the moment, all of these purchases add up and put a strain on your budget.
- Choose foods that are high in nutritional value yet are cheap.
Minimize the amount of processed goods and sweets that you buy. Instead, focus on quality fruit, vegetables, starches and proteins.
This may not seem to make much of a difference, but your stockpile will go much further in the long run.
You can only survive on snack cakes for a short time.
- Go with the off brand items.
If you want to save money, try the off brand products! This can be especially helpful if you plan to make a soup or casserole.
While different brands can indeed taste different, if you hide it in a sauce, you may never notice that you bought a cheaper product.
- Buy meat in bulk and freeze it.
Meat is often cheaper if you buy it in bulk. To go to the extreme, seek out a local butcher who’s planning to butcher an entire animal soon.
If this is out of your realm, you can still buy in bulk at the grocery store. Just make sure to freeze meat properly before it expires!
- Buy everything else in bulk, too, but only if you will actually use it.
Be very careful here. Remember, if you end up throwing the food away, you aren’t actually saving money, and you’re wasting food.
Best foods to stockpile on a budget
There are a number of foods that can work well when you’re looking to stockpile on a budget, including:
- Frozen fruit and vegetables
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Pasta (and pasta sauces)
- Common spices
- Cream cheese
- Protein bars
- Baking powder and soda
- Canned soups
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