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How to Build a Grocery Stockpile

How to Build a Grocery Stockpile

Do you use coupons, avoid eating out, turn off lights in rooms that are not occupied? It can be difficult to save money when the money saving tasks seem like work.

What if there was a way to significantly reduce your grocery bill without much effort? Would you be interested? The number one way that we save money on groceries is by stockpiling.

What is stockpiling?

Stockpiling is when you store large quantities of certain items to use as you need them. In this case, we are talking about groceries. Saving money by stockpiling groceries is very easy. You simply stock up on items that are on sale to avoid paying full price down the line.

Benefits of Stockpiling

  1. You will save money by stocking up on items when they are on sale, instead of purchasing one or two items at a time when they are full price, just because you need them.
  2. Last minute grocery store trips will be a thing of the past. When you have a grocery stockpile, you don’t need to run to the store to grab a much needed dinner item. Just go to your stockpile and pick one up for “free”.
  3. When you are short on cash one month, you can create an “eat from the pantry” menu, using items that you already have on hand in your stockpile.
  4. You can help others in need. If you use coupons, it’s often that you will be able to stockpile things at a very deep discount (sometimes you will even be able to get things for free). Donate extra stockpile items to other families that need help with their grocery bill.

How to start stockpiling

My best advice when it comes to starting a grocery stockpile, is to start small. Please don’t compare your shopping habits or your stockpile to anyone else – this may end up leaving you feeling discouraged and not as “up to par” as someone who has been doing it longer than you.

Take your time. A stockpile does not magically appear over night. It takes months and months (or even years) to create a stockpile that will last you awhile.

Set aside a bit of money each time you go grocery shopping and stock up on sale items as you see them. Once you have stockpiled enough of each item, don’t buy any more until you start getting low again.

After a few months, you will see your stockpile start to grow. After about a year, you should have a decent sized stockpile that is likely to last you for quite some time.

Get Organized

Before you start building your stockpile you need to determine some very important things.

  1. Where are you going to store everything?
  2. What types of items do you want to stockpile?
  3. How long would you like your stockpile to last? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
  4. How many of each particular item do you need to stockpile to last you the amount of time you want?

Bins/Baskets

The number one thing that I recommend when starting a stockpile is to use bins whenever possible.

I always recommend using bins, because they will help you to keep your smaller items contained and not falling all over your shelves.

To save money, use the bins you already have on hand. This could be a plastic bin from the dollar store that you already have, or small cardboard boxes.

Categories

Tip #2 is to have categories. These are very important when you’re stockpiling.

Categories to consider:
– Health & Beauty
– Food
– Household
– Kids/Baby
– Laundry

Setting up categories is really going to help you to find things when needed, which will prevent your items from expiring before you actually find them.

Donation Station

My final tip is to have a donation station. This is just an area in your stockpile (or even another area of your home) where you keep all of the items you plan to donate.

Keep it all in one area, so that once that area is full you’ll know it’s time to take it to be donated.

How Much Should I Stockpile for My Family?

It’s important to become familiar with what items your family uses on a daily basis. Many families go through lots of cereal, soup, pasta, tomato sauce, shampoo, toothpaste, bathroom tissue, etc.

When you open a new item, mark the date on the bottom. When the item is gone, make note of the date and you will learn how long it took you to go through it.

For example, let’s say you mark a box of cereal on April 12th and on April 19th it’s all gone. That means it took you 1 week to go through that box of cereal. If you want to have a 3 month supply, you will need to stockpile 12 boxes.

Pay Attention to Expiration Dates

Be careful not to overbuy, or items could quickly become expired and thrown into the trash – which is not helping you to save money. Always put new items behind older ones to ensure you are always consuming the older items before the new stuff.

Try to go through your stockpile every 6 months and make note of the expiration dates on items. If there are some items you don’t think you will be able to use before they expire, consider donating them to your local food bank or shelter.

Figure Out What You Can Spend

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when starting to build your grocery stockpile is to buy too much, too fast. It can be tempting to create a huge stockpile right away, but it is extremely costly to try this approach. It takes time to build a stockpile. It took me well over a year to get my stockpile to a place where I felt comfortable.

You need to figure out how much money you can afford to spend on “stock up” items every week. You don’t need much. Even $10 or $20 per week can be enough to get you a few extras of items on sale.

When you see a great sale on something you use a lot of, buy as many as you can afford (and can use before they expire).

Pay attention to the store sale cycles so you know when to expect certain items on sale. This will be when those items are at their rock bottom prices, and the best time for you to stock up.

How Much Should I Stockpile?

Most people aren’t satisfied with my answer, which is “it depends”, but I am being honest. It really all depends on you, your lifestyle and your family.

There are two things you want to look at when trying to figure out how much to stockpile: how many people you are stockpiling for and how long you would like your stockpile to last. For my family, there are 4 of us, and my goal is a stockpile that will last us 1-3 years (depending on the product).

Here is our “how much should I stockpile?” list:

Food

Cereal – 1 Year (24 Boxes)
Condiments (BBQ Sauce, Mustard, Ketchup, etc.) – 2 Years (24 Bottles Each)
Sugars, Honey – 3 Years (36 Each)
Pasta – 3 Years (72 Packages)
Canned Vegetables – 3 Years (72 Cans Each)
Rice – 3 Years (36 Small Bags)
Coffee – 1 Year (12 Jars)
Crackers – 6 Months (12-24 Boxes)
Granola Bars – 1 Year (24 Boxes)
Tea – 1 Year (10-12 Small, 72ct Boxes)
Juice – 1 Year (12-24 Large Bottles)
Meat (Chicken, Beef, etc.) – 1 Year (Frozen) (LOTS! About 720 Servings)
Oils – 2 Years (24-48 Small Bottles)

Household Supplies

Cleaners – 2 Years (12-36 of Each)
Facial Tissue – Indefinitely (At Least 100 Boxes at all Times)
Bathroom Tissue – Indefinitely (At least 300 Rolls at all Times)
Paper Towels – Indefinitely (At Least 50 Rolls at all Times)
Zip-top Bags – Indefinitely (At Least 50 Boxes at all Times)
Tin Foil – Indefinitely (At Least 5 Boxes at all Times)
Plastic Wrap – Indefinitely (At Least 5 Boxes at all Times)
Hand Soap – 2 Years (48 Bottles)
Dish Soap – 2 Years (48 Bottles)
Laundry Soap – 2 Years (96 Bottles)
Fabric Softener – 2 Years (24 Bottles or 700 Sheets)
Dishwasher Detergent – 2 Years (1,000 Tabs)

Health & Beauty

Medicines & Pain Relievers – 1 Year (10 Boxes of Each)
Bandages – 2 Years (10-20 Boxes)
Make-up – 1 Year (4 of Each)
Hair Products – 2 Years (48 Bottles)
Body Wash & Bar Soap – 2 Years (48 Bottles + 48 Bars)
Body Lotion – 2 Years (24 Bottles)
Toothpaste – 1 Year (48 Tubes)
Toothbrushes – 5 Years (At Least 100 at all Times)
Deodorant – 1 Year (24 Sticks)
Feminine Products – 2 Years (24 Packages)
Razors – Indefinitely (At Least 50 at all Times)
Shaving Cream – 2 Years (24 Cans)

Baby & Toddler

Diapers/Pants – 3 Years (4,500 Diapers in Various Sizes)
Baby Wipes – 3 Years (144 Tubs of 72)
Baby Lotion – 2 Years (24 Bottles)
Baby Wash – 2 Years (24 Bottles)

Where to Store Your Stockpile

If you’re having a hard time coming up with a good place to store your items, consider the stockpile storage ideas below.

Basement

If you have a basement and can spare a bit of space down there, do it. Invest in some sturdy shelving units and/or storage bins or carts to keep things organized and off the floor. Don’t store certain food items in your basement if it is humid.

Under Your Bed

You can also store your stockpile items under your bed in some under-bed storage containers. I suggest this type of storage for things like bathroom and facial tissue. Avoid storing food under your bed, as it may go bad before you can get to it (because you don’t see it).

Dressers

Do you have a dresser that’s not being used? Dressers are great for more than just clothing. Try putting some of your smaller stockpile items in them.

Garage

If you have space in your garage, you can store your stockpile items here as well. Just like a basement, don’t store certain food items in your garage if it is humid.

Where Items Belong

If you don’t have the space to dedicate an entire area/room for your stockpile, keep your items all over the house. Store things in the places that they will be used.

Store your shampoo, body wash and toothbrushes in the bathroom. Store your bathroom and facial tissue in the hall closet. Store your food in the kitchen pantry. Store your laundry soap and fabric softener in the laundry room.

There is no “right” place for you to store your stockpile. Everyone’s space limitations are different, so keep your items where they work best for you.

Just because one person keeps their stockpile in the basement, doesn’t mean you need to keep yours there as well. Maybe yours would do just fine in an unused closet.

How To Stockpile Meat & Produce

It’s very rare that you will come across a coupon for fresh meat or produce, so stockpiling those items seems like an expensive task – but rest assured, it is possible to stockpile these items without paying an arm and a leg.

Below I have outlined the best ways to stockpile meat & produce.

Find out your store’s mark-down schedule

The next time you are at your local grocery store, ask the staff when they mark down produce and meat. It’s best to ask the staff that works in the back of the store, as cashiers usually don’t know this information.

Try to find out which day of the week and what time(s) they mark down those items, so you can try to swing by the store at the perfect moment to snatch up cheap meat & produce.

Remember that items that are marked down are usually cheap because they are going to expire very soon. Be sure to get those items into your freezer as soon as possible to prevent spoiling.

Purchase directly from a local farmer

I know a few people that save quite a bit of money by purchasing 1/4, 1/2 or even a full cow directly from a farmer in their area.

You can often purchase pigs and other animals as well, but each farmer is different, so check with the ones in your area to find out what they offer.

If you can’t afford the purchase of a 1/4 (or more) cow on your own, consider splitting the cost with another family and then dividing up the meat.

Check out the clearance racks

Many grocery stores have a clearance rack with marked down fruits & vegetables.

They are often only bruised or have other small imperfections. They are still edible.

Invest in a chest freezer and freeze properly

Just like you probably don’t have enough room to store your grocery stockpile in your kitchen cabinets, you likely will not be able to store your meat & produce stockpile in the little freezer above or below your refrigerator. That’s why a chest freezer is essential.

I admit, when someone suggested the freezer idea to me 2 years ago, I thought they were crazy. Surely I didn’t need that much space for frozen food. What a waste of money, space and electricity that extra freezer would be!

Well, I was wrong. One day I picked up 6 almost-free frozen pizzas from the grocery store and stuffed my freezer full. The next week, chicken breast was on sale and we were almost out – but we were almost out of space in the freezer as well. It was then that I realized that the extra freezer was actually a good idea.

I missed out on the chicken deal that week, but I also learned my lesson. After a bit of research, I picked up a freezer for our basement and it now houses lots of extra chicken, frozen pizzas and more!

My point is – if you want to save money by stockpiling meat and produce, you really need to consider getting an extra freezer. They are definitely worth it.

Remember that freezing food is not as simple as just tossing something into the freezer. The way that you prepare it for freezing is the only way to gauge how long it will last in it’s frozen state.

Use freezer bags or storage containers

Get the products that are made specifically for freezer use.

I don’t recommend freezing meat in the packages they come in at the store, unless you plan on thawing and consuming all of that meat in one meal. Instead, take the amount of meat you need for one meal and put it in it’s own container or bag.

Information on freezing fruit & vegetables: How To Freeze Fruit and How To Freeze Vegetables.

Label everything

Mark everything that you put into the freezer with the current date and a note on what’s inside.

Don’t forget to check our list of things you can and cannot freeze, and how long you can freeze them for.

Although it’s difficult to find coupons for fresh meat and produce, you can still save money on these items and you can certainly stockpile them.

The key is to buy low and freeze properly to guarantee yourself a healthy supply in your stockpile.

What’s the difference between stockpiling and hoarding?

Stockpiling means you are buying things in advance for future use.

Hoarding means you cannot get rid of something, even if you know you will never use it.

I really do believe that hoarding and stockpiling are two HUGELY different things. I mean, have you SEEN the inside of a hoarders home? I have, and trust me – it looks nothing like my stockpile. NOT. AT. ALL.

Our stockpile is pretty massive, I’ll admit it – but we will use everything. Honest! If something is nearing expiration and we don’t think we will use it, I will donate it. I also give away stuff all the time to family when they come to visit.

If I can get items that we WON’T use for free, I will get those too because I can always give them away.

I’m sick to death of people comparing stockpiles to hoarding. They are not the same thing.

It’s okay to stock up on items you know your family will use. It’s okay to buy 20 bottles of shampoo if you know your family will use it all up before it expires (yes, shampoo expires!). It’s okay to buy 10 jars of peanut butter if you know your family will eat it all before it goes bad.

It’s okay to stock up on items, in order to save money. It’s not okay to buy items that you do not need (unless you plan on donating them). It’s not okay to clear shelves so that other people can not get in on the same deal.

Just use some common sense when you stockpile and you’ll be a-ok.

subtitle

Building a grocery stockpile is a great way to save money. By making sure you only buy what you can afford and store, and by paying attention to expiration dates, it’s easy to keep your grocery bills low by stockpiling.

Remember to go slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to grow your stockpile too fast. It’s easy to go overboard – don’t fall into that trap.

What do You do With All of That Stuff?!

When people see my stockpile, they either make a joke about me being ready for an apocalypse, or they ask me these famous words: What do you do with all of that stuff?! Or they do both.

I’m very careful to only buy stuff for our stockpile that we can use before expiry, but sometimes, we just run out of time. If I ever notice that something is getting close to the expiration date, here’s what I do:

When items are close to expiry

  1. Make a plan to use them up – This really only works for food, and when I see something that is going to expire very soon, I make a plan to use that item before expiry. I re-adjust my menu plan to fit that item/ingredient in, and just make it work. I hate wasting food!
  2. Give them away – If I can’t use something in time, I will give it away to friends, family, neighours and local shelters and food banks. Many items, (including some foods) will last a few days to a few months past the expiration date, too. Especially things like deodorant, pasta, cereal, etc. So keep that in mind before you start throwing out “expired” items in your stockpile.

As a guideline, here’s how much you should be stockpiling:

  • Items that can be frozen (meat, cheese, produce): 2 month supply
  • Non-perishables (canned goods, packaged goods): 6 month supply
  • Household & personal items (deodorant, cleaning supplies): 1-2 year supply

There is always going to be another sale just around the corner, so unless something is free, don’t buy it if your stockpile is already full to the brim (and then donate that free item right away to prevent cluttering up your stockpile).

Do you have a grocery stockpile? How long did it take you to build it?

Comments

  1. Emilie

    The tv show Hoarders seems to make people yell “Hoarder” at anything now. How is your stockpile any different that what is already at the store? It gets used. Win-win !

  2. cheryl

    I couldn’t agree more .. especially when it comes to food. I can’t believe it when people don’t even look at what is on sale let alone use coupons .. it’s crazy! I do the same with people I know .. give away shampoo, body wash etc.

  3. ~Carla~

    This is awesome! πŸ™‚ Do you mind if I ask if you have a certain amount of $$ set aside in your budget for stockpiling? Also, what are your favourite Canadian ways/sites to find coupons?

    Great post, thank-you! I’m green with envy! A stockpile like this is my goal!! πŸ™‚

  4. Cassie Howard

    thanks carla! i personally do not have a certain amount every month for stockpile items, i just try to stay within my grocery budget.

    my favourite site for canadian coupons is http://www.thinkcoupons.ca πŸ˜‰

  5. Ashley

    Thank you, Thank you!! I’m soo happy you did this article, it has given me a few good ideas where to store stuff. As I mentioned to you when you were looking for suggestions for your site, my hubby and I live in a condo so we don’t have a ton of storage space. But now seeing some photos and having some ideas, I think I’ll be able to find a few places around the condo to store some stockpile stuff πŸ™‚

    • Cassie Howard

      you are welcome, ashley! i’m so happy that this post was helpful to you. πŸ˜€

  6. Raquel

    I would like to start stockpiling, however I am wondering what specific type of “containers” would you recommend for a ‘moist’ and older/unfinished basement?

    I will be able to put my canned & plastic containers of goodies on shelves, but with the amount of cobwebs I get in the basement, I feel I should be using some kind of “air-tight” thing for cereal etc.

  7. Cassie Howard

    i would definetely suggest really big airtight containers for your cereals. if possible, take all cereal out of the boxes and put the bags right into the container. the boxes take up lots of space so this is what i usually do with my cereal, oatmeal, packaged snacks, etc. just put a small label on them with expiry dates. πŸ™‚

  8. Monica

    I so badly want to organize the spaces in the last 2 pictures!!!

  9. randy

    wow…hoarding is a disease. There is a show about it.

  10. Cassie Howard

    yes, i am aware. however, stockpiling is not hoarding. πŸ™‚

  11. Nikki

    I don’t have a stockpile…YET! I have a place for it finally, now I just have to start adding things to the shelf πŸ™‚

    Awesome ideas, thanks for posting Cassie!

  12. Erin

    I have just started my stockpile. It’s amazing how much I save on a bill when they hit their “rock bottom” prices. Thanks so much for keeping us all up to date. Your work is appreciated πŸ˜€

  13. Cara

    I’ve been stockpiling for years, and have saved a hundreds maybe thousands of dollars by doing it. Last year I created a stockpile pantry in my kitchen by relocating the washer and dryer to the upper level of my house to make room for a customized pantry that myself and my frugal father designed! Our motto, never pay full price and maximize your savings with a sale and use a coupon too! Love your site and if you ever need an east coast contributor (I’m in Saint John, NB) for our flyers out here let me know!

  14. teachermum

    I’ve just spent two hours in the basement organizing mine!

    Coming up on 25 years of marriage and I have always had a stockpile. I have never done a one or two week shop and have always sale shopped. We have a 5′ crawlspace (don’t get me started on how much more basement we would have with 3 more cinderblocks of height!) For the most part I only buy things on sale and have always bought lots. I just don’t like running out of things! ie if something is half its normal price, I can’t fathom not picking up 12-24 of them.

    Couponing is a fairly new thing for me-I have always used them occasionally, but usually when I needed something that was not on sale… now I know better. Most things I buy for food staples don’t have coupons anyhow but I now have a health and beauty stockpile that I never did and ziplocks to last quite some time. I always had extras of those on hand, but not like now-nice to not have to worry about that stuff as it is expensive!

    Funny, I just had a conversation with a friend this morning about this topic! She used to work as a cashier at Price Chopper (ours recently closed). She absolutely hated customers coming in and stocking up on things…and our PC ALWAYS had limits on items and usually ran out if you didn’t get there on Friday! If there was a limit of 3, she would call people on going out to the car and coming back in for more. (yes, really!) Customers would argue with her about not being able to buy more. When Haiti was hit by the earthquake they didn’t get their normal load of water so had a 1 per family limit. One lady went ballistic that she couldn’t buy 3–friend suggested she turn her tap on…perhaps they diverted the water to Haiti? (yes, really!) But, she does a shop every 2 weeks, buying mostly the same things and has no idea why people would stockpile…I tried to explain, but I wonder if she saved her receipts for a month and I wrote down what I paid for such things if she would get it then! She says she has no room, but I know her house and know where she could fit a shelf or two-she simply doesn’t think that way.

    I’ve never done the calculations, but I would imagine I would spend at least 50% more if I didn’t sale shop/stockpile and eat produce that is the cheapest. Might I add that I wish something besides broccoli would be on sale really cheap for a little while-we would like a bit of a change around here!!!! But this week oranges, pears, apples, asparagus, cucs, tomatoes are on sale so that is what we will be eating for the next week or two.

  15. Carrie

    I have enjoyed having a good stock pile and really as of today – i only really need to buy milk, fruit and veggies i have everything else. I know i go back only 5 years ago i must have thought i was rich – paying full price for stuff and getting the 10x airmiles instead of 10% off. Now i still spend the same amount but the amount i get has doubled – I now did to figur out how to stop and just look at my stock pile.

  16. Katie

    Great to see! I would love to have a big stockpile, but we live in a 2 bedroom apartment and with the hubs, myself and 2 kids, space is limited! We’ve managed to “stockpile” toothpaste, deodorant, fabric softener, and cereal so far. I’m always finding deals for cereal, and we eat a lot of it.. so I probably have a couple months worth in my pantry right now. Those free cereal coupons definitely helped with that!

    I’ve only been at this a month, but I love seeing how much we saved, and knowing that we don’t have to run out to buy groceries all the time. In the last month, we saved about 45-50% off retail total on our grocery/household purchases! I just cant believe the amount of money we “wasted” before!

    I’ve always been a horrible budgeter, but I think keeping track of our purchases like this is going to help me create a budget for the future and stick with it!

  17. krista

    The only thing I don’t like about so many of the stock piles I see on extreme couponing is that much of it is crap food. So many coupons are for instant, overly processed, undernourishing “food”. I see the sense, and use coupons for non perishables eg, toilet paper, but to stock pile canned soups, instant mashed potatoes or sugary cereals is not healthy for anyone in the household!

    Show me more coupons for real food like fresh produce then I’d be totally sold!

  18. luv2shop

    Another great post, Cassie! You really do know all the ins and outs of saving money! πŸ™‚

    I do have a question though, as I am also one of the new ‘couponers’ starting out. You mention that you are able to get more copies of the coupons from your friends, family and the delivery man. So what kind of advice would you have for those who don’t have these “connections” to build a stockpile? Based upon my limited reading thus far, it seems like without coupons, it’s hard to achieve rock bottom prices, and in the normal circumstances, we only get one copy of each coupon (unless they’re printables but then there are sometimes some issues with printable coupons at stores)?

  19. youngandthrifty

    I have a stockpile of toilet paper and tissue paper so far πŸ˜‰ And some ziplock bags thanks to you.

    My friends came over to my new house and saw my stockpile of toilet paper and tissue paper and they immediately claimed I was extreme couponing.

    They haven’t seen anything yet! lol…

  20. Cassie Howard

    Nikki – I’m excited to see how your stockpile turns out. πŸ˜€

    Erin – It is definetely amazing when you see the savings.

    Cara – That’s our motto as well! πŸ™‚

    teachermum – Some people really just don’t understand the concept of stockpiling. Many consider it to be hoarding and others who may be interested just think it would take too much time. If only they would try it for awhilw. Then they would see how easy it actually is!

    Carrie – Glad you are enjoying stockpiling. πŸ™‚

    Katie – Keeping track of your purchases is definetely helpful, and I hope you keep it up! Congrats on your great savings this month.

    krista – Yes, it is often easy to get free “bad” foods. I try to avoid that stuff, but when it is free, I will pick it up anyway and donate it. People who can’t afford groceries would rather eat processed foods instead of nothing at all.

    luv2shop – Connections are everything when it comes to obtaining coupons. Even if you can obly getr 1 or 2 extra copies of a coupon, that’s better than 1. πŸ™‚

    youngandthrifty – Haha, I whip out my coupon binder in the stores and people ask me if I’m “one of THOSE people”. Geez, just because I use coupons, doesn’t mean I’m crazy!

  21. Jessica

    Thank You so much Cassie.
    I am getting new at this couponing thing and I am loving it. I dont ahve much of a stock pile but it is getting there. Gotta get a [pantry thats for sure. I have like 8 boxes of those light bulbs and some of the gillete stuff and stuff like that. Cant wait to build it up more and more. Thanks for everything that you do!!!

  22. teachermum

    luv2shop,

    Most of what I regularly by for our family does NOT have a coupon, so don’t let that discourage you. I usually have my mum save coupons and sometimes my sister and sister in law. I have asked at church for inserts to shop for our foodbank, but the response has been less than stellar! So…that is 4 at best!

    Spend the time over the next several months paying attention to the products you normally buy and how cheaply they go on sale. Eventually you will develop your own sense of “rock-bottom” prices for these items. Should coupons come along for them-great, save them for when it is on sale for a stellar deal, but, for the most part, you can still save a considerable amount by just knowing your prices and buying several when a product is at its cheapest. For example, we like Hunts Thick and Rich Spaghetti Sauce. Normally it is $1.79 or $1.89 but I have set my limit at .99. I have never seen it cheaper except for once in the past many years–for .89. I have also never had coupons for it so when it is .99 I buy 2 dozen. Just recently I did trip over a coupon, buy a Hunts spaghetti sauce and get a tomato paste free. So…when it was on for .99, I picked up 19 sauce and 19 paste as that is how many coupons I had (from tearpads at several stores).

    Trust me, once you swing over to shopping this way (basically sale shopping, especially the front page loss-leaders) you will be amazed at how much less you spend, as you rarely buy anything for full price.

    Susan

  23. Cassie Howard

    Jessica – Good luck with your stockpile! πŸ™‚

  24. Ashley

    @Krista: It’s true, there are a lot of coupons out there for unhealthy foods, and overly processed foods. However, there are some good coupons out there for healthier foods like the $1 berries & bananas, salad & dressing coupons (all from cereal boxes), orange juice, bread, soy milk, etc. They are out there, just not as easy to come by as the processed food coupons.

  25. Noella

    luv2shop,

    I don’t get many either, I’m new to couponing, or returning to couponing. But here is what I have started doing. I order all the internet ones, both in my name and dh name, which gets delivered to his parents. So 2 copies of online. I don’t have a lot of friends around, so there is no more to do. I am contemplating having some sent to my mom and having her send them to me once a week, she lives several hours away.

    I do a weekly coupon “shop” at the local stores. Sobeys and Shoppers Drug Mart seem to have the most tear pads out. At RCSS, I look at the wall for any Manufacturers coupons as they are good everywhere. I never take more than I plan to use. This is where I get the most coupons.

    I also watch for packages. For example, with 4 kids, I use alot of breakfast cereal. Special K was on sale, but sadly I had no coupons yet, but each on had a free product coupon for items we use. They had boxes with no coupons, so why get the ones with no coupons. So we’ll have free eggos, free yogurt from those boxes. A box of cheerios will get the kids a free tub of ice cream, especially appreciated with summer coming.

    Sign up for memberships on various product sites. Many will send out coupons. When you try a new product, send out an email, it doesn’t cost anything, but often they will be happy to give you coupons, not always.

    OH, the inserts. I missed one as I didn’t get the paper that is usually delivered, but I’ll be more diligent now. I mark the dates(Cassie provided them) as to when coupon inserts will be delivered. If I buy the paper and the coupon insert is great, I have no problem buying 3 or 4 copies of the paper. So that helps. Spending $4 to save 60 is worth it.

    You can also trade! I don’t need diaper coupons, but they are hard to find, so if I see them I take a few, and I’m able to trade them for what I DO use, and the mom I’m trading with is able to get the diaper ones she can use. Win Win. Even if it is 1 diaper coupon, one wipes, and a formula coupon, it works πŸ™‚ to get some I will use.

  26. Noella

    Cassie! I LOVE this post πŸ™‚ You’ve inspired me to get my pantry cleaned up. It was built for me with stockpiling in mind, yet I haven’t done much of it cause it’s over full..lol. SO… guess what I’m doing today?

    Need to get a ladder in the house though as it goes right to the ceiling and is 24 inches deep πŸ™‚ That is storage for seasonal appliances/dishes. And items I don’t want the teens to get..lol

  27. SavingMentor

    Great post! It will definitely encourage a lot more people to get into stockpiling.

    When we moved into our house I put up several walls worth of pine shelving to hold my stockpile. My parents always joke when they come over that they can go downstairs and shop for free in my store – and sometimes they do go home with a thing or two πŸ™‚

  28. Cassie Howard

    Noella – I’m glad you love the post! Have fun organizing your stockpile! πŸ˜‰

    SavingMentor – Haha, my parents (and friends) do the same thing. They joke about our basement being a store that they can shop at for free. πŸ˜›

  29. Rebecca McLaughlin

    Hi, just started stockpiling,and I do also as you have done. I give also to family. If I have something I don’t think my own family will use before more of the item will go on sale,toothpaste and toothpaste always go on sale here for free with coupons. I did admitidly ,clear a shelf of dial handsoap,but it was towards the end of the sale week and I figured,everyone had already bought their share. Plus I was afraid the sale would be ending the next day on Sunday. Turns out the shelves were completely restocked the next day and the sale was going to be for the next week to! I started buying my coupons on ebay and I was so excited to not just buy 1-4 of the item,but to be able to “cash” in on great deals. There are not alot of us extreme couponers here in my small town so it all works out in the end. I also only buy extra coupons for items I know my family will use,wouldn’t do me any good to get a bunch of say free raisins or head/shoulders shampoo unless I had a family member or friend that just loved the stuff and I planned to use my time to buy and stock up on the item for them,has to be a pretty good friend or close family member,I’m just trying to help my family as I’m a stay at home mom with a railroader husband and 2 teenage sons!

  30. Jody

    Invest in a Foodsaver! Yes the replacement bags are expensive compared to the Foodsaver but I have saved soooo much money by buying bulk and repackaging it. I used to get freezer burn on my food when I repackaged in Ziploc bags and this solved my problem. I have no regrets paying $130 for this 6 years ago – and the price has dropped since then.

  31. Cindy

    My mom actually bought me a deep freeze for my birthday this year (my request) and it has been the best! With 3 kids in school, I go through bread like crazy! I must have 15 loaves in the freezer at any given time. We also buy the HUGE tenderloin roasts and cut them up for steaks and freeze them. It’s about half the price of paying for precut ones.

  32. Alison

    I love using Tupperware Freezer mates. I use them from everything from Frozen vegetables, club pack meats/fish to leftovers. They stack wonderfully in your freezer (to stay organized) and come in a variety of sizes to perfectly fit whatever you are freezing to reduce freezer burn. Because it’s Tupperware you know that gives a perfect seal and the super flexible lids are easily removed even when cold.

  33. farming mommy

    One of the best things to do right now is visit local farmer markets at the end of the day. Many of them do not want to take home all of the leftover produce and will sell it for quite cheap. I picked up some beans and beets (40lbs) together for only 20 bucks

    Also a good thing to do is visit farmers who grow the food you are looking for. YOu often can pick up potatoes, peppers, heans etc just because they are not quite perfect for the market, however very edible.
    I do this very often and freeze quite a bit of the stuff I get.

    Also about getting half a beef or so is way healthier. A thing to look for is hormone meat. Some farmers give their cattle hormones so that they grow faster and cost less. These hormones are already strictly forbidden in Europe for the health problems that they cause. Do your research!

  34. Liz

    I’ve been wanting to get a chest freezer for a few months now and trying to get hubby on board. I think I’d like to get a big one but they are quite expensive. Anyone know of any good sales or where to shop for one? What’s a good price for one anyways?

  35. Cassie Howard

    Jody: I have heard nothing but good things about the Foodsaver, I may just have to get one!

    Alison: I love Tupperware!

    Cindy: Lucky you! We originally got ours for meat and bread, but find we use it for so much more now (like produce, cheese, pizza, etc.).

    farming mommy: Great idea, I never thought about that. I definetely agree with doing your research about the meat you purchase, as well. That’s very important.

    Liz: We planned on getting a used one (for $100-$200), but couldn’t get a large one down the stairs, so instead we paid $200 (on sale) for an apartment sized one. I’d suggest used if you can. Make sure you get one that is energy efficient!

  36. Shannon

    Any tips on how to organize your freezer? Mine looks nothing like the one in the picture πŸ™ It’s a mess which leads to wasted food since I can’t find things in there.

  37. Craig

    Jody Costco is the best place to purchase Foodsaver Freezer bags. Typically $38.99 for 4 lg rolls and 2 small rolls Everywhere else charges $28.99+ for 2 large rolls.

    I have 2 upright freezer chests and always try to buy meat on sale. When I make a spaghetti sauce, chili or soup I make a large pot (16qts) I then freeze meals in Ziplock containers. Once frozen we pop them out and seal in the Foodsaver bags.

  38. teachermum

    Shannon–Boxes! Keep on the lookout for ones that will fit together on the floor of your chest freezer then you can divide things accordingly such as chicken in one, beef in another, bags of frozen veg in another, frozen fruit in another, etc. Unless they have changed the design of the baskets, keep them for lighter things as they tend to slip down when you slide them across (not that I can ever do that, mine’s too full!) so bread and bits and pieces might be the best choice. Amazon ones with the sides taped up are a great size.

    Liz–let everyone know you are looking for one. Church, friends, workplace-you won’t believe how often people are looking to get rid of one-all for the price of picking it up!

    I have an upright and a chest freezer and both are usually full. For many years we bought a half beef order and that would fill most of one. I must say though, when we redid our kitchen I put in side by side all fridge and all freezer–the freezer is frost free and while I know it costs more to run…oh my, what a blessing!!! I’m getting too old to lean into the chest freezer to scrape the ice up off the bottom!!! We have been renovating in the basement and will replace the chest freezer with another frost-free upright. My mum has a standard upright and no way, frost everywhere, but they weren’t making frost free uprights when she bought it. I figure after 25 years, I’ve earned it!

  39. LInda S

    Love my foodsaver! Got it as a wedding gift and buy my bags at Costco πŸ˜‰

  40. Maxine

    I have 5 deep freezers! 1 for bread, 2 for meat and anothr 2 for frozen fruits and veggies!

  41. Lisa

    stock piling on food that your family will eat is not hoarding… Collecting garbage and useless things is hoarding…. Learn the difference.

  42. Jessica

    Cassie…you’re photo’s aren’t working! πŸ™

  43. Cassie Howard

    Sorry about that! Photos are fixed now. πŸ™‚

  44. melissa

    Stock piling is an investment!! not hoarding!!! now a days alot of compay’s are laying off alot of people!!! and making sure that my family will not go hungry gives me peace of mind. thank you so much for all the helpful advice and making my family ready for what the future may bring πŸ™‚

  45. Marilyn Allen

    Hi. We have limited storage space so I’ve had to be creative too. The floor of your closets is another place to store items. 5 gallon buckets are handy and cheap. They can be stored incognito by grouping 3 together, put a round or square piece of wood on top and cover with a floor length tablecloth. Use as an endtable. You can now get gamma lids from Home Deposit to seal the buckets. Makes them pretty much air and water tight and they are removeable for easy access.

  46. annette

    i also make sure that i only buy what I know my family is gonna use before it expires. The only thing I really dont limit is stuff like toilet paper, kleenex, paper towel, laundry soap, since they dont really have an exp. Date. I also only buy these items if they are free or close to being free. The only issue I have is with samples, there can be so many and right now I keep them in a rubermaid container

  47. teachermum

    Recently dh build me a food pantry in a rather small space in our basement next to the bathroom we put in. It is only 6’deep and 4’wide but you would be amazed how much you can fit in there if you have fully adjustable shelves. Fixed shelf heights are a huge pet peeve of mine! I have one foot deep shelves along the sides and 8″ shelves across the back. Just enough room to walk in and put things away but so much better than the deeper but fixed shelving that I was using in the crawl space-not so good on a bad back! It also serves as a self-limiter as I agreed that I would only buy what fits in there.

    Health and beauty, dish, laundry, meds are on the old shelves where cans used to be, not quite a foot deep, all fully adjustable-again, if it won’t fit there I can’t buy it!

    Not sure if I can post a picture but I’ll give it a try.
    The 4×6 room http://i48.tinypic.com/2uzqrdh.jpg
    H&B where cans used to be http://i48.tinypic.com/2wmnle9.jpg

    We just completed a small alcove right across from the pantry for an extra fridge and upright freezer, in which we put a huge shelf above which will hold all the toilet paper, paper towels and kleenex. Again, if it won’t fit, can’t buy more!

    • Jacquie

      Wow! Now that is a thing of beauty. I’m fairly new to Mrs. J & I’m so inspired. I used to live in a border community & shop in the States, so it was easy to coupon then, but until I found Cassie, I really didn’t know there was this much saving to be had in Canada!

      • teachermum

        Thanks Jacquie,

        I am a great planner (oh, you should have seen the diagrammes I had for our kitchen remodel!) and dh can pretty much figure out how to build most things I come up with. It is amazing what you can fit in a 4×6 space with the proper shelving.

        I too live on the border but with more than $5 in gas and the $7 in tolls I just never bother. We also don’t prefer US diary products, eggs, poultry or beef and fruits and veg are restricted so it has never been worth the bother for me. I rarely use coupons for products we use, they most often go towards products I donate to our local shelter. I just shop the sales.

    • Olivia

      WOW, what a work of art! There is a great feeling knowing that you are self-sefficient and set for months in case of the unforeseen. I’m very impressed!
      I don’t remember why i missed this article late last year. So glad Cassie ran it again.

  48. Susan

    I also only buy what I need. I do stockpile some items but if I know that the expiry is soon I buy as much as I use. I try to use coupons when items are on sale so that I save even more. I do my grocery shopping by whats on sale that week.

  49. Kitty

    I think that dresser drawer full of pain meds is probably a BIG waste of money. Who uses that much Aspirin?!

    • Carrie

      Waste of money, how do you even know if it was paid for. could be all free products.

  50. Amanda

    Thank you for the tips – my husband got laid off and I became very sick and had to take time off work … We had to live off our stock pile what a blessing !!!!! So wonderful

  51. teachermum

    I do have a well stocked pantry in the basement but I couldn’t tell you how long it took to build as I have only ever sale/loss leader shopped for the past 25 years! We never set a specific budget amount for groceries but it all worked out. Some months I’d spend a lot, other months hardly anything, Also, most of my pantry was filled apart from coupons as they generally don’t make them for more “real food” products. But, I’d say easily most things were bought at 25-50% off regular price. I rarely pick up one item at full price-I wait for it to be on sale and buy a dozen. In the meantime we eat what I have on hand.

    Now if someone would please put canned mushrooms on for .50…I’ll be buying 24 or more! They haven’t been on sale anywhere in AGES!

  52. Jenny

    I can’t help but wonder if the people who call me a hoarder are jealous of my deals and stockpile for my family, they say negative things like that then later ask me how to do it, and hoarding is totally not as organized as a stockpile anyone who has one knows this πŸ™‚

  53. Saffy

    I really only stockpile non-edibles because there are just the two of us and we don’t eat that many pre-packaged and snack foods. Besides we both get sick of things and then don’t use them by the expiry date. My stockpile contains a lot of laundry stuff, toilet paper and tampons. I think I have enough tampons to last until menopause and probaby enough laundry detergent as well – lol.

  54. Krista

    We have a donation station too! That’s a smart idea. We don’t have the nice donation station shelves like you — we just have boxes from No Frills. Hahaha.

    Thanks for the video. I really like videos — I learn a lot from them.
    Keep the videos coming.!

  55. Beckie

    I want to say I love your site, your forum, videos, books, etc…. One thing I noticed when looking at your wonderful stockpile is you (and perhaps others) have lighter objects like paper towel and toilet paper on the bottom shelves. I think the light items should be on higher shelves to prevent the unit from being top heavy and falling over. This being said, if the units are attached to the wall, there are really no issues. I have not attached mine and perhaps this is why I noticed it. Shame on me! πŸ™‚ You do an amazing job!

  56. Tiffany

    OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR SITE.Thank you so much..I have learned alot this week.

  57. Cassie Howard

    Thank you, Tiffany!

  58. Dee

    Hardly a thing there fit to use… most everything processed, full of chemicals and not eco-friendly. How much antipersperant and body wash (full of chemicals) can a family use anyway?

  59. krystalee

    I live in a small town with one grocery store and prices are unreal at times as often as i can get to the city i go and stock up on things that are on sale i do keep a well stocked pantry, but i find it hard to save as much as i would like to because i live out of the city

  60. Jessica

    I am working on my stockpile…getting pretty full now. Its like my security blanket…if anything happens, I know that we can feed ourselves for a few months. I’d like to eventually get it up to being able to feed ourselves for a year, just gonna have to be careful with expiration dates. I use things in our stockpile every week, so havent had anything go bad πŸ™‚ I just replace is plus some when it goes on sale again

  61. Tasha Gray

    I have a wonderful stockpile in my basement. With the cost of everything increasing, and 5 children to yet move out……. Shampoo, Conditioner, Listerine, Hairspray, laundry soap, sunscreen, body wash, household cleaners etc….. they never expire and going off to school / moving out the first time this stuff comes in handy, especially on your budget.

  62. Jessica

    My husband and I are buying half a cow with my father in law, and splitting the cost…will be getting it this month. I find getting it directly from the farmer is cheaper, and it tastes better. I think I’m going to have to invest in a second deep freeze and food pantry soon lol my chest freezer is full, will be packed once we get the cow, my small pantry is full, and my big one is almost full.

  63. Shanny

    We stockpile all the same stuff, but also already-prepared homemade meals! We have a huge bottom freezer with the huge fridge and a chest freezer (free from parents-in-law). We use old milk crates to organize everything. I bought the milk crates from a milk company (that delivers to schools) for 3$ each. Totally worth the price since the cold can travel through all the holes! We buy bulk meat (bought 1/8 of a “organic” cow, whole chickens, etc.) and also have a small fruit and vegetable garden plus we buy a bunch of fruits and vegetables in the summer and freeze them. Last year, I got 50lbs of tomatoes for 10$, 25lbs of green and 25lbs of red peppers for 20$, beans for dirt cheap, 24lbs of fresh from the farm strawberries for 25$, root vegetables for pennies, etc. Since I’m off all summer, I like to prepare meals for the winter (when I feel like cooking less and I get home later because of the snow and slower commute). I find recipes I like and prepare everything per meal (including leftovers for lunch). Then I throw everything in a Ziploc or container with date and how to finish the meal (for example: Add 2 cups water, simmer for 2hrs) and this way I have easy, healthy, quick meals for busy evenings!

  64. lyndsay

    whats a good price for an apartment freezer? its jsut my husband and i i think that should do

  65. Cassie Howard

    lyndsay: Used = $50, New = $200

    • Lorraine

      Don’t forget to rotate your frozen foods a couple times a month. Freezer burn can be costly. I have a chest freezer and an upright, but I pick out a week or two worth of frozen foods and move them to the fridge freezer so its easy to get when I want to cook it. Before I started the system I use, I used to cringe when I dug out all the spoiled food at the bottom of the chest freezer.

  66. Carrie

    I live in an old farm house and mice seem to be a problem. I have to store everything including toilet paper into containers. How would you suggest me organizing my stockpile. I do have a garage yet again mice and most of my closet bottoms are full of containers that have my blankets and extra stuff in it.

  67. Trudi

    Thanks for sharing! kitty she didn’t ask for your opinion on how much pain meds she has or needs, she is sharing pictures to help us who need ideas how to organize! I don’t understand why people have to be so rude all the time. It’s none of our business what she buys or how much of it, she is taking time out of her busy schedule to help us all save money and help us in many ways! Thanks for all your hard work Cassie, it helps me ALOT!

  68. Carrie

    Trudi I agree, I am new at this and she has helped me alot and this is one topic that I need to figure out as I have mice. I just got three kittens to try to control it. hoping this helps so I can get organized soon.

    • P Spicer

      We store everything in well sealing clear plastic bins. Buy quality sealing bins, spend well on these – a penny saved on these is not a dollar earned. Buy one at a time if needed. One a month is better than 10 cheap ones. Then put any non metal or non glass food or toothpaste item in the bins and make it a habit to close them each time. You can go to a bakery and get the empty white 5 or 10 gallon tubs that are food grade safe (frosting and pudding) usually for free and a lot of soapy warm water cleans them up well. Label them as “SUGAR,” “RICE,” “CEREAL” (out of their boxes),”PASTA” etc since they are not see thru. Good luck. Everyone should do this even if you have to squirrels, mice, etc. This is how you keep them from coming in!!!

  69. ashley

    how do you get ++ coupons for one product so you can buy ++ groceries and items? to even make a stock pile on a product (s)?

  70. Shirley

    For about the last two years now I have been stockpiling things that we are going to need for when my husband retires, in about 18 months or so. I think this is a great way to get ready for one income, as I will still be working. Basically I am stocking up on the non-food items, laundry soap, toothpaste, Kleenex, toilet paper. When you get a bit older it get harder to carry these kind of items home..LOL I love Shopper’s, especially their Kleenex, wow .59 cents a box, even the larger stores can’t come close to that price. I think its up to us the consumer to look out for US. Here is a quick tip, did you know that if you store your sour creme upside down in the fridge,
    it will keep for months, so when it goes on sale I usually buy 4, the liquid seals it and it stays fresh for months… Cassie I love your site and thank you for all your hard work keeping our families feed with all your great tips.

  71. Cassie Howard

    Shirley: Thank you for that great tip!

  72. MARION VARDY

    i do not stock pile that much ,,to me its a waste..unless you have a big family,,

  73. Sherry

    I have been stockpiling for over a year, in the month of December I only bought fresh veggies/fruit and milk. That is it, the rest of my grocery budget went to Christmas shopping. This was amazing to have the extra money and not even have to change my budget. I also do the shopping for my children in university and supply them. I do this all on a weekly budget of $75 and add a little more if there is a really good deal. So that is feeding 7 people a week on this amount. My secret is that I live right on the border and shop in the States a lot.

  74. tom

    considering the number of identical products and the amount of WASTE packaging … shouldn’t you consider buying in bulk!? … but yes, i know sometimes a really good deal on something can be less in multiples than buying bulk size … a lot of things are driven by market conditions – competitive sales vs. the bulk size … shame isn’t it!?

    • tom

      this is also the case for shopping at Costco … i find that the price of the larger quantities is often more than multiples on a good sale

      • Kris

        Unfortunately, yes, buying at Costco is tricky: you really have to know your prices to know whether you’re getting a good deal or not. But one thing I take into consideration is that as a family of 6 (my husband, myself and our 4 kids ages 9 and under), sometimes the convenience of the large package outweighs the hassle of many smaller packages so we are willing to pay that extra dollar or two to have the bulk package.

  75. Jill

    It’s hard to stockpile organic items because they rarely go on sale:( I’d love to hear ideas from others who try to buy organic on a budget!

  76. Kris

    I don’t have the luxury of a garage or a basement at the moment, so my mini-stockpiles are spread out all over the house in the area where they are used. But the next time we move (hopefully into our own home!!), I will definitely dedicate an area to my stockpile!!

  77. laura

    I would love to try home made laundry soap…I have always wanted to but wasnt sure how well it would work or if it would leave a fresh laundry scent after (which I love by the way).
    [email protected]
    Laura

  78. teachermum

    I see I’m not the only one seeing the homemade dishwasher recipe under this stockpile post!

    • Cassie Howard

      Sorry about that, it’s fixed now.

      • teachermum

        Looking fine now-thanks!

  79. Ramona

    I do have a stockpile and love it. When I was pregnant with my last child I stocked up on diapers. I didn’t need to buy a pack until he was 6 months old. πŸ™‚ Stockpiling is a way of life for our family as we have 4 kids and my husband is the sole income earner.

  80. teachermum

    I’ve had one for all 26 yrs I’ve been married; I wouldn’t know how to shop any other way! Read the sales and stock up when things reach their rock bottom prices.

    Besides one stop for bananas and eggs I haven’t really shopped this year yet, and really hadn’t shopped much for food in December (again, seems to be bananas and eggs we need). Of course, this week I’ll be buying as much chicken as I can at $2.88/lb as we are out (and I refuse to buy it not on sale VERY cheap). Some after church on Sunday, ds grabbed me some yesterday as did dh on his way home from work…Once I get those 11 pkgs individually baggied and in the freezer I’ll get some more (or try and convince the ones in town to do it, saving the gas!)

  81. Maegan Morin

    My mother always had a stock pile when I was growing up so it always came naturally to me. I just dont understand people who shop for things a they need them I just see how much money they waste and I want to cry. The other day my friend had a peek in my pantry and she said that she wished hers was that full… I just told her to go look in my other two closets and under my bathroom sink lol.

  82. Christine

    I try when there are deals, but then I don’t buy sometimes and lose what we saved up. I can’t seem to find a happy medium. I could use some suggestions/help on this. I do use coupons and try to maximize them (when I remember to read the flyers), I was so diligent last year, but seem to be slipping off. I need a rescue, or a kick in the butt! πŸ™‚

  83. Olivia

    Thanks, Cassie, for an excellent article as well as for linking it to previous articles such as storage ideas and stock up list (which I printed) . Somehow, I missed them last year.
    I do stock pile to the best of my limited space. It’s a good feeling being prepared for the unforeseen as well as saving tons of money (many freebies).

    • Cassie Howard

      I’m glad you liked it!

  84. Nicole

    We live in a small house, without much storage space, so we bought 2 wood 5foot storage cabinets, changed out the cheapy door knob to cute ones and fit one in the kitchen & one in the backroom to put our food stockpile items in. I have bins in the bedroom closet for healthy & beauty supplies.

  85. Heather R

    I use our laundry room as our stockpile room and the problem is I only have enough space for one set of utility shelves and as a result its such a mess. I would love to be able to stock more.

  86. Amanda

    Wow that is impressive! I have a couple of questions about stockpiling. Do you ever worry that the products you use may not eventually be used due to allergic reaction or sensitivity (laundry products, cleaners, bath and body products, soaps, baby products)? That would be my greatest concern with accumulating such a large amount of product.

    I am also wondering about the packaged foods. I have always heard that the glue used to hold cardboad together attracts bugs. A solution to this would be using air tight plastic or glass containers but this wouldn’t be possible with 24 boxes of crackers, etc. Have you ever encountered this?

    • Nicole Homeniuk

      I am not too worried about that, but if it did happen, I would just donate. The items would not go to waste. As for the bugs question, yes, air tight bins and/or glass jars is best.

    • carrie

      The bugs love cardboard, flour products, etc.and can even chew through plastic packaging. You can bring bugs into the house just from buying boxed and packaged goods, or from places where you buy in bulk. Disgusting but true! I definitely do not recommend stockpiling pasta because the bugs love it and that stuff goes on sale ALL the time. Also, no crackers and would be careful about the cereal. We shouldn’t get carried away with stockpiling *snacks* because they are not a necessity, they shouldn’t really be eaten every day, and again, they always go on sale and with coupons. You are asking for a bug problem because as I said they can get into the cleanest houses in any number of ways.

  87. Susy

    Love this article. I too have a wonderful stockpile but i’m a little concerned about the BBQ sauce etc. They have expiry dates. Are they still good even past the expiry date? I have sweet baby rays…a few bottles and i love that bbq sauce but noticed some of them expired a couple months ago. Are they still good or should i discard it?

    I love all your articles…they are so imformative and i looked forward to your site each day. Thanks for doing such a great job!!!

    • Cassie Howard

      Yes, I would discard them.

  88. Jennifer

    With facial tissue, toilet paper, and paper towel the concern becomes mould growing in it, and bugs breaching the packages. I know a lot of preppers who place them in containers to prevent that from happening – it’s very useful.

    Also 24 packages of feminine hygiene products for two years? Lucky duck! I go through 24 in a four month period! I just went through ten boxes in three weeks due to an ectopic methotrexate treated pregnancy (not my first, probably won’t be my last at this rate).

    I tell you my wallet hates me being a girl right now so much. Diva cups don’t work for me, and pads are icky. :S

    • carrie

      Tampons seem to hold quite a bit less than pads. Since I switched to pads I have not gone through so many packages. That’s unfortunate about the diva cup! I also have one not working but will try again because it’s 100x better than polluting our land and water with feminine hygiene products. gross!

  89. carrie

    I find stockpiling food to be a little gross and unnecessary. Do you really want your food to be so full of preservatives it can keep for 3 years? Make sure you are dating it or following first in, first out procedure!
    The only non-bulk food items I ‘stockpile’ are a few canned varieties of food I eat that rarely go on sale and that I buy constantly anyway so saves me trips to the store.

  90. Langley Girl

    Love it! Thank-you Cassie

  91. Peggy

    I’ve heard that bugs will “appear” in Rice too, after it’s been stored for so long.

  92. Katie

    A really great way to help keep bugs out of the stockpile is to use sticky spider traps. In our stockpile room I found the little rolly polly bugs (however you spell it) and had placed spider traps in there as I’m terrified of spiders and living on a lake brings them to our home. I noticed a ton of the little things stuck to the sticky trap, and have not seen any since. Though almost all items are off the ground, we also rotate the items off the bottom (things like packs of paper towels) of the stack so bugs don’t have as much of a chance to make a home there. We keep toilet paper that is in skinny packs under beds, and I have noticed less bugs under beds too after we put them under there. I guess they don’t like it.
    We use buckets/mylar bag combos to keep things like rice and the lack of oxygen (with an oxygen absorber) keep any bugs out or dead if they are in there. We also freeze our flour products for 3 days before storing, and knock on wood have never had a bug outbreak, even in years old stuff.

    I love the 1 to 3 year supply as I am currently working towards this myself, slowly and surely. Thanks for the great articles on the stockpile, I look forward to them πŸ™‚

  93. beth

    Within a years time I got cancer and needed heavy duty treatment it was hard for me to have energy to shop. And then my husbands work went on strike we were broke-what a crazy year.
    I do not know how we would have made it without a stockpile. I had been working on my stockpile for 6-8 months and it was pretty good I had lots of room for it in my garage. I had tons of everything and was so lucky I did. I had no idea how important it would become.We did not struggle the way we would have if I had not had it. You never know what the future holds so be prepared.

    • Cassie Howard

      So nice to hear your inspiring story. Thank you for sharing! I totally agree – you always need to be prepared, because no one knows what the future holds.

  94. Frank

    Has anyone ever tried freezing sandwich meat that are vacuum packaged?

    • laurel jones

      I do it all the time. It freezes well just is sometimes a bit moisture when thawed

  95. KellyP

    Frank – I’ve done that before, but we used it on a pizza, so not too sure how it would have turned out on a sandwich. It was great on the pizza though. It was some salami or pepperoni or something and it we’d just take it out as needed for pizzas.

  96. karen

    I participated in the Hydro Swap program and got a brand new medium sized chest freezer when I gave them my old 25 year old small sized freezer. They even came to my home twice with bargains. I instantly saw a reduction in my hydro bill the next month. It maybe more expensive in the beginning but buying new energy efficient freezer will cost less in the long run.

  97. Suzanne

    Don’t do the chest freezer! Get a stand up freezer. It is a little more expensive but worth every penny. You can more easily rotate your ‘stock’ and things don’t get lost in the bottom. It is also much easier to see and organize what you have and getting at everything without having to bend over with your head in the freezer is a breeze! Also, it takes up a lot less room as it is vertical.

    • Linda

      I totally agree! Love my stand up freezer. So easy to get to the items inside.

    • Nicole

      I agree with the stand up freezer, I love mine. I can see everything so well in it. The kids can also easily grab homemade popsicles out of it.

  98. Caroline

    Hi Cassie – great article…I have started trying to focus more on recipes and menu planning to use up food from the garden, from the stockpile, from the cupboards, before I do my shopping. It is taking quite a bit of discipline, but the grocery bills are going down.

  99. Annie

    I have been doing this for years. My husband was laid off many times when the kids were small (they are now grown) and would stockpile when he was working so i had stuff when he wasn’t. It worked very well. Now I still stockpile but only specific things as there is only 2 of us. Even for the freezer it worked well as I would have meat for the whole winter and just have to buy a few choice things. My girlfriend came over one time and her daughter saw my stockpile and asked if she could go buy things at the store in my basement…heehehe

  100. KIM

    I am looking for a list for the shelf life of food.

  101. Christal McKay

    Is there anyway that you could include what a good price for any or all of the above would be?

  102. Olivia

    I do the very same…….use it, donate to charity, friends/family , shelters. If is ends up free (less the tax paid) why not? Recently gave toothbrushes and paste (20 of each) to a mission. Thanks to the product companies and store sales, we are able to spread more of our wealth.
    Thanks to you, Cassie, for all your work and inspiration to share.

  103. Mike Boom

    A a former meat cutter I never promoted the idea of buying sections of beef,etc because your buying cuts that your not wanting.I would always say if say you would spend $500 on meat then use that towards a good special on cuts that you like then buy extras for your freezer. Also when buying sides you also pay for bones,fat which will be around one third loss.Also you pay for cut and wrapping which is not cheap now days.

  104. carol

    I got a huge discount on my standing freezer. July is cheapest..and if you ask if they can do a better price they usually can… sears does price match

  105. Nancy

    Love your website…. I check it each day! I am having a hard time locati g your freezer inventory list to print …. pls help. Keep up the great work. πŸ™‚

  106. Devende

    Our families goal is to keep at least one year of food and supplies in storage at all times. I don’t find it “gross” as I rotate it constantly. Corn we eat tonight i probably bought six months ago but it won’t expire for at least a year or more. I don’t tend to buy more than 3 months or so worth of snacks at a time. I don’t buy Convenient good as we don’t eat them. But i feel good knowing if we were out of work or a hurricane happened etc my family wouldn’t be hungry or dependent on government help.

  107. Gail Hanson

    moving to a new house and will hit the grocery store with this list.

  108. Janna

    Doubling up. Use your coupons when an item is on sale and you save twice.
    Regarding the debate on hoarding: I call it “prepping” which is being prepared for whatever may happen down the road, or even just for convenience sake so you don’t have to go out to buy something you need at the last minute. (Example: canned pineapple may not be something you use every day, but if you need it for a last minute recipe, it’s there.)
    And don’t forget to have the proper storage equipment. Canning jars (BIG ones) with those terrific lids will seal your dry goods up tightly and keep things fresh. They are terrific. You can often get them at the thrift stores for just pennies.

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