Stockpiling Meat & Produce.
Stockpiling is a great way to save money on your grocery bills, but there are some items that are more difficult to stockpile then others – like meat and 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.
Invest in a chest freezer
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.
Only buy sale items
Only purchase sale items when you are stocking up, never full price. The front (and sometimes back) pages of most store flyers will have the best deals. Look there first. Only add the cheapest items to your shopping list.
As for how much you should stockpile, well, this really depends on your family and how fast you can consume certain items. For our family, we eat chicken breast at least 3 times per week. That’s 12 chicken breasts per month, per person. If we would like the chicken to last us 6 months, we would need to have a stockpile of 72 chicken breasts for each person.
Don’t stock up on items that your family will not consume before they go bad, no matter how cheap they are.
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.
Have a stock-up budget
It’s a good idea to set aside a certain amount of money every week (or month) for stocking up. Even if it’s only $5 per week; knowing that you have that limit will prevent you from overspending. The point of stockpiling is to save money, so don’t go over your budget.
When you come across meat or produce (or other grocery items) that hit your stock-up price, pick them up and add them to your stockpile.
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.
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.
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.