Building a stockpile is a great way to give your family an advantage when hard times hit, or when life just plain gets busy. Having food on hand can give you a sense of security and allow you to provide for your family no matter what happens. Stockpiles are great for lowering your food costs and building a more sustainable food budget, and simply for making it easy to find a meal in a hurry. Getting started with building your stockpile can be easier than you think.
Building A Stockpile
The best way to start building a stockpile is to set aside a specific amount of your grocery budget to spend each week, fortnight or month, depending on when you do your grocery shopping. Even $5 or $10 a month can go a long way to increasing your stockpile. Only spend what you can afford and buy items that you know your family are going to use.
Make a list of items your family goes through daily, weekly, and monthly. Meal planning is also a great way to save money and help with knowing what items you will use and can add to your stockpile.
List everyone in the homes favourite foods, and snacks to give you an idea of the things you need to help build a stockpile that will get plenty of use on a daily basis as well as in a situation when things you need are not available. As you will need to eat through your stockpile before your products go stale or expire, only stock amounts of products that you know your family will be able to use in a reasonable time. If you have to throw something out because you never got round to using it, it is not a bargain.
Look to see when items you use go on sale. These items will get plenty of use in your stockpile and when found on sale will be able to lower your overall food costs. As you save money on groceries you will have more of a budget to shop for items to add to your stockpile. Check the sales often at all local stores using online flyers or catalogues before heading to the store to buy what you need. Keeping and following a shopping list is a must when you are sticking to a budget.
Work on pantry items first. These will last longer in your stockpile and can help keep your family fed even if the power goes out for a some length of time or when a storm sweeps through. Stocking the pantry first gives you the most flexibility in finding items on sale.
Take advantage of bulk deals on items ranging from the larger packages of flour and sugar to family packs of meat that can be divided and stored for your family at a lower price per pound/kilogram than buying smaller packages. This can add up fast and allow you to take advantage of the best sale deals available in most grocery stores where larger family size packages are discounted.
Once you have run out of room to store your pantry and non-perishable stockpile you can begin to start storing items that your family uses often in your freezer. Though be careful with this, as when the power goes out, this will affect your freezer and the supplies you have stored in it.
Apart from stocking foods, consider other household items your family uses, such as:
- First aid supplies and medication
- Pet food
- Candles and matches
- Cleaning supplies
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap – dish, hand and laundry
- Toilet paper
- Tissues and paper towels
- Diapers and wipes
Storing A Stockpile
It is important to store your stockpile properly to keep pests at bay. When you are considering places to store your supplies, consider if storage containers are needed. To avoid pests, things such as rice, flour, nuts, seeds, pasta, cereals that pantry moths or other bugs enjoy, should be frozen for 24 hours before you store it in the pantry. Freezing will kill any eggs and prevent them from hatching.
Store like products together. If you don’t have a large pantry, try cleaning out a cupboard somewhere in your house, like a linen cupboard to store your pantry items in there. Shelf stable items may be spread around the house, taking advantage of extra storage space like under beds. Even build your own shelves in an area of your house if you are able to. Being able to see and easily access what you have makes using it a lot easier.
Items such as cheese, meats, and products that you use often can be frozen for long term storage. This is a great way to store eggs, milk, bread and other items your family would have a hard time going without should you find yourself unable to shop.
Lastly, make sure to rotate your products. When adding newly purchased ones, add them to the back, bringing the previously purchased items, with the earliest use-by-dates to the front, ready to be used first.
Organising A Stockpile
Keeping your stockpile organised is a must. Organising your stockpile from day one will help make it easy to keep on top of what you have and what you need to look for on sale. It will also help you use up things with a shorter expiration date first, so you are not disposing of things because they have been forgotten about and expired. Most often, keeping a list of what you have can go a long way in keeping your stockpile organised.
Remember, building a stockpile doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Be prepared to invest some time into searching for good deals as it takes time to learn how and where to find the best deals.