Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stockpiling 101

One of the most frustrating things in getting started on a frugal journey is knowing where to start. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step- or so the saying goes- but many become frozen in place, worried that if they take that single step, it will be in the wrong direction.

Been there, done that. What I really want to stress to everyone is that even if you have missteps, you are still headed in the right direction!

Stockpiling is one of those things that can be very frustrating to start. You don't know how much to buy at that rock bottom price, or if what you think is a rock bottom price really IS a great deal.

So, let me tell you, this is not rocket science. If you have some sort of pasta-based meal every week and usually pay $2 for a box of pasta (regular retail for the type my family prefers), then buy several boxes when it goes on sale. Then, next week, when you go shopping and find that your favorite brand of sauce is on sale, you can use the money you would have spent on pasta to buy a couple more jars of the sauce.

Eventually, you will get to a point where you can skip the big shopping trip altogether and just grab milk and produce. However, one thing to keep in mind- this is not something that happens overnight. It is a journey, and there is really nothing more to it than changing the way you shop.

When I shop, I don't just have this week in mind- I have at least a 2 month view in mind. I know that in the winter months, the kids and I will eat 2 cans of soup per day for lunch, 4 days a week (and kill at least a bottle of hot sauce every other week, but that's another story!) so that means we would need 8 cans per week, or a case every 3 weeks. Two months' worth of soup means 3 cases of soup, roughly- so when that ridiculous sale rolls around, that's how much I'll buy. (of course, we're working toward getting a freezer, so I'll be making more of our own soups soon!)

By having a 2 month view, I can usually avoid paying full retail for pretty much everything. This week the focus is on canned veggies and whole chickens, but next it could be flour and beans. Building up to this point has taken us a year, but there are some shortcuts you can take. You can get a jumpstart by heading to a discount store like PriceRite, Aldi, SaveALot, etc, and purchasing your dry and canned goods there. We buy rice, cornmeal, frozen fruit, beans, lentils, and some spices and seasoning mixes at our local PriceRite.

Another thing you can do to jumpstart your stockpile is hit several stores for their loss leaders- usually on the covers of their ads. These are the "great sales" that they use to entice you to shop at their store, in the hopes that you'll grab a few non-sale items as well. When I am in "active stockup mode", I will hit 2-3 grocery stores and 3 other stores in one shopping trip, only grabbing the loss leaders and best deals.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions! I am more than willing to answer questions in the comment section or another post!


Tara said...

Can you stop by and visit my blog? I love reading yours. You help me save a lot of money and always have something on hand that can be whipped into a meal. Thanks!

Lacy said...