20 Ways to Save More Money – #5: Create a Sensible Stockpile

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If you are just tuning in to the series this is what you’ve missed as far as tasks:

#1 – Create Short and Long Term Goals
#2 – Make a Budget
#3 – Make a List of Highest Priced and Most Used Items
#4 – Create a Low Inventory List and Maintain It

At this point we should have an idea of the items we use most, which ones we are running low on and the amount of money that we can spend each month between re-stocking and weekly necessities.

I often hear people say that they don’t have the time, money or space to stockpile. But in more cases than not, that’s not true. When some people think of stockpiling, they think of garages full of stuff and that’s not what I’m here to teach you. I don’t live like that because I value my space and feel it’s unnecessary to have more than a 3-6 month supply of most things as the sales cycle frequently happen that often. There are times when I start to get a little nervous as I see myself almost running out of toothpaste or something but typically that same week there will be a hot stock-up price deal on them.

Learning to stockpile is just like anything else–it takes time to learn and you are more than likely going to make mistakes along the way. I once bought 15 bags of frozen vegetables that I got for free but then had no room to store meat when it was on a hot-price. When you do the math, I lost out overall. This is why you must always remember that free does not mean free. Your house/apt (wherever you live) should have a designated amount of space for a stockpile. And you must choose wisely on how you fill up that space.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the things you want to stockpile the most of are things that you use the most and are the highest priced that you can get a deal on. Things such as meat, in-season produce, cereal, laundry detergent, cleaning products, deodorant, dental care, shampoo, high-priced condiments, snacks, pop/soda, canned tomatoes and paper goods such as Ziploc bags, trash bags, paper towels and toilet paper. Each of you will have a different list but most of these items will probably be on them. If you do a lot of homemade cooking, spices, flour and sugar might be on your list.

I see people stockpile pasta a lot but when you think about it, it’s often on sale and not very high-priced to begin with. I usually just keep a box or two of the most used types such as spaghetti, elbow macaroni and penne on hand. Pasta boxes take up a lot of space that you could use for something else.

Now we are going to talk a bit about space issues. I used to live in an apartment and I know space is limited. But here’s how you can make the most of it. Take a look at your freezer to start off with. How many products do you have with boxes in there? Boxes take up a lot of freezer space and don’t bend well for storage. Sure, you need the directions. Just clip them and put them in a place for when you may need them. I keep mine in the drawer with the oven mitts. You can put those items in a container that stacks or take your chance and leave them in their packaging. You probably freed up a bit of space.

Now look at any duplicates you may have. Try to use up some this week so you can have more space for things like a meat sale or produce you can freeze. I freeze a lot of fruit like strawberries and blueberries in the summer as the prices skyrocket in the winter. We use them for pancakes/waffles/smoothies, etc.

Moving on to pantry space. If your place doesn’t have much pantry space, invest in one of these types of cabinets. They don’t take up much wall space and can hold quite a bit. You just have to be sure not to over-load it.

As far as your bathroom/cleaning essentials, my recommendation is to figure out an organizational system that works best for you. Half the battle with these types of items is that we buy more than we need because we didn’t know we already had some at home! Also, we tend to have too many cleaners to begin with. Line them all up and see which ones you can do without.

Once you start organizing a bit more and maybe invest in a pantry cabinet you’ll have more space than you once thought to help you get a little stockpile going.

That’s great but how do you get the money, right? Next time you are shopping, take a look in your cart and you’ll probably have at least $5 in things you don’t need. A bag of chips, some cookies, a case of pop/soda you can cut back on, etc. Take the $5 that week and pick up some items that are on a great discount instead. If you do this every week throughout the course of a month, you’ll have at least $20 in items that you saved money on. It’s a start. It may take a few months but eventually making those little sacrifices will add up as your grocery/household bill won’t be as high as you’ll already have the items you need each week at home—and you got them on a hot deal! And when that happens, treat yourself to something you had to give up before!

One of the ways I save money is that I rarely buy meat at the grocery store. Instead, I invest my money locally with a farmer. I will usually buy 1/4 of a cow or 1/2 a hog in bulk or whatever we need at the time. I gave up little things like I mentioned above until I had enough money to invest in that first round of meat. And while I was doing that, I looked for meatless meal options to stretch my money farther. All of it is stored in a deep freezer that we asked for as a gift during the holidays one year. I didn’t look at it as a sacrifice at all once I started grillin’ up some of those delicious meats! :)

Building a stockpile takes time and patience but once you get it going at a steady pace you’ll truly see just how much money you can save and how much easier your weekly shopping trips will be. You’ll just need to buy the essentials and then use what’s left to pick up some stock-up price deals or save it away for that meat from a farmer.

RECAP
1) You truly do need to figure out the items you use the most and the highest priced ones so you can know which items you need to stockpile.

2) Take a good luck at the space in your house/apt and see if you are truly making the most of it. Do you see duplicates or unneeded boxes? Maybe just a little more organization?

3) Invest in a storage cabinet and/or deep freezer for extra room.

4) Give up “luxury” items each week so you can use the money to stockpile a few items.

5) If no items are on a good deal that week, put money aside to save up for buying meat in bulk or something else you truly need.

6) Remember: Creating a stockpile takes patience and time! You’ll figure out what works best for you over time.

How Does This Save Me Money?

1) Once you get a small stockpile going, you’ll gradually see your grocery/household bill declining as you are needing fewer items.

2) You will be making the most of your money as you’ll be buying those higher priced things at a much lower price.

3) Your grocery store trips will be quicker as you might just need a few items each week as you use the stockpile that you have on hand.

4) You’ll be wasting less money as you get more organized and quit buying things you don’t need or already have.

I’m hoping that you will try this out if you aren’t already building a little stockpile. I really appreciated mine over the winter when the weather was bad and/or we were sick and I just made meals of what we had on hand. Since I didn’t spend much money those weeks, I just rolled it into the next week and started to replenish it again.

For those of you that are visual people, here are some pictures of my stockpile that I took last year:

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Picture of my laundry room where I store most of my items. You can see my laundry, cleaning and paper products on the upper shelf.

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Picture of my 2 storage cabinets and 2 spice racks. I also keep paper goods (plates, cups, bags) and cereal on top.

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Picture of my main cabinet. Mostly canned goods, broth, some pasta, tuna, etc. What you’ll notice is once you have meats and produce stocked up in your freezer, you need less boxed/processed items!

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Picture of my cabinet with condiments and baking goods. Snack items are kept in one cabinet in my kitchen. I try to keep a limit on those.

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Picture of my deep freezer where I store a majority of the meat I get from a local farmer. I also buy whole Organic chickens at Whole Foods when they have them on sale.

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Picture of my freezer above my fridge. As you can see, I’ve gotten rid of the annoying boxes and have everything organized such as vegetables, fruit, ice cream, freezer meals, etc. If I happen to buy a frozen pizza or something larger, it usually gets tossed into my deep freezer or stacked on top.

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Picture of my bathroom cabinet. I have things organized by category in bins. I sometimes will stack taller items, like shampoo, on the floor area in a bin. I can easily look inside my bathroom cabinet bins to see what I might be running low on.

Hope this gives you a better idea of what size of stockpile you may need. Stay tuned for more in this series this week!

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