Sunday, May 27, 2012

Frugal Challenge - How to Stockpile When You Have Very Little Money

                             How to Stockpile When You Have Very Little Money. Stocking a pantry when you don't have extra money is easy if you follow a few steps and work at it slowly.
Recently when I posted about this topic I received a few comments and e-mails like the one below.

Do you have any advice for people who cannot afford to purchase that much food at a time.... I would love to do this, have even tried to follow this, but I cannot afford to start.... 

Here was my answer:
I was in the same boat when I started a couple of years ago. Then I really focused on what I could get for almost free or even free with coupons. I just made it a priority to look up the deals on and then make stops at the stores when I was out. Even if you just buy doubles of something when they are cheap you are money ahead. Coupon using does take time and I don't do it as much now but if I have a really money tight week or two I will spend the time to clip and match the deals so I can bring home more for my money when I shop. Good luck.

Really it can be overwhelming to begin a grocery stockpile but it is a wonderful asset to a household for a few reasons:

1. You always have ingredients on the shelf to pull a home cooked dinner together. It may just be spaghetti but knowing you have the sauce and noodles is wonderful.

2. Say your car breaks down and you face a huge repair bill, it is nice to be able to prepare meals from your pantry and not spend money at the grocery store for a week or two. You may need need to pick up some milk and fresh produce but to skip all the other isles can save you a lot money until you recoup the cost of that transmission.

3. Say your kids invite a few extra friends like mine do all the time. We have an open dinner table policy. I love that I can head to the freezer to make some garlic bread or open up a couple cans of veggies to help stretch the meal. 

If you don't have any extra grocery money to start buying extras then use coupons to stretch that grocery budget. You can follow lots of deal sites to help let you know where the freebies and real cheap buys are for the week. If I know I am going to Target or Walmart during the week I will take a few minutes to look and see what coupon match ups there are. Almost every week you can find a few items for free or pennies when you match the deal with the coupon. Start doing this once a week and you will start stashing away extras of odd items here and there but after a while you will see that you have two and three cans of this and bags of that or bottles of shampoo. Just continue doing this and when you find you are not buying the items you already have at what would have been full price you can then use those few extra dollars to stock up on the deals for that week at the grocery store or to buy some markdown meats and breads for the freezer.


  1. HI Elaine! These are great tips! I don't use coupons much anymore, but probably should. I was a fanatic with using them when my kids were at home and it really did help so much.
    Hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. Such wonderful tips for everyone Elaine. I really pay attention to the ads and stockpile when something is on sale and I use coupons as much as possible. I agree, I love having the pantry and freezer full. I always look at the markdown meats. That really helps keep my freezer full. Hugs, Marty

  3. Great tips Elaine! Thanks so much for the great info and for the links. Every little bit helps these day.

  4. Great tips Elaine. I love using coupons. I get so so excited when I get a great deal. You're very smart doing this with all your kids, I'm sure it helps a lot. Happy Memorial Day! :D

  5. Thanks, I stocked up this week: 12 bottles of ketchup, 10 bottles of mustard, and 6 jars of pickles. The bagger said "I've never seen anyone buy so much ketchup and mustard!" Daughter and I were laughing so hard and loving the fact that you'd told us what an incredible price cut those items have this week each year. I'm going to visit the coupon sites you mentioned and start doing it big. As Ben Franklin once said, "A penny saved is a penny in my pocket." Oh, that's not exactly the way he said it? Haha, my loose translation :)

  6. Great tips Elaine. Also, Walgreens ads, matched with weekly coupon ads, in addition to their in store flyer, will yield great savings too!!!

  7. back in the day when my children were at home I did a lot of coupon clipping. We had friends who lived in Florida and she and I compared notes, she had a box and had purchased these dividers with tabs alphabetically listing the foods and the coupons went in that section. If the coupon was for bread it went in the section for BREAD, soup under SOUP, milk under MILK, cleaners under CLEANERS, I think you get the idea. She had sat down and listed all the different grocery items she could think of and made a tab for them. It sure saved a lot of time searching for coupons too. If frozen pizza came on sale she would pull out her coupons for pizza and if she had a coupon for that item it was used that week. The most I ever saved on a grocery bill was around $30, but I was one of these small scale couponers. I remember the couple standing in line behind me, he looked at his wife and told her she should do that, and she replied, "Then you need to help." LOL, that $30 wasn't much, but it was in my pocket when I left. We also put out a garden every spring and I canned everything I could get my hands on. My family got so spoiled eating my home made spaghetti sauce they would no longer eat Prego, or Ragu. It was nice to know that if you wanted spaghetti or lasagna (it could be used for pizza sauce too) that the quart of sauce was handy right in the cupboard. Besides, I knew what was in my sauce and there has never been a recall on any of mine in the 42 years I have made it. There all sorts of ways to cut corners and save money. You just have to be willing to do a bit of extra effort. In the long run it sure pays off. Thanks Elaine for all your thrifty ideas. I love your blog.
    Susanne :)

  8. I used to coupon all the time when our kids were little. At one time we got applause in the checkout lane for how little we paid for two cartloads of groceries and that was in 1984. I don't do it so much anymore..and it is a job in itself.

    My daughter does a great job with using coupons and planning out her meals and has food stockpiled. I am proud that she takes the time to do it. xo Diana

  9. I don't know where you find the time for all you do.

  10. Another way is even if you only set aside $10 a month for your stockpile if you hit upon a good sale you will not feel guilty robbing your regular grocery budget to stock up. I would recommend stock piling grocery items before items like bath and beauty - food is the priority.

  11. My Mom and I started doing this a few years ago when the cost of food starting increasing quite a bit. At that point, we started paying attention to what things cost full price, so we know when we can save money. There are things we eat that we wait until there is a sale or I have a coupon for and stock up. We buy a lot of canned vegetables when they are 25-50 cents at the store. So easy to use these for soup or casserole.

    These tips are very useful and thanks for sharing those sites....I'll have to check those out.

  12. such wonderful tips, thanks for sharing this,

  13. These are great tips, Elaine. We have limited storage space (we do not have a pantry in our house, just a narrow and tall cabinet) so I will only buy what we use in bulk. Our local grocery has buy one get one free often, and penny Tuesdays. :D

  14. Hey Elaine, thanks for the websites. I love to use my coupons and stack them and stock pile.
    We don't need to but why pay full price when you don't need too.
    You are really great at this.
    I use coupons and also print out coupons on my husband's computer and then do my stock up on tide, toliet paper,
    paper towels,foil,shampoo, razzor(hubby fusion razzor's are $$$$$) sometimes I get a $5.oo coupon for these razzor's and when they are on sale and I use my cvs card I always get a great deal.

    The money I save we can do other things with.
    Thanks a bunch for sharing those websites and doing this post.
    I LOVE your blog!!

    Have a blessed Holiday today and Bless our troops, all the men and women that are protecting us!

  15. This is such great information. When I began our food storage the first thing I did was make a list of all the things we would need for three months. I began buying extras in items that were less expensive but could knock out fast. Then I moved on to the next. With the threat of job loss I knew we would eat well for a good amount of time before needing more food. Not to mention I have been able to share with those in need and it never hurt our storage. :0)

  16. Good ideas. I would add- I took a food preservation and storage class this spring and found it very enlightening. While couponing may be helpful no one needs 50 bottles of shampoo, when you need food, water, pet food, possible medications (if anyone in your family ison them), etc. Here's a link to questions you can ask yourself about what to store, and why? Save yourself time and money! BTW- I am not affiliated with any religious group that promotes food storage-

  17. A question I'd add- whenever you think about buying another item of clothing, shoes, movie tickets, decorating item, toy, ask yourself-how much food could I buy with this money? We bought a smaller chest freezer this spring and it has paid for itself already, in being about to stockpile frozen goods on sale. I transformed a bedroom closet into a pantry with recycled shelving, works great!

  18. Hi again Elaine....I know I was here before, but just wanted to drop by to say thanks for dropping by Your Cozy Home Party. I'll be adding these tips on twitter today, so thanks again for sharing.