November 23, 2009

I'm a Stockpiler

I have been thinking about this idea a lot lately and then I came across this blog post that I found interesting. Thought you might want to read this too. I have been following the "pantry principle" for about 10 years now (since I first read about it in the Tightwad Gazette) and I think it has saved us a lot of money. If you have been in my basement "pantry" or looked in my upright freezer you know it's true I have a lot of food stockpiled. But that food was bought at the LOWEST price I could find.

part of our stockpile

When my four "biggies" go on sale I really stock up and those are: peanut butter, cheese, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and ground beef. I only buy peanut butter when it is $1 or less. I buy a case or sometimes 2 to get us through until the next sale. So I spend $12 on peanut butter at once instead of buying each one individually for $1.50 saving myself $6 maybe more (not including coupons) that I know I'm going to spend anyway.

Chicken breasts aren't a good deal to me if they aren't about $1.66 per pound but sometimes I have to settle for anything under $2 per pound. If it's more than that I just don't get them. I used to be able to get ground beef for $.99 per pound but that hasn't happened for a LONG time. Now anything at about $1.5o or less per pound is a good deal in my opinion. (Found some at Woodman's two weeks ago for $1.25 per pound!)

Cheese also used to go on sale for $1 (8 oz. packages) but the lowest I've gotten it lately is $1.25. The cashier always gives me a strange look when I buy 20 packages of cheese. Once a lady at store even asked me what I was going to do with it all. I told her the expiration date for cheese is usually a long way off so as long as you keep it in the fridge it will be fine. (I used to freeze it but then it crumbles and I hate that.) I stack it on the bottom shelf in the way back of the fridge. But it doesn't last long in this house of cheese lovers...we go through a lot of cheese. Since it is perishable and takes up fridge space sometimes I do pay more for cheese since I just cannot buy enough to last me until the next sale.

Just think of all the things you buy on a regular basis. Even if you didn't use coupons, if you only bought that item when it was on sale, buying enough to last you until it is on sale again, you would save a good sum of money. Don't have enough space in your cupboards or linen closet to stash bargain food and toilet paper? Think of other places to store it. Keep a few items handy in the kitchen (or bathroom) and put the rest in the basement on shelves. I very rarely run out of anything. I don't ever use the last bit of ketchup and say "oh, we're out of ketchup I better get some when I go to the store". I open the next bottle that I had stored in the "pantry" and add it to my list to get when I see a good sale or find a coupon. It has gotten to the point that when we get down to 40 rolls of toilet paper or 10 jars of peanut butter Jerry will say to me: "Hey, did you know we're getting low?"

Aldi has lessened my need to stockpile some. Lots of items are the lowest price there all the time, so I don't feel like I have to stockpile things that I know I can get there on a regular basis. But sometimes with a sale and a coupon I can beat an Aldi price so I try and stock up when I can. Sometimes I don't have enough coupons to really stockpile. Sometimes it is too perishable to stockpile...can't stock up on lettuce! Some things never have a coupon or rarely go on sale. That's when I think Aldi saves us money. We're able to get most of our groceries there for around $100 per week. Not back for a family of eight!

Stockpiling also saves money in other little ways. Saves on gas, fewer quick trips to the store to get one or two items. Cub scouts knocking on the door for the food drive...no problem, just pull out a few cans and boxes. It's also a bit of "insurance" in case we have a bad snowstorm and can't leave the house. We could eat from the stockpile and would really only need milk and produce for at least a month or maybe even two!

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