October 27, 2014

Stockpiling Food and Being Prepared: When is Enough Enough?

Jan10

Last week, I received an email from a reader with the title, “Enough is Enough.”

Here’s an excerpt,

“So, I have been couponing and living the frugal lifestyle for over a year now…but am getting sick of how much stockpile I have (and it isn’t a crazy amount yet–not hiding food under beds or closets), but when to stop and know what you have is enough…for now.

Do you have any posts about this or advice? I just feel like I have enough–but yet, when it is free or virtually free–I get it.”

As I read the email, I chuckled because I think that every person that has ever indulged in the art of stockpiling has asked themselves, “How much should I keep on hand?” And quite frankly, the people who don’t ask themselves that question needs to do so. In order to be good stewards of what we have, we need to figure out a strategic answer to that question.

For those of you new to the concept of Stockpiling, read Stockpiling 101 and “Are Coupons Worth It?” lest you think I am one of those that equates the word “stockpiler” with hoarder. There is a huge difference, but unfortunately, some couponers confuse the two and stockpile much more than they will ever use.

“The art of stockpiling groceries combines coupons, rebates, and the understanding of loss leader priced items. Consumer consultants and grocery chains operate their stores on the premise that most households only have a three day supply of food. Americans are impulse purchasers, and that is most evident in people’s food budget. The goal of stockpiling (buying items in multiple quantities at rock bottom prices) is to create a personal mini-mart of staples, so that there isn’t the need to grab a few things at the store for a last minute recipe.” (Note that I say a mini-mart, not an entire store.)

I want to be clear that every household will be different with their stockpiling needs.

There are so many variables from family to family. I have five, big eating children who go through cereal two boxes at a sitting, so I have 10 -15 boxes on hand most times. My stockpile in that area will be greater than a family with toddlers, but even with a large family, there are still key questions that every one should ask first when determining how much is enough.

1. Am I stewarding well what I already have on hand?

Are things going to waste? Are they expiring? Are you using a majority of the items before you buy more? This is the first question that you need to ask. You may have gotten something for free or nearly free, but if you aren’t using it, or don’t know what you will do with it, it’s still being wasteful. There are people who stockpile 50 bottles of spray cleaner because it was free. Free is wonderful, but do you know how long it takes to use up ONE bottle of cleaner? That same cleaner will go on sale another fifty times before you can even think of using it all. If you’ve read my Stockpiling 101, you understand that most stores sales cycle repeats every 6-12 weeks (depending on the area that you live.) Therefore, one should never be stressed if you miss that GREAT DEAL because it comes back around. Know how often specific products, that you use often, go on sale.

The benefit of stockpiling is to always be prepared, as well as save money. If you feel like you’ve grown quite a stockpile for a few certain items, then stop buying them for awhile. I did that with salad dressing. I realized I had quite a bit in my pantry and so I used it up before I stockpiled more. That is the purpose of stockpiling: to buy for pennies on the dollar, but then actually use it.

2. Do you have the means to keep it organized?

We all have different amounts of space available for storage. If it’s causing you to build up clutter, or get in the way of day to day organizational ease, or getting sick of how much you have, it’s time to take a break and use up some of what you have on hand. That’s a main reason why I do a pantry challenge twice a year. (My Pantry Challenge is going on right now.) It allows me to get organized, clear out and use up those things that I might otherwise not touch, and forces me to steward what I have invested in already.

3. Are you strategically stockpiling so that you can give generously and share with others?

If this is your intent, then stockpile away, and give generously to those in need. But why, oh why, do people need 100 tubes of toothpaste of deodorant, unless you are making care packages for the homeless , giving to local refugee families or sharing with your neighbors?

After you ask yourselves some of those questions, then look at your family’s need and determine what is right for you. Since we went through one year of unemployment, and at the time, we were only a single income family,  I lean towards wanting a slightly larger stockpile than I would have before that occurred.

With economic times they way they are and as grocery prices continue to increase, I recommend having three months worth of the basics stocked. I don’t mean treats, snacks and frivolous items, but think through what your month would look like if you lost your income tomorrow. Are you prepared?  What would you need to have on hand to help you ease the financial impact through the next three months?

Now, I am going to tell you a little secret, and I wish I could tell you my reasoning in person, because reading it may come across as a bit radical. While I do not keep a huge stockpile of toiletries (only about 5-7 toothpastes and deodorant, but that’s for 7 people), nor do I keep crazy amounts of free couponed food, I do have a section in storage that is our long term food storage. This consists of whole foods – grains, beans, dried milk, dried fruit, sugar, and some other staples that our family does not touch. In fact, some has been canned and others, just filled in buckets with dry ice and then sealed for maximum freshness. When I say “long term,” I mean long term. These cans have a shelf life of up to 30 years, and the grain buckets up to 15, and they are put away in case there’s  ever an extreme emergency. All of these items are things that I would use on a regular basis and so I do not worry at all that they will go to waste. Now that gives a whole new meaning to the word, “stockpiling,” but I think I’ll leave my reasoning  for another post, since I am sure Maggie certainly didn’t mean that when she asked. :)

I want to turn this question over to you, since I know that many will have varied responses. Again, all needs will be different based on ones family needs, but I’d love to hear if you have thought this question through.

When it comes to food, toiletries and stockpiling, when is enough, enough?

And like I mentioned above, our Pantry Challenge is going strong, and a perfect time to use up some of my stockpile. Check out what my friends are doing to make it work for them:

I look forward to peeking in on some of these recipes for my own Pantry Challenge inspiration. It’s going to get trickier as the next few weeks progress.



Comments

  1. I don’t have much of a stockpile, but even with what I have I have had things expire. The most recent one was an extra 72 oz bag of choco chips – I didn’t go through them as fast as I used to and that bag sat in the hot garage during the Summer. I got it out recently and all the chips were white and practically disintegrated if you tried to use them – not good taste either. Had to throw it away. :( It really helps to know how quickly you go through different types of food and to keep checking on what you do have stocked up already. Thanks for hosting and all your helpful info! :)

    [Reply]

    Brooke Reply:

    @Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates,

    I buy my chocolate chips in bulk too, but I keep mine in the freezer. They last forever that way. I can stock up at the holidays, when they’re crazy on sale, enough to last me a whole year! You can do nuts the same way.

    [Reply]

  2. Those are great tips, thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  3. It just will vary so much from family to family. I buy pasta 20 boxes at a time when there is a great sale. Some families don’t eat much pasta. Another thing you have to think about is how frequently the item goes on sale. Tuna is at it’s cheapest during Lent. I usually try to buy enough to last a year. It isn’t something that takes up a huge amount of space. If an item only goes on a great sale every 6 months I try to get a 6 month supply. If it is 6 weeks, I only get a 6 week supple. And because everyone buys different food items, this will be different for everyone. There are so many variables, but your post and hopefully the comments will give people stuff to think about.

    [Reply]

  4. Great tips. I would just emphasize the giving to those in need. If you have items that you stockpile or that you purchase because they are free or so cheap, but not something you eat quickly, donate it. There are plenty of food pantries and homeless shelters in our country that could use these donated items! I was recently reading another couponing forum where a woman talked about all these items in her pantry expiring and how she’s having to throw it all away. DONATE it!

    Anyways, thanks so much for hosting Tasty Tuesday and always having a discussion that is so interesting!

    [Reply]

  5. Good to know we’re not the only radical ones with long-term storage! As for how much is enough – with five kids and four of them teens – I would have to say it’s more than I have!

    [Reply]

  6. There is a cycle of my favorite products being on sale at my local store. I think it is every five weeks. I try to buy enough for five weeks when I stockpile my favorite staples.

    [Reply]

  7. Great advice, Jen. I think you are so right, that the magic number is different for each family. I “like” to keep enough tolietries for 6 months, however I checked my supply yesterday and realized that I have 1 bottle of girl body wash, 1 bottle of boy body wash, 1 shampoo and 2 conditioners in the closet. So after not really playing the drug store game for a while – I’m back at it. I also tend to not stockpile a lot of store bought food because we grow a lot of our food and we preserve it. I’ve just started preserving meat – we canned 13 quarts of venison over the weekend. I also have long time storage. I’d like to know how you manage yours I buy and replace somethings each year – like the milk- but then others – like the beans – I just store. Thanks for hosting the link up!

    [Reply]

  8. We have a room about the size of a small walk in closet! We have food, clothing, gifts all stockpiled in there. I typically set the rule of 3-4 months worth of a item! I know sales will come around again. I used to have so much stockpile that when hubby lost his job we lived off of it for 6 months to a year and I have just recently started stocking up again. I stock up on things that I know we will use. If its a freebie on something I have never had I buy one or two and wait to see if our family will use it. I also go through every 3-6 months and get boxes of things close to exp to donate to shelters to help them curb hunger and me throw away perfectly good food!

    [Reply]

  9. I think this is definitely a case of one man’s prudent savings is another man’s clutter. Or should I say woman’s? :)

    I decided to try couponing again for the purposes of stockpiling and helping others. The economy has not recovered nor do I expect it to any time soon. If I can stretch our grocery budget with the coupons to buy food for others and do my small part, I will.

    [Reply]

  10. I am working my way through my stockpile – and hoping to tidy my cupboards as I do! It can be tempting to overbuy when the price is right, so I’m hoping to be more balanced about it in 2012. Thank you for hosting Tasty Tuesday. I’ve just noticed your lovely new button. I’ve used the old one this time, but I promise to use the new one next time! Have a great week!

    [Reply]

  11. Thanks for hosting another great week. I’m looking forward to making my way through some of these posts I’m sharing a post on preserving lemons. Have a great week.

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    @France @ Beyond The Peel, Just jumped over & looked at your post on preserving lemons… Yummy! Now I’m going to need to do this & find some recipes in which to use them! :)

    [Reply]

  12. My problem with stockpiling is that our family tends to go through food faster when I have a stock. I remember the time I got 12 boxes of cereal (on sale) and 6 gallons of milk (the milk was free). We usually use 1 1/2 gallons of milk in a week. All 6 gallons were gone in 2 1/2 weeks. 4 boxes of cereal usually lasts 2 weeks. I think we used all 12 in about 4 weeks.

    I did my best to keep our usage levels the same, but the rationing didn’t work out so well. How do you keep from blowing through your stock before the items go on sale again?

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    Rachel – that is the bain of my existence. I bought nine bottles of juice this week. That SHOULD last more than a few days, right, but I made one huge mistake, and I didn’t hide them as soon as I got home. Now, you can’t hide milk, but I literally do try and hide snacks or items. If I don’t, they eat two boxes at one sitting.

    The juice? They drank three bottles in one day, and honestly, I was ticked. I then stressed that it’s a “treat,” not a liquid meal. :)

    [Reply]

    KimH Reply:

    @Jen,
    I have the same problem with my 2 guys… And I thought I was the only one hiding things.. haha..

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    @KimH, Always hide things that could be considered a treat, or else it becomes a main event. I have containers of ‘liver’ in the freezer, my sister has ‘turnips’ and my neighbour has ‘spelt flour’. Nobody wants to open those packages so they last until you are ready to bring them out. When I don’t do this a bag of chocolate chips disappears in a few days. Then I have to refuse to replace them for a while so I can replenish the ‘liver’.

  13. I am always glad to see someone acknowledge that stockpile number will vary greatly from household to household. There are only 3 in my household – hubby, myself and my 17 year old son (17- really? When did that happen?) However, according to what I’ve read on other sites – both posts and comments – I have waaay too many laundry & cleaning supplies and toiletry items on hand. Obviously, I don’t agree! LOL I try to have at minimum six month supply of many items. I do continue to buy because I continue to use. As I use the older items and great deals come around I replace what I’ve used.

    I get so tired of being told I don’t need to buy a six-month supply of something when it’s at rock-bottom price because it will be on sale again in 6 – 8 weeks. Yes, it will – but that six-month supply may only cost me $3 this time, the next sale may not be quite a good, or I may not have $3 to spend when the next sale hits. So I buy what I can when I have that bit of wiggle room in my budget because I’m aware that there are many times when there is no wiggle room. This is especially true since we dealt with about 6 weeks of unemployment for my hubby in October & November and his new job pays roughly half what his old job did. So now I’m looking for a part-time job that I can work around the houses I clean. And if I could get 50 bottles of spray cleaner free, I would probably be able to use it up much faster than you think I would! LOL

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    Trust me, if I can get a great deal on laundry detergent, with teen boys in the house, I’d buy six months as well. :)

    [Reply]

  14. One of the reasons I LOVE having a stockpile is that it makes my shopping list sooo much shorter! I love to not have to buy laundry soap EVERY time I walk into a store.

    [Reply]

  15. Hi, thanks so much for hosting! I shared my post on preparing for quick vegetable sides, which includes a tasty recipe for honey-cinnamon butternut squash mash. Have a great week!

    [Reply]

  16. I live in Canada, where it seems to be harder to coupon so much that you get things for free. I have a bigger problem with clutter because I’m constantly hoarding freebies like samples and hotel shampoos and conditioners. Its hilarious, really, but I need to start using them and stop letting them clutter up my whole bathroom ;).

    I’m sharing my very easy, slow cooker hot apple cider recipe. Thanks for the link-up!

    [Reply]

  17. I’m not a good stock piler or couponer but on the occasion I got something free, I’d get it whether I needed it or not and then pass it on. Food banks are in NEED of everything right now and are quickly being depleted because of high demand. Paper products are always in demand as they are rarely donated. Find out if your own church has a pantry for those in need. If not, start one! Or save those extras for filling a goodie basket with and delivering to a friend, neighbor, or someone you know who might need it. If I were more organized and really got into couponing, I’d make a point of giving away the extras.

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    [Reply]

  18. I agree it varies depending on your needs! I recently started dating when I open something up (dishsoap, shampoo, etc.) then when it’s gone, I take a look and see how long it lasted. It was interesting that the 8 small Dawn dish soaps sitting under my sink would last me over a year! I just kept stockpiling and stockpiling thinking I was going to run out. It’s an interesting excercise, especially worth repeating as you go along and needs change. Just my two cents!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I LOVE your Dawn experiment. It fits perfectly with my example of the Windex, but I never really looked at how long it would last. Love that!

    [Reply]

  19. I don’t necessarily have a set stockpile of things we never touch but I always have large quantities of dried beans and rice around. Currently we probabably have around 8lbs brown rice and a total of 5lbs of different kinds of beans. I buy beans in 5lb bags and while I mostly use up each variety before I buy another one I don’t run out of them all at the same time. So we’ve always got quite a bit.

    Depending on the time of year we might have as much as six months food stockpiled. I buy chickens every August from a local farmer and I do freeze and preserve quite a few vegetables from the local farmer’s market and our CSA. Right now I think we have 2-3 months of chicken left and will probably finish the squash and potatoes, as well as the frozen veggies by the end of February.

    I don’t know what your reasons are for keeping this stuff around but I have to fight my extreme paranoia about our unsustanable food system. Deep down in my heart I believe it’s going to collapse one day whether this means our main crops being killed by an epidemic or a fossil fuel shortage will make it so trucking food all over the country is no longer possible. It bothers me that I don’t live on enough land to feed my family let alone have basic gardening skills. The later I can remedy to an extent.

    I know this is crazy. Sounds like the reasoning people were using to build shelters and buy generators for Y2K but I can’t help it. :)

    [Reply]

    BethB Reply:

    @BethB, Oops,
    that should be 18lbs rice!

    [Reply]

    KimH Reply:

    @BethB, You mirror my thoughts on the economy and possible colapse completely. I’ve recently started canning meat and soups against the possibility of losing my freezer stock to loss of electricity. Also, Im in the same position regarding the lack of land here.

    [Reply]

  20. I was just thinking about this exact question yesterday! I don’t keep much of a stockpile in the traditional sense because I am only feeding my husband and me. In fact, I was wondering when it even crosses the line from just being a well-stocked pantry to being an actual stockpile! But it works for us. Pasta seems to be the thing I have closest to a stockpile of–usually 6 boxes at least at any given time.

    Just curious, when do those of you with large stockpiles decide to start dipping into them?

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    @Laura, I’ve wondered that too. I don’t have anything in long-term storage so I’m curious. If you have something with a 15 year shelf life, but it’s something you use on a regular basis, do you rotate it regularly? Or do you wait 10 years, and then use that container and replace it with another container that will last another 15 years?

    Even though I couldn’t tell you how frequently I use a bottle of body wash or dish soap (I do seem to go through more than most people I read about, but I love lots of suds – no matter what I’m washing :) ), I can usually look at my shelves and come up with a pretty good estimate as to how long the current supply will last. Since I seem to have a fairly good system on my rotating stockpile, I’m looking to move on to some new challenges.

    I would really like to start cooking more from scratch, using more staples and fewer pre-packaged items. Then I’m hoping to figure out what staples I would really like to have in long-term storage and work out a system for that!

    [Reply]

  21. Hey! I love all the recipes and thanks for allowing us to link up and share. I however am not able to link up, as it said I needed a code or a ‘back up link’… ??? I would love help if you know what that means. Bless you and thanks again for hosting such an amazing site!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    So sorry about that. This is the first time I left out the directions for linking up. What the back link request means is that somewhere in your post, you need to put how you are linking up at my blog with the link – http://www.beautyandbedlam.com. Once that is added, it should link just fine.
    Hope that helps.

    [Reply]

  22. In the age of the shows Extreme Couponing and Hoarders (which sometimes look like the same thing!) I’m glad to see a conversation like this!

    [Reply]

  23. I am an on again off again couponer. Usually once I get my pantry full and stocked the thrill of couponing is just not there anymore. So that is when I take a break. Usually when I start getting really low on something that we use a lot of I will get back into it again. When I am not couponing I still get the inserts each week from the paper. I just look for really good sales on meat and produce and we eat a lot of homemade freezer meals during this time. I do donate some of my stockpile and I also make family gift baskets at Christmas.

    [Reply]

  24. Looking forward to your post on super-stockpiling and how you keep things for 15 years? Dry ice?
    thanks so much for all of the inspiration!

    [Reply]

  25. I remember having those same feelings when I started to stockpile. It was so fun at first, and then it became a bit overwhelming. I tend to stock up longer for things that I know won’t go on sale for a long time (like choc chips around holiday time). I do prefer to stock up for a year if I can, but usually it’s 3-6 mos because of space issues. The thing about stocking up for a year is that it usually means less trips to the store, which not only saves me time and gas, but also saves me from buying other items that I might purchase “since I’m already at the store.” When you’re starting out, it does help to know how often you go through items. A lady I once stayed with put the date in perm. ink on the bottom of her household items (cleaners, shampoos, etc) so she always knew how long things lasted. I think it’s a great idea until you figure out what you usage pattern is.

    [Reply]

  26. Would love to hear more about your long-term storage system, as well. I’ve been interested in setting something up for my family and have been looking into doing that. Also, just wanted to say I have been following your site for a couple months now and really enjoy reading!

    [Reply]

  27. I’ve been couponing for 4 years now.. hard to believe its flown by so quickly.. It took me a good 6 months to get a good stockpile going & I kept going for another couple years. I shared with everyone I was close to & donated to a few places, and I still had stuff coming out my ears.
    I looked around and said ENOUGH as well.

    I decided that I wouldnt try to stockpile much over what we could use in a year. I thought that was a nice balanced time frame. There are some things that I will stock up on as much as I can possibly get at rock bottom prices, from free to 1/10th the regular price. Those are my body wash (I can only use one), Dawn dishwashing liquid (no dishwasher here but me) Clorox Clean Up, & Scrubbing Bubbles Spray. It doesnt matter if I already have 10 on hand.. I’ll get 10 more if I can.

    That being said.. I havent gotten ANY of those in the last year. I took the year off from couponing though I did still read the blogs & take advantage of online deals sometimes. I have plenty of staples in my basement pantry & freezer and I really think that if we were to lose our ability to buy food here, we could survive at least 6 months. Maybe longer. We can live without milk, bread, butter, & cream.. I think. ;)

    Jen, I dont think having food storage is odd or strange at all. Im 100% all for it & have been looking into ways to store, buy & maximize savings with food storage.
    M’honey bought me a nice All American canner in Oct and I got a nifty food dehydrator I had on my wishlist for Christmas, and I’ve been enjoying using them.

    I think the younger generations think its odd to have a year or mores worth of food on hand since they’ve been raised in an age of plenty, but Im 50, and remember my grandmothers pantries that were filled with home canned frozen, & dried goods, gardening, and them hunting, fishing, & raising their own meat & fruits every year. These were preserved for the year until they came in again.
    They didnt do this out of necessity, but did it because they could & its what people did. They held on to every penny they could and saved them.

    I was close to my grandparents (both sides) and they taught me to be a good steward to our land & our food. They also taught me to eat good healthy God made food and thats what I love best.

    Im not Mormon but here is a link to their Food Storage Supply order form that anyone can take advantage of if you’re interested. http://providentliving.org/content/display/0,11666,8133-1-4352-1,00.html

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    Kim – agree with all that you have said and take a look at my post from a few months ago. Guess where it is? ;) And no, we are not Mormon either.
    http://beautyandbedlam.com/bulk-food-storage/

    [Reply]

    KimH Reply:

    @Jen, Haha.. thats awesome! I think I may have seen that post. It sure looks like you all had a lot of fun. I giggle when Im nervous. ;)

    I have found the closest cannery to me and I plan to start taking advantage of it soon. I did find some folks who are LDS where I work & they said they couldnt afford to take advantage of it, so Im thinking it might be cool to go in together occasionally so they can get some too without having to hardship themselves.

    [Reply]

  28. Growing up we always had tons of food storage which was wonderful and got us through some hard times when money was tight.

    These days I live in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment in Europe where stockpiling is so NOT the “thing to do.” It’s really strange that it’s normal for people to run to the store everyday or two because most don’t keep extras on hand. My mother in law is one of the few that does have a nice stockpile of things and we’re always benefiting from her overages! I also try to keep a few extra of things on hand but lacking the storage space for a lot I don’t think I could get by for more than a month without restocking the bulk of things.

    [Reply]

  29. Jen,

    Where do you buy long term stockpile items with a shelf life of 30 years? I would like to purchase some items but have no idea where to look for them….

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    I actually bought bulk items and put them in buckets myself (with dry ice). I just broke into some of mine after 12 years and they are still perfect (the grains). That is the much cheaper option, but I did do some canning that will be good for 30 years. I’ll go into detail and try to find some nationwide sources.

    [Reply]

  30. i think it’s important for the stockpiler to do 2 really important things: 1) create food rules – what is acceptable to eat? The very cheapest stuff? Or do you have other nutrition-based priorities? It is your choice, just make it. And 2) reduce variety. I find when I have so much variety (very easy for the couponer) it is harder to use up everything. How many bottles of condiments, peppers, pickles, etc can one have open in the fridge?

    I am going more and more to costco shopping and reducing reliance on the grocery store. We value the quality of our foods (and I trust costco to have safe meats). Because I have wic shopping to do at the grocery store, I still cherry pick the very very very best deals – but only if they meet my family’s food rules (and also pick up necessaries i cannot get at costco, like coconut yogurt). I have shifted a good amount of shopping to amazon as well because of price. I don’t have the time (I’m a student and I have 2 kids) or desire to run around on the weekends in the crazy traffic.

    That being said, I’m a crazy stockpiler. The muscle milk boxes my husband likes to take to work? Costco coupon, limit 2. Every week this month we picked up 2 boxes. They are stacked next to our bed. I think we got 10 of them and they will last until they go on sale again. Same thing with pull-ups a few months ago (now down to 2 boxes, and she’s almost potty trained, yeah! They’ll be good for nightwear, but if it turns out I didn’t need them, I can take them back). Tide HE was on sale – I got two this month, and that should last until it’s on sale again. 3 cases of paper towels nearly free, stacked on my side of the bed. It will take a year or more to use those up – we use towels. But it all adds up. We store my CVS hauls in shoebox size plastic boxes sorted by type (allergy/cold, digestive, topical [itch cream, neosporin, bandaids], eyes/ears/nose, pain relief, teeth), those are all sorted in the linen closet. Our vitamins/supplements are stored in one big box. Shampoos, razors, etc, are stored under the bed. Right now we have a surplus of cereal (I actually found great deals on cereal this month) and those are stacked on top of a case of beer :)

    So, heck yeah, stockpile like mad when it’s really at rock bottom price. Having just moved from the south to the mid-atlantic, different grocery stores have different sales cycles. Things do not really go that low every 6 to 8 weeks here. And the promotions vary – sometimes I can get pasta as a MM, sometimes I have to buy it. I tend to stock up when it’s the former.

    The third, and perhaps most important thing – clean out your pantry! Donate! We just moved but the church down the block collects food one sunday a month. I’m cleaning out my pantry this week to donate! We have SIX boxes of baby cereal (WIC – it’s a great program, but the ratios are just so off) to give away and who knows what else I will find. My pantry is due for a once over as part of my pantry challenge!

    [Reply]

  31. If I can get it for free or nearly free, I grab it every time.
    Here’s why – I am a strong believer in giving back.
    When I was younger, and not doing so well, people helped me, and now I help others.
    I can get 3 cans of hash for 25 cents each ?
    But we don’t eat hash ?
    The food bank can use it.
    I have too much t.p. and didn’t realize ?
    The local domestic violence shelter would love to have it, along with any extra cleaning products if I have too much.
    I never run short of people or places who could use the help, and I’m teaching my kids that frugal doesn’t mean selfish – no matter how bad we think we have it, I want them to understand that we are extraordinarily fortunate and can always help others.

    [Reply]

  32. If your stockpile of a certain item is more than your family will use, why not work out a barter with another family for something you can use?

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    Perfect idea. Bartering is something I love to do.

    [Reply]

Share Your Thoughts

*

Current ye@r *