How To Build A Grocery Stockpile On Less Than $10.00 Per Week (and why you should)



Although Extreme Couponing may have given you an unrealistic and (perhaps) an unpalatable view of grocery stockpiling, there is a very real way and practical reason for learning to stockpile.  I've mentioned before that my husband and I paid off our consumer debt through meal planning, and per many of your requests, I plan to write a more thorough post regarding exactly how we did that soon.

Grocery stockpiling is a very important step in sticking to a modest food budget.  Although we no longer have to work to pay off debt, we do live on a tight budget in order to be self-employed so we choose to continue with the same savings techniques.  Once you are able to make it habit, it really is an easy way to save quite a bit of money.

All of our food budgets are going to look different as are our grocery lists and meal plans.  And that's perfectly fine!  There is no right or wrong.  The important thing is the "hows" and the "whys" of grocery stockpiling.  It's the same for us all.


What Is Grocery Stockpiling?
It's simply the stocking up of items your household uses regularly when they drop to rock bottom prices.

You can stock up to last you a full year, or you can stock up to last you until it goes on sale again (most items go on sale every 8-12 weeks), whichever your budget (and storage space) allows for.

don't stockpile more than you can use before it goes bad
How Will Stockpiling Benefit My Household?
You will save money!  Although it initially costs money to build, you will see savings little-by-little as your stockpile grows.  Additional benefits include that you are ready in the event of an emergency whether it be a natural disaster, snowstorm, or a financial issue.

If you live where it snows heavily, have you ever been to the grocery store the day before an anticipated storm or right after the storm?  The shelves are wiped out!  You will eventually have enough to get by during these times.

Have you ever had a week (or two) where finances were super tight?  Whether it be that you're out of work temporarily, or receive an unexpected bill, if you build up a stockpile you can eventually eat mostly from your pantry for a few weeks until you can afford to go shopping again.

How Do I Save Money By Spending Money?
Here's the basic way stockpiling works:
1. You determine what items your family regularly uses.
2. You purchase multiples of said items as they hit rock bottom pricing using your stockpile fund.
3. Each week you plan your meal plans based on what you have stockpiled.
4. You purchase any additional items that you don't have stockpiled, needed to create all of your meals.
5. You will begin spending less per week on those additional items because you'll be pulling more and more from your stockpile.

Spending money to purchase multiples of items your family regularly uses when they hit rock bottom prices saves money because you never pay full price for (eventually) the majority of your food and/or toiletries.

Related:  The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Meal Planning 

Do I Have To Clip Coupons In Order To Build A Stockpile?
No!  There is nothing at all wrong with clipping coupons but for those who choose not to (I'm in that group), please know you can still save money by following a stockpiling plan.


Do I Have To Devote An Entire Room To A Stockpile?
No!  I only work within my kitchen cupboards, a small space for stockpiled toiletries, and a stand-alone freezer.  Work with the space you have.

How Much Time Will This Take Each Week?
There is a small weekly time investment.  Of course, like anything, the longer you do it the more routine it becomes.

  • Weekly you will need to pay attention to store flyers (mail or online).  
  • You might also look at deal blogs (to look for blogs that post deals for stores in your area google "coupon matchups" and the store's name, i.e. "coupon matchups Hannaford") both for coupon information as well as where the best deals are.
  • Check store websites for their coupons and/or sale information
  • Watch for deals while you're grocery shopping.  Stores regularly have unadvertised sales as well as discontinued items.

Related: 14 Tactics To Become A Smarter Shopper


I Don't Have An Extra $5 or $10.00/Week, Now What?
It depends.....

The majority of people who tell me this really do have an extra $5.00 or $10.00 per week when we dive deeper to look.
  • One way to free this amount up is to replace one or two meals each week with a very inexpensive meal (i.e. beans & rice, soup, leftovers, etc.) until you can start getting a stockpile built.  
  • Another way is to only create meals that use inexpensive ingredients. Pay attention to store flyers to shop and meal plan around only what is on sale that week. 
  • You can also look at other aspects of your budget to see if you can make cuts.  Do you buy coffee out at all each week?  Do you spend any money purchasing things that aren't necessities?  Can you cut back on cable?  Are you eating out?  If so, can you cut that down or go to some place that is cheaper?
fresh produce, either homegrown or purchased in bulk from a local farm, can be preserved for use the remainder of the year

Here's how we freed up money to devote to stockpiling:
1. First, we were spending WAY too much money on groceries.  I learned to meal plan and that started to control some of our expenses.  I learned to create meal plans using cheaper meals.  For example, I would make more stews or casseroles as opposed to serving meat as a main because you don't have to use as much meat in a stew or casserole so it would now stretch over a few meals as opposed to one.
2. Once I had meal planning somewhat under my belt, I created a new food budget.  We had never budgeted what we spent on food prior (I know, it makes me sick to my stomach thinking how much money was wasted.....) and we were spending anywhere from $80.00 to $140.00 per week for two of us.  I planned a $100.00/week food budget with $10.00/week going into a stockpile fund.
3. I used cash only at the grocery store.  One envelope contained my $100.00 grocery money and one envelope contained my stockpile fund.
4. No matter what, we did NOT go over $100.00.  I did not use my debit card to bail me out and I did not dip into the stockpile fund.  Instead, I would cut non-essentials (i.e. cereal, condiments, snacks, etc.) and find cheaper replacements (i.e. oatmeal or homemade bread for toast, etc.).

If, however, you are on an extremely tight budget and you are truly down to very simple and inexpensive meals each week where there is absolutely no way to cut it any further then you may have to wait until your budget allows.  If you are paying off debt, maybe once that is paid off you can use $5.00 of it per week toward stockpiling.  Maybe you're up for an annual increase?  Can you devote $5.00 toward stockpiling from that?

Related: The Ultimate List of Meal Planning FAQ's 

I only purchased 5 of these marinara (our favorite) when they went on sale because that's all we needed.  We'll be making homemade marinara in the next month to last us into next year.
How To Build Your Own Grocery Stockpile
  1. Create a list of items your family uses on a regular basis.  Look at your pantry, in your bathrooms, and in your refrigerator/freezer.  
  2. Use that list to create a price book.  This is simply each item's regular price.  You can little-by-little, as you go to the store(s) add prices to your book.  The only way to know for sure if an item is on sale for a really good price is to have a list of what you normally pay.  Many of you cringed reading this.  I get it.  But you only have to create this once and it will be an enormous help for you.
  3. Begin setting $5.00 - $10.00/week (more if you can afford to) aside for a stockpile fund.  Create an envelope and add the cash every week.  Take this envelope with you anytime you go grocery shopping.
  4. Watch for sales.  Look at store flyers, peruse blogs that publish great sales at stores in your area, and look for sales while at the grocery store.
  5. When you find really good prices on an item your family uses, ask yourself 3 questions: 1. How many do I need/can afford to purchase?  2. Do I have space to store it?   3. Will I be able to use it before it spoils?
  6. Don't forget to stockpile extra garden produce.  Dehydrate, can, or freeze it.
  7. Start creating your meal plans to incorporate your growing stockpile.


What Types Of Things To Stockpile:
  • Grains (you can store in large mason jars or buckets)
  • Flours
  • Yeast
  • Sugar
  • Canned Goods
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Paper Supplies (toilet paper/paper towels)
  • Meat & Fish (freeze)
  • Dairy (freeze)
  • Produce (freeze/dehydrate/can)
  • Bread (freeze)
  • Soap & Skincare
  • Snacks
  • Condiments
  • Cereals
Before you know it your weekly grocery expenses will begin to go down.  Be patient - it takes time for the savings snowball to amount to a significant amount.  Also, be patient and forgiving of yourself.  It's ok to make mistakes.  Learn from them and continue moving forward.  

You can do this!!!



Do you stockpile?  I would love to hear any tips or ideas you have!

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