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When you go to the grocery store, pick-up a couple of frugal extras for your pantry, or to give to your favorite charity. Stores are always having sales or specials on canned goods, and some stores like WalMart, have regular prices as low as $0.50 a can or less on certain goods. An extra dollar or two for the pantry or charity is not cost prohibitive, and can go a long way to helping out those in need. You won't miss that extra dollar or two, and a can of beans, looks like a steak, to the truly needy!
By Wallace from Farmington, NM
Stocking up is easy, once you get the hang of it. When you find an exceptional deal, you buy as much as you can afford and reasonably use before it spoils.
I recently found peanut butter on sale, with a coupon, for $1.00 a pound. I bought six jars.
We also have two years worth of Hefty garbage bags, because I was able to combine an exceptional loss leader with twenty high-value coupons that I bought on eBay for less than $2.00.
The stock-up grocery plan is reliant upon a price book. Amy Dacyczyn introduced the idea in her book, The Tightwad Gazette, and that is still the best description available.
Basically, the price book is a record of the unit price of the groceries and household items that you regularly buy. With this book in hand, you will always know if a sale is really a good deal.
How to stock up is an important decision. Visit the local library and look into books on canning and freezing. While canning can be quite rewarding, it can also be time consuming. Freezing takes little time, but foods taste differently after they are frozen. Neither method can be used on a large scale without some initial investments such as canning supplies or a freestanding freezer. In all, it's a personal decision about which method to use.
When stocking up a sage piece of advice is this: check the expiration dates! Frozen or canned food will not last forever, and the dangers of expired foods are not worth any amount of savings. Rotate foods so that the oldest products are in the front, and always label canned or frozen foods with the date purchased. Most cookbooks or preserving cookbooks offer expiration periods for preserved foods.
Two resources for preserving are: Stocking Up! by Carol Hupping and Preserving Summer's Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow by Rodale Food Center, Susan McClure
I'm reading an old Agatha Christie book and the old lady in it had generous "stores" down in the pantry. It's a good, old-fashioned idea, although rather than bags of sugar and preserves, mine run to pasta, spaghetti sauce, beans and, in the bathroom, shampoo, conditioner and lotions.
By pamphyila from Los Angeles
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I'm looking for a post about stocking up on groceries? I saw it a few months ago, it's like progressive shopping, can anyone help?
Karen from British Columbia
I'm not sure if this is it or not?
Set aside $5 a week to buy the specific items each week. You will have a kitty set aside that you put the $5 in and you can't touch it for any reason but to buy the food storage item for that week. Put in the remaining change back into the kitty. Some things in the beginning are going to be cheap and then later will be more expensive. In order to pay for the expensive stuff later you need to keep the leftover money in the kitty. Weeks 38 and 44 you will have "off" to replenish the kitty.
Week 1: 2 cans tuna fish, 2 boxes salt
Week 2: 5 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese, 4 cans tomato soup
Week 3: 3 cans mushroom soup, 1 2.5 lb peanut butter
Week 4: one bottle 365 count multi-vitamins
Week 5: 4 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 6: 1 bottle aspirin (500 tablets)
Week 7: 1 100 lb container wheat
Week 8: 1 5 lb powdered milk
Week 9: 1 5 lb honey
Week 10: 4 cans tuna, 4 boxes macaroni and cheese
Week 11: 1 10 lb sugar, 1 box salt
Week 12: 4 cans mushroom soup
Week 13: 1 bottle 365 count multi-vitamins
Week 14: 1 100 lb wheat
Week 15: 1 box macaroni and cheese
Week 16: 1 5 lb honey
Week 17: 2 cans tuna, 4 can tomato soup
Week 18: 1 10 lbs sugar
Week 19: 1 100 lbs of wheat
Week 20: 2 10lbs of sugar
Week 21: 1 10lb powdered milk
Week 22: 1 can mushroom soup, 1 10 lb sugar
Week 23: 1 can tuna, 4 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lbs sugar
Week 24: 1 10 lbs sugar
Week 25: 2 cans tuna, 2 cans mushroom soup
Week 26: 1 100 lb wheat
Week 27: 3 10 lbs sugar
Week 28: 1 10 lb sugar
Week 29: 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 30: 2 10 lb sugar
Week 31: 1 can tuna, 3 cans mushroom soup
Week 32: 1 can tuna, 4 cans tomato soup
Week 33: 1 100 lb wheat
Week 34: 2 cans tuna, 1 box salt
Week 35: 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 36: 2 10 lb sugar
Week 37: 4 cans tomato soup, 2 boxes salt
Week 38: Stash $5 in the kitty
Week 39: 1 100 lb wheat
Week 40: 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 41: 3 10 lb sugar
Week 42: 2 cans tomato soup, 1 10 lb sugar
Week 43: 2 cans tomato soup, 2 cans mushroom soup
Week 44: Stash $5 in the kitty
Week 45: 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 46: 4 cans tomato soup, 4 cans mushroom soup
Week 47: 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 48: 4 cans mushroom soup, 1 10 lb powdered milk
Week 49: 7 cans of tomato soup
Week 50: 7 cans of mushroom soup
Week 51: 2 10 lbs sugar, 1 box salt
By the end of the 52 weeks, you should have:
700lbs of wheat,
240 lbs sugar,
40 lbs of powdered milk,
13 lbs of salt,
10 lbs of honey,
5 lbs of peanut butter,
45 cans of tomato soup,
32 cans mushroom soup,
15 cans tuna fish,
10 macaroni and cheese dinners,
500 aspirin, and
730 multiple vitamins
They suggest adding 6 lbs of dried yeast and 6 lbs of shortening and this should be enough to sustain 2 people for a year. For every 2 people you have in your family add $5 more and double or triple the amount of whatever you are buying that week.
Thank you so much, thats exactly what I was looking for, I appreciate it very much!
If anyone else has any ideas on this, I would love to hear from you, I'm just so tired of going to the grocery store almost every day. I need some sort of system where I can stock up and meal plan. Thanks
People usually stock up on groceries when they go on sale. For example, we had great sales on canned veggies in Sep and Oct. But I saw no sale on canned fruits. You would buy 1-2 cases (if the store lets you) and use that for the next 6-8 months.
Really, just buy more of an item when it goes on sale, but only buy it if you will use it. Don't buy canned asparagus if no one but you likes it.
Read the ads each week for several grocery stores in your area. Then plan your shopping trip to hit each store, all in one day, buying the best items on sale from each.
To start out, I would take a quick inventory of what you have in your pantry/cupboards already. Get out all your cookbooks or favorite recipes and meal plan with what you have on hand. Then, get your sale papers and meal plan with what is on sale. I use a regular calendar and write in my meal plan for that day. I always try to plan a meal that will make leftovers. For example, if you have a roast beef and vegetables, use the leftovers the next day to make a soup or BBQ beef. My husband actually likes leftovers so this works out good for me! When I make chili I have a recipe for leftover chili pizza and I actually take out the chili needed and put it into the fridge before I even put the chili pot on the table for dinner, that way, I am sure that I actually have my leftover chili to make my pizza! A good thing to plan is a big kettle of soup so you can have leftovers for the next night and take the night off of cooking! I like to bake bread to serve with the soup and make sure that I make enough the first night to have some for the next meal. If you are having a hard time about what meals to plan for, ask your family what their favorite meal is.
The stocking up for groceries list that I posted earlier was one that was shared on Thriftyfun in the past. I think that you need to modify it to fit your family's needs. I don't use box macaroni and cheese, I make mine from scratch, so I just don't ever buy it. If your family doesn't like tuna fish, then you would have to change it to some other type of canned meat. I would never use 40 pounds of powdered milk in a year, but a larger family certainly could. What I would suggest is to adapt the list to your needs to spend the $5 a week, but I would stock up on items as they go on sale. I buy can goods by the case when I find a good deal! I also buy the "manager's markdown" meats to save money. I have never had a bad experience yet!
Also, in order to get an idea on how many of certain items you need, you will need to keep track of what you use. For example, if you know that you use four bottles of laundry detergent in a month, the next time you find a really good sale buy the four bottles and you will be stocked for the month. It would probably be a good indicator if you saved all your grocery receipts for a month or two then looked them over to see what you had to buy. You will also see what things are on there that were frivolous and that you could have done without!
If you buy a lot of snack type foods, buy things that you can make at home more cheaply; instead of chips buy popcorn and pop it at home yourself. Find some recipes on Thriftyfun for making up batches of brownie mix that way you will always have it on hand to make your own brownies at home.
You said that you go to the grocery store about everyday, is this on your way home from work or picking up the kids from school? Or are you making a special trip each day? You have to tell yourself that with the gas money you will save, by only shopping once a week or twice a month, that you can buy more groceries!
Do you have a bread outlet store anywhere near you? I buy bread for the month and freeze it. I also buy milk when it is on sale and freeze that too! A man I work with said that I can freeze eggs too, though I have never tried that. Maybe someone else could post about that if they have done it and had good results?!
I hope I have said something that will be of value to you. Good luck in your meal planning, I think that you will find it very beneficial to you and your family.
Thanks so much Paula, that was a great help, you gave me alot of really useful ideas.
SEARS has a small deep freezer that only cost $130... I'm sure having a freezer that you can use to store sale items in would save you the $130 in NO TIME!
I'm going to buy one & put it on my covered porch. I missed out on all kinds of very cheep turkey, etc., after Thanksgiving that I could have bought IF I had the freezer space to put it in.
As far as cheep shopping goes, REMEMBER HOLIDAYS... Like for example 4th of July, Labor & Memorial Day... The stores stock up on Soda Pop, so during Memorial Day & afterwards you can buy Pop, hamburger, hot-dogs & camping goods (like paper plates & bowls) for a VERY good price. You can get canned Pumpkin pie mix & evaporated milk & canned cranberry sauce cheep during & especially AFTER Christmas & Thanksgiving.
We go to the grocery stores after any holiday to check out their meat, & 9 times out of 10 we'll find an AMAZINGLY AWESOME deal, because they have bought to much hamburger, or chicken for barbecuing & are just trying to get rid of the excess. (We've even found chicken breasts for 50 cents a pound!) But as I said above, you need room in your freezer...
I like whip cream in my coffee & after Christmas my favorite grocery store had canned whip cream on sale for only 50 cents a can (usually it's $2 a can!)
At Wallgreens drug store I buy "Boxed Gift Sets" the day after Christmas for 75% off for next years gifts & at Target this year I bought Christmas lights & anything else Christmas including gold color brocade fabric tablecloths $2 each (the fabric is worth more than that) which I plan on making curtains from at 75 - 90% off. Not to mention Christmas cards at 90% off. Even the dollar store had half price items after Christmas. Buy your clothes off season & save at least 50% off.
These are examples of what I've found... take a look around your town the day after any holiday (or the day after the last holiday ad stopped running) & I bet you'll be thrilled!
You might want to go to the following websites. Savingdinner.com and Flylady.net. Between the two sites, you learn how to come up with a workable revolving grocery list, access to meal planning, and other helpful hints and tips.
Persnickety Paula: I freeze eggs with great results. I break one into a small container (2 ounces?) and stir it very gently. When I have a couple eggs frozen solid, I take them out of the containers and place them in a ziptop baggie. They are great in baked goods, casseroles, gratins, etc.
After reading the stock up grocery list , could I ask what one does with 700 pounds of wheat?
Editor's Note: Wheat can be cooked like a grain but this refers to wheat for grinding into flour.
if i had to live for two years on sugar, salt and salty tinned foods (soup) and fattening jars of peanut butter then i can see why a person would need all those multivitamins and the headache tablets for all the poisoning they received and does any 1 actually have the space for all of this? its far better to shop regularly fro fresh food stuffs which are bursting with natural goodness than taking a multivitamin tablet
wouldnt it be greener for the planet if people ate locally sourced fresh food home cooked from organic ingredients which hasnt been processed in a factory from a bunch of chemicals and actually at one time grew in the earth or walked upon it
we are what we eat do people really want to live on these horrendous ingredients real frugal living is eating fruit and vegetables home grown or from a local market not eating a plate of chemicals because its cheap
most ill health is linked to a poor diet just a thought
Carol, the list is just a "suggested" idea for stocking up a pantry with an "extra" five dollars a week. With your other grocery funds you would buy other items as each person sees fit, such as fruits and vegetables. I don't follow the list exactly as printed, but have modified it to fit my needs. I don't buy boxed Mac & Cheese because I make it from scratch, I also make homemade soups. But, I do buy the creamed, condensed soups for casseroles so I buy those items on the week when it suggests other can soup. I would never use 10lbs. of honey in a year, I don't even go through one of the little "Bear" containers of honey in a year! Some families have allergies to peanuts and wouldn't want peanut butter in their houses at all, so they modify the list as they need.
Do you have any suggestions that you could share for Karen to use on how to stock up her pantry? That is what we are all here for, to share our ideas and learn a little something from each other.
unfortunately i cant think of anything that could be stockpiled that would be of benefit and nutritionally sound with the exception of the canned tuna and possibly the powdered milk if it was skimmed, maybe canned fruit or fruit juices would be useful for the fibre and vitamin c , i would suggest freezing stuff but they use a lot of electricity , my point was and still is why stockpile anything? i do understand the urge to have a bountiful supply of goods on hand in the larder but is it really frugal or a waste of money , this website is about thrift and helping each other and its not a criticism to suggest stockpiling is a waste of money some people might think my suggestion to NOT stockpile is a good idea and would also save money , the $5 dollars a week could be liberated for a different use or scheme and there would be no danger of the items losing any flavor or quality over time, im just putting up an alternative point of view that could save people time effort and pantry space in the long run
I think this may be what you are looking for
somewhere in that website i know they talk about progressive cooking. check it out and don't worry about the nay-sayer's do whatever you find to be the best method for you.
Had much interest in reading this, for several years my daughter and other friends have been warned by the Lord to stock up for troubling times ahead, this is not only food, of course that is the most important. I was praying one morn and asked the Lord how did I know what to stock up on and he impressed on me as I use anything during the day that is what I would need to have plenty of. We don't know what is ahead, also need money, both coins and in the bank, Thanks for this list
I'm lucky enough to have a deli that gives me their left-over coupons from the Sunday paper. Every week I get at least 5 - 20 coupon inserts (one week netted at least 100!). I clip everything!!!!! One week I stocked up on tampons at 50 cents per box - the supply lasted me 4 years. Another week gave me almost 20 coupons for free cat treats (a great pet Christmas gift!). The next week gave me 42 pounds of pasta (the good stuff!) at 9 cents per pound. Most of the items I get are free with coupons if you watch the sales. With coupons I haven't paid for mustard or ketchup for years. Today I ended up with 14 pounds of ground chicken FREE!!
The trick with coupon shopping is your mindset when you shop. Don't go into the store saying "I need milk, bread and toilet paper". If you have the storage (and the coupons) hit the "loss-leaders" and with shelf stable products you can stock up forever. My best trip netted me 65 bottles of liquid hand soap pumps absolutely free and they don't go bad! I donated a few dozen to my son's school nurse. Another trip was 30 deoderants free - I don't use them, so I donated them to a battered womens' shelter. (Most of my excess goes there).
Coupons are the best "free money" available!!!!!! Friends of mine say they can't be bothered clipping......Imagine that!