Building a Grocery Stockpile

Kitchen pantry shelves filled with groceries
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Stockpiling is a common practice among frugalites and for good reason: it can save a ton of money. If you're tired of paying full price for your groceries, it may be time to start a stockpile of your own. Here's how it's done:

  • 01 of 06

    Make a Master List

    Grocery Shopper Checking Her List at the Store
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    Put together a list of all the items that you use on a regular basis (food and otherwise). Be sure to include toiletries, paper products, cleaners and pet supplies (if appropriate).

  • 02 of 06

    Create a Price Book

    Woman in a supermarket.
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    List the items on your stockpile list in a notebook, and begin tracking how much you pay for them. Take special care to note any sales that you come across, along with the date of the sale and the name of the store where you found it.

    After a few months, your price book will reveal a great deal of useful information, including what you typically pay for things, which store has the best price on each item on your list and even how often certain sales occur.

  • 03 of 06

    Shop the Sales

    Saving money
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    A stockpile only saves money when it contains items that have been purchased on sale or obtained for free, so don't expect to build a huge stockpile overnight. Focus your efforts on finding those too-good-to-pass-up sales, and the stockpile will take shape on its own.

    • Learn to spot the loss leaders in the weekly sales flyers
    • Clip coupons, and match them to sales
    • Combine manufacturer coupons and store coupons to maximize your savings
    • Take advantage of rebate offers
    • Snatch up clearance items
  • 04 of 06

    Don't Overdo It

    Shopping cart
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    Stockpiling is easy to overdo. Before you go nuts and buy 89 tubes of 10-cent toothpaste, spend some time evaluating your actual needs. Some stockpilers buy enough of an item to get to the next sale, while others prefer to buy enough to get through a certain number of months. Whichever method you choose, it's important to keep expiration dates in mind. You won't save any money by buying more than you can use.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Only Buy What You Use

    Unrecognizable woman shops for produce in supermarket
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    As your stockpiling skills improve, you're going to begin to uncover more free and nearly-free deals. A bit of advice from a seasoned stockpiler: only stockpile things that you'll use. If your family didn't eat a particular brand of cereal when you bought it at full price, they won't eat it when you get it for free either.

  • 06 of 06

    Organize Your Stockpile

    Grocery Stockpile

    Erin Huffstetler

    Once those bargains begin to accumulate, you'll need to find a way to organize them. First step: designating a spot in your home for your stockpile. Pantries and basements are great—if you've got them—but guest room closets, empty drawers and even that space under your bed will work. Think creatively, and you'll find the perfect spot for your stockpile.

    Then, your only challenge will be keeping your stockpile neat and orderly. A few tips to get you going:

    • Group like items together
    • Rotate your stock, pushing new items to the back and moving older items to the front
    • Freeze flour before storing it to prevent bug infestations