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Stocking Up on Your Family’s Favorites Made Easy

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 10, 2008 · 10 comments

The following is a guest post from Erin at I am Frugal.

Erin is a mom of two trying to stretch her family's budget while her husband completes his college education. If you enjoy her money-saving tips, consider signing up for her RSS feed or email digest.

Building up a food storage for your family can seem like a very unrealistic and daunting task to take on with limited funds available in your budget! I heard of a great way to start building up your supply of "comfort foods" that I have been working on for the past month or so and wanted to share how the plan worked to get everyone started.

Here is how the plan works...

1. Sit down with your family or spouse and pick out your 10 most common meals that you eat at your house, these are your "comfort foods!" If you were going through a struggling time like the loss of a job or natural disaster where you couldn't get everything you needed right when you needed it, you would tend to panic (at least I would)! But, if you had some of your "comfort foods" to help you through this time for say a month or two, you wouldn't notice the struggling times as much in the beginning. This would buy you a little time. So sit down with your family and pick 10 meals your family eats on a regular basis!

2. Gather up your Recipes for each of these 10 meals and write a detailed list of everything you need in order to make each of those meals. List everything!

3. Now multiply each ingredient on your list by 9. This will give you enough ingredients to make 90 (9*10) or three months' worth of meals. In other words, if you need one can of corn for a certain meal, multiply it by 9 and you obviously will get 9 cans of corn. Do this with EVERYTHING on your list!

4. When you have multiplied everything by 9 this will equal the amount of food you will need to build up a 3 months supply of your "comfort foods." Now keep a hold of that list for the future!

5. Now you just need to go and buy all of the supplies! To some of you this may be easy, you can just whip out your little debit card and not have to even think twice about whether or not you can afford this right now. But...if you are like me, you have VERY limited money to be spending on anything extra. So I would suggest starting very small. I am going to try and do a 1 month supply of food first and then repeat the process two more times. In other words, I'm going to multiply each of my ingredients in my list of "comfort foods" by 3. That way I have 30 days worth of meals. When I have reached that goal I will simply repeat the process again until I have a 3 month supply of "comfort food" for me and my family.

I think this is such a simple and realistic way to start off with your food storage. From here you can rotate your food, and it is easy because it is food you are actually already use to using. Some of your ingredients may be difficult to store for a longer period like your fresh produce ingredients. Because of this you are going to want to look for substitutes with some of your items. If you are needing milk in a recipe you might want to buy some Non-fat Dry Milk to store instead. Non-fat Dry milk really is not that bad when used in baking. Also, frozen foods have almost as much nutrients as fresh and you can freeze almost anything. You can also replace things with canned items or use dried spices and herbs instead of fresh.

Just remember to START SMALL! You don't have to build up your food storage in one day, and you should NEVER go into debt to build up your storage! If you can't even do a one month supply right now, pick a few meals to work on and each time you go to the grocery store grab an extra can or two of something. Slowly work on building up your supply.

From Deal Seeking Mom: What are your best tips for starting a stockpile? Do you take a different approach? I'd love to hear about different methods!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hadias December 10, 2008 at 8:26 am

This is the exact same way that I got started. Very good post and easy to follow.

Hadias´s last blog post..On-line Shopping


2 Sunshine December 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

Great tip! Are you the Erin I met at Walgreens this morning? Thanks!


3 Mel December 10, 2008 at 9:46 am

Excellent information. I try to do this, but I never put a number on it before. I tend to buy when the sales are on and stock up that way. But this would be another strategy to follow. Thank you!

Mel´s last blog post..What's Cookin' - Cheddar Sliced Baked Potatoes


4 Stefanie December 10, 2008 at 10:04 am

I do the "Once a Month Cooking" method. This has enabled me to create a large stockpile of meals, and they are already prepared. Whenever I find a great deal on ground beef or chicken, like those packages about to expire and marked down at least half of original price, I buy what I can afford at that time. Then I go home and cook it all at once. You can use the cooked meat to prepare "comfort foods" like lasagna, meatloaf, casseroles or just bag up the cooked meat into 2 cup portions. These are perfect to pull out and use in any recipe. Check out more info HERE:

Stefanie´s last blog post..Tasty Tuesday: Cookie Exchange


5 Kim December 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

Thanks so much for this information! I was at a loss on how to figure out how much of anything I would need to purchase to have a stockpile of food that I would actually use. Very practical & easy to follow!


6 Vanessa December 10, 2008 at 11:16 am

I love this post! I've been wanting to do this exact thing but kept pushing it off because I had no idea how to even begin. Thanks for sharing it!


7 mildred lane December 10, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I just found your site and am enjoying. I do my stock piling by buying on sale w/ store card,mfg coupon and Sunday 's paper coupons. On Sunday I study the sales items and loss leaders and make my list by stores. Some weeks I don't find any good sales but I have stocked pile and don't worry.
Good sales that I have found on sale are-BigLot -I found mixec fruit cans of 17.5 oz for $.50, no limit and I bought all they had.(Some lady before
me had gotten all the cranberry sauce which was 3/$1)
Food City had green beans,shellies,corn, peas, mixed vegs,french green beans, 3/$1,limit of 6, 12 eggs ,limit of 4 doz, for $4 BUT you could get 6 more and say you had a double order or take the first 6 to the car and come back in for the second order or the next day.
SavALot had Jiff peanut butter on sale for $.89/jar. I got 6.Should have gotten more.
Watch CVS for cereal -using our extra bucks. I got 6 boxes this way that were already on sale.
RiteAid had winter cold meds on sale $144 and free after rebate. I got $92 of meds and rebates. My 10 yr old son has a Kangroo savings account that we put rebate checks in and use for his Christmas and birthday presents.


8 Sonia December 10, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Great information! I've only been doing the serious couponing, CVS and working on my stockpile for about 2 months. Very timely info for me! I get pegged often to make meals for families in our church, this is also handy information to use for ensuring I have things on hand for those instances.
love this site!


9 Hopefulone December 11, 2008 at 9:45 am

I just did a post on why to do a food storage a few days ago here . It links to a few good recourses on longer food storage with great photos of an organized way to store it, why we should etc. Plus I had a couple of great comments that link to more.

One lady who commented said that they brought their groceries home and as they put them away asked what they could go without for the week. They'd tuck it away and then if they did without it good. If they didn't it was just hidden.

By shopping just the loss leaders and stocking up on them I find we are able to keep a pretty good supply of the basics around here, we normally have about a 6 month supply of food. I don't even consider that enough should my husband get laid off and actually like to aim for a year supply. When star kist tuna went on sale last year for .25 a can we bought 100 of em. When Skippy goes on sale for .99 and I can get .50 coupons I buy cases at a time. If I have less then 50 jars of ragu I feel a little worried. Why? If we actually have to ever live off of our supply I want spaghetti at least once a week! Lol

I think the secret is trying to stock up on one thing in a big way when I can. And keep buying it! Even if I have 24 jars of PB and it goes on sale again I get more. Because I have a supply I wouldn't necessarily have to keep buying as much either just 2-5 here and there to replace what I've used. Sometimes I can pass up deals because we might not have the $ or I want to spend it on something else.

I'd much rather have a stash then ever meet the day when I'd pay full price-ever again-on anything! Lol

Each week there's usually a fabulous deal somewhere. I recently ad matched 10 count GV brand boxes of the instant flavored oatmeals for $1 a piece at Walmart. I NEVER buy this but for that price it's a nice treat and I grabbed 20 boxes over the week after deciding the first 10 weren't enough. I figured that's enough to get us through the winter now.

Hope these ideas help. We've lived off of one income for 17 years now. In that time we added 7 kids!! Two times they came by twos! We still managed. Staying out of debt is huge as well, so don't go into debt to get storage. Have a budget, spend what ya earn, save what ya can, and be grateful for it all:)

Build a storage one can/box at a time....

Just some of my thoughts.
LOVE YOUR BLOG as always;)

Hopefulone´s last blog post..Want to Win $500 from Home Depot?


10 Rebecca December 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm

I like the idea of getting 10 comfort meals. After reading Wow, unlike many of the comments I am not as good at things, but here is what we do. We know we like spaghetti, mac&cheese, and rice. Those are staples. We also have several varieties of dried grains and a dozen or so 2 liter bottles of water. When there are sales on canned vegetables and food, we get a pile. Its sorted by expiration date and put on the shelf. That way we know, this is godo til 2010, 2009, or eat it fast. I will have to try the making a meal list thing and seeing just how much we have, and what else we would need to make 90 meals. Also we have purchased some canned juice (oj) so if we are also out of water or electricity we can have juice, and conserve the water for milk, and cooking. Besides sometimes juice just hits the spot.

Rebecca´s last blog post..Photos!


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