Stockpiling food is a good idea, even if you are not a prepper or survivalist you should still stockpile some food just in case. Stockpiling a lot of food can get expensive if you are not smart about your shopping, the good news is that with the below easy to follow steps you will be able to stockpile food even if you are on a tight budget. If you are shopping for food in a smart way you will reduce how much you spend and you will also increase the size of your food stockpile.
You can stockpile food on a budget by taking your time, making a budget, shopping smartly, knowing what foods are good for stockpiling, buying everything on sale, buying in bulk, buying from low-income areas, buying from producers directly, using the loyalty programs and by joining like-minded individuals. Even if you have an extremely tight budget you should still make a monthly budget for your food stockpile, $10-$30 per month will allow you to have a decent-sized food stockpile after a couple of months.
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There are a lot of reasons why you should stockpile food, while most people do it for emergencies but there are a lot of people who stockpile food for everyday use. The job market is extremely volatile nowadays, and if you lose your job one day than you could rely on your food stockpiles until you find a job. In times of plenty, it is a good idea to prepare for the worst, this is why in ancient times smart kings during peace were preparing for war.
We have all seen that when times get hard people will panic, and the last thing you would want to do is to stockpile while the demand for food and different items is massive. This way you will only end up spending a lot more on your food stocks and you will not have a lot of options when it comes to what types of food you can buy. Even if you are on a tight budget you can still make a decent size food stockpile, as long as you know when, and what to buy.
The tighter your budget is the smarter you have to be when buying food, and there are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration when you are stockpiling food, which are listed below. If you are already stockpiling food than my personal recommendation is to make a prepper’s pantry, for more information check out my recent article Preppers pantry ( In 15 Easy Steps ).
1. Take your time
By far one of the most important steps, when you are stockpiling food on a budget, is to take your time. Making a decent-sized food stockpile will take somewhat longer this way but at the end of the day, you will spend a lot less money and get a lot more food for your limited budget. You should always keep an eye out for sales and for seasonality as well. Most markets will have sales from time to time, either because they have way too much of a certain food type or the food items are close to their expiration date.
Once you see a good deal, you should approach the local manager, usually, most supermarkets will have some stock on hand and they will be giving you a nice deal if you can get all that food on sale off their hands. Ideally, you should do this with food items that have a long shelf life, as there is no point in buying bulk food which will expire in a couple of weeks, and at that point, you will be just throwing money out of the window. If you have a lot of canned foods in your stockpile then you should know how to store them correctly after you have opened them, for more information check out my recent article How to store canned food after opening? ( Safe and Easy ).
2. Make a budget
Even if you are on a tight budget you should still make a monthly budget for the food stockpile. The reason why I am recommending a monthly budget is that there is simply no point in making an overall budget for your food stockpile. If you start thinking in terms of money then you will try to achieve your goal as fast as possible, and this will lead to bad shopping practices which in the long run will only cost you a lot more money.
Set a monthly budget for your stockpile, the budget should depend on how tight the money is and how fast you want to make the food stockpile. If you are on a tight budget then set aside $20-$50 per month for your food stockpile, if you find a good deal then you should spend the budget for a couple of months, but only if you can afford it. Remember, paying off your rent and mortgage comes first, so take it slow and month by month add new food items to your stockpile.
3. Shop smartly
Although most people who are on a tight budget already know that they should buy in bulk and on sale, but you can reduce the cost of your food stockpile even further with some smart shopping. If you have found a good deal then make sure to check other places for the same products, as oftentimes you will be able to find even a better deal. Most importantly you should also check what the price online is.
Food found in online stores can be fairly cheaper, the main reason for this is because most vendors do not have to pay staff to sell them and because they have no costs of storing the products as they will make the order from the producer after you have ordered. In addition to this, you should also check the price on different devices as some online markets will have dynamic prices, which means that the price on a mobile phone will be different than the price on a laptop.
Generally speaking, stores that implement dynamic prices will have different prices for Android and iOS devices. The main reason why they are doing this is that the shopping cart abandon rate is massive on smartphones, so they try to get sales by lowering the price a bit. Your best prices will be on an Android or on a desktop device, so compare them a bit before you order in bulk.
4. Foods to stockpile on a budget
There are a lot of different foods which you should consider including in your stockpile. When deciding what you buy you should always consider their shelf life, the longer it is the longer your food stockpile will stay edible. There is simply no point buying a lot of food which has a shelf life of just a couple of weeks, you will not be able to eat everything and you will only end up throwing most of them out.
In addition to this, you should also think of foods that have both long shelf life and they do not need to be frozen. While having a couple of food items in the freezer is a good way to diversify your food stockpile but if the power goes out for a couple of days most of the contents of your freezer will go bad. If you are stockpiling food in your freezer make sure not to overload it, for more information check out my recent article Can a freezer be overloaded ( Top 6 Problems ).
- Powder milk
- Powder eggs
- Pickled vegetables
- Canned sauces
- Canned fruits
- Canned vegetables
- Canned soups
- Canned meat
5. Buy everything on sale
As you are on a tight budget you should look out for sales, depending on what kind of food items you are buying you will increase the buying potential of your money by simply buying on sale. If you live near or in a city than there is plenty of competition between the supermarkets, all of them trying to compete for your money. Depending on the area where you live in you will find a lot of sales in supermarkets.
There are even some groups dedicated to finding sales in supermarkets, these are often found on different social media platforms. You will find a lot of awesome deals by joining these groups, just make sure that they are actually in your area and not on the other side of the country.
6. Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk will increase your money’s buying power a lot, simply put your money will be worth more if you buy bulk. Ideally, you should buy food items that are already on sale in bulk, but if you find something cheap than you can ask the local manager if they do give discounts for bulk orders. Just keep in mind not to buy food in bulk just because it is cheap, you should look at the expiration date, how you can use it in your food stockpile, and most importantly test it out before you commit to a bulk order.
7. Buy from low-income areas
The price difference between areas can be massive, this is mostly due to the buying power of the local residents. The same canned vegetables will cost a lot more in New York than in Alabama for example. There is even a price difference between neighborhoods, so make sure to take a look at the low-income areas when you are buying food for your stockpile. If you have found a good deal but you have to drive a long distance to get the food then make sure to calculate the price of gas as well, and add it to your monthly budget.
In addition to this, you could team up with other like-minded people, rent a van and drive to the shop’s destination and fill the van with as much food as you can. This way you will split the cost of the gas and you will be able to buy a lot more food.
8. Buy from producers directly
Most supermarkets are working as a middleman between the producer and the average consumer. Usually they ad a percentage to the products and this way they make a profit. You can easily contact different brands, as most of them either have a website or some kind of contact information listed on the packaging. For the most part, bigger producers will not make deals for bulk orders unless you have a company but local producers will.
Most supermarkets do have an area where they have some products which are made locally, contact them and ask them if they offer discounts for bulk orders. For the most part, their answer will be yes, especially if you will go directly to the producer and pick the food up yourself. Depending on how far the food has to be shipped, this cost will ultimately be paid by the average consumer, so just by cutting out the cost of transport, you will get the food for a lot cheaper.
9. Use loyalty programs
Most big chain supermarkets will have a loyalty program, although the name of it might be different. Generally speaking, these loyalty programs will offer a special card which the customer can use only in that specific brand of a supermarket and the customer gets a discount. These discounts can be fairly large especially if they often have sales, so before you commit to a sale make sure to ask if they have a loyalty program.
These loyalty programs are good both for the supermarket chain and for the customer as well, there will be some differences between loyalty programs for different stores but for the most part, they offer a discount and some even offer some prizes for using the program.
10. Join other like-minded people
There are a lot of people who are shopping on a budget, usually, they do know whenever a sale is happening in their area. If you are new to making a food stockpile on a budget then my suggestion is to join a couple of like-minded people, this way you will learn a lot from them and you will even save a lot of money by knowing which stores offer the best bang for your buck. Ask around in your area if there are other people who are stockpiling on a budget, and search for them on social media as well.
As you can see stockpiling food on a budget is not that difficult, all you have to do is to shop in a smart way. Generally speaking the smarter you shop the more you will be able to buy with your money. Keep in mind that making a decent sized food stockpile will take a while, so do not hurry, take it one step at a time and always follow your budget.