This is the time when we are refraining from going out and staying home most of the time. It is better for our welfare to keep ourselves and others safe so that our health system doesn’t get overwhelmed. The question is how to stockpile food on a budget so that you will have enough available at home to reduce our supermarket trips.
We can contribute by reducing our trips to supermarkets by stockpiling some of the staples. Here you don’t need to collect food for three or four months, a stockpile of one month or so would be fine.
Of course, we should not go overboard and let others have everything they want. So buying food for one month will do a lot. It will save you money as well as trips to the supermarket.
There are a few things you should pay attention before starting to stockpile the grocery items.
1. Make a plan for what you want to stockpile
Everything starts with a plan. Same is with grocery stockpiling. You have to pay attention to a few things before buying any extra food. First thing first, do you have space to stockpile your food? If not, you should get creative and think outside the box how you can store any extra food.
Also, take into consideration the climate of the place where you live. In cooler climates, it is easy to store food items but in tropical climates, food gets deteriorated easily. Your storing containers and space should be according to the climate of the place you live in.
2. Do you have a pantry to store large amounts of food?
If you have a big pantry, it will be easy to store food items. Also, you will need a freezer for frozen items to store perishable items. If you don’t have a big freezer to store food, go for smaller packings.
3. Containers for storing food items
To save food from pests and other things, you will need containers to store food items. Buy some when they are on sale or you can look around for containers. Some of the dollar stores and reject shops have very good priced items.
4. How much you can consume
Grocery needs depend a lot on your family size. While stockpiling, don’t go for an item if you feel like it is a bargain. Make sure you will be able to consume the food before it gets expired.
Otherwise, you will be eating an item daily for a long time or you will waste a lot of money.
5. What type of grocery items you want to stockpile
This also depends on what you and your family love to eat. If you cook a lot of ta home, you will need most of the fresh food. Fresh food is difficult to store. So the best part is to make a list of the meals you love to cook and is eaten mostly at home.
For me, I know veggies and legumes are an important part of our diet, so whatever we buy get consumed. It depends on your eating style.
When you have a list of meals you prepare at home, it will be easy to buy only those items that will be required at home.
Moreover, dry foods can last longer. Here is the list of food items that can be stocked. You can choose the one which you can eat at home.
- Wheat flour
- Pulses, beans
- Salt, pepper
- Nuts and trail mixes
- Canned foods
- Frozen foods: veggies,
These are the basic food items you should stockpile and they can be kept for a bit longer time.
6. Fresh food ( fruits and veggies)
Fresh food gets deteriorated easily but with few changes the way you store food can elongate the shelf life of the food. I always go to the fresh farmers market every other week. As for now, try to buy food for at least one month. You can mix and use the fresh ones earlier and frozen ones after
7. Freeze fresh veggies
If you love to cook fresh food, it is better to cut the veggies and freeze them. As stated above, you have your meal plans in place. You can cut your veggies according to the meal plan and freeze fresh veggies.
8. Make a list of food in the freezer
It is important to keep an eye on what you have stored in the freezer. The best way is to make a list. Stick that list to the freezer and cross the item whenever you use it. Otherwise, freezer items may lie there for very long periods.
To get the best of taste and nutrition, use it before it expires. Always try to pick the food items from the back of the freezer if you have a small freezer.
9. Categorize the food
Categorize the food and keep similar food together. Like wheat flour, semolina, other flours and rice at one place. Tinned food at one place together. I am not very good at the organising( actually suck at organising pantry), I have to do this attentively.
Some of you may be better at the organisation. It may come naturally to you. Also, it is a good idea to have a list of items to save you time and hassle of finding your food items.
10. Cooking oils to stock
If you use a lot of cooking oil or your family is large, it is a good idea to buy big bottles. But if you don’t consume much of the cooking oil, don’t go overboard to buy big bottles.
Cooking oil has long shelf life but gets rancid in a month or so after opening. Only buy the pack sizes which you can consume. Remember, you have to save each and every dollar.
11. Canned food
Canned food is a good option for stockpiling. Make sure to check the condition of cans while shopping and also while using. If you feel like the can is bulging or it makes some hissing sound while opening, throw it and don’t use it.
Bacteria may grow in the canned food if it is not properly sealed or damaged. Check for this and keep your family safe from food poisoning.
12. Non Food items
There are many non-food items which you will need to stockpile. Toilet paper, kitchen Paper towels, facial tissues are difficult to find. It is better to use them wisely.
Make a list of non-food items like
- Bathroom cleaner
- Dishwasher liquid
- Cleaning wipes
- Body and handwash
13. Stockpile when on specials
Always make sure to buy in bulk when the item is on specials. If there is no deal, you will blow your budget. Remember, this is the time to be very conservative about money. Check prices of individual items before buying and try to save each penny.
14. Stockpiling for Emergency
If you live in a place where you experience extreme weathers, you can start stockpiling beforehand. Sometimes it is about having food to feed the family in emergency situations. Even then, keeping an eye on what you stockpile is important.
Foods that can be stockpiled
Foods are classified into perishable and non-perishable foods.
Perishable foods: Perishable foods are those which gets deteriorated easily. It is difficult to store them for longer times. These foods need to be stored below 4.4-degree celsius and refrigerated. Meat, fish, poultry, dairy and cooked leftovers come into this category.
Non-Perishable foods: These foods can be stored for longer times as they don’t deteriorate easily. These food items can be stored at room temperature for longer times.
Non Perishable foods that be stored for longer times are:
- Dried and canned beans
- Canned vegetables and fruit( choose canned in water or 100% juice instead of syrup)
- Grains ( oats, rice barley, farro etc)
- Nut butter
- Granola & Protein bars
- nuts and trail mixes
- Canned soups
Perishable foods that can be stored but in the refrigerator or by freezing
- Fresh veggies( either refrigerate for few days or cut and freeze for longer use)
- Potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger can be kept outside
- Milk ( buy long-life milk) or whole milk powder
It is not possible to store perishable items for a very long time but with few tweaks, you can prolong the shelf life for a few days.
These stockpiling hacks will help you stock the food for at least a month or more. Don’t go overboard and buy everything (leave something for your neighbours). This is what my neighbour told me when I was going shopping.
Take care of your budget as most of us have lost employment and we don’t know when things will get better. Keep your stress away as every phase passes.
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