If you are looking to save money, in addition to cooking at home, one of the best ways to do so is to buy food when it is at the lowest price cycle and stock up. That way, you are never paying the highest price for any of the ingredients. However, once you find yourself with an ample stockpile, you may wonder where to put all of the food. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Making Room for a Stockpile
-Invest in a Freezer Chest. A separate freezer chest can be a great investment, but it is also expensive and can run $200 to $600 on average if bought new. Buying a separate freezer seems to defeat the point of stockpiling since you are spending money to try to save money. However, many grocery chains offer a special on freezer chests in the winter. One popular chain where I live offers a small freezer chest for $150. When you buy it, you get $150 worth of coupons for free food to stock the freezer. If you combine these coupons with sales, you may even come out ahead.
If you can’t find a deal like this, try Craigslist or your local classified ads to see if a used one is available.
-Designate Stock Pile Zones. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have a pantry, consider finding designated places for your stockpile. The area under your bed can be a perfect place to store canned goods. In fact, my husband and I did this for a few years when we lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment. We simply put the canned goods in a large plastic tub with a lid that slid under out bed. This made it easy to pull it out and get our food rather than chasing down each individual can under the bed. Other areas you may consider include unused closets and even dresser drawers that you don’t use.
Protect Your Stockpile from Critters
Of course, if you have food that is in your stockpile that is not secured, you do run the risk of sharing your home with a host of pests including mice and ants, to name a few. Make sure to take these steps to keep your food fresh and pest-free:
-Store flour in the refrigerator or freezer. Flour can become a home to tiny little bugs if left in the bag at room temperature or if left open. Always store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
-Utilize plastic containers. Brown sugar can become hard and sugar of any kind can attract ants. Store all opened sugar in a plastic or glass container with a secure lid.
-Refrigerate produce. When possible, try to refrigerate most of your fruits and vegetables. This helps to slow the ripening process and keeps your produce fresher longer.
Saving money by developing a food pantry stocked with foods bought at the lowest price is an excellent way to save money on groceries, especially if you have several members of the family to feed. Another added bonus is that once the stockpile is big enough, you usually don’t have to worry about not having an ingredient when making a meal, eliminating those last minute runs to the grocery store.
Melissa, a mom to three little ones (ages 7, 3 and 1), blogs at both Mom’s Plans where she writes about living a fulfilling life on less and paying down debt, and Fiscal Phoenix where she writes about rising from the ashes of your financial mistakes.