How to Stockpile Food on a Budget


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
Stockpiling is highly recommendable for a lot of people. And no, I’m not referring to like doomsday preppers and hoarders. I’m referring to people who want to save money on their monthly grocery budget. Stockpiling food is one of the best ways to save money. Plus, there’s the obvious convenience of always having food ready when you need it.

I once came home after a busy day at work only to find our supplies severely depleted (it was a really long day). So I had to turn back around and drive over 10 km in rush hour traffic. So that’s how I learned (the hard way) the value of stockpiling food. Since then, we always keep a fully-stocked pantry, and a small nook in our garage is full of canned food and non-perishable items. I even keep stockpile food list and update it regularly to make sure we’re not out of any important items.

But one of the other effects of stockpiling foods aside from the convenience and readiness is savings. You’d think that having a stockpile of food is something affluent people did – and there’s a bit of truth to that since it can get costly buying in bulk – but you don’t have to be rich to stockpile food. Take me and my family, for example. We’re not rich (yet), and we don’t stockpile because we’re rich, we stockpile to save more money in the long run.

Stockpiling is extremely beneficial to our finances. This post will be teaching you how to stockpile food, and offer some tips and tricks on how to do it properly. It will cover all sorts of topics, from which foods to get, how to store the food, where to buy it, and how to start.

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How to start a stockpile

Building a food stockpile isn’t as simple as taking whatever food you have in the pantry and stashing it away for an indefinite period of time. Neither is it about stockpiling tons of snacks, energy drinks, and candy bars. Remember: what you want to do is stockpiling, not hoarding. Those are two different things. Stockpiling is a responsible, strategic way of accumulating and storing food. Hoarding lacks focus and discipline. Don’t be a hoarder.

First, you need to consider your family’s nutritional needs (which I’ll be discussing in greater detail below) and how much food you want to store, and for what sort of emergency you’ll need these foods for. For example, if you live in an earthquake-prone area, you’ll have to take that into account. It also wouldn’t hurt to include other items like extra batteries, first aid kits, survival items, and flashlights. But for this post, we’ll be discussing stockpiling food only.

Once you have some idea about your family’s general needs and the scenarios you might face, it’s time to formulate a more detail strategy. So let’s move on to the next item on my list.

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Best food to stockpile

Before you can actually stockpile food, you’ll have to know which kind of foods to actually stockpile. There are also a few things you’ll have to consider, like the individual preferences and allergies of the people in your family, as well as their unique nutritional needs. If your son is lactose intolerant, it wouldn’t be a good idea to include milk in your stockpile. And if your husband is allergic to nuts, well, storing that could lead to catastrophic results.

Once you’ve listed down your family’s needs (which you may already have, during your regular grocery trips), check which ones can actually keep well. Shelf-life is a major factor in selecting the foods you stockpile, whether it’s to tide you guys over the winter or to last a few weeks. Generally, canned food and preserves are really good for this. So we usually stockpile canned meats first – my youngest boy loves his corned beef! We also have a medium-sized chest freezer stashed with cold cuts, bacon, and hot dogs. Disclaimer: these aren’t the ideal foods to stockpile since they could go bad if the power dies. And speaking of storing food…

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How to stockpile food

As mentioned a while ago, we keep our stockpile of foods in a nook in the garage and a pantry. Not everyone will have this luxury, of course. (Although to be fair, we had to sacrifice quite a bit for that nook – I had to move my workshop to the dingy basement.) But generally, what you’re looking for is a cool, dry, place, preferably away from strong or direct sunlight. So a closet is an ideal place for this, provided it isn’t too humid. Humidity is dangerous to your food stockpile since it could encourage the growth of mold, and cause your food to spoil more quickly. If you can’t find a dry enough place, you can try getting a dehumidifier.

Lastly, you’ll want a spot that’s easy to access. With that said, I wouldn’t recommend putting food in a trunk under the bed, or beneath the floorboards!

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Know when you’ve stockpiled enough

When my family and I started our stockpiling journey, we had a clear goal in mind: we wanted enough food to last a couple of weeks. This was to ensure that, if myself or my wife were too busy to do the groceries, we’d always have food on the ready (we really hate not being able to do the groceries, but sometimes it’s just not possible – I’m sure most busy parents would be able to relate!). Once we hit that target, we stopped stockpiling. We only bought new items when some older items were nearing their expiration date.

So I would recommend you do the same – have a target. Know what your needs are, and work to build a food stockpile that addresses those needs. This is to keep your food stockpile disciplined and focused. Good luck!

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