Firstly a Warm Welcome to Nicola – The Frugal Cottage
I am VERY excited to welcome Nicola AKA The Frugal Cottage back to the fold of Mrs Mummypenny. Nicola used to help back in the day, BC, before Covid. She was the first personal finance expert I thought of to help me with writing for Mrs Mummypenny as the team grows.
Nicola is an award-winning personal finance blogger who loves talking about budgeting, investing and frugal living. Mum to two young boys, you can find her on her thriving YouTube channel, popular Instagram page, or over on her website, The Frugal Cottage.
As the cost of living is definitely coming into effect….
You might be wondering how you can save money on food, especially if your income is reduced. It may just feel like it is with the cost of living rising! Food costs and even food shortages can be very stressful, especially as prices seem to rise every week at the moment.
However, one of the best ways to save money on food is to create a stockpile that you use weekly. These are things that you can use every week, that are basic staples in your household. Over time, a stockpile should definitely save you money, especially if you have the space to bulk-buy items.
So, how do you create a stockpile?
The first thing to do is to work out just what you actually want to have in it. There’s no point in having a really nice stockpile of things that you don’t actually use. So, make a list of things you use on a weekly basis, to begin with. You can add monthly items in there as well, if you wish.
Things that you might want to include in a food stockpile could be:
- Basmati rice
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned bins
- Tinned spaghetti
- Tinned tuna
- Microwaveable rice pouches
- Tinned soup
The aim of a stockpile is to create something out of items that you use. So, if you don’t like tinned tuna, then don’t buy it! It would be a waste of money and that tin would just sit languishing in your cupboard, which you definitely don’t want.
The list of items there – maybe not counting the microwavable rice pouches – are all things I have in my own stockpile. Why? Because they are all items that I use regularly. We often eat pasta, at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be the fancy stuff either! The bag of pasta I get is 35p; my children don’t notice any difference so it seems daft to buy ones that are more expensive. The same goes with rice; I get the supermarket brand one as once it’s cooked and with something else, I don’t think there’s any difference.
A Stockpile is Exciting??
It can be exciting to create a stockpile but don’t get carried away. You need to look at how much space you can realistically give to your stockpile and plan accordingly. Don’t forget to write a list! Then stick to it. You can buy huge bags of rice at the supermarket these days, and if you’ve got the space to store it, then great! If you haven’t, then you’ll be left with a huge sack of rice with nowhere to put it. Definitely keep that in mind when purchasing things for your stockpile.
Creating a stockpile can – and maybe should – be a slow process. In fact, if you create your stockpile slowly then the cost of it is also spread out, so it’s not a big outlay in one go. Start small; perhaps add a couple of items per week extra to your normal shopping trip and built it up that way.
Remember, a stockpile can also include household items! Again, just check how much space you have for these things. But, household items to include could be:
- toilet rolls
- Hand wash
- Kitchen roll
- Washing up liquid
- Washing powder/capsules
These things can often be on sale at certain times of the year, so if you can afford it then, it might be best to stock up when things are cheaper. There seems to be a cleaning event at some point, where lots of household items are reduced. If you’ve got the space and money for it, this will definitely save you money!
Use it in a Practical Way
Once you have created your stockpile, you need to remember to use it in a practical way. When you buy something new, for example, it should go at the back and the older items should go at the front, so they get used first. You could make a list of all the things you have in your stockpile – although that does depend on how big it is.
Over time, by creating a stockpile that works for you, it should mean that your overall grocery costs are less. Plus you are less likely to run out of your everyday staples, and eliminate the need to pop to the shop for something midweek and end up spending more than you intended (or is that just me…!) As you are more prepared. You should also find yourself buying less over time, once your stockpile is set up properly.
Finally, once you’ve got the basics of a stockpile created, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate frozen food into this as well. Especially if you are lucky enough to have a big freezer. You could even batch-cook some homemade ready meals to have on hand! Saves the temptation of the takeaway after a long day at work. But, start by creating a stockpile of cupboard items first, before going onto other areas.
Do you have a stockpile? Do you want to create one? What would be in your ideal stockpile?