A second post from Nicola AKA Frugal Cottage. How to use your stockpile in the best way. 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. Over to Nic.
Hopefully, you have created your own stockpile. If not, you can read my previous post on this. I think that having a stockpile and actually using it efficiently will absolutely save you money, especially in the long term.
It can also be helpful to have a stock of certain things that you use regularly in your house, just in case the weather is particularly bad. There is nothing worse than when it’s raining outside and you suddenly find you don’t have anything to make for tea. Using your stockpile to have things in the cupboard that you actually use will help you.
How can you use your stockpile to save money?
Firstly, this was talked about in the previous article about creating one, but your stockpile should only consist of things that you actually use. Keep an eye on when your favourite everyday items go on sale. I’m not the biggest fan of coupons, mainly because I never seem to see any! But, if you are good at getting coupons for things you use, then use this to your advantage. I’m not saying to be like the extreme coupon lady like some of the people shown in the US, but again, they can save you money. That being said, I wish we had coupons like they do!
For example, one item I absolutely do this with is tinned tomatoes. They are such a staple in our house – I use them in so many meals – that I always have at least four tins of tinned tomatoes in the cupboard. I buy the slightly more expensive tinned tomatoes rather than the basics range as I find they taste better. But, I stock up when they are on offer so the price works out quite similar. I would buy more if I had the room as well; the date on tinned items is so long that I don’t have to worry about them going out of date.
Once you’ve created your stockpile, in order to use it effectively to save you money, you have to know what is in there! There is no point in having all these good intentions to save money by creating a stockpile if you then don’t actually know what you have and continue to buy more. If it’s big enough, then you need some kind of system to keep it in check.
One way to do this is by simply keeping a list, by item, of what you have in there and how many. You could even use a spreadsheet to do this! It would be simple to update that way too. But, this means that your stockpile is organised and you are knowledgeable about the items you have already bought. It will also tell you when you need to buy more of a certain item. This will prevent you from overbuying, thus saving you money in the process.
Organise Your Stockpile and have a plan
When you are organising your stockpile, you also need to have a plan. If possible, you need to keep like items together. So, for example, keep all of your tinned goods in the same cupboard. Use multiple shelves if you need to, but they should be kept together. That way, when you’re searching for an item to use, you will know where it is.
In order for your stockpile to save you money, you need to keep rotating your stock so that nothing goes past its use-by date. This is so important. There’s no point in having a lovely, well-stocked stockpile if items are not being used before they go out of date. Rotating stock will also help you know what’s in there and what you are running low on.
When rotating your stockpile, it can be handy to have some storage options. Some stockpile items might come in bulky packaging and you might want to get some storage boxes that are more compact than the original box. Airtight containers for things like pasta, rice and oats can keep your food fresher for longer. There are so many options available And can be space-saving as well. So, an initial outlay for these but can also save you money in the long run.
Creating and using a stockpile to save you money is definitely a practiced art. It can take a while to get used to buying things in bulk, or adding extra items to your weekly shop. That’s ok! It is also trial and error to know how many things you can keep in stock; I made the mistake once of buying lots of tins of chickpeas as they were on offer. They took me a long time to eat and I was so sick of them by the end! I learnt that lesson the hard way.
So here’s how to use your stockpile to save money.
Do you have a stockpile? How does it save you money?