26 May 2008

Saving money with a stockpile

According to our local news, grocery prices will continue to rise along with the fuel price in the coming months. Almost everything we consume is reliant on oil – either when it is made or when it is delivered, or both. With this in mind, Hanno and I decided to do two month's shopping instead of the normal one month when we went to Aldi last week. Our trip to Aldi takes us about 30 kms from our home so we squeezed every drop of value from the fuel we used by also buying bulk supplies of baker’s flour, nuts, seeds, yeast, dried fruit, lentils and beans, as well as biscuits for the dogs and grain for the chooks.

Apart from
buying milk, cream and cheese from the local dairy – where it is cheaper, and maybe potatoes, we won’t have to restock for at least two months. We will live off our stockpile, our garden and fresh eggs from the backyard. The stockpile is full now and we will be saving money, time and fuel because of it.

I have
written about setting up a stockpile here and here. If you're new to this concept, please read the previous entries before you carry on with this post.

Our shopping trip took about five hours and the last thing I wanted to do when we got home was to pack everything away. I was tired and all I wanted was a cuppa and a sit down but I soldiered on and before we knew it the stockpile cupboard was full, the fridge packed and the freezer filled to the top.

I have several places to store food and supplies – items that are currently being used go in the pantry, which is in the kitchen; extra (unopened) food items are stored in the stockpile cupboard at the side of the kitchen; cleaning goods and soap-making supplies are stored in the laundry; toilet paper and tissues in the spare bathroom.

We have a chest freezer to store all our flour
and dried goods like nuts, seeds, beans etc. We usually don’t eat meat but we have a stockpile of minced beef for the homemade dog food in the small freezer, when we buy fresh fish that is also stored in the small freezer on top of our fridge. There are a couple of large bags of bread flour and oats that were being stored in the freezer, we replaced them with the new supplies and the older bags are now being stored in the spare bathroom and will be used next.

The main thing to remember when you’re restocking is to rotate your stock. This is a simple matter of moving what is already there to the front and placing the newly bought goods behind. I make sure all my items are grouped with similar items so when I go looking for baked beans they’re all together, just like the canned tomatoes and the honey. However, having written that, I have not done it. I've rotated the stock but everything now needs to be grouped and I haven't had time to do it yet.

It’s a good idea to check your cupboards before restocking. If they need a clean out, do it before your new supplies arrive. Check for dust, pantry moths and bugs. If you're going to store food at home, your storage areas must be kept as clean as possible.

If you’re driving to the shops a few times a week to buy a few items, you’re not only wasting your time, you’re using more fuel than you need to. Now is a good time to rethink how you buy your food. If you would love to have a little shop close by, where you could find all those things you forgot to buy and where items are always on sale, create that store for yourself in your own home. Because, my friends, that is what a stockpile is - it's your own open-all-hours convenience store offering the best prices.

Now that we see
prices rising so frequently, don't just accept it as a sign of the times, do something positive. Start a stockpile, or stock up your stockpile as much as you can, because as sure as eggs, the more you can buy right now at a good price and store at home, the more money you'll save.


  1. Hi Rhonda,
    Another timely post. Question...how do you determine how much paper products to buy for a month or two? I seem to run out of this group of items before everything else. Any help would be great.


  2. Good morning Coleen, I just estimated how many toilet rolls we used in a week and went from there. You try to buy more than your estimate if you have the space to store it. For tissues, if you use a box a month, add another for the possibility of a cold or allergies and then buy more than you think you need, again, only if you have the space and if the price is good.

    It's not exact, and if you have the space it doesn't matter if you over estimate.

  3. Hi Rhonda

    Thanks for another great post. I've never bought more than 2 weeks worth of groceries because I thought I couldn't store them all. We have heaps of storage in other rooms of our house besides the kitchen and you've made me realise I can easily use those areas. So with a bit of planning and reorganising this week I will try for a month's worth of dry goods next time I visit the store.

  4. I find it a great idea to stock up as much as i can, when finances permit. i usually take about $20.00 from each grocery shop and stock up on something that is a good deal. Eventually it all builds up. The price of petrol here in New Zealand is making me sick. It is now $2.09 per litre. my husband works 84k round trip from home and we are spending approximately $120.00 per week on petrol. This said, we are doing as much as we can to save and stockpiling our food really does make a difference. I so enjoy your blog Rhonda, and i appreciate you taking the time to devote to it. Sophie in New Zealand

  5. That's an awful lot of tissues you have there. lol. I suppose if you ever run out of loo paper it will come in handy.

  6. Oh my gosh! I was just surfing around different blogs and came upon yours. I saw your pic and thought "I know her!" How fun to find you online. I am going to bookmark your blog so I can come back and read, read, read. Have you figured out who I am???




  7. Rhonda, That's an awful lot of tissues and I'm surprised you don't make your own hankies from old flannel or embroidering new hankies.

  8. We got our bulk order of flour on Thursday. My Mum was babysitting when it arrived and looked a little confused. I had to explain, 10kg of organic flour is cheaper than buying 1kg at a time of standard flour. As I use about 1kg a week making bread and so on, it's worth it. If I baked less often it wouldn't be, if you assume that storage has a cost and that storing too long leads to spoiling.

    I tend not to stock up on things that we buy around the corner (because I'm walking past the shop most days it's not a problem or expense to spread the shopping) but I definitely buy several week's worth of nappies/toilet paper etc when I go to the big supermarket in the car. I'm also flexible about which big supermarket I go to, rather than having a special trip, I combine it with some other car journey that we were making anyway.

  9. I too was a bit surprised to see you use paper tissues. I have some organic cotton hankies and absolutely love them. Poor, Rhonda... We your fans have high expectations of you! (very big grin), lol.

  10. Thanks Rhonda!


  11. A very useful post thank you Rhonda. I've used up a lot of my stockpile prior to my house move but will be restocking as soon as I get the spaces organised. I've decided its a good time to evaluate what I stock and how I use it as I'm carrying a few items that I haven't used as quickly as I expected. I'm going to use 'meal building blocks' too (link to MSE thread with details http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?t=571339&highlight=meal+building+blocks
    Its sure to be easier and cheaper to prepare and cook these in bulk; I don't use pulses as often as I'd like as I invariably forget to soak them overnight so it will be useful to have them ready cooked in the freezer :)

  12. Hi Rhonda,
    I was wondering if you buy your bakrs flour from Aldi or IGA?
    I can only get them in 5kg lots. Also do they sell the organic flour?
    So many questions I know.I worry about mice getting into my dry goods if I have to many stocked up.
    Thanks for another great post Rhonda.Have a great Monday,

  13. Hi Rhonda, we have had a little rain overnight and this morning, just now a heavy shower has set in, so here's hoping that it will continue to rain as a lot of farmers have dry sown their crops, and they need the rain to shoot and grow, and a lot of follow up rain so that they can be harvested. with this drought, if there is no crop this summer, we will be in very dire circumstances, the local flour mill about 30mins drive from us, as the rumours would have it, are already supposed to looking for grain sources overseas.
    So I think that it is a good idea if we all stock up on our flours and grains.

    petrol at locally owned outlets in town last Fri was 163.9c per litre, and as we live out of town there is no running/driving to the store around the corner, so we keep a well stocked home, have done so forever, but are now doing so with more intensiveness, So I have to shop from my "local" shop, my pantry, freezer and garden,
    Good post

  14. Hi Rhonda,
    I have been stockpiling for quite some time as the less time I spend in a supermarket the better. Before we pack tinned goods especially into the cupboard we write the month and year on top of the can in permanent marker. Even if a can gets lost in the back of the cupboard somewhere you know when you bought it. It can be a bit of a shock to see how long some stuff sits in the cupboards. The kids enjoy this job and you do find some odd things dated sometimes when they get a bit carried away.


  15. Rhonda, I've been doing the same thing here in the American Midwest. I've done something like this most of my life (as both my mom and mother -in -law lived through the Great Depression and they kept a deep pantry) but I'm "deepening the pantry" even more now with inflation.

    Thanks for new ideas. I'm looking at your pictures and finding new ways to store some things. :)

  16. Hello Rhonda :) Thanks for this timely post. We've always stockpiled too, but in the last few weeks I have re-planned and increased our stored food, as I too think that food will become more expensive... and if it doesn't, we have a very convenient 24-hour grocery ;)

    My mum had a large storeroom when I was young and we bought flour in tins that came to my waist as a child - they sealed well so there was no need to rely on electricity (I store mine in an old chest freezer like you). But I'd love to know if you can still buy flour in drums, if anyone knows? I keep other goods in recycled plastic drums that seal well.

  17. If you are using up the food in your freezer, and it is becoming emptier, remember it takes more energy(electricity) to keep air cold than solids. Fill containers (I use old milk jugs) with water and freeze it to save electricity. When you don't need it anymore, use it to water the garden, or wash something.

  18. I have really appreciated your stockpiling posts. Thank you!

  19. HI RHonda Jean,
    Another great post!
    Our fuel is almost $4 a gallon now:o( When fuel goes up so does everything except paychecks!
    We are stocked piled for 6 mons. or so. We buy bulk, by the case, I can ,dry or freeze alot of our foods. I spend alot of time rotating food.But it is worth it.
    We have a picnic area here on our property, we no longer eat out so we have friends over for pot luck cook outs or picnics. We make every trip count.
    Hope you have a great week.

  20. Great post Rhonda,
    Been meaning to stock plie on toilet paper and such right now...and for some weird reason the toilet paper has been cheaper lately...$7.99 for a pack of 24 verse the $11.99 it was this winter...
    I do stock pile food and my friend make fun of me...
    with the prices the way the are(high) and many children to feed...I gotta save as much as I can...
    Hey...My lettuce is up!...we need sun and heat after 5 days of on and off rains...
    Have a great day

  21. A very good idea! I am stockpiling but i think i buy this month some more.
    I buy organic products from a farm who brings the grocery's at home. I pay for that 2.50. That's cheaper then it's for me because of the fuel. When i order a box of groceries, such as a box of tvp, tomatosauce, toothpasta etc. I have to pay 10% less! Perhaps all readers here can ask that if they buy a whole box of something, you have to pay less.

    Annikka (from Holland)

  22. Addit, agree with rural aspirations regarding our high expectations of you with a big smile :)
    Sometimes written comments can be lost in translation, so hope my previous comment not taken for a criticism.
    Bella :)

  23. Rhonda,

    I wish I had room to stock pile but my kitchen is miniscule and the cupboards are full to bursting. I have bread flour in my wardrobe.....we do have a cupboard in the hall, but its full too although I am hoping to have a clear out in there, its the only place I can keep my fabric for quilting, the hoover and ironing board also live there as well as the tall unit thats hold computer stuff and buts we might need for the house, light bulbs etc. I had thought about boxing that in and getting some shelves, but we would have to pay to get that done, not simple living.......

    I do use the top of the wall unit in the kitchen I have some large jars with rice, pasta etc in, I might be able to get a couple of shelves above the frisge freezer but would have to use steps to get at them, I am only 5 foot nothing, I have a job to reach the top shelf in the fridge LOL.

    I do agree though with what you say, which is why I do a rough menu plan and shop for the month, just going to the market for fresh fruit and veg if I need it, there is only so much you can grow on the allotment!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Hi Rhonda,
    Fabulous post as always! Where do you buy your bulk food from ie flour etc? I live in Brisbane and am wondering if you had any recommendations?
    Many thanks

  25. Hi Rhonda
    I have been stockpiling since I started reading your blog. It has taken lots of thought about what I will buy and how I will store it but I am getting there. I use 'My Supermarket.com' to check who is cheaper and the offers they have before I go shopping. I wish more supermarkets would put their prices on the internet.


  26. If I'm honest, I have to agree with the others about the tissues. I remember you mentioned a while ago why you use them, but the stack in the picture is just so big! Are they from recycled paper?
    I really like the idea of stockpiling, we keep a lot of canned tomatoes, pasta, rice, flour, lentils and chickpeas in the cupboard. We go to the supermarket once a week for the rest of our supplies, we use the "bakfiets" most of the time. I guess one of the advantages of living in a city is that you don't need a car to get things.
    Christine from the NL

  27. Hi Rhonda! Prices are on the rise here too (seems to be a worldwide situation), and my husband and I, predicting further soaring of prices, have been doing something similar to what you describe here. Now our shelves and freezer are packed with goods that can be stored long-term, and we try to buy only what we need fresh.

  28. You have an enviable stockpile, Rhonda!

    I always thought I was slightly mad for storing things other than in their 'rightful' place so it is fab to see your loo rolls in the wardrobe - makes me feel much more normal with my tupperware collection in the hall cupboard ;)

  29. Hi everyone, thank you for your thoughtful comments, as always.

    I knew my stack of paper products would cause a few comments and included the photo of it for that reason, I smiled when I saw them.

    Early on in this journey of ours we tried to give up tissues and failed. Toilet paper and tissues are two of those things we've decided to live with and not feel guilty about. We're fine without pay TV and a second car, but giving up tissues and TP made us both turn to jelly. My guess is that we have well over a year's worth there and we have to stop buying it for at least 6 months.

    It's yet another indication for you all that I am no saint. ;- )

    flmom, I was working all yesterday and had no time. I'll check out your links soon. If the 'fl' stands for Florida, are you Kim?

    Mandy and Tamara, I buy my bulk flours from Simply Good at Morayfield (next to KFC) There is also a store at8 Samford Road, Alderley ph: 38565000. They have a large range of bread mixes - their corn and barley mix is fabulous - and they sell organic rye, maize and wholemeal flours and white spelt. I've seen white organic in the past but I don't think they have it now. I buy their 12.5kg baker's flour bag but they also have 5kg, 10 kg and 20 kg bags.

    Lynda, marking the cans is a great idea.

    Nadine, great to read about your lettuce! :- )

    Bella, it's all good love. I'm not that precious. LOL

    Christine, some is recycled, most is not.

    It's great to know a lot of you re doing this and seeing the benefit. Keep up the good work, ladies.

  30. I have quite a stockpile here in my humble little kitchen. We build it up and then live on it for a month or so without shopping. In summer, it is very easy to avoid the market altogether. I despise shopping so summer is my favorite season.



  31. I've been stockpiling for years, but not to the extent you do. I buy what's on sale...in quantity if I know I'll use it...ie peanut butter, etc. Thanks for all your tips.

  32. Thank you for this post, it's such an excellent reminder of being present in your purchases. I live in the 'burbs of a decent size city and within walking distance of box stores, not that I don't usually use the car out of laziness. Taking the time to plan can save so much in time, money, and effort. Thanks again!

  33. Rhonda, your blog is just amazing and fits right in with what my boyfriend and I are trying to do with our little homestead. Being a city girl, living with a country boy, it has been an interesting experience with lots of fun and learning. I struggle with cooking - the microwave and fast food was my friend for a long time. If you are able to answer this one, what sites would you suggest for simple food prep?
    I love this blog!

  34. Your closet looks like mine. lol. My husband keeps saying to me,,'do we need all that toilet paper?" I tell him "Randy, when it's on sale, I pile up,,I rather pay 4.99 than 12.99.."

  35. Hi Rhonda,

    I am totally captivated by your blog. I saw you in Bourkes BY and I feel so taken by the content of your pages. I do have a storage shortage here. We have a 3 bed, 1 bath home with 2 girls, 7 and 5 yrs. I work 3 days/week and I can not keep up. Often getting quite overwhelmed with the load. I will start stockpiling what I can on non perishables for a start I think and then venture onto other things. Time to clean out cupboards and make space. I no doubt will be on your blog often now I have found you. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us. You are very inspiring. I know how to sew and bake, but dont as time is so swift. After reading your pages, I fertilized our lime trees and gave them a good water and trim. You have already spurred me into action. Thank you!


  36. The really cool thing about saving money is you get to have extra money to stock pile when you run into those incredible, can't pass up savings. I just bought the whole shelf load of my favorite bar soap on close out and we also cleaned out the rack full of our favorite dental floss, because the price was amazingly low. Thank you for reaching out to help people save more money.

    Dave Drew
    Money Saving Author


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