Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The beauty of a stockpile
(What? Are you KIDDING? Of course this isn't my pantry. I don't really have a pantry, just a small-ish cabinet in my small-ish kitchen, that I can only use the bottom two shelves in with any regularity, because I am MAD SHORT, yo!)
So anyway, back to my post title: THE BEAUTY OF A STOCKPILE.
Have you tried The Grocery Game yet? No? Then you totally should. And then you TOTALLY should tell them that I sent you, because if enough of you guys do that, then I get something free (I think it's a free month or some such).
One of the major tenets of The Grocery Game is stockpiling. That means, when something is on your "list" (a.k.a., its at the lowest sale price for that cycle, and there's a coupon or other special promotion) that you get as many of that something as you can. Eventually, you get to "cherry picking," which means that your stockpile is so well stocked that you don't need to spend very much at the store at all.
For instance: on Monday night, Jason got called to my dad's house unexpectedly because there was someone over there to help him fix the door on his van (which hasn't closed completely in about a month.) It was close to dinner time, and Anna Marie was spending the night over there anyway, so I told him not to hold up going on my account. I had plenty of stuff to eat at home, and he could eat over there. I didn't have to spend money to go out to eat - I had a Lean Cuisine pizza in my freezer, that had cost me $1.30 apiece!
Earlier that afternoon, my mom had called at lunch to say that she wasn't feeling well, and could I bring her some chicken noodle soup? Why, yes I could - I had gotten four cans of Campbell's Soup the week prior, at a cost of about $0.30 a can. I didn't have to stop at the store and pay God-knows-what. It cost me less than 1/3 of $1 to help someone who needed it.
Last night, it was cold and rainy and we were all tired. Perfect chili weather! I reached into my cupboard, pulled out three cans (one can of Bush's Chili Magic, one can of black beans, and one can of Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes) and in just a few minutes, viola! Dinner was served - low fat, low cost, and pretty dang delicious - complete with a bag of shredded 2% milk cheese (on sale) and two different kinds of hot sauce (either free or $0.50 a bottle, depending on the kind).
Anna Marie has been tearing up some Quaker Instant Grits, which I purchased for $1.50 for a 12-pack.
See where I'm going with this?
The same applies with our health and beauty goods. Jason uses a particular brand of aftershave, which normally costs about $6 or $7 a bottle. I got two bottles for $9 at Walgreens a couple of weeks ago, and they gave me four of my dollars back as Register Rewards! Sweet! Now, when he runs out, he can reach into the cabinet for a $2.50 bottle instead of sending me to the store to spend $7.
When I run out of shampoo and conditioner (which will probably be in the next week) I have two bottles of Suave in my bathroom cabinet waiting on me, which cost me $0.50 each.
I don't pay over $2 for a box of brand name cereal - even my beloved Fiber One, which normally sells for nearly $4 a box. I paid $1.25 for the last four boxes I bought, about six weeks ago, and I just now opened the last box this morning. I might buy four or six boxes at a time, instead of one each week, but the savings are well worth it.
I find that I'm keeping more ingredients in my kitchen, which means that I'm trying different recipes that I'd normally avoid (because I HATE buying something just to try a recipe.)
When you stockpile, you don't buy everything, every week. You spend your money on one thing one week, and another thing another week, until you have a supply that will last a while.
Some weeks, I just get milk and bread, and fresh produce at the store. And if something happens and I can't get to the store on my regular shopping day, we have food to last us - where in the past, it would mean another time to dine out.
Jason loves it, because I am SO much more organized at the store now. It saves us time, and money, and helps me be better at planning our meals around what I've got and what's on sale. If I had more money (and/or more space) I could probably do more stockpiling, but hey - it's just the three of us. I don't usually buy stuff we wouldn't eat, but I do occasionally for something to take to our small group meetings.
So, if and when you can, I highly advise starting a stockpile of your own. Because having cans in your cabinet (and veggies in your freezer, and free toothpaste in your bathroom) is like having money in the bank.