What do natural disasters, job loss, pandemics, large unexpected expenses, and food shortages have in common?
Each of these situations can cause you a considerable amount of stress if you’re not prepared.
These events can also put your family at risk for undue hardships or worse.
An emergency stockpile should be part of everyone’s emergency preparedness plan.
But, a well-stocked pantry (or emergency food stockpile) can help you maintain a cost-effective kitchen week after week, month after month.
Maintaining at minimum a well-stocked pantry will help you free up money in your household budget.
Money you could use for other things like reducing debt, vacations, saving for college and retirement.
Having a well-stocked pantry has no major disadvantages and lots of advantages.
Here are 11 ways you can find money in your budget to build your well-stocked pantry and an emergency food stockpile starting today.
MEAL PLAN AROUND WEEKLY SALES
One of the easiest ways to start building a well-stocked pantry on a budget is to plan your meals around what’s on sale at the store.
Pay particular attention to the BOGO (buy one, get one free) sales.
By planning your meals around sales, especially BOGOs, you can build your stockpile while staying within your budget.
HAVE A WEEKLY BAKED POTATO BAR FOR DINNER
Potatoes are filling and inexpensive, especially if you buy them in bulk.
You can often find the 15-pound bags of large baking potatoes from Sam’s Club at a cost per potato around .50-.56.
Add a few of the standard toppings along with leftover chili or vegetables, and you’ve got a cheap, filling dinner.
Use the money you saved on this inexpensive meal to buy items for your pantry.
PRACTICE MEATLESS MONDAYS
No matter where you source your meat from, it’s expensive.
Get into the habit of having at least one meatless meal a week.
Use the savings to stock your pantry.
DON’T USE MEAT AS A MAIN DISH
Instead of serving meat as a main dish, make it a side dish.
Serve smaller portions of meat and more substantial portions of vegetables and starches.
You can also choose soups and casseroles that use inexpensive ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to alter the recipes to include a few more vegetables and less meat.
A great way to do this is with your crockpot or slow-cooker.
REDUCE FOOD WASTE
Reducing your food waste can help you find money in your budget.
Read this post for some great ideas on how to reduce your food waste.
Every coupon you use saves you money.
Many stores double coupons up to .50 making them worth $1.00.
Combine coupons with items on sale for even more savings.
If you don’t have a lot of time to coupon, just save the coupons for the items your family loves and uses on a regular basis.
You know, the things you want in your well-stocked pantry or items you want to keep in an emergency food stockpile.
CUT OUT EATING OUT
Our family of four spends on average $45-$65 minimum every time we eat out.
If you cut out eating out just once a month, you’ll have extra money to build your stockpile.
Remember, use that $45-$65 savings to build your stockpile with items on sale (especially BOGOs), and you can turn that money into $90-$130 worth of stuff for your stockpile.
Combine the deals with coupons for even more buying power.
STOP BEING BRAND LOYAL
Don’t buy that expensive name brand can of green beans.
Opt for the can that is on sale.
Giving up brand loyalty will go along way in helping you free up money to build your stockpile.
Just be sure to check the per-unit prices on any items you buy.
See how I calculate per-unit costs here.
CUT BACK ON CABLE AND STREAMING
Before you say no way, just know this.
Your husband probably won’t like the idea.
After all, they don’t have enough channels now, right?
Just don’t try and cut back on any sports channels. 🙂
Ask yourself, do you need 250 Dish channels and Netflix?
Take a long look at your cable bill.
Decide on what you can live without and give them a call.
See what they can do to help you lower your bill.
Even if they could help you knock $10 a month off your bill for three months, there’s extra money for your stockpile.
If you’re struggling financially, let them know!
START CUTTING OFF THE LIGHTS AND CONTROLLING THE THERMOSTAT
If not having a stockpile is stressing you out, start cutting off lights when you don’t need them.
And control your thermostat better.
Do you need it 72 degrees in the winter or could you bundle up and deal with 68?
What about in the summer?
Can you use a fan and deal with 80 degrees in the summer?
Or must you have it in the 70s?
A lower electricity bill gives you found money to put towards your stockpile.
Even if it is for just a few months!
Every penny counts!
TRY TO SAVE GAS
Don’t run errands haphazardly.
Combine trips whenever you can.
And plan trips so you can save as much gas as possible.
Saving a tank of gas per month may not seem like much.
But, if you buy items for your stockpile when they are on sale BOGO, you turn that $35-$45 savings into $70-$90 worth of items for your stockpile.
At a minimum, every family needs a well-stocked pantry in order to maintain a cost-effective kitchen.
But, why not build on that well-stocked pantry?
Increase its’ size and add emergency food and water items, and you have an emergency food stockpile.
Don’t let building a stockpile or even stocking your pantry stress you out.
It doesn’t matter what your situation is, you can stock your pantry on a budget.
If you are already implementing all of the above tips and still can’t make room in your budget, I’ve got you covered.
Read this post on How To Find Money To Build An Emergency Stockpile.
In this post, I provide tips and tricks to find money outside of your budget for stocking your pantry and building your stockpile.
Take some time, figure out what kind of stockpile you need and how you’ll go about acquiring it.
Don’t stress your self out. Remember, practice progress not perfection.
Slow and steady wins the race!