First Person: How I Stockpile on a Budget

Yahoo Contributor Network

Whatever the reason (Mayan calendar, Y2Kx2, the zombie apocalypse) stockpiling is more popular now than ever and I am on the bandwagon! My reasons for shoring up the pantry are probably a bit more boring and grounded than others but I suspect, fellow stockpilers would say the same thing. With so much confusion in our government concerning the fiscal cliff, especially health insurance, I've decided to put away canned foods, paper goods and over the counter medication. I'm not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination; I like a tidy home, but when it come to stockpiling, I am committed. I don't have much extra cash for stockpiling so I do it on a budget.

I started by finding some space in the guest room. I don't plan on taking over the house but I did claim half the room for shelving. I wanted it to be an area that was temperature-controlled but would allow me some security later. It's amazing what you can pack in a small ten-foot area.

I ransacked yard sales and thrift stores for plastic storage containers with lids. Yes, a matching closet full of Tupperware would have been perfect but who can afford that? I also saved plastic ice cream tubs and empty laundry buckets. I use them all for storing packaged foods like rice and dried beans.

Each week I search the circulars for canned good sales. I take $20 out of the grocery budget and stock up on cans. My family grumbles a little because there aren't any chips or snack foods but I think it's worth it. I buy whatever is on sale but I don't buy stuff I know they hate like salmon or in my kids' case tuna fish. Usually what I look for is two for one soups or cans of corn, beans, potatoes. I mark the tops with a permanent marker, assigning each a month and year. That helps me when I'm using items from the pantry. (You do have to watch the sodium though. My favorite generics were loaded with them. Who knew?)

I've also taken to stocking up on condiment packets when we go out to eat. No, I don't steal from Burger King but if we take four ketchup packets and only use two, I take two home. In my pantry there is a handy collection of mayo, taco sauce and mustard packets. I have a special basket for extra napkins and plastic forks too.

I started a stockpiling club with some close friends. We pooled our money for a wholesale club membership and we go shopping together once a month. We buy big packs of toilet paper, bottled water, even batteries. It's cheaper that way and we keep each other in check with the spending.

I don't hope for doomsday, I hope things get better. If they don't I'll be prepared to help my family and neighbors. If we don't do it, who will?

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