Do you guys ever see these seasoned couponers getting dozens of the same product at a time for nearly nothing and think "That's cool, but what do you do with all of that?" I used to wonder the same thing so I thought I would fill you in on what I do with my little 'ol stockpile.
Let me start off by saying that I strongly support ethical couponing. I think practices like stealing inserts, copying coupons, clearing the shelves, taking more of something than you could ever possibly use just because you can are all wrong and in some of those cases illegal. What I am talking about here is building up a supply of stuff that your family can live off of for awhile. The reason I coupon is so that I can save money on the groceries we buy so that money can go towards paying off our debt and giving to others.
Now that we have that out of the way let's get back to how to use up those food stockpiles. What I look for when stocking up on cheap/free food is something that I already use and that can be used in various ways. Let's take Albertsons deal on pasta right now. Ronzoni is on sale for $1.00 and there are tons of $1.00 coupons floating around out there so there is the potential to really stock up. Since we LOVE pasta and can eat it multiple times a week, this is something I will take advantage of. I have also recently stocked up on Ragu (Amazon Subscribe and Save groceries) so that pairs up well. Of course my family would get tired of plain old spaghetti and sauce if that was all I served so I make it a point to not just build my food pile but also my recipe box. Luckily pasta is so versatile that I can do something as simple as take last nights leftover meat and veggies (we get ours cheap through Bountiful Baskets and Farmer's Markets are great this time of year) and have all new dishes.
Enough about pasta, there are other great ways to use your food stockpiles. Right now with memorial day around the corner there are great deals on pop (yes, we say pop!), chips, hot dogs and other seasonal goodies. Since we also have a birthday party this week (which means family BBQ) and are also planning to attend several potluck BBQs in upcoming week, I know that I can stock up on these kinds of foods and they will be put to good use. I will not only be feeding my family but also my friends and at a very low cost to us.
To wrap this up I guess there are two things that you should remember when stockpiling food. First - Just like building your coupon stash takes awhile, the same applies to building your food stash. At first you may just have jars of pasta sauce and nothing to put it on...that's okay, wait it out and you are bound to find some pasta on sale too. When I first started couponing I still spent a lot of my grocery budget on non-coupon items. I NEEDED stuff to fill in the gaps whether I had a coupon and a sale or not. But just recently, as my stockpile has grown, I am able to spend most of my budget on stock up items and much less on filler items. So stay the course, you too will get there! Second - Buy for you. By that I mean, look at the size of your family, your dietary needs, your lifestyle and buy according to that. Don't worry that Susie down the street is coming home with 26 bags of Doritoes for $3.00...if you don't want your kids eating Doritoes, it doesn't matter how cheap you an get them! If you are a retired couple you are going to go through a lot less food than a family of 5 so your stockpile should look a lot different then mine.
If you find yourself going overboard on an item (happens to the best of us from time to time!), especially something that expires fairly quickly, don't let it go to waste. I am sure you have neighbors who would love to be surprised with a basket of food for that nights dinner. And of course the food banks are always in need of extra food. There is a point when stockpiling becomes hoarding (which is why I think those shows are back to back on TLC:) so make sure you don't find yourself in that place! I would love to see us all get to a point where we are giving just as much as we are keeping for ourselves.Wouldn't that be cool?
I would love to hear how you use your food stockpiles so feel free to share. I also am in a place where we don't have much storage space for extra food so if you have ideas on how you have made the most of your little space, I would be excited to hear them.
If you found this post useful, I will be writing a similar one on how to use your non-food stockpile so stay tuned for that.