We’ve worked hard to build our stockpiles- clipping, shopping, organizing. We stand back in awe at the amount we’ve managed to get for pennies on the dollar. Some of us just stand there and admire them for minutes every day- grateful to know that if disaster strikes; the loss of a job, illness, car breakdowns- that we can feed our families and wash our hair.
There are some major blunders that many of us make that greatly reduce the value and lifespan of our stockpiles!
- Stockpiling the wrong things. Sixteen cases of canned tuna is worthless to a family that will not eat canned tuna. Forty bottles of mustard is worthless to the family that won’t use it. Twenty bottles of the best lotion is worthless to the family who breaks out when using it. Stockpiling the wrong items is wasteful of money (most of us have to pay sales tax on the pre-coupon price) as well as space used to store it. Picking up freebies and money makers is always a great thing when possible – but if you won’t use it- it’s a better option to either skip it or place it right into the donation bin.
- Storing them wrong. I recently moved things around in my pantry and realized I had 4 boxes of crushed Nutri-grain bars. The reason? I had laid the boxes down instead of standing them up in order to maximize the space on my self. The weight of those boxes crushed the bottom 4. They were flat masses of cereal bar and fruit spread. Ugh. No one wanted to eat them. Think of your shelves the way a grocery store does. Placing items in the boxes the way they are packed by the manufacturer usually ensures that boxes and packages are not crushed by the weight of others. In addition, be sure that your stock pile is stored in a cool, dry place. Heat & Humidity is dangerous to any stockpile!
- Storing them too long. Things expire. Putting new items in front of the old ones just causes things to expire. Think like a grocery store- pull the old things to the front and put the newly purchased ones behind them (check the dates to ensure that you are really putting them oldest to newest!) Nothing is worse than going to get the last bottle of ketchup and finding out it’s two years past it’s expiration date.
- Throwing them out too early. That can of peas had an expiration date that was yesterday? Most likely it’s still good! That box of pasta says it was best by last week? It’s fine to use too. As long as the packaging is intact, the food wasn’t exposed to extreme heat, cold or moisture most things are fine to use. This doesn’t apply to foods that spoil quickly like milk, cheese or moldy items, like fruit, etc. If crackers are a few days past expiration date just be sure they aren’t stale and they are okay to eat.
- Not keeping track. It’s easy to go overboard. That super deal on granola bars? Sure, we’ll get 500! Then in three months we might realize that we’ve only used 2 boxes! We’ll never get through the other 498 before they all go bad! We have an awesome stockpile calculator on MoolaSavingMom’s Couponer’s Toolbox. Plugin how many you will use each week, today’s date and the date the product expires and it will tell you the max # that you should stock of this item. Obviously if it comes back with 75 boxes of cereal you don’t need to buy all 75 at once but it’s a good number to have in your head that “I should NEVER have more than X number of cereal boxes in my stockpile.” On the other hand, if it’s A.1. sauce you can disregard that number because you can NEVER have enough A.1. Sauce and if you find yourself with a surplus please contact me and I will take it because I LOVE that stuff!
Stockpiling requires that we think like a grocery store- because that is what we have- a grocery store in our house! Only buying enough that will be used (sold) before it goes bad, rotating stock (merchandising the shelves) so that stock isn’t wasted.
What stockpile blunders have you made?