I once had an impressive stockpile of food and toiletries at my house. I had an ample supply of pasta, rice, beans, and cereal. I had a freezer full of meat and frozen veggies. I had a linen closet with plenty of shampoo and deodorant for our whole family.
And now… the cupboards are getting bare and the freezer is becoming a cold echo chamber.
It started with my little Eat from the Pantry Challenge earlier this year. And then, life got busy, and I just wasn’t as dedicated to hunting down deals and stocking up during the sales.
But the biggest reason that my stockpile disappeared is due to rising prices. While I haven’t done a price book in years, I did have a good idea of the “best price” for many of the items my family regularly buys.
Unfortunately, I have been wasting my time diligently waiting for those “best prices” to return. It doesn’t look like those “best prices” are coming back any time soon.
I’ve been in denial about this very issue. Paying $3 for a box of cereal that used to cost me $1.75 just kills me. And don’t even get me started on the price of beef, coffee, or anything made of cotton!
And so I just haven’t done much shopping.
I realized that I hadn’t done much shopping when we ran out of facial tissue. It’s full-blown allergy season in my house, so of course that put a serious dent in my toilet paper stash as we made do without Kleenex. This morning I discovered we’re nearly out of most of our lunch staples, too, which is a good way to start overpaying for lunches out.
It’s time for me to adjust my attitude and rebuild my stockpile.
First off, I have to let go of the past, and step up to the challenge. The great deals that I remember are in the past. I have to accept that prices have risen and adjust my vision of what the “best price” is now. I’ve got to get my head back into the coupon clipping game. Once again I’ll be focusing on what items are on sale and what items are in season.
I’ll be taking a thorough inventory of what is in my pantry and linen closet so that I can stock up on the things we need most. When it comes to food, I’ll start by focusing on versatile staples that can be adapted to make a variety of meals. I’ll make more from scratch and try to avoid all the processed convenience items.
I’ll be working on my savvy shopping skills. That doesn’t just mean clipping coupons. It means creating meal menus that reflect what we have on hand and what’s on sale. We’ll try to have at least one meatless meal a week. And I’ll be looking for bargains in the produce aisle and at the local farmer’s market. I’ll be planting more vegetables in my garden this year. Saving money at the store will allow me to build my stockpile even faster.
Playing the game
I’ll also be working at playing the Walgreens drugstore game and paying close attention to stacking coupons at Target, since those are two places where I could stock up and save in my local area. The primary focus will be on rebuilding my stash of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and deodorant, but could also include facial and bath tissue.
Because my stockpile has dwindled so low, we’re in need of a ton of items. I know from past experience that it can take weeks to build a great stockpile, and I just don’t have that kind of time. Our budget will take a bit of hit as I replenish the things we need right now, and I’ve vowed to pay more attention to the state of the pantry. No more being lazy! My hope is to create a base of items this week, then pay attention to the sales so that I can slowly fill in the rest of the gaps.
Some may think it is silly to build a stockpile, but I disagree, especially if you live 30 miles from everywhere like we do. It’s such a good feeling to know that you have an ample supply of food and toiletries to handle unexpected visitors, bad weather, or illness. It’s nice to have options for dinner that don’t include inviting yourself to your parents’ house or going out to eat.
And now, I’ve got to go make my shopping list!
Your turn: Has your stockpile dwindled do to rising prices? How are you dealing?