Looking to create a food stockpile? Here is a list to help you gather up real foods so that you can build your stockpile as quickly and as frugally as possible.
How to Build a Food Stockpile
After a summer of not much canning or preserving, due to limited space and lack of places to store non-dry goods, my stockpile was a little low going into winter which made me panic a little.
Being a South Dakota country girl, I knew that you needed to stockpile before winter because you never know when you are going to get snowed in (like getting 35 inches of snow in a good old October South Dakota blizzard!) and unable to make it to town and the grocery store. Not to mention that up here in the north, food prices get astronomically high in the winter since everything has to be shipped in.
I didn’t concern myself with this since we didn’t plan on being in South Dakota for the winter and I thought we would have a lack of space and be unable to carry the weight in the RV. But then our plans changed suddenly and I started to worry. There was no way we could move further out into the prairie without a stockpile for the winter!
So my plan changed quickly, and I had to start thinking about what food to stockpile in a very short amount of time (about a month!). Being that it was the fall season it made it a little easier on me for foods that were available to purchase since most of those that were in season were winter goods (potatoes, apples, onions, ect). Here are some ideas of food and ways to stockpile in a hurry to spend the least amount possible.
I Became a Serious Farmer’s Market Shopper
No longer was I there just to browse for something that looked yummy for the week’s meals, I was on a MISSION. First I walked up and down the row of food tents, watching prices and seeing what was available. Then I walked back again to make my purchases. I purchased the cheapest foods I could find that I knew I could either can or freeze or store in cold storage. I also purchased any items that I knew we would need in bulk quantities when I could ask the farmer for a discount for purchasing so much. $50 spent at the farmer’s market can add quite a bit of produce to your stockpile. For example, one week I spent just $35 and put away a few acorn squash for cold storage, many big zucchini that turned into several bags of shredded zucchini, and 20lbs of tomatoes that I turned into 10 quarts of canned tomatoes.
–Get more Farmer’s Market Shopping Tips
I Grew My Co-Op Order For a Month
Our normal monthly grocery budget for the month is $300. One month I allowed myself an extra $100 to add onto that regular budget for the sole purpose of adding to our stockpile. This was a great way to purchase bulk dry goods such as beans, rice, sugar, and oats. I also needed to purchase a few extra 5 gallon buckets and Gamma Lids to store all of this in to protect it. $100 may seem like quite a bit but it bought us dry goods that will last at least through the winter.
— Learn more about buying in bulk with A Beginners Guide to Azure Standard
I Shopped With Coupons and at Discount Stores
With someone that shops such as we do (all organic and natural foods) you may not think that coupons are an option, but surprisingly they are. Of course you can’t find as many deals as you can with conventional couponing, but I was able to grab some great pantry items (organic) that were very very inexpensive with coupons at the local grocery store. I also stocked up with a few trips to the local discount grocery store in my area on things like organic cereal and granola bars for easy treats for hubby to have for breakfast and work.
Ok, not really, but I did ask around to all my friends and family that grew gardens if they had any leftovers or veggies that they did not plan on using themselves. I was able to gather several odds and ends this way and I preserved everything possible for later.
–You can also try to Barter for extra garden fruits and vegetables.
A few more quick tips when thinking about food to stockpile, quickly:
- Make sure you know your prices. Don’t buy something just to buy it, only buy it if it’s a good deal.
- Don’t buy something that you won’t eat. Just because it will add to your stockpile doesn’t mean it’s doing you any good in there!
- Don’t forget comfort foods. When the power is out or you can’t get to the store, your family will be grateful for that chocolate bar!
- Variety is the key. Make sure you are freezing, canning, dehydrating, and putting food in cold storage. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Building your stockpile quickly isn’t the easiest thing to do, but depending on the time of year you decide to do it in, it’s possible and can be done for a fairly reasonable price. Now I don’t have to worry about not having anything in our pantry should another big snowstorm roll in and keep us stuck in the house for a while again. I also don’t have to worry about paying high grocery store winter prices.
Looking for other tips on prepping? Here are some posts you might enjoy:
- Winter Weather Preparedness Tips
- Survival Prepping
- Best Weather Radios
- Prepping on a Budget
- Prepping Supplies
- Prepping For Higher Food Prices
How do you build stockpiles quickly and for very little money? Share your tips in the comments!
This post on Food Stockpiles was originally published on Little House Living in November 2013. It has been updated as of November 2019.