Why Do You Stockpile?

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Think that stockpiling is just for crazy survival preppers and wonder what place it might have in your life? Here are a few reasons why our family has chosen to stockpile and once you read them, you might not think it’s as crazy as your originally thought.

Why would someone need to have a stockpile or food or supplies? Here are some reasons that I think you will find very interesting. #stockpile

Why would one stockpile?

If you ask anyone that has a stockpile or is creating a stockpile, I can guarantee you that you will get several different answers. While most of the answers can be good or helpful. I’ve found that usually there is one main underlying reason behind a persons stockpile. Either they suffered from an income loss at some time or perhaps they had little food in their home when they were growing up and they just want to make sure they have enough. Whatever the reason is, they are all valid reasons to create your own food stockpile. Here are some of our families reasons.

Jars in the Pantry

First, we stockpile because I don’t like to pay full price.

Wait, let me rephrase that, I can’t afford to pay full price. When I actually find a great deal or sale on something that we use all the time, I will stock up. That way I don’t have to pay full price when I need some again. An example would be finding beans on sale for less than $0.50 pound. Normally they would be around $1 per pound but if I could find them in a bulk quantity or on sale for much less than that regular price, I will stock our pantry.

–Read more here about Buying in Bulk.

We stockpile food because it’s hard to find what we can eat on sale.

Because of our family’s food allergies and diet, we have to eat things that are natural, with very few ingredients, and without preservatives, dyes, and additives. It’s often hard to find a good deal on things like that, but when I do, I stock up. In the same respect, I also consider my home canned goods part of my grocery stockpile. I “pay” for them with my time.

–Learn more about saving money on groceries when you have food allergies here.


We stockpile toilet paper and facial tissue for the same reason as above.

Neither of these items goes on sale for very cheap so when they do or when I can get them in bulk for less, I always stock up. Plus, who wants to be out of facial tissue when you have a cold? Some people have chosen to do family cloth and old fashioned hankies to replace these items but that’s not a change that we’ve decided to make as of right now. However, we do not purchase paper towels because we use cloth towels instead.

–Learn how to make your own Un-Paper Towels.

Bulk Foods in the Pantry

We stockpile for the poor economy.

No matter what you believe about the economy’s condition you can clearly see that the price of everything is going up and up and the minimum wage is not matching the price of inflation. The price of gas is high when you need to get into town and there always seems to be little confidence in what the future economy will look like. It just seems to be a good idea to have a small stockpile on hand for the unknown.

–Get a huge list of Frugal Tips on Saving Money here.

We stockpile for “just in case”.

I’m currently re-writing this article and the job economy is good. However, when I originally wrote this article in 2011, the unemployment rate was very high and we wondered what would happen if either my husband or I was out of work. Now I’m fully self-employed so it’s less of a concern for our family, however, this is a real concern for so many families that I know and therefore, an excellent reason to keep a small stockpile. How wonderful it would be to have a few months worth of supplies if you lost a job so you’d have less to worry about until you could get another one?

–Learn how to start a blog here.

We stockpile to avoid going to town.

Depending on where you’ve lived, we’ve always had a 30-45 minute drive to town. If something were to happen like the road being washed out or too much snow or someone in the family being sick (all real issues that we’ve had), we would not be able to get to town to get food or supplies. If I only kept a day or two of supplies on hand, that would run out very fast and leave us in a very vulnerable place. Because of the location, it just makes sense for us to have a good supply of food and other items in case we can’t get to town. Even if you don’t live a distance from town, do you really want to have to go to the store all of the time?

–Learn how to build a stockpile on just $5 a week here.

Ok so what about you? Why do you stockpile or why have you considered stockpiling? Is it for one of the reasons I mentioned above? Or for another reason altogether?

This blog post on Why Do You Stockpile was originally written on Little House Living in January 2011 and has been updated and revised as of May 2019.

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  1. I stockpile for all of the above reasons that you stated & I just LOVE going down into my little basement “store” & bringing up the things I need for the house!…especially when the weather is bad!…I don’t know about you, but I have always thought that I should buy something that I will need when I find it & not when I NEED it!..Unlike you, my Mother didn’t teach me a lot about frugality, so I have had to learn by myself!..But, when I was younger I can recall not being able to find something to wear to more than one important event & having to buy just anything, finally & not really being happy with the fit, color, etc., but needing to buy something to wear!…It is cheaper to buy the things that you KNOW you will be needing at your leisure, & it is also a lot better to shop at your leisure!…This has made my life a whole lot easier & a lot better!

  2. I stockpile for all the same reasons as you. My husband’s job went to India 6/1/10 and he is still not working. He did get a decent severance package and we are not in want but I believe part of that is because of our stockpile which we are still eating from. I have only been buying what is at rock bottom price to restock it and we have not had to do without anything at all.

  3. I was raised to have a food supply on hand for the “unknowns” in life. Living in the country there is no such thing as a quick trip to the store. Our nearest town is 30 minutes away. Plus with winter roads getting out is not always a option. Having active kids in sports even the summer months leave me searching for time. I often need to have items on hand for quick meals or unexpected snacks for teams.

    I also try to stockpile for financial situations. I am confident if my husband or I lost our job – our family would be able to eat. We keep a 6-9 month supply on hand at all times. That includes both store bought items as well as home canned from our garden. We store everything from dishwasher tabs to powder milk, butter, and eggs.

    It is smart to price shop these items. With the raising cost of groceries a sale price may not come around again. Plus the time saved on short weekly trips allows more family time.

  4. I started stockpiling a few years ago when I was pregnant with my first. She was due in November and living in North Dakota where winters average 0 degrees, I did not want to take my newborn out to go food shopping. So I would have a month or 2 supply of food and usually 1 extra bottle of shampoo or other cleaning, hygiene product.

    I only started couponing this past year. I actually started doing it as a dare from a friend, because I honestly couldn’t believe how much money she ‘claimed’ she was saving.. lol.. It’s really pretty funny now.

    But over the course of the couponing, my stockpile has grown to about 3-6 months supply of most things, depending on their sales cycles. My husband is in the military so we are fortunate to not have to worry about a layoff at this time in our life. But, my stockpile makes me feel comfortable knowing its there in case we ever needed to live off it.

    And boy do I love shopping in my basement =) It’s really nice to avoid a toddler tantrum because I ran out of her favorite food or snack!

  5. All of the reasons you mentioned–mostly for cost, but also some for survival aspect. It is also a nice back up in bad weather, etc.

  6. I try to be very careful of what we stockpile due to being military, (lack of space in on base housing) and just never knowing when it is going to be time to move. But the stuff we do stockpile is the same reasons as above, plus honestly I just really don’t like to shop especially if the weather is bad, so I just like not having to go to the store!!!

    Marissa, where is Robbs (in Rapid City)? I have never heard of it.

  7. Fear! Back in the early 80″s my husband was laid off for 2 1/2 years from his job. I just had my second child. We both were working 2 part time jobs making $7.50. To this day I don’t know how we made it. Plus we had to pay for our health insurance. My husband went to the welfare office but they told him we made $50 a month too much. That’s why today I try to buy american made products. And your absolutly correct groceries prices are skyrocketing. About 1 year ago I could buy ground sirloin for $1.99 today it’s $3.99. If you want ground beef parts it’s around $1.79. yuk Great topics the last couple of days thanks.

  8. I do stockpile, but don’t have a fully-supplied room or anything like that. I believe in moderation with stockpiling. There’s no use or reason to buy things if they will spoil or will end up not being used. Like yourself I must cook from scratch and have some allergies. So I don’t stock up on food with additives and I’m trying to buy more natural cleaning and HBA products as I can. We can’t afford much organic, but I look for the most healthy items at the best price. I really enjoy your articles, they are helpful. There’s no extreme couponing here 🙂 as I focus on buying basics and what we need and will use. I used to chase a lot of deals, but prefer to have my time now instead. Stockpiling is also done for similar reasons – to shop less, get the best prices, and have a reserve on hand for emergencies.

  9. I mostly stockpile for the cost savings . My husband is in school right now and we don’t have a whole lot of extra money, but honestly I think I’d do it even if we had the money to spare since there’s always something more fun to spend money on than necessities! Now that I’ve experienced how great it is to stockpile, I’d say I also do it for convenience. I absolutely love not having to keep a grocery list on the fridge of all the things I ran out of and need to restock — because I already have stock on hand!

  10. With food price projected to rise, now is a very good time to have the basics stockpiled. Its also a good time to stock up on items that we can freeze that prices might sky-rocket like orange juice. We stockpile because its comman sense. Items that last for years that we have saved up just may be what keeps us fed in years to come, because now, food is more affordable then it will be in the future.

  11. I stockpile for the same reasons you listed. With the uncertain economy, you just never know. Right now we spend over $400 a month in gas to get to and from work. If gas and food prices continue to rise, one of us will not be able to afford to travel to work. Let’s just pray that never happens.

  12. One of the reasons I stockpile is the fluctuating climate at my husband’s work. One week, they are super busy, able to have overtime, time and a half, etc. and then the next week (or two or three) there is a huge slump. Thus, I never know what his paycheck is going to be from one week to the next. Such is the nature of construction…I also stockpile for natural disasters, not on the doomsday preppers scale or anything, but we do get hit with hurricanes quite often on the east coast and when they come shelves clear off fast.

  13. I stockpile because of the zombie apocalypse.

    Seriously, if anything were to happen I know that my husband and I won’t starve or have to beg off my parents. I don’t know how much of a stockpile I have, but I’m always adding to it. My next big stockpile is meat. I have a new FoodSaver to use. I’m giddy just thinking of it.

    I love your blog. I’m not a homesteader, but I’m becoming increasingly frugal and have a secret desire for chickens. I’d never do it, but I’d like to.

  14. I stock pile as you do. I also help many people that need for food, lotion, laundry, and other Items. I also live in the country. I’m happy the prices of gas is starting to go down. I’m also a prepper because of the time our electric was out for over eight days. I have a year or more just in one of my stockpiles. I have family and friends that come for items from my stockpile. I watch for sales and coupons. I pay only tax for many of my items. The most I ever pay for huggie baby wipes is .66. I order 10 cases when they on sale like they are this week.

  15. I stockpile mostly for the reasons you all do. But in Oct 2012 I found out how important my stockpile was. My husband got laid of from a job he had for 20 years-no notice, no severance package. He was in management at the company and his pay was really great. Then his last 2 paychecks from the company bounced. The next day they filed bankruptcy. Other than buying a turkey and ham at Christmas-I haven’t really did a major shopping trip because of my stockpile. I only buy milk, bread, perishables. It has been by the saving grave of GOD that we have managed. I am thankful that he is drawing umployment but it is only 3% of what his salary was. I am greatful that he gets that 3%. In the next month I have earmarked $500 to replenish out stockpile. We have not ran out of anything yet. But I don’t want to either. I have the luxury of having a 4th bedroom that was converted to a pantry. We put cabints all around the room so it basically looks like a craft room. That way no one knows.

  16. We stockpile for convenience, money-saving, and security. It’s become such a way of life for me that it feels foreign to cook in someone else’s kitchen when it isn’t well-stocked.

  17. I was raised by parents who were children during the depression in the ’30’s, so they were raised to be frugal and/or lived on farms & grew, then put up their stockpile for the year. We were lucky to have a large garden and we put up a lot of produce. Because we had to be frugal we would often go in halves with another family & buy a whole pig or cow, plus my Dad would hunt & we usually would get a deer per winter. My Mom sewed our clothes & taught my sister & I to do the same. We rarely went ‘shopping’ as people do today just for enjoyment! My Dad was a machinist by trade, and could make anything he needed in that regard, and during the ’70’s “Back To The Land Movement”, he build a food dehydrator from scratch! So I came from a Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle state of mind before it was “Cool” ! I still have trouble getting rid of anything because I am so certain that it “Will come in handy someday” ! But I live in a single wide mobile home & am very short on space, so I have to careful about what I really ‘need’ & and what I ‘want’. I’m always looking for ways to simplify, which is why I just LOVE your helpful ideas! Thanks Merissa!

  18. Back in 2008 when the stock market crashed, it took me 3 months to find work. At the same time, my husband’s hours at work were cut from 75 hours a week to 25. It was a rough time, but we made it. Having a fully stocked pantry was such a help. We spent $7-10 a week on groceries such as milk or produce, and otherwise ate from the pantry. Towards the end of that time, we were eating some boring meals, but we didn’t starve.

  19. I stockpile for all those reasons you mentioned. Our situation is a little unique, I was on disability for many years, but am temporarily off because I got a settlment for a car accident I was in 5 years ago. I want & need to make the money last as long as possible. My husband is on Social Security disability, even though he lives here in Canada with me, due to a reciprocal agreement our country has with the US (think snowbirds). I try & make sure we have lots of stockpiled food & other things, whenever there’s a sale. That way on thos really tight months, we have a backup to help tide us through.

  20. I agree completely. For one, I can’t afford to pay full price on stuff. I’d rather get a great deal and stretch it as far as I can. My local grocery store has a huge cart of banged up produce that they sell in huge packs for $1. I can get the same produce as everyone else for a mere fraction of the price, then stretch those through breads, pastries, jams, jellies, and more. All year long, I have delicious, homemade dishes at the ready that cost me barely anything.

    But, I don’t consider myself a stockpiler. I only buy what I need when it’s a good deal, but I do always try to have the next bottle of dish soap or laundry detergent at the ready. Otherwise, you’re stuck resorting to current sale prices or full retail. Yikes!

    I do like to buy in bulk when I can ensure freshness. Lately, I’ve been researching wheat berries prices since I like them more than rice and can shave a lot off of the final price if I buy many pounds at once.

    Great question! I love reading these comments. 🙂

  21. i started stockpiling with my parents as a child because we live on the gulf coast and hurricanes are common here. back then, the electric would go off for days and weeks at a time so we lived off the grid after a storm even in the city. today, the electric grid is much better and we rarely lose electric during a storm. i live in the old part of town and our electric sometimes goes off during just regular rainstorms that have high winds. so…i am prepared for anything. i am now retired and my income is much lower so i like buying in bulk for most everything if possible. being thrifty is a good thing anytime.

  22. I havebeen doing this for years I just never called it stockpiling I called it getting by.I pray that you will all beblessed in your endeavors and stockpiling and don’t forget to share with some one less fortunate,no matter how poor you are their is always someone you can help!

  23. Hello
    I am very interested in learning how to stockpile. I am a single mother and I live in an expensive city. Are there any good websites you can suggest to help me get started? Thanks!

  24. Instead of calling it stockpiling, I like to call in my Home Store. When I need something I just go to my Home Store to get it.

  25. Good ideas here!
    We also save money aside for the future; we start with enough money to live on for a day, then a week, a month, and so on. I store fabric too (I love to sew) in case I couldnt buy clothing.

  26. I am lucky that I have a 7 1/2 x 20 foot pantry. I live 100 miles to the nearest decent grocery store. 25 miles to the nearest gas station and convenience store. 5 miles to my nearest neighbor. Stockpiling is a necessity. I buy a steer or heifer from my neighbor (15 miles away). This carries me for more than two years. I have chickens, ducks, turkeys and dairy goats. My garden is not as great as I would like. Here we only have two short growing season. June and July is to hot for the plants. We have had days go above 115. Staples such as flour, honey, salt, vinegar, maple syrup, etc. are what I need the most. The only meat I need to buy is bacon and pork sausage. I don’t own a TV, but I do have internet. I like finding sites on homesteading and self-sufficiency.

  27. I lost a very good paying job several years ago, and the only thing that got us thru was my ‘stores’ and living frugally during that time. I have a job now, but it’s probably a third of what I was making previously. I still try to put a little back each week, but my stores are nowhere near what they were before. That said, we are still ‘better off’ than the ‘average American’, and could still weather a short duration ‘crisis’ but not a long term one like my several years of unemployment. So please don’t thing ‘it could never happen to me’. Job loss, sudden illness, whatever freak weather event your area might be prone to, death of a family member, it could all happen to any of us at any time. You don’t need to be a ‘doomsday prepper’, just sensible!

  28. We stockpile toilet paper and toiletries. I have some food too about 6 months worth. I started stockpiling when I became ill and then was fired from my job. My husband is disabled and only gets a small check, so I was the bread winner. It was 6 months before I got any income again. If it wasn’t for my parents and sister I don’t know what we would have done! I never want to be in that position again! I love your blog/web page!!

  29. We have always lived quite a ways out of town so the last one is probably the most applicable. The other reason is because I don’t want to have to think about it. I don’t like shopping so if I have to go, I’m going to get enough so that I don’t even have to think about that item for a long time. I make a list of anything getting low (or out) so we’ll be good for a while. Great post.

  30. We stockpile because my husband is a construction worker.
    The nature of the business doesn’t allow him to work when it is raining or below freezing.
    He is unemployed from January through April most years, and
    also several times during the working season if there is excessive rain.
    I take advantage of sales during October and November on meat, then freeze.
    I cook everything at home. We rarely go to restaurants, so we have quite a stockpile.
    We don’t stockpile toilet paper…tried that, it absorbed an odor from our basement, and the texture changed over the course of a year.

  31. Merissa, here I am reading this post right smack dab in the middle of the pandemic as I found your Rhubarb Bar recipe last year and saved but just now finally reading your blog. We have stockpiled for years, grown a garden and put up the produce for the length of our marriage, 39 years and we have two freezers. I can truthful say I am so thankful we have being doing this because we could live off what we have stored for quite a long time. With meat prices being in the $6-$10 range/lb, for beef, I’m a blessed wife, mother and Mimi!

    1. That’s such a wonderful feeling to be prepared isn’t it? And yes, the meat prices are starting to get crazy, not to mention you can only get a package or two each time you go to the store.
      I’m glad you are reading the blog now! Hopefully you will find more things that are useful 🙂

  32. I’ve already been doing this. I get most of my food from a food bank.
    I have 2 small pantries besides my cupboards. Not much room in a senior apartment. Thank you