Written by Bernie Carr
This year we’ve seen multiple shortages as well as skyrocketing prices at the store. U.S. inflation is at a 13 year high, even grocery stores have started stockpiling goods. It only makes sense to invest in your own stockpile. You’ll be buying products you need later at today’s lower prices.
As an apartment dweller you may be limited by space. Let’s look at sensible ways to build your stockpile.
Find some space
You will need some place to store your goods. It doesn’t have to be in your kitchen. If you think you do not have the room, you’ll need to do some de-cluttering. Get rid of stuff you haven’t use in a year.
Get creative with your small space. You can designate a hall closet, vertical space in your bedroom, or even under the bed. At one time, I’ve even used an entertainment center as storage. Make sure the area you choose is a cool place, away from direct sunlight. Heat and light are enemies of storage.
Evaluate your refrigerator and freezer space. Will you have room for meats if you buy in bulk? You might want to consider a chest freezer.
Track your usage
Take a day or two to write down items you and your family use throughout the day, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Write down personal care products like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, breakfast, lunch and dinner items, etc. There is no point stocking up on items you will never use, even if the items are on sale.
You can start a stockpile in as little as $5 a week. Designate an amount you can spare for buying extra items.
Have you ever tried to buy an indoor fan in the middle of a summer heat wave? If you manage to find one, prices are very high. Sometimes, it is good to buy out of season. Buy winter clothes and gear during the summer while no one is paying attention to them and prices have not risen. I have notices this also works well in second hand stores such as Goodwill.
Each grocery store has their own rewards program. I hesitated to join our local market’s rewards for years until recently. Once I joined, I found a lot of deals and freebies. Keep in mind they do track your purchases and match the deals to previously bought items. I figured everything is already tracked anyway, so you might as well get rewards.
If you look at grocery store flyers or online ads, you will notice what items go on sale and the time span between price cuts. For example, you may notice a certain store has loss leaders available only on Thursdays. That is the time to visit the store and take advantage before supplies run out.
Take the rain check
If an advertised sale item does run out, ask the store cashier for a rain check, so you can get the deal when they have inventory again.
Rotate your items
Mark the expiration date on each item so you can make sure the item is used before it expires. Store the closest expiring items in front of the pantry, and the ones with the farthest expiration dates in the back
Some items are still good well past the expiration date, but use your nose and eyes to check it. If it seems off somehow, then throw it out. It’s not worth getting sick over.
Keep a list
Once you are close to using up an item, add it to a running list on your fridge or bulletin board. That way you can restock before you completely run out.
Shop at a variety of stores
Don’t limit yourself to your neighborhood grocery store. Pay attention to prices or keep a price book so you can compare the best deals. Shop online, at warehouse stores, ethnic grocery stores and dollar stores.
Don’t get carried away
I know people who stockpiled and never used their items. Someone I know hung on to canned goods for 20 years, the cans exploded in their pantry.
Make sure you do use your stockpile. The whole reason you started it to begin with is to benefit yourself and your family. Don’t forget to use your items or they will just go to waste.
Take advantage of sales while you can. There are definitely a lot of benefits to having a stockpile. You’ll be glad you have one as you avoid having to go to the store in case of a disaster or pandemic shut down. And you’ll save money in the process.
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About the author:
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.