25 September 2015

How to Build your Stockpile Part 4

I'm going to wind up this series this week (officially, I'll keep writing about our stockpiling journey and how we are living off it) with a summary of things I've covered this month to help you build your stockpile.

Build up a slush fund

A grocery slush fund is the way you can build your stockpile without going over your allocated grocery money or going into debt. Every week, fortnight or month when you draw your grocery money, do your shopping. Then take whatever is left and put it in the grocery slush fund.  You can then use this money to buy up extra of your basic items or to buy up when items you use regularly come on a good sale.

Buy up loss leaders

Supermarkets entice you into the store by offering a few items at ridiculously cheap prices (the Tim Tams on sale for $1.49 a packet at Woolworths a few weeks ago spring to mind). These items are generally on the front page of the brochures and can be seasonal. So when diced tomatoes are on sale two cans for a dollar, use your slush fund to fill your pantry until the next sale.

Figure out your storage possibilities ahead of time

Even if you live in a small flat, you can find unused space for storage. In a box under a bed is a good spot, for example. Throw a cloth over a coffee or end table and use the space under to hide your stockpile.

Invest in a freezer

This is the single best thing a stockpiler can buy. Our first chest freezer cost just $50 secondhand and it lasted us for over 10 years and saved us thousands of dollars before it decided to stop working. Meat, vegetables, fruits, bread, butter, even milk can all be frozen for months. You can also store your dry goods such as flour, pasta, cereals and dried fruit in the freezer if you have room. Make double or triple batches of biscuit dough or an extra casserole to freeze and you won't be running to the fish'n'chip shop for takeaway when you are tired.

Shop in bulk

I have always shopped in bulk. I buy lamb and beef in bulk, chicken pieces and fillets in 20kg lots, whole chickens by the box (usually 6 to a box).  Fresh meat, produce, cases of canned goods, flour,  sugar, cereals, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toiletries and nappies are usually good deals. Watch prices on frozen convenience foods and non-food merchandise. Resist the 12 dozen tins of smoked oysters for 20c a tin if you only use a half a tin once a year on New Years Eve. There is no saving in buying that many of anything, no matter how cheap it is if you aren't going to use it in a timely manner (that means before the best before or use by or it just gets old and stale). It will just become an expensive waste of space.

Be selective 

Don't stockpile a carton of instant coffee if no one in your family will drink it.  See above: expensive waste of space.

Donate any excess

Never has my family ever become bored with something I stockpiled, but we do like to share our bounty with others. Older family members, friends and neighbours will be especially grateful when you show up with a smile and those extra staples and treats for them.

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  1. This has been a fabulous series - hank you. The last point on being generous to others is so important too.

  2. Hi! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into this blog, it is great to have an Australian based point of view. I was wondering if you have any information on the electricity cost of running a freezer in Australia? the only place I have to put one is outside, and I worry that in summer that would take a lot of electricity.


    1. Running costs - how long is a piece of string?

      A freezer will certainly increase your electricity bill but how much depends on a few variables such as the energy rating of the freezer - these vary considerably, especially between upright and chest freezers. Also the age of the freezer and how well it is packed will play a part in how energy efficient it is.

      If the freezer has to be outside (we had ours on the back verandah for years) if it is in a sheltered, shaded spot, with decent ventilation costs will be lower, especially if you monitor the thermostat to keep it running efficiently. You can also get (or make) insulation blankets to help them run more efficiently. I've just had a look at the Sustainability Victoria site and they say a 400 litre chest freezer costs around $100 a year to run - that sounds like a lot, but you will save a lot more on your meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit etc. over the course of a year.

      In saying that a 400 litre freezer is big - choose the right size for your household and your needs. No point having a huge freezer if you are never going to fill it or use it to it's full potential. Think about the type of freezer you want (chest or upright) and exactly what it is going to be used for, then shop around for the most energy efficient model you can find.

    2. Thanks! We probably could save over $100 a year by buying bigger packages of meat from our local butcher and freeezing portions.


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