Despite what you often see on TV and in the movies, stockpiling food is not only for those with conspiracy theories or living through a zombie apocalypse. It is now a part of life for those of us who are “what if” people or those with very strict budgets. Let’s face it: it’s not easy getting by in today’s economy. If we can save a little money on what we need to live by building a stockpile, then that’s what we should be doing.
You may or may not be a fan of TLC’s Extreme Couponing, but I like to watch it just to see what those folks have built up. That being said, I do find some of the people featured on the show to be misguided. I was watching an episode not long ago where a woman said she and her family disliked a specific food – even though she had purchased 100 boxes of it. This is one thing I’m going to warn you about. Never put something in your stockpile if you and your family won’t use it. It’s a waste of time and storage space.
Items To Stockpile
Everyone has their own personal preferences on what they like to eat, so you should take that into consideration as you start building your stockpile. Begin with staples that you’ll use every day. Luxury items should be the last thing you put into your stockpile. Below I list general items to have in your finished stockpile if you want a roughly six-month supply for two people. You can adjust accordingly based on the size of your family.
- 20 cans or so of each type of vegetable you and your family eat regularly.
- I keep five cans each of peas, butter beans, kidney beans and carrots for myself since my son doesn’t care for these. He prefers French-cut green beans and will eat corn, so I keep about 30 cans (combined) of those.
- I also use fresh and frozen vegetables, mainly broccoli, to make up the vegetable portion of our meals.
- A six-month supply for us is 30 cans since we don’t eat a lot of fruits in my house. I tend to put these through my juicer for smoothies.
- I try to keep 20 to 24 cans of tuna in water, 10 large cans of chicken, three to five cans of bean-less chili for chili dogs and five cans each of Spam and Treat.
- For 6 months, I would keep a total of 30-40 cans of the soups your family likes.
Canned and packaged additives to make meals
- This can include cans of cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of celery and broths for making meals. Also, keep taco seasoning and various mixed spice packets on hand for adding to whatever fresh meat you may use. A six-month supply for me would be 3-4 cans of each of the soups, 10 or so of the taco seasoning pouches and 10 or so of the broth. They’re always useful since there’s so much you can do with them.
- This will depend on if you are a baker at all. I am not that much of a baker so I keep about 10 pounds on hand. If you make your own bread and pastries, you may want to keep closer to 50 pounds on hand for six months.
- This, too, will depend on if you are a baker and if you add sugar to your coffee and tea. For us, this is roughly 8 pounds of white sugar and 1 pound of brown (for oatmeal).
- We eat more rice than pasta so I have two, 1-pound boxes of instant rice and about 5 pounds of regular rice.
Boxed One-Skillet Meals
- I try to keep 10-20 boxes of these on hand, since they are relatively quick and easy meals. When stored properly they will last the entire six months without going stale.
Boxed starchy sides
- This includes Au Gratin potatoes, scalloped potatoes, instant potatoes, instant stuffing, etc. Again, about 10-20 boxes because they make great additions to meals or can be meals on their own if needed. Most of these are single meal items, although the instant potatoes 1-pound box can be stretched to four meals.
- I tend to keep three to four boxes of each of our preferred cereals. Be careful about how many boxes you keep on hand since they can go stale faster than you expect depending on the humidity.
Dry or evaporated milk
- I keep one of the largest boxes of dry milk on hand for use in cooking and I make homemade cocoa in the winter with it. I have 10 cans of evaporated milk on hand for those few times when I’m short on regular milk and use it for making things like macaroni and cheese.
Many people think that once you have your stockpile set up, you don’t have to touch it again until you’re ready to use something. That is not true. You will want to be sure to rotate your stock so that you don’t end up with a stockpile full of stale foods. And remember: add a little extra than you took away from your stockpile to keep it growing.
What stockpiling advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below: