For my wife and I, and many others, food storage has become a little bit of an addiction. It combines two of our favorite themes, preparedness and saving money, in one neat little package. While many in the preparedness community stress having a good food storage plan as a foundational principle, I do it now more for the financial benefits. As a procurement professional I have noticed that having a food storage program allows us to leverage the quantity of our purchases, when we buy things, and the price benefit of both.
What are the main financial benefits of a robust storage program?
1) You only need to buy when you see something on sale. As I mentioned several posts back, typically the only things we don’t buy on sale now are perishables and milk. And the perishables no longer even include bread, as we have begun baking our own with a brand new breadmaker we found on Craigslist for $40. The benefits to our checking account has been immense. As I learned while perusing the Coupon Mom website, most items go on sale on a certain cycle, usually ever 6-12 weeks. Now, instead of picking up a box of Special K whenever we run out, we buy 10 boxes when it is on sale. And the last time it was on sale it was actually Buy One Get One Free, and we picked up almost as many boxes as a cart would hold. Savings: $2.50 per box times 10, or $25.
2) Buying in bulk saves money. Almost everyone knows this, but many either don’t think about it often or worry about where they are going to store something they have bought. We simply reserved one room of the house to be our food storage/shipping and eBay room, and filled it with racks where we could store things. I felt almost a little sheephish when my wife was at Costco and found the same Special K with a regular price the same as what I found at the BOGO sale, except packaged larger (37 oz boxes instead of 12 oz boxes) – 1 large box cost $7.50 vs. 3 small boxes costing $7.50 (though originally $15). Because of Costco, now I can buy the lowest priced option at any time for half its regular price. If you have access to a Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s, you should definitely take advantage of their everyday savings in comparison to the grocery store! (Plus, they are a good place to pick up large quantities of staples like, (guess what!), rice and beans)
3) Try the off brand. Not every experience I’ve had with private label brands has been great, but there are a good many items where I can’t tell the difference between it and the Name Brand. For example, my local HG Hills (not a great store, but its the closest grocery to my house) has around 20′ of shelf space right upon entering the store where they have many of their private label items. One day on a whim I picked up a couple boxes of $.35 macaroni and cheese, and $.43 cans of corn and green beans. The equivalent prices of the name brands is $1.39 for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and around $1 for Green Giant corn and green beans. I thought the mac and cheese was great (with a little Truffle Salt my wife picked up) and the corn, while not quite as perfect as Publix’s private label, was still quite good. The AdviceWife thought the green beans were fine as well.
The next time I went to HG Hills they probably thought I must have lost my job or someting as I picked up around 10 boxes of mac and cheese and 2 cases of their vegetables. I also bought some other items to test (chili fixins mainly) and I’ll let y’all know how they perform as well once I get to making some. Total savings over 12 months vs. name brand on just 3 items: $125 or more, assuming we eat each once a week.
Now, the above examples are just for 4 food items, and we do the same for every regular item we eat. At $50 a year savings on average for each item, that’s $200. On the 30-40 items we regular keep and eat, it’s more like $2,000 a year saved, not through sacrificing our tastes, but simply through better buying. On occasion my wife clips coupons and we add a little bit more to the total.
So don’t just take a look at what you’re buying, examine how you are buying it and you’ll likely find a significant amount of dollars you can save.