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Cheap Meals: How to Stockpile Them to Save Time and Money

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Amy has been an online writer for several years. Her goal as a writer is to spread as much knowledge as she can about saving money.


Spend Wisely and Live Happily

I grew up in a home where my mother liked to live thrifty and my father knew the importance of saving money. We always had a hot meal on the table and clothing on our backs. My mother always shopped the sales, never paid full price, and had the gift of knowing how to stretch a dollar. The most important thing she did to help our family save time and money was the art of stockpiling cheap meals.

Ten years ago, my husband and I purchased our first home. At the time, we both had awesome, stable jobs, and the real estate values in our area were going up. We were feeling pretty abundant in our financial situation. Our attitude towards money reflected in our spending habits, and we were pretty frivolous with our cash.

Times have changed. Our home is worth a third of what it used to be. Our income and net worth has fallen significantly as well. On the bright side, we have come back to our thrifty living ways. The easiest and most important thing we have cut back on is food. The beauty of it is that our quality of food has gotten better, and the amount of food in our home is more abundant. Last but not least, we are spending a third less than what we were spending before.

Having a Stockpile of Cheap Meals Saves Time

Another great thing about owning a stockpile of cheap meals is that it saves time on those extra trips to the grocery store. It's a beautiful thing to just go take a visit to the basement or garage to get the items that you need. Last but not least, you will save money on gas.

When starting to stockpile cheap meals, it's a good idea to set the goal of a six-month supply of food. As you start in the process, you will begin to notice which types of food move the fastest off your shelves and which ones need to be purchased less often. As soon as your stockpile of cheap meals is set, you will be amazed to see how little you will be spending on your regular grocery shopping trips.

How Do You Store Your Stockpile?

Food is best stored in a cool and dry place. Strong and reliable shelving is the best way to go. I usually put my canned goods in my garage and my dry goods in my house. I feel the two items need the appropriate temperatures. If dry goods must be stored in the garage, be sure they are protected against pests; they attract them. You can find large plastic containers at your local Walmart to protect your goods from excess moisture. They are also easy to stack.

Nothing can compare to homegrown herbs.

Nothing can compare to homegrown herbs.

Try Growing Your Own Food; You Have Nothing to Lose!

Even if you don't have a huge backyard, it is almost always possible to grow some of your own food. In my state, there is only a short time of the year in which you can grow your own food. In addition to that, the soil isn't the greatest to work with.

Regardless, every spring we grow more leafy greens and herbs than you can imagine. I don't have a big backyard, and I can assure you that my little garden doesn't take up much room, time, or energy. The awesome thing is that our produce tastes better than anything you can buy at your local supermarket.

To Coupon or Not to Coupon?

There are a lot of "extreme couponers" these days. Personally, I don't have a strong interest in couponing, but some of my friends save a lot of cash with them. There is a vast amount of effort and time involved in couponing. If you are up for that, there are incredible couponing deals out there.

Don't Buy Something Just Because You Have a Coupon for It

When observing a popular coupon show on television, I did take note that most couponers will purchase five years' worth of face wash for the sole reason that they have a coupon for it. If it is something you wouldn't initially purchase, you aren't really saving money; the items are taking up valuable space in your stockpile of cheap meals. You should also be cautious about things like body lotion and oils; they go bad after some time and can really smell horrid.

Eating at home saves lots of money.

Eating at home saves lots of money.

Live Thrifty and Healthy: Eat at Home

One of the best and most popular ways to save money on food is to eat at home instead of eating out. My husband and I used to eat out at least once a week at a restaurant of choice when we got hungry away from home. In the present, we have cut back enormously on eating out, including our morning stops at Dunkin' Donuts. I also no longer purchase snacks at work; the extra change I gave away to the vending machines added up to big money in the long run.

Dining out at a chain restaurant can cost you as much as a week's worth of groceries!

Utilize old kitchen cabinets. They are great for storing items.

Utilize old kitchen cabinets. They are great for storing items.

Find an Item on Sale? Stock Up!

Canned food and dry goods are on sale every so often at your local supermarket. Stocking up on them when they are on sale can save you a ton of cash and do amazing things for your finances. When you find an item that you know you are going to use and it is deeply discounted, make sure you buy an entire case, not a few cans. The reality is that your family is going to always need food and will never stop eating!

  • Be sure that you use the oldest items first. Canned foods don't necessarily last forever.
  • The foods you purchase in bulk and stock up on should be your favorites and items that you eat on a regular basis.
  • Stores like Costco, Sams Club, and BJ's provide incredible opportunities to buy in bulk and save. Just make sure your are comparing unit prices and saving.
  • If you don't have a lot of money, start small and build your way up to the stockpile of cheap meals of your dreams with all of the cash you save during this process.
  • Refrain from overbuying things like cereal and crackers. Usually, only a few extra of those is more than enough. They go stale if you keep them in your stockpile of cheap meals for too long.

Staples You Should Include in Your Stockpile

Bottles and JarsCanned FoodDry Goods

Catchup, Mayo, Salad Dressing

Soup, Chicken Broth

Coffee, Tea Bags

Barbeque Sauce

Condensed Milk

Rice, Beans, Pasta, Crackers

Peanut Butter, Jam

Green Beans, Peas, Mushrooms


Cooking OIl

Beef, Chicken, Corned Beef, Tuna


Artichoke Hearts

Fruit Cocktail, Peaches, Pineapple



Chilli, Pork & Beans



Tomato Paste



Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce


Scroll to Continue

Homemade Cooking From Scratch Saves Money

Being that my husband and I are busy people there was a time when I was buying a lot of convenience foods. They seemed like they saved me a lot of time. A friend of mine suggested I cook from scratch. You can still make it simple and not too time consuming. There is a vast amount of easy and simple dishes out there that take either less or the same amount of time as a dinners such as Birds Eye skillet meals. In addition to that, meals that are made from scratch taste better and are healthier than convenience foods.

My families life have improved a great deal since we started focusing on how we spend our hard earned money. My husband has taken a strong interest in our food shopping and cooking. In a way it has become an enjoyable hobby for the both of us. We love searching for deals and admiring the bargains we find.

Fruits and veggies canned at home.

Fruits and veggies canned at home.

Canning and Freezing

Purchasing a freezer is a great investment if you plan of keeping it stocked. After a short amount of time it will pay for itself. A couple years ago I would have quickly discarded the thought of canning. It seemed like a lot of work and not something I would consider a enjoyable hobby. My mother had a lot of excess tomatoes from her garden when the summer was over. It seemed like a big waste to let them rot and not use them.

Home made salsa has always been one of our family favorites in the summer. I have put it out for parties and bbq's and received many compliments. I decided to start small and can some salsa as my first canning project. After I finished my little project I was hooked. It wasn't at all like I imagined, it was very gratifying to see the beautiful little jars on my shelf. I started to take a lot of pride in canning. After my salsa project I started canning tomatoes. The tomatoes tasted so flavorful and fresh, unlike anything I have ever tasted at the grocery store.

I make a really good pasta sauce, I can make up to four gallons at once. When I am finished making the sauce, I freeze it in vacuumed sealed plastic bags big enough for one meal each. Spring is just about here and we are still eating the pasta sauce we have frozen from last summer. The pasta sauce also works well for chicken parmesan and lasagna.

Having an Emergency Food Supply Is Vital

In my state we have many power outages during winter and hurricane season. Owning a stockpile of cheap meals during a power outage or an emergency can put both you and your family at a huge advantage. You might not be ready to have a very large stockpile of cheap meals like I do but it's best to at least keep your pantry stocked with a couple weeks worth of food.

Take Your Time

In conclusion, take you time when starting your stockpile of cheap meals. It took me about three months to complete my first stockpile. A family of four can expect to spend $100 more a month on groceries during the initial three month period. On the bright side of things, your grocery bill will be 50 to 70 percent less than it was before you started this amazing process of stockpiling cheap meals!

Save Cash With Stockpiling


Amy (author) from East Coast on February 19, 2018:

Thank you. There is nothing like going back to basics and living simply. It's the way life is supposed to be, enjoyed not rushed!

Amy (author) from East Coast on February 19, 2018:

Thanks so much Mary. It is fun and easy to save money for our future.

Readmikenow on February 19, 2018:

This is a good article. My wife and I enjoy spending time in nature collecting wild edibles. Before I started this, I had no idea how much edible food grows wild. Wild nuts, fruits, greens, onions and more. I learned the dandelion plant was actually brought to the United States as a food source. The flower can be used for tea, leaves and stems are edible and the root can be made into a beverage that tastes quite a bit like coffee...but no caffeine and it's filled with vitamins. We also like to dry out our food. I learned how this has been done for thousands of years to preserve food and once food is dried, it has no expiration date. I enjoyed reading this.

Mary Wickison from USA on February 19, 2018:

Where I live, I don't stockpile as items never seem to go on offer. It's crazy, nor do they have coupons. However, I do keep our food costs down by cooking from scratch.

When I lived in the US I was an extreme couponer and enjoyed the savings I made.

When I lived in the UK, I worked at a grocery store so I was able to get discounted food. That was a big savings.

Your article makes it clear that with some forethought, it is possible to save money without feeling a hardship.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on February 05, 2017:

A marvelous and informative hub Amy! So many helpful tips for stock piling food. I rarely eat out. I like to know exactly what I'm getting before I put a bite of food in my mouth. And it's so much cheaper. I can buy fresh, organic veggies to last me an entire week for what 1 meal would cost eating out. Thanks so much for this excellent reminder to stock up. Sharing.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on December 14, 2016:

These are great ideas for saving money. I can relate to the eating at home tip, that's for sure. We save countless dollars by having jobs that let us telecommute which allows us to prepare a meal economically rather than spend from six to eight dollars a day (each) on lunch. We also make the spaghetti sauce in large quantities and freeze enough per container for another four family meals, quick and easy. Thanks so much for sharing this valuable information.

Ashi on November 21, 2016:


Haha...where were you during my university days?

I would have used this tips and tricks but anyways I can utilize this concept even today. Monday to Friday is always busy so this could go well.

You are great. I am your fan. :)

Bless you Amy :)

Aeva Gono from Philippines on August 06, 2016:

Great great advice!

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