Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Frugal Retirement-Stocking Up Is A Frugal Choice

I am, by nature a stocker-upper. If that word isn’t in the new Webster’s it should be. I’m not just talking about food here, either. I have a pantry system for most of the items in my house. This habit is learned behavior after feeding me, a spouse with an empty leg and multiple children and dogs on one salary.

My husband and I were just two for a while, then three with a college student, and then I was one again with a college student (or one and a half, as I describe it). At this time, I backed off stocking up. I backed off the bulk cooking as well, concentrating on recipes or one or two (but that’s a separate blog post in its own right). That did not last two long, truth be told. I’m right back at the stocking up stage. It’s probably only fair that I define myself when it comes to stocking up. For me, this means I get something at the lowest possible price-the lowest it will ever get, normally. It also means that I try and get enough of that item for six months for two people. I do this for non-perishable food, and food that can be frozen. I also shop this way for socks, art supplies and those things that by nature need replenishing.

My two primary reasons for stocking have to do with savings-saving money, and saving time. A close third is security, for lack of a better term. Because I only buy items when they are at their lowest price, I don’t pay “retail” for most things. Not only that, but prices are probably not ever going down. What organic boneless chicken breasts sell for now at loss leader prices are probably not what they will sell for in a year from now. It’s important to note, that I don’t buy a lot of processed food, and do not buy things I cannot use (if I overbuy on rare occasions, the food pantry is happy to have it). My pantry consists primarily of every basic needed to cook with, from broth to baking materials. Included are canned vegetables, fruits and some meats. Because I shop this way, at two hundred dollars a month two people can eat lamb, drink wine, and cook with saffron.

Another reason I shop to “stock” my home and pantry is simply this-I’m lazy and I hate to shop. I would rather do most anything than go to the grocery store (or any store that’s not a fabric or book store, for that matter). Because I only shop at the lowest price and shop for six months, some weeks I don’t have to shop at all (produce and milk being the exception) I’m not one of those who needs to get out of the house per se, and when I do I go other places (library, park). On the other hand, there are those occasions when I have days that I go from dawn to sunset. As my sister in-law put it so well, I have difficulty on occasion remembering that No. is a complete sentence. (This week in the church bulletin, I alone have announcements for four separate organizations, all of which I am the contact person and the chair). My pantry is stocked so that, if I had to, I could eat really really well for quite a few days using what’s on hand. I’d eat frozen vegetables instead of fresh perhaps, but all in all life would be good.

I also like to keep stocked up for security’s sake. While I don’t leave in a blizzard area, emergencies are relative. Last year, the three people in this house at the time had the cold/flu-one would be getting better but still be contagious and the next one would become ill. I’m talking crawling on the floor, don’t touch me, I just contaminated the whole street by going out the front door ill. From the time one of became ill until the last one was cured, we had enough soup, canned fruit, soda, juice, medicine, tissues and other supplies to keep us going. In terms of financial emergencies, although I’m already way past being laid off, other situations arise. There are still situations where I may opt to live out of the pantry and freezer for a while in order to fund an emergency situation or pay for an unintended expense. To paraphrase, stuff happens.

Stocking up isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t have the room, or the need. But it sure works for me.

5 comments:

  1. Our home is small so lots of stocking up isn't possible. But, we do keep two weeks worth of extra food and water stored away in case of an emergency.

    In Phoenix we don't have weather problems. But, a gas shortage or some other terrorist-type problem anywhere in the country could disrupt normal deliveries for an extended period.

    Twice a year we go through the canned goods, remove the stuff nearing its expiration date, use it in the next two week's menus, and replace the food. There isn't much frugality involved, but we feel better knowing we can feed ourselves without shopping if need be.

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  2. I salute you-I'm happy if I can stock up two months of a sale item-but I don't have much space. It's great to be so organized.

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  3. I'm so used to having a stockpile that on the occasions when I do run out of something, I'm surprised, LOL!

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  4. Greetings Barb! Found your blog when you so kindly referenced my blog on one of your postings a few weeks back, and I am so glad you did! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your blog posts about living richly in retirement.

    My own efforts to curb spending in order to achieve early retirement have yielded many positive results, both financial and spiritual. As I continue to journey through my transition I'm rediscovering the art of frugality, and your posting on when and how to pace these efforts is very insightful.

    I must say though, just $200 a month on groceries for two (or even one and a half!)? Most impressive! I'm at double that currently for two, about $100 a week. We still indulge in some non efficient purchases for the sake of my still-working spouse's convenience, so I'm optomistic I can get down to about $90 weekly once he joins me in retirement. The excess goes into an envelope which I pull from for dinner parties and holiday entertaining.

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  5. Greetings Barb! Found your blog when you so kindly referenced my blog on one of your postings a few weeks back, and I am so glad you did! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your blog posts about living richly in retirement.

    My own efforts to curb spending in order to achieve early retirement have yielded many positive results, both financial and spiritual. As I continue to journey through my transition I'm rediscovering the art of frugality, and your posting on when and how to pace these efforts is very insightful.

    I must say though, just $200 a month on groceries for two (or even one and a half!)? Most impressive! I'm at double that currently for two, about $100 a week. We still indulge in some non efficient purchases for the sake of my still-working spouse's convenience, so I'm optomistic I can get down to about $90 weekly once he joins me in retirement. The excess goes into an envelope which I pull from for dinner parties and holiday entertaining.

    ReplyDelete