Learn how to


How do I know how much to stockpile of an item...

This is the question I get asked the most.

The way to stocking a pantry the frugal way: Buy when it’s on sale! Use your coupons when the item is on sale to get rock bottom prices. Buy enough to keep you in stock until the sale cycles again. Doing so, you will never pay full price again.

Here is how I figure out how much of what food is reasonable for my family.

1. Write down your families favorite meals and list ingredients needed to prepare. I had 17 that I found I cooked regularly. Some are only served during the summer, some only during the winter.

2. 80% of your meals will be prepared from your stockpile. 80% of 365 days a year is 292. Then divide 292 by the amount of favorite meals you wrote down. 292 divided by 17 is 17.176. I need 18 of each of the ingredients for each of the 17 meals throughout a year. Ingredients used in more than one dish will require more, such as tomato sauce. I use it in chili, spaghetti, beef stew. So for a year I would need 54 cans.

This method is from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension office. You can download their workbook, complete with instructions and worksheets to make this easy to do. They also have inventory sheets so you will know at all times how much of what you have and how much you need. It's a really great publication that I have used for several years. Just click here.


  1. Wow, what a smart, clever, and interesting way to do that! I love it!!! Thanks for that.

  2. Rebecca It helped me a lot when I was first starting out to know "Just how much is too much, even when it's free?"

  3. Thanks for the tips! Coffee is definitely one I stock up on if I find it cheap. Mmm...

  4. Precious With you being a veteran to stockpiling, I hope there is something useful to you.

    Staci I am still hounding for that excellent coffee deal!

  5. I haven't stockpiled in years - I hope to get back to it. Thanks for the info.

  6. I have a ton of drugstore items stockpiled. Deodorants, hair care products, facial care items, pad, tampons, detergent, toothpaste, etc. After a while I have way more than my family will use up in a reasonable time. I have been wondering...what should I do? I decided two things. First some of it I can actually use to make into gift baskets for christmas or what-have-you. For example: a basket for the guys, a hydroschick razor, shaving cream, men's body wash...you get the idea. The other way to get good use of the great bargains I have stock piled up on is to share them,not only with family and friends, but to donate them to food/household pantries or donate them to a women's shelter etc. Paying it forward. :)