Best 10 Things to Stockpile in a Pantry

Want to figure out what the best food for stockpiling is? If so, check out this simple stockpiling food list to give you a good starting place when building a stockpile of food.

There are many excellent reasons to have a stockpile. Perhaps you are trying to save your family money or plan ahead for an emergency situation. Perhaps you don’t like grocery shopping and want a stockpile so you don’t have to grocery shop as often! Whatever your reason, remember that having a stockpile is like having a practical emergency fund for your family. 

I know it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. It’s the reason I came up with these baby steps of stockpiling. If you are looking for an easy way to start, start with those baby steps and this basic stockpiling food list. It will help you make a plan to build your stockpile.

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read more in my disclosure policy. 

What is a stockpile?

A stockpile is simply shopping ahead for items you use when these items are at their rock bottom prices. A stockpile should be full of items you will use – before they expire.

A stockpile should be built with money inside your budget. A stockpile is built over time and customized to fit the needs of your family so it will save you money.

I have a stockpile. My stockpile is in my small kitchen pantry as well as on a couple shelves in the basement. You can store a stockpile wherever you have space. Someday, I’d like to get some simple can rotation systems like these but for now, I just stack things in rows and rotate the items myself.

How do you build a stockpile of food?

Make a list of the things you use regularly and watch for good deals to add those items to your stockpile. That is how you build a stockpile your family will really use on a budget.

Let me give you an example of what is in my stockpile and how I build it. November is a great time to stock up on canned goods like cream of chicken soup. Normally, this product (which I use for delicious poppy seed chicken) costs $1.09. During Thanksgiving, by combining sales and coupons, I was able to get cans for $0.40 or less. I bought a case to last me through the year. By doing so, on this product alone, I saved at least $16.80. That’s a great savings and all I had to do was plan ahead a bit. This is the rock-bottom price list I use as my guide so I know when to stockpile the best deals.

How did I learn to do this? For me, it is second habit but if you want to know all my tips and secrets you need to check out Crystal Paine’s Grocery Ebook! It is the best grocery guide around (and a cheap one too!) that describes my process exactly. Seriously, I could have written this book! It is that similar to what I do. If you want to find the best deals to build your stockpile on a budget, read Crystal’s ebook and watch the savings stack up!

Having a stockpile allows me to purchase items at their lowest possible prices when I plan ahead. There are certain items that I try to always have on hand. If there are no expiration dates (like on paper products and powdered laundry detergent), I will stock up as much as I have space for and can afford in my budget.


When stockpiling food items, my goal is to buy enough to get me through 6 months, depending on the seasonal sale cycles. Here’s a free printable of seasonal sale cycles, if you want to know what to buy and when. I don’t buy more food than I can use before it expires. That is my policy for when I find products on sale for a really great price. This is possible to do by stacking sales and coupons. Anyone can build a stockpile.

To start building a stockpile, I encourage you to think about what you use in your family. Do you have $5 a week to spend on stockpiling those items? Want to set aside more? Great, but know that even a small amount will make a big difference. Start here.

An Easy Stockpiling Food List

These are ten items that anyone can stockpile. 

  1. Flour, sugar and baking ingredients
  2. Applesauce
  3. Canned vegetables and fruit
  4. Canned soups – creamed soups as well as regular soups
  5. Canned tomato products – diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce
  6. Pasta
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Condiments – salad dressing, ketchup, mustard
  9. Meat (in the freezer, unless you buy cans of shelf stable meat)
  10. Cheese (Did you know you can freeze cheese?)

That’s a basic list of what I stockpile and what I believe could work for any family. Of course, you can and should adapt that to what is right for you. If you don’t eat a lot of pasta, don’t stockpile it. If you don’t cook with cream of chicken soups, pick something else to stockpile instead. As I explain in the rules of stockpiling, you should store what you eat and eat what you store.

Next, add these items to your stockpiling food list.

Stockpiles can be more than just food. The more things you buy now at lower prices, the more prepared you will be – and the more money you will save. Again, stockpile these as they apply to you and your family.

  1. Diapers (Here’s an in-depth post devoted to exactly how to stockpile diapers!)
  2. Soap – hand and for dishes
  3. Personal products – shampoo, conditioner, soap
  4. Chocolate chips
  5. Laundry detergent
  6. Paper products – toilet paper, paper towels

I have found my stockpile to be one of my greatest frugal savings because my stockpile allows me to reap the benefits of my savings throughout the year.

What do you keep in your food stockpile?

What to learn more about stockpiling food?

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40 Comments

  1. You can make fresh salad dressings cheaper than the store bought ones and they are so fast and easy in a small bullet blender. I buy large quantity of olive oil and wine vinegar to make a variety of vinaigrette dressings.
    I stock canned plain diced tomatoes only not pasta sauces or paste because a homemade tomato sauce, homemade tomato soup, salsa, and other tomato base recipes are very easy to make with it.
    Creamy soups and sauces are very easy to make with flour butter and milk which is a healthier less chemically option and really really easy too. Just add mushrooms or broccoli for cream of whatever soup.
    I also stock a variety of canned beans. I’ve noticed canned beans are hard to come by in the USA, we have plenty in Canada. A can of beans plus a can of diced tomatoes makes a great chili base. Chick peas for hummus or roasted chick peas Yum!
    I also have a few ready made containers of veggie or chicken stock and a few dried pasta. Too many and it seems they all get opened and half used because the opened bags get shoved to the back of the cabinet.
    I buy the 1 litre size shampoos and conditioner at the beauty supply outlet. Its a much nicer quality shampoo too than what’s available at grocery and drug store chains. It lasts for months.
    I gave up paper towels all together. It’s hard at first but so much cheaper!

  2. Only change I would make is delete peanut butter unless you use it up quickly. I bought extra to have for Christmas cookies and candy making and it got rancid in the cupboard

    1. Really? That’s frustrating. Oh dear! I’ve never had that happen, but I store my peanut butter in our dark basement where it’s nice and cool. I use lots of peanut butter when making buckeyes so always stock up several months ahead of time…but probably no more than 6 months, now that you mention it. Thanks for sharing that caution, Gayle.

  3. I really enjoy your money saving strategies. I wanted to share with you that I no longer purchase cream of anything soup because it is so easy and so much better to make my own, and it only takes a few staple ingredients. Equal amounts of oil and flour cooked in a sauce pan until it thickens and then add liquid and mushrooms, celery, or whatever. Cook until thickened and use instead of the canned soup. It is basically a white sauce. You can use water, chicken stock, milk, or whatever you wish. Make a sauce with chicken stock and fresh mushrooms to add to that green bean or broccoli casserole and the recipe requests will come rolling in!

  4. I still consider myself a novice at stockpiling and couponing. I price match every week at Wal-Mart, which I’ve been doing for awhile. I starting couponing and stockpiling last summer. I get 4 Sunday newspapers delivered. I stockpile things like razors and shave gel, shampoo and conditioner, and food items too.

    1. Price matching is a good way to save, Andrea. And good job stockpiling. Non-perishables (like my toiletries) are one of the best things to stockpile. I can’t remember the last time I HAD to buy shampoo since I have a good stockpile that I can choose from now. I love the savings it brings!

  5. I couponed heavily for about a year and a half before I learned how to watch the sale cycle and know my rock-bottom prices. I, unfortunately, spent a lot of time and energy stockpiling things that my family never ate or used, so I donated them. I now stockpile smart, knowing that I don’t have to snag every deal just because it’s a deal. And yes, pasta will go on sale for .50 next month too, so I don’t need to buy 20 packages this month :p

    1. I think you found the key, Haley! You are indeed right. Deals keep coming around, so it is best to be wise and stockpile what YOUR family needs and eats. I have streamlined my stockpiling over the years as well. Of course, I still pick up some of the free deals that make great donations because even if we won’t use it, it’s a great way to share with someone who will!

  6. Hiiiii
    Thank you so much! I am starting my first pantry ever ๐Ÿ˜› yes, serioulsy, I naver had one before, so that really is something I am so confused and so overwhelmed whit! Starting slow but making the right choices are above all my goals (smart choices by the way even more because my pantry is soooo tiny)! I found you on Pinterest and just made notes all over my “first pantry shopping list” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Love
    Sophia

    1. Good luck, Sophia! I have a very small pantry, too, so completely understand optimizing your space. You are on the right track. Just start slow and add things you will use when you find good deals. Happy shopping, and I’m so glad you stumbled across me!

    2. You can invest in the under the bed storage containers and put dry goods such as pasta, rice, boxed meals, etc in to store extras not put in pantry for easy access. I buy the big tins of popcorn to store my sugar in, it holds about 16 pounds of sugar. I also got one this year to put unopened bags of flour in, I don’t empty them because I’m not too sure if the tin keeps weevil out. If you have a pantry door, buy the plastic over the door shoe organizer to store season packets, Kool-aid packets, fruit snacks, granola bars, small cans, etc to free up pantry shelf space.

  7. I grew up in a family of 8. I know no other way than to coupon and stockpile. I was a single mom for 9 years before I married my husband. When we moved in together the thought I was crazy at first, but it’s gotten us through some rough financial patches and a rough winter last year when we were snowed iced in for a week. He now helps me watch for deals. Out local store doesn’t publicize so he’ll go by on his lunch break a couple times a week to check out specials and sales and send me pics asking if I want/need.

    1. Well said, Brittany! A stockpile really is practical insurance against the unexpected. What a blessing to have a husband who scopes out the deals and specials for you! That’s great teamwork.

  8. I love this list. I giggled when I read it because these are the exact things I stockpile. In addition I stockpile, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, feminine products, cereal, and snack foods like granola and protein bars.

    1. Yay! I love to hear I’m not alone in my stockpiling list! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, I also stockpile toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors and feminine products. Anything I can find great deals on, I’m willing to stockpile!

    2. Toothbrushes and toothpaste is always a good one. I keep extras along with bars of soap in zippy bags to give out to homeless and those. I also make care packages of like products for my daughters school counselor to keep on hand for those in need.

  9. Thank you for your insight! I am just starting out in the coupons get world and need all the advice I can get! Where would you suggest looking for coupons? Do you get yours online or in a paper? Thanks in advance ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi, Kati! You are very welcome! Couponing is a wonderful way to save money. I just wrote an article about how and why I still use coupons here – https://joyfullythriving.com/2015/08/how-why-i-still-use-coupons/. I now use mainly printable coupons, Coupons.com being my favorite. You can easily access them all here – https://joyfullythriving.com/coupon-links/coupons-com/. It’s handy to know that you can also print 2 of every printable coupon per month…from every device in your house, so if you find a great coupon and deal, you can do it more than once! Good luck and ask away if you have any more questions!

  10. I loved your post. I come a very small family my mom didn’t coupon or anything like that . I have my own family and I am really wanting to learn how to coupon and to also start my stockpile and also can . We started a small garden this garden this year.

    1. Thanks, Bonnie. It takes time and there is a learning curve, but I believe anyone can coupon and stockpile to save money! Gardens are a great way to save on produce, too! There are lots of other articles on my blog under the Frugal Living and Saving Money tab that can provide you extra help and encouragement!

  11. Great post. I’ve started making my own liquid laundry detergent. I bought all the ingredients a few months ago for around $14, and so far have yielded about 10 gallons worth… And I have enough ingredients still for a few more batches. We’re working on our food storage, we but a lot of bulk ingredients because we cook and bake a lot.

    1. Thanks, Jenifer! I haven’t made my own detergent (yet!) since I’m able to stock up for $1.99 or so on name brand detergents. That’s great to know it’s such a frugal option for your family! Bulk ingredients are KEY. I’m glad you found this post helpful!

      1. Hi, Debra. I actually do not make my own homemade laundry detergent. I know there are dozens of recipes available on Pinterest that people love. One Good Thing by Jillee has a popular recipe that I hear does well. For now, I stockpile name brand laundry detergent when I can buy it for a $1.99 or less, like I just did last week with Wisk.

      2. Follow The Thrifty Couple’s blog. They make a lot of homemade cleaning supplies as well as some basic food mixes.

        1. I will have to check out that blog, Sue. Thanks for the recommendation! I do love making my own food mixes.

  12. I grew up with a Mom who stockpiled before it was trendy, lol. She shopped this way out of necessity, used coupons, sales, and discount stores to keep us fed and our house clean. I am thankful for her good example. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’d like to invite you to link this post up with our Everything Frugal link-up (link is the one Comment Luv pulled). It would be a great addition!

    1. Likewise, I learned from my Mom, Vicki. We are blessed. Thanks for the invitation to link-up. I already did so, and am captivated by your site. What a great tagline and aspiration, too!

  13. Yes, I do stockpile. I like to keep: dry or canned beans, canned cream soup, fruit, meat, chicken,pie filling, bbq sauce, catsup, salad dressing, mayo, tomato products, flour, sugar, canning supplies,paper goods, etc. I also find this very handy when there is a food drive…I can give more than I would otherwise because I have saved on each item.

    1. Those are great items to stockpile, Linda! My canning supplies have their own shelf, as do my paper products. One always needs toilet paper! ๐Ÿ™‚ And excellent point about donating to food drives because when I find great deals, I want to share them!

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