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Maybe you want to build a food stockpile (or an emergency food supply), but you’re on a tight budget. If that’s the case, you need to know the best food to stockpile — the stuff that doesn’t cost a lot up front. If it’s non-perishable, that’s even better.
In How to Build a Coupon Stockpile for Less Than $10 a Week, we go more in-depth about the “how” behind finding hot deals to build your food stockpile. Here we’ll go over products with consistently low prices so you don’t break the budget as you build a food stockpile. It’s the “which items” portion of the stockpiling equation.
1. Use the KCL Stock-Up Price List and know how to read deals.
First things first. When it comes to building a food stockpile, the name of the game is knowing when to buy.
The KCL Stock-Up Price List will tell you what prices to aim for when you see a good deal. It’s like a map to discover at what price point you should stock up on each item. There’s another way to do this too….
Look for “Great” or “Hot” deals inside the KCL app. What does that mean? There’s an indicator on each deal, and when you can decode this crucial tidbit, you’ll have confidence you’re getting items at the best price. Here’s what the little temperature gauges mean:
- “Good” = A good price to buy at if you’re running low on something
- “Great” = Time to buy a few even if you aren’t out yet
- “Hot” = Buy! If you can get a few months’ worth, this is the time to stock up
See the best food coupons and deals.
2. Bookmark “Under $1 Deals” to stock up on items like yogurt and frozen pizza on the cheap.
Visit KCL’s Under $1 Deals to find foods to stock up on without breaking the bank.
Sometimes items fall into this low-price category because of a simple sale, and other times, it’s through stacking coupons with a sale. Whenever you see something for less than $1 (and you’ll actually use it), stock up!
Some items show up as Under $1 Deals more often than others, but expect to see the following products as frequent flyers in this category:
Foods to stockpile for under $1:
- Large candy bars (Twix, Butterfinger)
- Frozen pizza
Other items to stockpile for under $1:
- Body wash
- Dish soap
- Lotion (Nivea, Eucerin)
- Wet cat food
- Shave gel
- Hand sanitizer
3. The best canned food to stockpile is soup — don’t pay more than $0.75 a can.
Basic soups (like Campbell’s Tomato or Chicken with Rice) can reach as low as $0.50, but in general, aim to pay more like $0.75 – $1 for the chunky soups (Campbell’s, Progresso). You can easily find the condensed soups for prices somewhere in the middle of that range just by redeeming Ibotta offers. Check it out:
4. Pasta sauce is a non-perishable food you can stockpile using coupons.
Pasta sauce is an awesome food to stockpile because it’s got a longer shelf life. Brands like Ragu, Prego, and Bertolli dip into the $1 or less range fairly often when you combine a coupon with a sale. Don’t pay more than this — buy enough to last until the next sale when you can get it at this price.
In 2021, we saw a Walgreens Prego deal where you didn’t even need coupons! The sauce was on sale and the store ran a Buy One, Get One Free deal that resulted in $1 jars of pasta sauce. Check it out:
5. Stock up on cereal when it’s $0.75 per box.
Your best bet for cereal deals will be a grocery store like Kroger, or drugstores. In 2022, we saw a Kroger deal for Quaker cereal at $0.54 per box when you combined a Kroger Mega Sale price with coupons and an Ibotta rebate. As long as you were buying five items included in the Kroger Mega Sale, you could get the low sale price.
6. Peanut butter is an easy emergency food to stockpile.
Peanut butter is relatively non-perishable and a great source of super-easy protein. Having it in your food stockpile is a must, and you should stock up when you can get it for $1.50 a jar or less. You can find deals on peanut butter at lots of stores, but as with cereal, Kroger will be the main spot to use your coupons because of those Kroger Mega Sales!
7. Buy granola bars when you can get them for under $0.30 per bar.
Granola bars are another great emergency food to have on hand. We see deals for these a couple times a year only, so it’s crucial to buy enough to have on hand for months when you can get them for $0.30 each or less.
Watch for granola bar deals during Kroger Mega Sales and also on Amazon. When you use Subscribe & Save, you can get an extra 15% off. Combine this with an Amazon coupon, and you’ve got a stock-up price!
8. Never pay for toothpaste, shampoos, razors, deodorant, or air fresheners.
I mean it. You can find all of these as freebie or moneymakers at least once a month, so with a little planning, you really may never have to pay for these items.
A word about moneymakers: It’s rare for a cashier to open the till and give you dollars and change back. The way you get money back is if it’s an Ibotta rebate and the money goes into your PayPal account. If what you get back exceeds what you paid, that’s a moneymaker. Same goes for drugstore freebie deals. You might pay a bit out of pocket, but you’ll get store rewards that you can use like cash on your next couponing deal. It’s like a wash.
I combed through all the 2021 – 2022 deals and found trends. These are the items I saw multiple freebie or moneymaking deals for every single month.
- Shampoo (Pantene, Garnier Fructis, or Suave)
- Air Wick or Glade PlugIns
9. Stock up on Covergirl, Maybelline, and Rimmel makeup products when they’re free.
While we don’t see makeup freebies as often as the other freebies listed, they exist, and you should stock up when you see a freebie deal.
The best strategy when couponing for makeup is to combine store promotions, coupons, and rebates from Ibotta (or any combination of those ways to save) at stores like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid.
In 2022, we did a moneymaking deal on three Covergirl brow pencils. Check it out:
10. Don’t pay more than $4 for jumbo packs of diapers.
We often find Pampers and Huggies for less than $4 a pack when you stack a coupon and drugstore points promotion on top of a sale price.
Here’s an example of a diaper deal we saw in 2022. You didn’t even need a manufacturer coupon to get this low price on Pampers, the Walgreens promotion was so good:
11. Stock up on Huggies baby wipes when you can get them for $0.50 – $1 per pack.
These are good for all kinds of things, and not just baby cleanup!
The best way to get a good deal on baby wipes is through Amazon Subscribe & Save. When you subscribe to at least five items, you’ll get an extra 15% off your whole order. Add in an Amazon coupon, and you’ll be stockpiling diapers in no time.
12. Know the best time of year to buy each product.
Sales are cyclical, usually happening according to the season or calendar events. If you know the best sales of the year for all your necessities, you can plan ahead.
- January: Frozen pizzas, nutritional shakes
- February: Oatmeal, chips, salsa, and dips
- March: Cat and dog food
- April: Ground beef, tortillas
- May: Condiments, hot dogs, and wine
- June: Cheese, yogurt
- July: Diapers
- August: Coffee, cereal, lunch box snacks
- September: Soup
- October: Baking goods, candy
- November: Turkey, soda
- December: Christmas clearance items
Check out the Best Items to Stockpile by Month of the Year.