Friday, 19 October 2012

Frugal Friday...

**Apologies, there are no photos with todays post, due to circumstances beyond our control. the ciurcumstances are a complete lack of organisation leading to a shortfall of time. Normal service shall be resumed shortly. **

The lovely Rhonda over at Down To Earth recently blogged on the subject of stockpiling. A stockpile is, in simple terms, a supply of items (usually foodstuffs) designed to enable you to get through a period of time when either you don't want to have to spend, or are unable to spend, larger sums of money on day to day living. So for example we make sure that our storecupboard is well built up running into the winter - a time when fuel bills increase and indeed sometimes when we simply don't want to have to spend ages wandering round the shops! We have several places where food lives within our home - the fridge & freezers obviously, and the larder which is mostly for the day-to-day "in use" items. I love our larder - in fact I can honestly say it was one of the selling points when we decided to buy our flat - an original 1950's tiled built-in larder cupboard. Even in summer it is the ideal place (down on the tiled floor) to keep things like beer, at a perfect drinking temperature! Then there is the storecupboard - in the hallway, in the centre of the flat, so dry, and a fairly even temperature - not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter. In the very bottom go cleaning products, washing powder etc - on the bottom so that if they leak, nothing else gets damaged. Above that - large bags of rice or pasta, and smaller items - crackers or crisps for example, which we put into re-used plastic carrier bags hanging from hooks screwed into one of the shelf-supports. Then the shelves - with flour, jars of jam, marmalade, jelly & chutney - some made by us, some swapped out with Mum-in-law - tinned goods, tea & coffee. At the very top is the large plastic box containing herbs and spices - keeping them in an airtight box helps preserve their flavour for longer and we only keep small amounts at any one time in the jars in the spice rack & cupboard.  Also right up there are things like packs of spaghetti, smaller bags of pasta or rice, porridge oats and couscous. Finally there is the "overflow box" in the spare room - basically containing the things that don't fit in the cupboard! At the moment that mostly has couscous in it - Approved Foods orders have a LOT to answer for!

Tinned goods live in a cupboard in the kitchen and because of that I don't technically consider them to be part of the stockpile. I usually try to make sure that the tin cupboard has the "building blocks" for quick meals - so tinned tuna (we buy Sainsburys Basics as Tesco have failed to deliver on their promise to switch to Pole & Line fishing, but still claim on their tins that their Value Tuna is "dolphin friendly" - it's really not folks, don't be fooled!), baked beans, sardines, kidney beans, coconut milk, chickpeas. Those last three items can often be bought at a bargain price from Approved Foods - they were selling decent coconut milk at 50p a tin earlier in the year so I stocked up well then.  For things like tinned pulses it is also worth looking at the "world foods" section in the supermarket, or if you have one nearby, an indian or chinese supermarket - products found here tend to be cheaper than even the standard supermarkets own brand goods. Baked beans are stocked up on when Lidl are selling 4-packs of Branston beans for £1 a pack - that makes the far tastier Branston beans less expensive than supermarket "basic" brands. Tuna is bought 10 tins at a time when I have nectar points to spend, and gets used for emergency lunches, as well as in pasta-bakes and the like.

Although we don't actively stockpile things into the freezer, we do use it for extending the lifespan of things bought on special offer - so when our local B&M Bargains were selling packs of Sharwoods Naan breads for 19p each recently, I stocked up and popped them into the freezer. I also like to make sure there is always frozen vegetables in there, plus things like milk. This means that in the event of emergency such as really severe weather (unlikely, but seemingly becoming more possible in the UK?) or a real cash-shortage, we can manage without shopping at all for a couple of weeks, and only buying the minimum for a while after that.

Another blogger to talk about stockpiling recently is Sue at The Quince Tree - she has embarked on her very own "storecupboard challenge", which made interesting reading! Why not pop over there for a look?

Do you have a stockpile, a storecupboard, a larder or a pantry? Which foodstuffs do you like to make sure are in it? What influences your purchases? Or perhaps you think that the whole thing is a nonsense and you just pop to the shops whenever something runs out?



cheri said...

Oh, you just reminded me of something else I loved in my last house. There was a great larder under the stairs with a door into it from the kitchen. It was a 1930s house. I used to stockpile then. I would shop once a month at Costco or Makro, stocking up different things on different months such as dried goods one month, cleaning products the next.
Whilst I do still always have pasta, pulses, rice, nuts, flour and some tinned goods stocked up I dont have that much. I just dont have the storage here to do it. More than the saving of pennies I found the stockpiling was a great way to organise my meals etc.

Robyn said...

The sheer delight if having a 'cupboard under the stairs' - I miss that - not really possible in a flat. Although my Aunt has one in her bungalow...and we have a large cupboard above a wardrobe which is generally known as 'The Loft'!

Annoyingly I don't find Makro to be that much - if any - cheaper than the high st now. Ludicrous, eh?!

acheerfullivingadventure said...

I don't have a stockpile, although I wish I did! We would have storage space if we were more organised... On the whole we do just run to the shops if things run out, which I don't like. My freezer contains nothing but ice cubes, rhubarb and home made ice pops. Really must get my act together on this one!

Gill said...

I love my cupboard under the stairs, but at the moment am mainly stockpiling wine!

Laurie said...

Love this post! Takes me back to being a little tot and in my Great Aunts enormous pantry. My wee eyes used to be out on stalks at it!

I dont have much room but do tend to have lots of pasta, rice, cous cous, noodles and tinned tomatoes in, as well as cooking sauces when I can get them cheap (at B and M for example).

Working on filling my freezer now with home made soup and chilli, casseroles etc and frozen veg. Oh and Yorkshire puds cos they suit me!

Robyn said...

Ha - we were in B&M just earlier today and I ran my eye over the cooking sauces just in case there was anything bargainous - has some lovely ones from there before at prices far cheaper than I could make myself!

Gill - the back of the larder, at the bottom, has a wooden wine-rack in it, and the space in front of that is mainly full of beer! Nothing wrong with THAT sort of stockpiling!

Anonymous said...

We've converted half of a small room into a pantry of sorts. It also has a chest freezer on one wall. I can't imagine living without a stockpile of foods. Not only do we live in a rural area where an interruption in travel can be quite bad, but more than one time we've manged to economize because we already had things on hand.

Robyn said...

Hi Shara, one thing we are familiar with from time spent in the Hebrides is the disruption that can be caused to deliveries of the most basic foodstuffs when the ferry doesn't run!