|Flour, chocolate chips and potatoes will go into my "pantry".|
There are several reasons why you would want to stock up on food.
- Emergencies (blizzards, job loss, etc.)
- Hedge against inflation
- Save time and money
However, If you need to lower your grocery budget drastically, I would NOT recommend using the pantry principle first. That is an entirely different post! This post is geared toward the people who want to have food on hand for emergencies, hedge against inflation or save a bit of time/money on food.
How do you get started? There are several pieces to this puzzle. The pantry = any food that you don't plan to consume immediately. It could be stored in the fridge, freezer, closet, cupboard or under the bed.
What food do you want to store in your pantry? Someone once wrote,
"Store what you eat and eat what you store."
It doesn't do you any good to store tuna if you hate it. Don't stock up on beans and rice if you have no idea how to cook them. Don't buy wheat if you don't have a grinder. If you hate canned vegetables, then don't buy them.
Look at the meals you cooked for the past week. If you used a lot of meat, frozen vegetables, tuna, canned chicken broth and pasta, then you would stock up on those items.
Obviously if you are going to get a pantry going, you have to have some money! Where is that going to come from?
- Tax refund?
- Extra paycheck?
- Babysteps using a little every week?
Don't have $5.00?
Skip the meat one night for dinner - make veggie soup or scrambled eggs with veggies - use that money. Buy meat that is on sale instead of the meat that you really want. Still don't have $5.00? How about $1.00 - turn the thermostat down a few degrees and wear a sweater or do some jumping jacks. The important part is to get started.
Create Storage Space
We have a small storage area under our stairs with exposed 2X4's. I asked my husband to put some shelves in there that I use as my storage space. Under the bed works great for canned items.
What's your goal? I like working with monthly amounts, some people work with weekly, quarterly or yearly amounts. Another great way is to figure out the store's sales cycle (usually 4-6 weeks) and buy as many as you need to last until the next sale.
- I buy an 8 pack of canned tomatoes at Sam's Club monthly.
- I bought 1 extra 8 pack of tomatoes and put them in my "storage space". Cost $6.00.
- Throughout the month I use the tomatoes from my cupboard, not my storage space.
- At the beginning of the next month, before I go to Sam's Club, I take the canned tomatoes from my storage space and put them in my cupboard.
- When I go to Sam's Club and buy an 8 pack of tomatoes and I put them in my storage space.
- We drink Yuban dark roast coffee. Here in our small town, I've only seen it at Safeway.
- Regular price = $7.99.
- About every 6 weeks it goes on sale. Sale price = $5.99.
- When it goes on sale, buy two cans. One for your pantry and one for your storage space.
- In 6 weeks when it goes on sale again, buy 1 can and put it in your storage space.
- Take the can from your storage space and move it to your pantry.
- Savings - $2.00 every 6 weeks (about $17 per year). Find 10 items like that and you'll have an extra $170 per year.
Obviously, we don't all buy tomatoes, coffee or shop at Sam's Club. These are just a couple of examples for you.
- Get to know your family's eating habits. Record what you eat for a week. Decide what to store.
- Determine where the money will come from.
- Create storage space.
- Create an action plan.
In my family, we use the pantry principle because it makes my life easier. Back in the day, I didn't ever have any food in the house. We ate take out a lot and spent a ton of money. Today our grocery budget is $400 per month. Previously our budget was $260 per month, but we've decided to support more local businesses and eat fewer pasta/carb based meals.
How does this save anything?
- Saves time and money - no running to the store because you forgot you needed something. If you store the food that you normally eat, you will always have something on hand to cook. If you go out to eat, it will be because you made that choice, not because there was nothing in the house to eat.
- Stress! If there is a blizzard coming your way, have you ever tried to go to the store? SO NOT FUN!!! You will have food on hand at home that you can eat.
- Lost your job? You will have some food on hand to get by for a bit.
- Money - if you buy these items as loss leaders/sale items then you will be eating "sale" food every day.
If you have ANY questions, I'd love to hear them! If you have a question, I can guarantee someone else has the same question.
Any comments about how you use the pantry principle?
This thread has been linked to:
11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven
Money Saving Mom
We are THAT Family
P.S. My pantry has backfired on me a few times. Example: When I realized exactly how they make dried milk and didn't want to give it to my family anymore. Black olives - read my post to find out why having a lot on hand backfired.