Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pantry Basics - How We Manage On Less Money Pt. 2



This is my pantry. It's a plastic shelving unit in the shower stall of our downstairs bathroom. All our bedrooms are upstairs and we have two bathrooms up there so basically this part was just unused space. I don't think we ever took a shower in it the whole time we've lived here. It's great to have a designated space for extra food items but if you don't, be creative and think of some other places you could store a few extra cans and boxes.



One of THE biggest money wasters is to go grocery shopping without a plan! As I said before, you CAN save money if you have a plan and follow it through. Planning your shopping is essential. And I don't just mean menu planning (which is also important and I'll talk about what I do so other time). But actually taking the time to inventory what you have (so you don't buy what you obviously don't need or really eat) and taking the time to look at the sales flyer from the grocery stores you frequent.


I use the "pantry principal" which I learned about in Amy Dacyczyn book "The Tightwad Gazette". To quote from her book "The basic premise is that you stockpile your pantry (and/or freezer....). The sole purpose of grocery shopping becomes replenishing your pantry, not buying ingredients to prepare specific meals." So basically you start buying things in quantity when they are on sale. You can start small and buy just one to use and one for backup or you can decide that you want to set aside a certain amount to build up your pantry (again planning your spending). The goal is to cook from your pantry.




There are lots of lists out there for what a well stocked pantry should have but I think it all depends on what your family eats. No use buying bags and bags of flour when you don't bake. If your family eats lots of canned fruit then you should stock up on canned fruit when it's at its lowest price. Or if you eat lots of chicken breasts like my family, I buy lots of packages when they go on sale so I never am out and I never have to pay full price.



So what I do is I keep a running list of what we need on my fridge. When someone uses the last of something or notices that it's low it gets put on the list. Before I go grocery shopping I check this list against my pantry. I don't expect my family to know what's in the pantry. They just know if there's no more in the fridge or kitchen cupboards. Now, not everything goes on sale. But most things eventually go on sale or you'll have at least a coupon.



You shouldn't go overboard and buy things just cause they're on sale. 20 cans of cheap Chef Boyardee are a waste of money if you don't eat that type of thing! Buy what you eat and only you can determine how much to buy. Having one or two extra cans may be all you have room for or all you need whereas someone else would buy a case.



I check the sales flyers for my local stores. I have a couple that are really close to each other. But I know lots of people that just shop at one store. Whatever works for you! I think Wal-Mart price matches other grocery store flyers. I used to keep a price book but I've found the prices are changing so quickly these days that what I once thought was a high price is now the sale price!!



A stocked pantry can help you survive times of challenge and struggle. It can be a lifesaver in the event of a natural disaster or job loss. Just think how much peace it would bring you to know that you can feed your family in the event of hard times!



Next time I'll talk more about ways I save at the grocery store and some on-line resources I use.


16 comments:

Cherry's Jubilee said...

Thanks for the tips...I sure could use them right now. Everything is tight at the moment. Love your oops paint project.gorgeous color. cherry

Fran said...

Thanks for the tips! I already do some of this, but should get alot more serious about it.

Frannycakes

Screaming Meme said...

I always love your grocery tips! Thanks!

mrsjones6 said...

Great tips...I sometimes forget to check the pantry before making my list and wind up with extra things I really didn't need or only use on occasion. It is something I need to be more dilligent about. You have done a fabulous job of getting yours organized.

Cottage Contessa said...

This is great sweetie, just the type of topic I like as I am a lot like you in the area. Please keep up the great work and fantastic tips to share! Have a terrific day Manuela.
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Cottage Contessa said...

Ooopps I meant to say "in THIS area", not the area! Argh. I need to go to bed I think.....goodnight sweetie!
Amanda (aka Cottage Contessa)

Janet said...

Manuela,

Glad you liked the Seattle pix. I did two posts on the Capitol Hill area a couple of weeks ago. Check them out, I think you will love them. We actually took this cruise in July, but I am just getting around to sorting thru hubbie's pictures to post.

Janet

Anonymous said...

Just found you by accident!!! Glad to see you blogging again....now I have 1 more thing to look forward to in my "free" time.

: )

Rhonda in OK said...

I was hoping you would post your pantry pictures again!

I shop just about like you do but I think I need to decorate my pantry shelves so they are as cute as yours.

Linda's Blue Gate said...

What a woman..... you know all I could think of reading this post was the Proverbs 31 woman.... yes... that is you...
HUgs
Linda

Kathleen Grace said...

a large pantry in the basement and I use www.thegrocerygame.com to help me use coupons with sales to get the best price on items we buy. The pantry has been such a blessing not only by having lots of items to choose from for meal planning, but also because I often dont need to run to the store when I runout of basic ingredients. No gas or time wasted and less chance to impulse shop!

Pajama Mama said...

so i scrolled down and saw the ferns by the red door-is that your entry? what's your secret to the healthy ferns? they look so big and lush!

Storybook Woods said...

Oh pretty pantry. You I am very for the power of the pantry !!! Clarice

Manuela said...

pajama mama - I don't have an email for you so I'll answer you here. Yes, that's my entry. I don't really do anything to those ferns. I used potting soil that had fertilizer in it and I just keep them watered - they don't really dry out. Maybe they like to be moist?

Manuela

Carrie said...

Great pointers...I'm planning to set up a special pantry shelf in my kitchen for the weekend of Sept. 19 since i'll have out of state relatives coming for the weekend for my mother's 90th birthday. I have lists and lists to keep me on track.

CIELO said...

Hi Manuela.... I haven't visit for a long time and was reading you deleted your old blog... but I'm glad I found you again. :)

Have a blessed day

cielo