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.
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.