My family is always looking for ways to save money and one of the easiest ways is by stocking up on supplies. Building up a pantry can be expensive, especially if you're on a tight budget. That's why we've put together this guide on how to fill a pantry on a budget. It's something every homesteader should have.
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How to Fill A Pantry on A Budget
While it is wonderful to open up your cupboard doors and look at a full stock of food, it can be a challenge to actually get to that point. Knowing the tips and tricks to make the most of your local grocery store trips can help you get your pantry staples on a budget.
If there is one thing that history has taught us over and over again, it is the simple fact that it is important to have food on hand for tough times. Those panic shoppers who clear out the store shelves and disrupt the food chain supply when a pandemic hits make it challenging for all of us.
I am not saying you need to be a Doomsday Prepper, but having a full pantry is an incredibly simple way to guarantee food security as well as help your financial situation. After all, if you can save money in one area of your life, you can use it to pay off another area, whether it be clearing debt or investing for your future.
Make a List of Essential Pantry Items
Make a list of essential pantry items that you use frequently. This might include canned goods like beans, tomatoes, and soup, as well as staples like rice, pasta, and flour. Knowing what you need will help you focus your shopping and avoid impulse purchases.
Buy Generic and Store Brands
In many cases, generic and store-brand items are just as good as their name-brand counterparts but cost significantly less. Check the labels and ingredients to make sure you're getting a good deal, but don't be afraid to give store brands a try.
Work Your Store Selling Cycle
Your local grocery store has a selling cycle. That means there is a high price and a rock bottom price over a period of time. The trick is to purchase those items you want at that low price, and if you can add a coupon to it, even better!
It can be tricky to figure out your specific store’s cycle. If you save the weekly sales ads for about two months though, you will clearly see their pattern. If you save flyers for starting fires, go check them out.
Certain staples like pasta and cereal go on sale every six to eight weeks. If you watch for that lowest price before you add that item to your list, you will be rocking the deals. Keep a track of the lowest prices so you know when it’s time to stock up.
It is amazing how buying ten boxes of pasta for a buck each saves you almost ten dollars if you eat a pasta meal every week and it is normally two dollars a box.
Now think of every other pantry staple from canned vegetables to macaroni and cheese. You can just see how simply working your store’s selling cycle can pay off for your budget in a large way.
This should be your go-to trick from pasta, grains, ready-to-eat cereal, crackers, cookies, and more.
Check the Clearance Aisle
Occasionally things might be getting closer to their suggested date. If it is something like dried beans or rice, keep in mind that they found pasta and rice in the Egyptian pyramids that were still safe to eat in current times. If stored properly, it can keep past that suggested date.
Some things like rice, sugar, salt, and honey are practically invincible if they are stored correctly.
It is a little different to do this than it was just five years ago as almost everything has gone digital. Start with getting your store loyalty card. Some advertised specials are strictly for store card carriers. Most times these loyalty cards are free, but you can get an upgrade.
Check their website to see if they have digital coupons that are tied to your store card. You can reap the rewards of these additional discounts without even getting out your scissors.
That being said, there are still paper coupons out there. Some are printed in your store’s ad circular and some are in your weekly free neighborhood papers that most people just throw out. Some stores also have them at the front of their store.
If you can stack a printed coupon with a digital coupon? What a way to save!
Buy in Bulk
The price of pre-portioned convenience really adds up when you look at the cost per ounce on an item.
I am not saying you have to get the jumbo cans of baked beans, but all of those pudding cups, fruit cups, and 4-count cookie packs really charge you for that work of breaking them down.
Don't Forget Spices and Seasonings
Spices and seasonings can add flavor and variety to your pantry meals, but they can also be expensive. Look for deals on bulk spices, or consider growing your own herbs to save money.
Learn to Can
If you get free produce or garden, canning your own vegetables will only take your time. You can save money on the cost of supplies that you need when getting started by looking at your local thrift stores or Facebook groups. Have no fear if you are new to the concept, it's easier than it seems.
It really isn’t that hard to fill a pantry on a budget, and more importantly maintain it, once you have the tips and tricks down so you can do it.