The cost of food continues to rise, and consumers wonder how to feed their family delicious meals without spending a fortune. A tip that will help any family save money is the establishment of a well-stocked pantry. At first it may seem overwhelming to purchase all the items you need; however, once your pantry contains the basics, the money you save by having items on hand will far outweigh your initial investment. Think of it this way, the more you have on hand, the fewer trips you will make to the grocery store, and you will also eat out less.
First, you need to make sure to have all the basics. Flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, vinegar, shortening, and a variety of oils fit into this category. It is also wise to invest in a variety of spices beyond salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Of course, if you like to bake for your family, chocolate chips, coconut, and nuts are great to have on hand.
Next, think in terms of side dishes. Potatoes, rice, noodles, and canned vegetables remain side dish staples. I also keep a wide variety of cooking soups in the cupboard as well to help with making both side dishes and main dishes. Other canned goods that round out a well-stocked pantry include different kinds of sauces, gravies, and olives (both green and black). I always have a supply of re-fried beans, salsas, enchilada sauces for Mexican themed nights. You will also need to have canned meats on hand – salmon, tuna, chicken, crab – whatever your family likes. These meats help make quick lunches and suppers when you run out of fresh or frozen meats.
I consider the refrigerator as an extension of my pantry. In the freezer I keep a supply of frozen meats, bread dough, vegetables, and berries. I also always have a variety of cheeses, fresh fruits, root vegetables, lettuces, eggs, condiments, sour cream, milk, juices and cream cheese on hand in the fridge. What really helps to save money is making note of your family’s favorite quick meals. Have the ingredients for these meals available at all times. If you do, you will be able to resist the urge to order out.
Save Even More
1. Use coupons – remember those available on the Internet.
2. Stock up when items are on sale.
3. Visit a discount grocer (no frills) and buy reasonably priced canned foods in bulk.
4. Plant a garden and freeze or can the produce.
5. Make sure to use items before they expire so you don’t waste any food.
6. Consider purchasing air tight containers to store sugars and nuts in – this reduces the negative effects moisture can have on these items.
7. Take advantage of free berries. In my area black raspberries grow wild. I usually pick 10 quarts each July and enjoy them for the rest of the year. (Careful – some berries are poisonous).