Monday, September 29, 2014

Pantry Stockpile

When a couple of friends came over last week, they asked if they could see what I put in my pantry stockpile.  I had mentioned in passing that I thought that having a well-stocked pantry was a great way to save money on groceries.  However, I had never said much about what I actually buy to help stock my pantry. Super unhelpful, as knowledge is in the specifics!

My pantry is stocked according to sales cycles. Most products go on sale every six weeks.  The goal of my pantry is to have it stocked with enough canned and dry goods to last through the next time the item will go on sale. The exception to that is if the product is on sale and I have coupons for it.  If the sale makes the item ridiculously inexpensive (according to my personal price book), I buy as many items as I have coupons.

The one warning I would give is- don't become a hoarder!  If you find that you have enough food for a year, or if there are boxes of pasta under your bed.... you might not want to buy anything else for a long time. Every item goes on sale again. A good test- if you have enough stockpile to go on a reality show, you have gone too far.  :)

So here is a look at what is in my pantry...

Basics: all purpose flour, bread flour, salt, white and/or brown rice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and rolled oats.

When I am currently using the stock, I store them in plastic jugs that are from my son's animal crackers. They are 5lb and 3lb containers, so they are perfect for fitting in my pantry.

When I am storing the excess, they are stored the unfinished part of my basement in storage bins. A better alternative for storing flour and sugar would be in the freezer, but I don't have the room in my freezer.

In February, my local grocery store had a great sale on a lot of dry items. I stocked up on lots of lunch and dinner items. This is a typical pantry stockpile for my family: Pasta sauce, alfredo sauce, dry pasta, peanut butter...

Egg noodles, cereal, canned vegetables including carrots, corn, creamed corn, beets, green beans, spinach, peas, diced tomatoes...

Condiments such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce. Olive oil, coconut oil, spray oil and shortening are used in all of my cooking and baking. All of the macaroni and cheese, stuffing and gravy is from when my local Aldi clearanced it all after Christmas- everything was 25 cents. And the flavored water was a free-with-purchase find from another local store.

Spread throughout, I also have dried beans, crackers, pretzels, dried potatoes, popcorn, onion soup mix, canned fruit and pumpkin, canned beans, cake mixes, pickles, white and apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, apple juice, beef and chicken bouillon cubes, spices, jam, instant pudding mix, tuna, coffee and tea, soy and coconut milk, evaporated and sweetened condensed milk, honey and extracts.

Every pantry is obviously different based upon the preferences of the family, but most of these are basics that every family would use.  I have mostly basic items since that is the least expensive way to cook, but I also have items for a quick dinner if I don't feel up to cooking from scratch.  This is a very small stockpile compared to some, and a large stockpile compared to others (most specifically, my city friends!).  

If you want to start your own stockpile, start it week-by-week. Choose one thing that is on sale, and buy enough for six weeks.  It will only take a few weeks before you see your weekly shopping list get smaller, and your savings get larger.  You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will hit either, so it's always good to have some pasta in the closet for a rainy day.

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