Planning to Shop, Shopping the Pantry First

When I did a survey, a few months ago, I had a few readers respond that they would like to know how to plan a shopping trip. So each week this month I will be sharing a little of how I plan my shopping trips. So let’s get right into the first step I take when planning to shop, I shop my pantry first.

Pantry Shopping

Shopping the Cupboards

I know it doesn’t have really anything to do with going out to the store but there is no sense in letting good food go bad waiting for you in the cupboard, am I right? To shop your cupboards you will want to have a pen or pencil and paper in hand or some way of recording what you have. I go through my cupboard listing any bulk or canned foods onto my list. You might be surprised at how much food you already have in your cupboards. Don’t worry if you don’t have much on hand, that just means you are really good at using what you have, which is  great or that you haven’t become a hoarder, stockpiler yet. 🙂

Freezer Shopping

Shopping the Freezer

Next I will look through my freezer and add any meat I have on hand to my list and any other items like frozen vegetables, broth or soup starter kits. Make sure to list any ready-made freezer meals you have prepared but may have forgotten about too. I also like to add to my list any bread, tortillas or rolls I have tucked away so I can use them in my meal planning.

Once you have a good idea of what you have in your cupboards and freezer, take a look in the refrigerator. How much cheese do you have, how many eggs and milk do you have on hand? Are there items that need to be thrown away? Are there items that need to be eaten in the next few days before they go bad? Add these items to your list. If there is an item that needs to be used within the next few days make sure to note it as a perishable item on your list,  so you can menu plan to use it early in the week.

You may have meals you didn’t even realize you had

Now you want to look over your list to see if there are any meals you can make with what you have on hand. Do you have meatballs in the freezer and spaghetti sauce and pasta in the pantry? Did you find a freezer meal you tucked away and then forgot it was in the freezer, like I do so often? You might be surprised at how many meals you have tucked away in the cupboards and freezer. So before you even head out to the store be sure to shop your pantry.

Next week I’ll talk about how I combine what I have on hand with the items on sale at the store to complete my meal plan and to save money each week.

Do you usually shop your pantry before you head out to the store?


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