What to Cook for Dinner?
Building a Pantry
I haven’t always had a pantry. Well I guess I physically had a pantry in my home but I did not stock it properly until quite a few years into my marriage. You would think growing up in a household where we always bought half a cow and pig each year, canned fruits, veggies, pickles, jam, jelly and what not. That I would have always had a pantry.
Early in my marriage I would shop for the week and that was it. No sale shopping and no worrying about the cost if I wanted or needed something for a recipe, I bought it. The frugal girl in me now just cringes at that thought. A lot has changed in my thinking since those days.
So you may be thinking I don’t have the extra money to build a pantry we are barely getting by right now and with the cost of food going up, it is only getting worse. I do understand what you are saying. But I am here to tell you on any budget you can build a pantry.
Now if you only have $5 extra a week it may be built more slowly then someone who has $20 but it can be done. One way to find more money in the budget to pantry build is to eat meat free one night a week. Also you could try cutting the meat in half of some recipes. So one pound of hamburger can make two meals instead of just one. Eat cheap meals a few times a week and save the extra money towards pantry building.
So how do you go about pantry building. I will share with you how I filed mine and how I continue to keep it stocked. I plan my meals around what is on sale and what I have on hand. Then I calculate how much I will have left over in my budget that week. Let’s say because we are eating veggie chili one night for dinner and spaghetti another night along with pancakes for dinner I will have $10 extra to spend.
Now with that $10 I will look to see what is my best buy for that week. Maybe chicken is on sale for $1.88/lb and I could get 5 pounds of chicken to put in the freezer. Or maybe I would opt to purchase 3 pounds of chicken because I found milk on sale for $1.25 a half-gallon so I want to purchase two extra one for the fridge and one for the freezer. That would still leave me almost $2 extra for the following week. Just find the best sales on item you use regularly and stock up with your extra money.
My Best tips for Pantry Building
- Eat cheap for a week or two to get a little extra money in the budget for stocking up
- With the extra money buy what meat or staples are on sale to be used in next weeks menu
- If there aren’t any good sales that week save the extra money for the following week
- Do these steps over again and in not time you will have a nice pantry build up
- Make sure to use what you have on hand so the items in your pantry don’t go bad before you use them
As a side note using coupons and loading e-coupons onto your store rewards card can really help you save money, allowing for more money for stocking up. This is not something you have to do but can help free up a little extra money each week.
What do you like to stock in your pantry?