Monday, March 31, 2008
I have always been one to stock up for the future, the only change is how deep I can afford to keep the pantry. That comes from having Depression era parents (and in-laws). However, it is a little different now. I now also keep an eye out for those products which will become more expensive in future months (should inflation continue and there are all indications it will). If nothing else, the food will probably not go down in cost. Some items I have to pay full price but others I wait for a real stock up price.
For instance, I bought the honey above full price at the end of last year's Farmer's Market because... that is when I usually stock up on honey from the "honey man". I bought two half-gallons and poured them into the recycled jelly jars. Should they solidify (and they will if kept long enough), it is a whole lot easier to place a small jar in a bowl of hot water and let it liquefy than try it with the half gallon or gallon containers. Trust me, been there! The jars above are from one half-gallon jug since I purchased them a few weeks apart for budget purposes (they were around $16.00 a each). Since there has been a problem with bees the past few years, honey continues to go up in price.
I have recently purchased about four bags of granulated sugar and six to eight bags of flour when they were both deeply discounted. I expect I'll continue to purchase flour as it goes on sale and sugar if I find it cheap. Wheat continues to go up in price and sugar can be affected by the lowering of the dollar, high transportation costs, etc. I poured most of the sugar into a large Tupperware container but I keep brown sugar and confectioner's sugar in their individual bags, in a Rubbermaid type container.
Coffee prices are also rising and they can go sky high on little notice. I read recently that the "blocks" of Folgers coffee have at least a two year shelf life (they are vacuum sealed). Since I have had to revert to cheaper coffee, I'll probably buy a few of them once in awhile to put in the pantry. Should the really good stuff go on sale, I'll do what Laine did... she mixed her cheap coffee with the good stuff.
I also stocked up on dried pasta recently when my favorite brand was buy one- get one free at the grocery store. Pasta keeps for at least a year if you store your individual boxes in a plastic container (aka: Rubbermaid or similar brand). I bought an entire, huge bag of elbow macaroni when I was in the co-op and it was still good when I came to the end of the container, over a year later. (It was also stored in a large Tupperware type container.)
Storing jars of pasta sauce and Alfredo sauce (my sister got me started on the jars of Alfredo sauce... Target's store brand is amazingly good... serves four) then you have a quick, easy, inexpensive meal quite fast. Although, I often make my tomato based pasta sauce by mixing a favorite organic pizza sauce (I used to order it by the case but now only buy a couple cans at a time) and a can of tomatoes with ground beef or Italian sausage... purchased on sale.
I recently stocked up on my favorite Red Gold tomatoes when they were buy one- get one free. I can never have too many canned tomatoes. There are two stores in my area that annually sells their brand of canned veggies for a quarter a can. This is always done in autumn when they are clearing out "the old" for the new crop. They keep for a long time (supposedly shelf safe for at least two years, especially for non acidic foods... nutrient value begins to go down after that, or so I've heard). I have seen them go on sale at other times so keep an eye out for special sales.
I always buy meat when it is on sale and buy "for the freezer". If it is not on sale and it is not in the freezer, that recipe will be made at a later time when it is on sale. We have meatless meals a few times a week, too. Right now I'm working on a way to better organize my freezer. My store had good quality ice cream buy one- get one free and I stocked up at that time. I'm hoping they have another soon since we are on the last container. :)
We receive the daily newspaper. Partly for my husband so he can keep up with his crossword puzzle habit and so he can follow his obsession with the University's various sports programs. However, we save more than we spend on the newspaper with the store sales fliers twice a week as well as coupons. I read the store sale fliers the way he reads the sports pages... with a fine tooth comb. :)
We live on a very tight budget but stocking up when things are on sale helps stretch it a great deal. (Getting an item half off is like doubling your income on that purchase.) My goal is to stock up as much as my budget and my space allows. I have a large set of shelves in the garage where I keep my extra pantry items. My yellow pantry in the kitchen is stocked with all my baking supplies, herbs, spices, vegetable oil and olive oil, etc.
I have a linen closet in my bathroom where I can keep extra toiletries. That is an area where I still have to work on a great deal. I may have to start CVS shopping! I always try to have one of the large packages of TP and one roll of Viva paper towels as extras but I'm thinking I'll try to keep at least two extra when possible.
I'll share as I go along, how I'm stocking up. I already know I'll be going over to the large grocery store the farthest from me (which Stephanie thinks is so funny that I call it far away since most of her shopping requires many miles in the van!). I saw from their sales flier that they have a lot of buy one -get one free specials this week. I'll go through it today and write down items I need. That store is also the only place close to us that puts King Arthur Flour on a great stock up price (which is where I bought the flour last month).
I highly recommend going over to Manuela's blog to see what she posted about her pantry. It is a work of art. Such great ideas!