|Ever the curious kitty, someone had to check out what was on "her" table.|
I perused my pantry shelves to find what I needed most and what could use "one extra".
|Total cost... $50.00 plus a dollar or two tax.|
My $50.00 stock up challenge took me first to Aldi's, where I can always get the most purchase power for my dollars. Similar... and perhaps even cheaper... prices can be found at stores like Kroger if I had time to wait on a sale.
It's fairly easy to see what my largest stock up item was as one sees two flats of the Aldi's brand stewed tomatoes. I don't suggest stocking up on anything you haven't tried first (believe me, I speak from experience!) but I knew I liked the Aldi's brand just fine. My preference is Hunt's or Red Gold but neither was on sale recently.
I had some cans of regular chopped tomatoes and a few large cans of whole tomatoes on my shelves. But I was completely out of stewed tomatoes and I use them a lot. Perhaps because my mother always used stewed tomatoes and I like the taste they add to a dish.
My preference for TP is Charmin Basic but we were almost out of TP and this Aldi's brand was very reasonable. It's not the horrible cheapy stuff that some of the food pantries give out. Good if not luxurious. But I have other places I want to spend for luxury.
I bought one bottle of canola oil. If I had the money, I would always purchase non-GMO oil but it is not possible. My husband does purchase a small bottle at a time at the health food store's 20% off Senior Citizen Day. That is used for salads, along with extra virgin olive oil.
One of the things I learned when researching what people experienced in WWII, is that a lot of the dietary related deaths were due to a lack of available fat in the diet. Not to mention it makes cooking a lot easier. So we do the best we can, with inexpensive canola oil for cooking... and non-GMO oil as well as extra virgin olive oil for other needs.
Stephanie replaces light olive oil for canola in part of her cooking but she has access through her co-op to getting it at a great price.
I added three cans of mandarin oranges to the pantry shelves. I keep sources of vitamin C for the weeks when we can't purchase fresh. Of course, juice would work but that is one food source diabetics need to be careful with.
I bought one jar of German style sauerkraut to add to the pantry, Hubby eats it a couple times a week as part of his health regimen. I cook with it. I also added one jar of pickles. Pickling was a way our great grandparents and generations prior to them added veggies to their winter diet.
I purchased a large box of heavy large trash bags since I am almost out of the box already at home. One box of tissues was purchased. When we had colds, they were a multiple box stock up item!
Instead of purchasing an extra container of Maxwell House for the pantry (which at the moment has been our go-to coffee), I bought a box of the Aldi Donut Store Blend K-cups. They are very reasonably priced and we were completely out of K-cups.
I had been purchasing the Green Mountain apple cider K-cups previously when Kroger had them on a Holiday Season sale. Alas, they are back to their normal expensive price! So the inexpensive coffee will do. :(
But I digress... I hope you see that I do put some thought about what I buy when I don't have much money for a "big" stockup. Items that give the most nutrition for the money become very important. If I had children at home, I'd probably not make a priority of sauerkraut or pickles but instead purchase canned fruit.
I should mention that when Kroger has their 10 for $10.00 sale, I stock up on frozen veggies for the freezer! A great way to get some veggie nutrients for less.
I left Aldi's and moseyed across the highway to the grocery store that usually has meat on sale. I must admit to sticker shock! I had enough meat in the freezer that I hadn't shopped for much for a couple months. I could not believe it when the "inexpensive" chuck roast I use for soup was $15.00. That used to be organic prices... and this was not even "all natural" meat!
I did end up with one family size package of deboned chicken breast on sale (not a national brand), which I split up at home with two pieces in the frig for use this weekend and the remainder in the freezer.
I also went to that grocery store as it is the only one close to me that sells Barilla orzo. I bought two boxes for my shelf. Now, there are some things I don't buy cheap and I've mentioned before that pasta is one of them. Especially as a diabetic, I need the best pasta I can buy. Cheap pasta is akin to... glue.
My nutritionist says pasta is fine as long as it is balanced with protein and veggies. Also, pasta for anyone with blood sugar issues should be cooked aldente'. That's the way Italians (who should know) cook it, anyway. It is less likely to spike your blood sugar that way. Which is also why, if I know I will have leftovers of chicken noodle or chicken orzo soup, I cook the pasta on the side and add it to the soup when serving. The longer pasta cooks, the more glycemic it becomes.
The two other items on the table are an Aldi's shopping bag, which Hubby asked me to buy. He takes them to food pantries instead of using their sacks. I use them for... Aldi's. They are only $1.99 and very roomy.
Then there is the thyme plant, which was on sale for $2.99 at the second store. I've been missing the fresh thyme from my garden so when I saw it on sale, I put back the package of sun dried tomatoes I had in the cart and reached for the thyme.
It also is part of our decision to add more greenery to our home (as in real plants). We hope to purchase a few ivy and spider plants soon. A natural way to cleanse the air.
Besides exchanging a couple items for another, I was going to purchase a package of batteries. But Hubby bought a small package of AAA batteries a few days before with rebate credit at Menard's so I used that money on other items.
Perhaps the most important way we stock the pantry and emergency kits on a fixed income is... one purchase at a time!
For instance, what items would we absolutely need should there be another winter storm and the power goes out? Those items become our priority for the "add just one item to the grocery cart a week" stock up. Many times that item is a package of D or AA batteries, those we use the most.
Hubby's purchase recently was one small package of AAA batteries as we only use them for the DVD remote. So no need for a huge stock up but they are essential if we want to use the DVD player.
I know many people who have no pantry or emergency kit at all because they say they cannot afford it. But almost everyone I know can make one small purchase a week, or at least a couple times a month.
One package of batteries, or one container of lamp oil (should you have an oil lamp), or one box of "strike anywhere" matches and a few candles, or one package inexpensive paper plates, or one small package of TP to put back for emergencies, or a case or water... it all adds up!
So, I hope this additional show and tell helps you see what goes into my stocking up strategy. When I do have a larger amount available to do some serious stocking, it is pretty much similar to this. Of course, I also watch for sales on favorite brands.
A Nutritional Approach to Food Storage... here. If you scroll all the way down, there is a very good embedded handout of one family's nutritional priorities in their pantry. There is a link within it to a different page where the list is a little easier to read.
There is a lot of good information here but I do find some of these types of articles overwhelming when they offer suggestions for a very deep pantry. (Not that a very deep pantry is a bad idea if you have the room and the budget!).
But I found if you peruse through this one, she offers a lot of good information as well as lists to use when making your own stock up list.