Saturday, February 13, 2016
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - 4 Ways I Stock the Pantry
We had to buy a new desktop computer recently so I ask your patience while I am getting used to it. Ummm... I can't even figure out where the slot for the media card is, much less hoping I can transfer back all blog related photos. It is a long story but mainly I wasn't here when they made the switch and had no idea it was going to happen that day. Such is life.
To further answer questions, I'm sharing today the four different ways I stock a pantry. It is pretty much the same way I've always stocked it... only now there is more tweaking of the budget. I make stocking the pantry a priority so those months when there is not a whole lot of our income that can be used at the grocery store, we can get by with only purchasing that food that does not store well (like fresh veggies).
1) The easiest and most common way I stock the pantry is to purchase one or two extra items at a time. It will seem like you will take forever to deepen your pantry but not really... not if you make one purchase each time you go to the grocery store. Think of it, even if you go to the store once a week, that is 104 items you have added to your pantry.
The only hard part of doing it this way is to figure out how many cans, boxes, packages, etc. you want as a base amount to always keep on hand. Then when you have reached that number, purchase items as you use the oldest each time.
But it doesn't take much extra in the weekly budget to throw a package of dried beans, a can of green beans, and perhaps even a can of tomatoes in the grocery cart. Even if it is just a package of dried beans... that is a filling food for any pantry.
2) I will purchase an entire flat or two of canned goods when they are on a great sale price. Usually the price is such that two flats may cost $10.00 to $15.00 (especially if the product is organic) but it is far cheaper than buying full price.
I have a mental "stock up price" for our most commonly used items. When the sale price is now that low (or lower), that is when I will purchase more than one or two cans, boxes, packages, jars, etc. By making purchases this way, you are stocking your pantry at a lower price and then shopping from the pantry when you are preparing a meal.
Recently I was at the grocery store and noticed organic butter was at a great price. So I decided not to make a couple of purchase I had intended to make (but didn't absolutely need at the moment) and instead purchased three pound packages of the organic butter. They all went into the freezer and it was quite wonderful to have one available when my husband ran out of butter last week.
3) There are some products I purchase in bulk to last six months or a year just because they are far cheaper in bulk. For instance, the twenty five pounds of old fashioned oats* was a purchase made with a financial gift (I use much of my birthday and Christmas gift money to stock the pantry).
The decision to bite the bullet and order in bulk was made after I realized how much it was costing me to make homemade granola when purchasing one or two packages of oats at a time. Buying it at the bulk section of the store didn't save all that much.
I had been used to purchasing it by the bag when part of a health food co-op so I asked our favorite health food store how much it would cost to order a bag, receiving the bulk discount. While more expensive than the old co-op days, it was far less than buying a little at a time. Thus... the bulk purchase.
Other items I can easily purchase that will last for six months to a year are things like course kosher sea salt, fine sea salt for the shaker, peppercorns, other whole and ground spices (spices last a long time, dried herbs do not stay fresh long), baking soda, baking powder (check the "use by" date before buying!), yeast (kept in the frig after opening), cocoa powder, etc... especially since I don't bake as much now.
I buy converted rice in bulk, chocolate chips in bulk (although Holiday sales makes packages cheaper), and other items that store well.
4) Once in awhile, I'll purchase food especially packaged for long term storage. Sometimes it is more efficient to buy food for the pantry this way because it won't spoil quickly. (I admit that such food can be pricey so I don't have very much of it.)
For example, I do buy dried milk packaged for a two year storage. My favorite brand** is currently much less than usual so I purchased a can with Amazon credit this month. Sometimes I will add the smaller container of the same dried milk as an add on, although the larger container is by far more cost effective. Especially at the moment when the price is lower!
I have a couple packages of freeze dried sausage gravy and biscuits*** put back for when they would be needed. I tried one before buying the next two with Amazon credit. They are actually quite delicious. Who knew? I plan in the future to add some packages of freeze dried vegetables that can be used for soup. These products were all originally made and tested by backpackers.
Should you have the money to invest, freeze dried food is a very good option. Especially if you have more grocery funds than you do space. For instance, eggs that have been freeze dried can be purchased and stored on a shelf should there be an emergency situation, they don't take much space. The bird flu has been found in turkeys already this year. I think I told you that I used the Peak Dry milk in place of artificial cream for the cocoa mix I made at Christmas.
One good thing about a place like Amazon is that you can purchase one freeze dried meal at a time here and there to try them. Of course, if you live near a store that sells backpacking and camping equipment, they will often have such freeze dried food for purchase. It is financially feasible for the single person or empty nesters. Not at all for big families.
I hope this answers more of the questions!
*This photo taken with the iPad.
** Peak Dry milk... here.
*** Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy (Add-on Price)... here.
Most links to Amazon.com are Associate Links. I thank you! While each Associate receives a tiny amount of credit, it can really add up. It enables me to make purchases I could never do otherwise.