Stocking a Pantry on a Budget

by Rhonda on October 21, 2010 in Food, Industry

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(If you’re just jumping in, you might want to read the previous post
on pantry stocking as this is sort of part 2.)

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So you like the idea of having a stocked pantry, but you’re thinking,

There’s no way I can do this on my grocery budget.

Here are a few tips to get you started.
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1. If you don’t coupon, start. I know, I know, it does take time and effort. But time is money. This is a good way to not have to make extra money which the government then taxes, but a way to SAVE money and stock your pantry more easily.

I began clipping coupons again about two years ago. I had clipped coupons many years ago, but gave it up. Needless to say my grocery bill also went up. I went back to coupon clipping when we took a cut in pay a couple years ago and I also knocked my grocery budget down by a third. I buy lots of my items with a sale/coupon combined to get the most savings when I grocery shop. Coupons plus sales means I can get items cheaper than I can at Aldi’s on most items.

2. Begin reading a few grocery saving blogs. I have a few favorites such as Money Saving Mom, whose button is on my side bar. I also like Mashup Mom and Jill Cataldo’s site. There are MANY others as well, but the beauty of these sites is they do a lot of the foot work for you so you know where the sales are and what coupons to use. Did you know that now you can also print coupons right off your computer? Also, many companies will offer coupons to you if you befriend them on Facebook. I have also gotten many free items to try by using these blogs. I receive free item coupons from Kraft all through the year to try their new products they are introducing.

3. Don’t want to mess with coupons? Then watch for loss leaders at your local grocery store and stock up when an item is at a cycle low. For example, this week one of our stores had 99¢ items if you bought 6 including name brand peanut butter/flour. This is really a decent price and if you had coupons(both of which came out for these brands over the last couple months) you are looking at some cheap stock items! Now, if you only have an extra $5-$6 this week, you could stock up on 5 lb bags of flour and you’d be set for awhile for that pantry item, which would then free up money each week for other items.

4. Grow some of your own food. This is so helpful for me. We plant a large garden every year. Most of it goes into storage by freezing/canning so I can pull from it during the winter. I also always have more than we need, thus enabling me to share with others who don’t have as much space to garden. Every year, we are also given extra produce by friends/family—don’t pass up those offers—you’ll be smiling during the winter when you pull out your own canned tomatoes, knowing you don’t have to add that to your list!

5. As you begin to add weekly low price items to your pantry each week, you’ll be amazed at how much food you can set by in a few months. I had to add another smaller pantry to my larger one to accommodate the 25/50¢ boxes of cereal and the 99¢ peanut butter jars. I will also add we do use all the food I buy. We entertain a lot and cook meals every week for church so I am not advocating hording, but buying low so you can give and also have what you need for your own home.

6. Look for food in places other than grocery stores. Sometimes, you can hit a road side stand offering produce at rock bottom prices—we have one close by that routinely sells pumpkins for 1.00 each! We cook up our pumpkins after we display them for fall—I LOVE having canned/frozen pumpkin on hand for recipes. But I digress…

A few of my favorite sources are close-out warehouse stores such as Baileys (recently bought 5 lb packages of semi-sweet good chocolate for $2.99 and Trader Joe’s organic chips for 49¢ a bag), Big Lots, and Walgreens (yes, with coupons, they offer some great grocery sales at times—you can stack a WAGS coupon with your manufacturer’s coupon to get some great deals).
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Food is one of the most time consuming areas of home management so let’s do it well, making sure we are wise stewards, providing good meals for those in our homes.  It is so much easier a task when we are organized and well prepared.

How about it ladies, what are some of your strategies for stocking a pantry?

Rhonda

Rhonda and Herb have been married for 28 years and together they have four children, aged 27-13. Herb is a certified nouthetic counselor through NANC, which provides many opportunities to see marriages and families strengthened for the glory of God. Their family is currently involved in planting a family integrated church in Northwest Indiana. Rhonda seeks to encourage women in their roles as wives and mothers through mentoring and writing. She blogs at WalkingwithSarah.com.

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{ 15 comments }

JulieP October 21, 2010

The next few month will be a great time to stock up on baking supplies. November and December always bring great sales on these things. And the coupons to match will be abundant. I try to stock up on the non-perishable things I have room to store. Because prices won’t drop again until around Easter. It is also a great time to stock up on turkey and Ham. Both can be cooked and then cut up and put in freezer bags. Or if you have enough room, you could just leave them as is and put in your freezer until you are ready to eat them.

Jennifer October 21, 2010

Thank you for sharing! I use coupons as well in order to stockpile the items we use while they are free or almost free. I have some great posts for those who are new to the whole couponing idea. Feel free to stop by here and learn some tips:
http://justpeachyindixie.blogspot.com/2010/08/lets-talk-coupons.html

If you would like to read more, just go to my left side bar, under categories, and click on couponing.

Happy Shopping!
Jennifer @ http://justpeachyindixie.blogspot.com

MamaHen October 21, 2010

I am just starting to do this for my family. I went to ALDI for the first time last week and was amazed at the low prices. Right now my plan is to shop there first and then go to Publix for their buy one get ones free when I have a coupon. My children are old enough to really help with the grocery shopping now so it is not so difficult to go to different stores. Thanks for this great post.

Jocelyn October 21, 2010

I just read in a money saving news article that you should weigh pre-weighed produce. Some 10lb. bags of potatoes might only be 9.5lbs. and others might be 10.5 lbs.

amyg October 21, 2010

hello! i am enjoying being a subscriber to your website. thank you!

I wanted to comment in order to agree with you about Walgreens. A few days ago I stocked up on 50-cent containers of salt and baking soda. Once, they had packages of Dole pear cups on clearance and combined with coupons, I got each package for 25 cents! I have been “couponing” for about 7 months and would have never guessed it would work as well as it is for my family. I use iheartpublix.com and iheartkroger.com for grocery sale-coupon combinations. I am grateful that these coupon website authors bless my family so much with their service!

Kristi October 21, 2010

I also have a whole series on my website talking about how to “extreme coupon” It’s pretty much the entire class that I teach! I’ve been linking them to the link up Wednesday’s, but here is a link to the whole category if anyone is interested.

http://www.courageoushomekeeping.com/category/budgeting/

Merissa @ Little House Living October 21, 2010

I don’t focus on stockpiling when I’m shopping. Or maybe it’s just become second nature to me. When I’m out shopping and I see an excellent price(I have a list of stock up prices in my head) I will buy more than one of the item. It’s important to have a set price that you are willing to pay for an item and a set price that if the item meets or falls below, you will stock up on that item.
I wrote an article about it here:
http://lhotpl.blogspot.com/2009/10/little-house-on-prairie-living.html
And you can see a video of my well stocked pantry here:
http://lhotpl.blogspot.com/2010/07/couponing-101-episode-1-my-stockpile.html

Tami Lewis October 21, 2010

coupons are a staple for me too. i wait for sales and then i get as much as i can. if i add under $5 of “extra items” to put away each time i shop then i don’t notice the pinch and i slowly gather items for the emergency cabinet.

Kris Mays October 21, 2010

This is one of my favorite subjects.

Storing food is important to my family, as we have several children and I do not like dragging them all to the store. Also, food prices have been steadily increasing, so that is another incentive for us to store food.

I buy my grains, beans, pasta, sweeteners, etc. in bulk from http://www.azurestandard.com and I store these things in 5 gallon buckets sealed in mylar bags for longer term storage. Them I just rotate through my stock.

Buying in bulk is a great way for me to get the best price per pound and keep my pantry stocked for long term. My goal is to have a years worth of food in my storage. But I will be glad to have three months worth.

Because our income can be somewhat affected by the seasons, this comes in handy during the winter months, or if someone becomes ill, etc. We go to the “store” in our food storage.

When we’ve had a really good “job” and we can afford to, we go to Food 4 Less and Costco to stock up on canned goods and other shelf stable items to add to our bulk grains and beans.

We also garden and can food in the fall to add variety to our pantry and food storage.

I am never so content as when I have a full larder. I guess it’s just something about being a mother. Knowing you can feed your family for x amount of months if things go South is a really good feeling. I believe God is Jehovah Jirah, our provider, but that it is only prudent for us to do the work of being prepared.

Love this topic!

Jen Pepera October 22, 2010

Kris, thanks for this post. Coupon clipping frustrates me because so much of the food on sale is processed and unhealthy. Not to say there aren’t coupons for more healthy foods (canned tomatoes, baking items), but It’s so much work for such little pay off if I don’t buy processed food. I like the stock up on bulk idea. I’ve heard of Azure Standard from several people and I think I want to seriously look into it. Thanks for the post!

laura October 22, 2010

Great ideas. I coupon when I can and we are getting better at gardening every year. I am hoping some of you might have some ideas for me. We are a family of 4. I have a 16 year old son with celiac disease. He is also 6’4″ and a football player. His pediatrician has him on 4ooo to 6000 calories a day. I am really struggling to keep our biweekly food bill to $350 not including millk (gallon a day) I can’t just buy whatever peanutbutter is on sale or use the coupon in the flyer. I have to buy the brand that is safe for my son to use. We also have a storage issue. We go thru more than 14 boxes of cereal biweekly. My son eats a box a day. When I do have the chance to stock up a little where do I put it all?

Jen October 23, 2010

Rhonda! Hello! Great article – I subscribe to this blog via email, and it didn’t say who it was written by. I had to check and see who it was when I saw Bailey’s mentioned! I had a great time when I went with you and Tamra – we should do it again!

Emily October 23, 2010

Countries outside of America don’t have coupons the way Americans do, in fact they don’t have coupons for groceries much at all. I would love to see what tips people have outside of coupons. We have loss leaders but they aren’t great deals, just good enough, as we have no coupons to stack. My most useful tool is the ‘3 for $X’ sort of deals, because I know while most people fall into the trap intended (buy bulk and it goes to waste unused) I am generally organised enough to take advantage of it.

Jeanette October 26, 2010

I’m from Canada and we don’t have the same sales/coupons that the United States does. Sometimes I am amazed at what all you guys can save! 99 cents for peanut butter! Wow!!

Up here, we’re lucky to find 30 cents off of cornstarch 🙂

My method is to keep track of the lowest prices available on little index cards in my purse. Then I stock up when sales reach my target price. I got this idea from Meredith at Like Merchant Ships, and it works for me.

Rhonda Devine October 26, 2010

Just a few side notes to add to the conversation. Some of you mentioned coupons for unhealthy, processed foods–I buy very little of that kind of food as I cook from scratch most of the time–yet I still find couponing profitable. There are coupons for staples and organic foods, but I find a lot of my savings in non-food items such as toothpaste, shampoo, pet food, cleaning products, diapers, etc. These type of items will eat up a lot of your grocery money. I pay pennies many times for these and sometimes they are free through playing the drug store games as described on several couponing blogs such as Crystal’s at moneysavingmom.
Another of my favorite sites is jillcataldo.com, the coupon queen in Chicago. Her target price for cereal is 25 cents!
She teaches couponing classes in our area or you can buy her classes on DVD.
There are so many ways to save money in this area. Don’t give up too soon. It took me about a year to get in the groove, but it really does cut your bill quite a bit;)

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