These simple tips will help you stock your pantry on a budget and will give you some ways to save even more money while grocery shopping and planning meals.
We are always looking for a way to save money, especially when it comes to food. With the children growing so fast, it seems like they have a stomach that is never full. If it is full, it doesn’t last long and they are hungry shortly after. The cost of groceries has doubled in no time so saving money on what I spend at the grocery store has become important.
You’ve probably heard that buying in bulk and purchasing sale items is one of the best things you can do when on a budget. This is true. It can help save you so much money, but there are other ways you can save too!
Now.. let’s get you some tips on how to stock your pantry on a budget!
Budget-Friendly Pantry Stocking 101 – Stock Your Pantry on a Budget
There’s nothing better than going to fix something and looking in your pantry to have everything you need. As a parent anyway! Sometimes though, it can be a challenge to get it to the point where it’s full of everything you need.
While having a stocked pantry may sound expensive, there are some tips and tricks to help keep the cost low. Knowing these tips can help you make the most out of your grocery store trips.
Why Would You Want to Stock Your Pantry on A Budget?
- It can save you money.
- You’ll be prepared for unexpected events.
There are a few reasons why you would want to have a stocked pantry. The most important reason is to make sure you have enough food when you’re going through hard times. You also want a stocked pantry so that you can make fewer trips to the store. Fewer trips mean saving money in the long run. You may also want to stock up to save money on Thanksgiving dinner or other family functions.
If we learned anything in the last year, it is that hard times can come when you least expect it. This was the case no matter what your financial situation was. With the pandemic, many jobs were lost. A lot of income dwindled down to almost nothing or nothing at all. This sent everyone into a panic buying mode, which left the store shelves empty.
All of that made it a challenge for many of us when it came to having the items we needed. There was nothing more frustrating than going to buy the needed items just to see empty shelves. This was the case with food, household essentials, diapers, and more.
It’s great for new parents. Anytime a new parent asks me for tips, I always say, stock your pantry now, so you have it. That new parent tip has come in handy for both myself and many other moms.
Ways to Stock Your Pantry On A Budget
Having a pantry full of staples and food that you can use when you need it, is important. It is a simple way to guarantee that you can feed your family when times get rough or money is tight.
1. Know What Your Family Likes and Dislikes
There is no point in stocking up on pantry items if it is not going to be put to use. Even if you find these items on clearance, if you aren’t going to eat them, then don’t buy them. That is just money you are flushing down the toilet.
Fill your pantry will things you will actually want to eat. This is the part where you need to be brutally honest with yourself about what you, or your family, likes or doesn’t like. Stock up on the things you will use the most.
To help with this process, make a list.
Get out your frequently used recipes and make a list of all of the ingredients that you will need. When we do this, for each recipe, I will put a tally mark next to the ingredient so I know an approximate amount of how many I will need. This will give you a good idea of what items you need to focus on stocking.
2. Follow the Selling Cycles to Stock Your Pantry on a Budget
Have you noticed that your local grocery stores often have a cycle period of when things go on sale? It can be tricky to figure out your store’s cycle but if you pay attention to their weekly sales ads and previous ads over the last few months, you can often see a pattern.
For instance, certain pantry staples like cereal and pasta go on sale every 6-8 weeks. If you wait until those items go on sale and hit the lowest price, you will be taking advantage of the deals and saving more money. Many families keep a record of the lowest prices so they know when to stock up on certain items.
This should be your go-to trick when it comes to simple staples like pasta, soups, grains, cereal, crackers, baking items, and more.
3. Don’t Skip the Clearance Aisle
We live in a small town so it took what seemed like forever before our grocery stores started offering items on clearance. Eventually, they did, and now that aisle is one of my favorites.
The clearance aisle is often for those items that have been dented or scratched. There’s nothing wrong with the items, it is just that the packaging didn’t look “perfect”. Nowadays, you will often find items that have been pulled off the shelves because companies have changed their name or their packaging.
Items can even end up in the aisle because they’ve done a store reset, the items have been discontinued, or because the items are close to their expiration date. Always check the dates on clearance items. If you notice the date of expiration is coming up, but it is something that you know you will use before then, grab it. Many of those staples, like sugar and salt, can be kept past the suggested date if they are stored properly.
Tip: Still Tasty is a great site that will give you good guidelines of how long you can keep something after it’s past the due date and it still is safe to eat.
4. Clip Those Coupons and Sign Up for Store Loyalty Programs
Remember a few years back when clipping coupons was the thing to do? They had T.V. shows about it and everyone was suddenly into the coupon craze because of how much money you can save. People would buy a ton of Sunday papers just to get the packets of coupons that would be included with it.
These days, coupon clipping isn’t as exciting as it was, even though it makes saving money fun. However, clipping coupons it is still a good way of saving money and a great way to stock your pantry on a budget. Many stores have gone more digital and will allow you to sign up for a loyalty card that will give you specially discounted prices if you are a member. You can even save coupons to your phone so that when you checkout and enter your phone number, those coupons are automatically applied to your total.
While most have gone digital, there are still paper coupons out there that you can clip. You can still find coupons in the Sunday papers, circulars that come in the mail, and those that are printed out on your store receipts.
5. Buy in Bulk
When you look at the cost per item or per ounce of an item, you will see that the pre-portioned items can really add up. Those are more for convenience so you are paying for that convenience.
Buying items in bulk can really help you stock your pantry on a budget and save money. Especially when they go on sale. Places like Costco or Sam’s Club have membership programs that you can join. Typically, the yearly cost isn’t too high and it can definitely be worth it.
Pickles are one of the things we stock up most on. The kids and I love to eat them with our sandwiches or as a snack. We even use the leftover pickle juice for different things.
6. Learn How to Can
Starting a garden was one of the best things that we did as a family. Not only did we use it as an educational tool for the children, but it was so nice to save money on fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, it also meant that we could just go outside to the garden if we wanted to snack on some fresh tomatoes or veggies.
If you have a garden set up, I highly recommend learning how to can. Canning your vegetables and storing them for the winter can help you save money. If you are not familiar with canning or want to learn how to do it, I followed this beginner’s guide. It was helpful and gave me step-by-step instructions on what I needed to do.
To save money on start-up canning supplies, you can check your local thrift stores or Facebook groups to see if you can find them for cheap. Many sell household items to make extra money and you can often find canning supplies that way. Sometimes, you can even find people that are giving away canning jars. Then, all you need to purchase are canning lids and rings.
Wrapping It Up – Stock Your Pantry On A Budget
Once you have a few tips and tricks down and you are in the mindset, it can be easy to fill a pantry on a budget.
Also, be sure to check out these other frugal living blogs. They are full of money-saving tips on how to stock your pantry on a budget, save money, and more.