It’s funny how one little thing can really impact you and the way you live your life.
Sort of like kids.
But that’s a different story.
What I’m talking about is food, budgeting, and saving money. It’s easy (or not so easy.. on the wallet) to go around blindly and buy whatever organic thing you see on the shelf at the store because you want to eat clean. However when you get to the cash register you almost leave a strip of poo in your pants when you see how much all those organic foods added up to.
“Damn, that’s like three weeks worth of my budget — all in one sitting. And wait, it doesn’t even look like I have enough to last me three weeks.”
Oh, you’ve been there too? Thank goodness I’m not alone.
Thankfully, when my friend Tara over at We Got Real shared her ebook with me, it changed my life and how I look at my buying practices.
After reading her ebook, I make sure to keep mind of lowest prices and stock pile during those times, I don’t fret if I can’t buy organic veggies that week, and I am slowly working on stocking my pantry so I can streamline my purchases when I go grocery shopping.
Please excuse my hot mess of a pantry….
Why Take the Time to Stock Your Pantry?
The thought of stocking your pantry may seem a little daunting — especially if it’s looking pretty bare over there — but the reality is, a stocked pantry helps you save dolla’ dolla’ bills ya’ll.
By having a pantry stocked with basic spices, baked goods, dry goods (beans, pasta, grains), and a few jarred and canned foods, it enables you to make meals “out of nothing” and on the fly — if needed. It allows you to only buy produce, meat, and the few items you need to restock each week which can drastically cut down the grocery bill.
Here are 3 tips for stocking your pantry so you can also streamline your purchases and save money.
1. Make a List
You guys, I live off of lists. Every morning or night, I make a list of everything I need to get done so it gives me a sense of direction for the day. Sometimes I accomplish all of it, sometimes I don’t and that’s okay. The point is, lists give you a “road map” and allows you to see physically what you’re lacking or what you need to get done.
Ideas are just ideas if they are in your head. However, when you put them onto paper, they actually start to become a thing (sort of like goal setting). Subconsciously, your brain is already starting to work towards getting whatever it is you put on paper and making it a reality.
No, I don’t have any science or citations to back up that claim but trust me, it’s true.
Anyway, bringing it back to making a list. Think about everything you would want in your pantry (things that you normally use) and write it down. Revisit the list often so you can see if there is anything you can purchase on your next grocery trip or if you have already purchased it.
If you have no idea what to put in your stocked pantry, you can find a printable version of what Tara stocks her pantry with in her ebook Eat Well, Spend Less. Then you can just keep it taped on your cabinet and replenish as needed. Get your copy of Eat Well, Spend Less here.
2. Stock Your Pantry Gradually
What you DON’T want to do is make a list and buy everything on that list at one time. Unless you have a wad of money to put into stocking your pantry, you’ll be crying all the way home because of how much you just spent.
Stocking your pantry is a gradual thing, and that is OK.
The best thing to do is write the normal prices of those items on your list, and if you know the lowest price you’ve seen, write that down too (you can also transfer this info into your phone). This way you can keep a mental note of when certain items come on sale, and just buy however much you can afford each week. If that means you can buy two things a week, that’s great. If you can only buy one item once every other week, that’s fine too. The point is, you’re continually working towards your goal (stocking your pantry) and that’s all that matters.
3. Buy in Bulk or Stock Pile When You Can
Buying in bulk or stock piling when you can is such a good strategy for stocking your pantry. Make a list of the things you use often and make it a point to buy the item in bulk. Or, if you know it has a good sale price, wait and buy a bunch of that particular food item.
A few things I make sure to buy in bulk are:
- Coconut sugar (I buy this 6lb bag of organic coconut sugar)
- Coconut milk (I buy this brand of coconut milk)
- Coconut water (This is mostly for Scott since he’s out on job sites in the heat and needs something healthy to replenish him; I purchase on Amazon)
- Real Salt (when it’s priced at around $7, I buy 2 or 3 packs)
- Einkorn flour (When Jovial has free shipping, I buy the 10lb bag or when Tropical Traditions has free shipping, I buy five 2lb bags of einkorn flour)
- Jarred crushed, diced and whole tomatoes (Same as above)
- Tomato paste (Same as above)
- Bulk spices (mostly the spices to make my taco seasoning since I use that often; I buy them on Amazon)
- Olive oil (I purchase my olive oil from Chaffin Family Orchards when they have their presales. I organize a group of people to purchase so we get the olive oil at the cheapest price available)
- Pastured meat (Sometimes we buy 1/4 cow, or we buy ground beef in bulk)
- Coconut oil (my mother-in-law and I split 5 gallon buckets of virgin coconut oil and expeller pressed from Tropical Traditions when they go on sale)
If you don’t have the money to buy in bulk, I would suggest creating a little “dream” box (find the tutorial here) and as often as you can, put coins, loose dollar bills, whatever you can manage to put, in it. Then, use that box to fund your bulk or stock pile spending. This way it doesn’t come out of your “normal” cash flow and you don’t feel so bad about using it.
You can also ask a friend or family member to go in on a certain item with you to help lower the cost. If your family or friends aren’t into the same foods you are, try finding a local buying group on Facebook and organize something there.
By making a list, building your stocked pantry gradually, and buying in bulk or stock piling, you will eventually have a beautifully stocked pantry which will save you money in the long run.
Want more food saving tips? Check out this life changing ebook: Eat Well, Spend Less