Get to Know your Food Pantry

6 08 2010

When you spend less, your savings grows.  And what better way to curb excessive spending  at the grocery store is to actually use items in your own pantry cabinet!  Let’s explore the depths of our pantry and use those canned goods, boxed meals and cake mixes that are hidden on the pantry’s bottom shelf. 

Without further ado, let’s jump into our pantries:

  • Organize.  We suggest organizing your pantry and cupboards once a month.  When your pantry is cluttered it makes finding specific items impossible.  In addition to not finding items, a cluttered pantry leads to avoidance.  When you avoid noticing the items you have, you are going to spend money on items you “think” you don’t have.  We’ve all heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind”.  Taking frequent stock of your food will stop those frequent purchases.
  • Eliminate Duplicates.  Organizing your pantry and taking stock of your food will avoid accidental duplicate purchases.  There are instances when it would not be a huge deal, but you should consider the spoiling factor.  Not only do you need to use/eat the duplicate item, but also use/eat the original item.  Another problem would be purchasing a duplicate item which is not often used, leaving you with two.
  • Consolidate.  A great way of taking stock would be to consolidate the half-used items and half-empty packages.  Free up your space so you know exactly when you need to restock.  This could eliminate a premature purchase or two.
  • Eat Out of Your Pantry.  For those that went over budget grocery shopping, you will definitely want to use the food you have on hand.  This also applies for those that hadn’t gone over budget, but need to use up their fully stocked pantry.
  • Meal Planning.  Calling all clever minds to join forces.  This is where creativity kicks in!  We’ve discussed the importance of organizing.  After you take note of the food you have on hand, you should plan meals around your stockpile.  You might just have enough food on hand to eliminate a trip grocery shopping!  A simple and favorite meal of ours is rice and beans!  Or pasta with sauce.

Above is a photo of our pantry recently organized.  You will notice our use of baskets and, of course, glass jars.  I find using these containers helpful for tossing smaller items inside them (condiment jars, cake mixes, snacks, etc.) which makes it easy to pull the entire basket from the shelf to counter.

I group like items together.  Dog food is on the left, followed by vegetable and olive oils, condiments, snack items and beverages.  The shelf directly below houses pasta sauces and tomatoes, pasta, teas and coffee, canned/boxed foods, followed by baking items.

We want to hear from you, drop us a comment.  What meals have you planned around your pantry stockpile?




One response

1 09 2010

I started making my own “trail mix” out of things that I find around my kitchen… Pretzel sticks, cereal, NERDS, nuts, seeds, bits of saltines. I can think of a few ways this is good for me — it’s healthier, it has more variety… not to mention saves me $!

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