My family is always looking for ways to save money and one of the easiest ways is by stocking up on supplies. I mean, who doesn't like to save money and wouldn't it be great to cut down on that monthly grocery bill?
You may not realize it, but buying in bulk and using coupons can really increase your savings when you're shopping at the grocery store. I've been teaching this to my 17 year old son as he's going to be embarking out on his own in the not so distant future. The following tips will help you stock a pantry without breaking the bank.
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How to Fill A Pantry on a Budget
While it is wonderful to open up your cupboard doors and look at a full stock of food, it can be hard to find ways to get groceries on a budget. Luckily, there are some simple tricks that you can do while grocery shopping at your local supermarket in order to save money and time!
If there is one thing that history has taught us over and over again, it is the simple fact that it is important to have food on hand for tough times. Those panic shoppers who clear out the store shelves and disrupt the food chain supply when a pandemic hits make it challenging for all of us.
One of the simplest ways to make sure you're never hungry or broke is to keep a fully stocked pantry. If you have food on hand, it's easier than ever before (thanks in part from all of our modern conveniences) and will help with your budget too! So whether you just want peace-of-mind for emergencies, know that when something happens like an ice storm leaves people without power for days afterward grocery stores go out of stock quickly – stockpiling now could really save lives later on down the road if disaster strikes.
It may seem straightforward at first but there are many benefits to having plenty o' supplies around: not only can it be used as emergency preparedness against natural disasters or other unforeseen events such as terrorist
First things first: Know your likes and dislikes
Stocking up on 20 cans of white chicken chili because you found them on sale for practically pennies a can is no bargain if you hate the texture of beans. While, stocking up on frozen pizzas for your teenage son because they're on sale will definitely save you money! As long as you have the freezer space for them, that is!
A great way to make sure you are stocking up on the right supplies is by being brutally honest with yourself about what your tastes really are. If you don't like beans, don't buy them just because they're on sale. If you love pasta, the 10 for 10 deal is a stock up goldmine!
If it helps, make a list.
List the things your family will eat and are great for you to stock up on and add those items that, even if there's a great sale, are pointless for you to buy at all. You'll end ju wasting money insead of stocking your pantry on a budget, which is our goal. Those items in the yes column will be the things you work on stocking up on. Even if it is only twenty items long, that will be twenty more things that you have a surplus of than you did before.
Work your store selling cycle
The grocery store is such a magical place! You can find so many things there: produce, meats and fish, frozen goods. But what you may not know about these wondrous items is that they have their own personal cycle of price points–a high point when it's in season or new on the shelves to entice shoppers with its vibrant colors; then a low point just before expiration date because nobody wants to buy moldy food anymore.
The trick? Buy those foods at rock bottom prices while grabbing coupons for even better deals! It can be tricky to figure out your specific store’s cycle. If you save the weekly sales ads for about two months though, you will clearly see their pattern.
Many people keep lists of their favorite foods and the cheapest time they can find them. If you are like me, it is hard to remember when prices go down so I write everything in my phone calendar!
We all have that one friend who always knows which store has on sale what we need. While this may work for some products (like cereal), other items should be stocked up before a potential price increase occurs; don't wait until after an item goes out of stock or jumps from $2/box to $5/ box because no matter how much money you're saving now, those monthly grocery bills will soon add up if food isn’t saved when purchased at its lowest cost point!.
Now think of every other pantry staple from canned vegetables to macaroni and cheese. You can just see how simply working your store’s selling cycle can pay off for your budget in a large way. This should be your go-to trick from pasta, grains, ready-to-eat cereal, crackers, cookies, and more.
Check the clearance aisle
Scratch ‘n Dent isn’t what it used to be. You can often find items that have been pulled off the shelves for a simple thing like the company changed their packaging. Maybe they did a store reset and have chosen to discontinue that item. Sometimes, it's because a store cut ties with a distributor and is trying to clear out the stock quickly. This happened with my dog's food. A local chain store cut ties with their online partner and was clearing her food out for almost half price. When I can snag 4 bags of her $45 food for $25 a bag, I'm on it!
Occasionally things might be getting closer to their expiration date. If it is something like dried beans or rice, keep in mind that they found pasta and rice in the Egyptian pyramids that was still safe to eat in current times. If stored properly, it can keep past that suggested date. Some things like rice, sugar, salt, and honey are practically invincible if they are stored correctly. I love the site Still Tasty – www.stilltasty.com for a good guideline of how safe something is if it is past its date.
With the advent of digitalization almost everything has become easier, even getting deals at your favorite stores. The first step is to get a store loyalty card and sign up for email alerts. This way you will be notified about special promotions exclusively offered to those with cards!
If you're a frequent shopper at the grocery store, then it's likely that your loyalty card is worth more than just discounts. If so, don't forget to check their website for online coupons! You might find some digital deals on various items from supermarket staples like milk and eggs to specific holiday favorites such as turkey or nutmeg which will help save even more money this season when they roll around.
That being said, there are still paper coupons out there. Some are printed in your store’s ad circular and some are in your weekly free neighborhood papers that most people just throw out. If you can stack a printed coupon with a digital coupon? What a way to save!
Jump at National Canned Food Month
I'm sure you know this, but February is National Canned Food Month. There are tons of canned food sales and extra coupons out there for the buying! If you're looking to bulk up your pantry on a budget – now's the perfect time with all that delicious canned meat, beans, vegetables juice fruit juices even milk too!!
If you missed canned food month? No worries, things like tuna and canned pasta meals are in that normal store selling cycle that we already mentioned. Alternatively, you can look at buying dried beans and lentils instead of canned. The price is a lot better, and they will last longer. Once you cook them, they can be frozen for longer storage.
Buy in bulk
The price of convenience can really add up when you consider the per-ounce cost. Let's take Doritos for an example: You could buy a large bag, discounted at $2.50 or three to four single serving packs that are typically worth about 75 cents each (or 3). If you were to break down your larger pack into smaller bags and save them instead, you would easily have six to eight times more snacks than just what is in those few individual packages!
I am not saying you have to get the jumbo cans of baked beans (unless your family relaly loves them), but all of those pudding cups, fruit cups, and 4 count cookie packs really charge you for that work of breaking them down.
Learn to can
If you get free produce or garden, canning your own vegetables will only take your time. You can save money on the cost of supplies that you need when getting started by looking at your local thrift stores or Facebook groups. Have no fear if you are new to the concept: you can learn literally anything on YouTube these days.
Make homemade versions
You can make homemade versions of so many conveniece foods. Everything from breakfast pastries to potato chips. More often than not, you will save money while knowing exactly what ingredients you're putting in them, too. The Homemade Pantry offers recipes and options for over 100 foods you can stop buying and start making at home! You can even get the kids involved and find new twists to please your family.
Fill your Pantry
With so many food choices at the grocery store, it’s easy to find yourself in a dizzying state of confusion when you are trying to figure out what foods will best suit your budget. The pantry is often overlooked and neglected as people try their hardest not think about how much they spend on groceries each month. It really isn’t that hard to fill a pantry on a budget, and more importantly maintain it, once you have the tips and tricks down so you can do it.