With the high price of food today it can be difficult thinking about stocking up on food that you aren’t going to be eating for a while but the practice of buying more than you need today and using it tomorrow can really save you time and money.
One of the first reasons you want to think about starting a pantry is to buy items that have long shelf life that can be used when you just can’t make it to the store. There are many times when you just can’t pick up a few things and having something you can use as a replacement or just to supplement what you have is important. If you get sick, have to work longer or different hours or even if the weather is bad enough that you shouldn’t drive you will be thankful you planned ahead.
The second reason you should stock up on food is when you can purchase it at a discount. Although the warehouse clubs may provide bulk food at a discount you can save much more money if you buy extra during a sale at your regular supermarket and stock it for later use.
Some things just don’t work well for long term storage. For instance you can’t do much about perishable produce like lettuce, bananas but there are some workarounds to get you through. If you were to stock something like frozen spinach, collards in a can or other types of vegetables like carrots you can still make a side dish or a salad. Dried beans can be sprouted in a glass jar with holes and provide additional nourishment not to mention something fresh and green.
Speaking of dried beans you can purchase a variety of beans that have different uses. Some work well in soups and others can be sprouted or used directly as a side dish after cooking. You can also make tacos and other meals with beans and their cost is relatively cheap. Normally under $1.50 per pound which results in many cans worth of beans once they are cooked and hydrated.
Although fresh fruit is difficult to keep you can buy a variety of different berries in frozen bags and canned fruit is always good but you might want to pour off the syrup and rinse the fruit lightly to reduce your sugar intake.
Of course you make your own soups to save money but if you don’t you normally can find large sales in the fall and spring of canned soup that you can store for a year or more. I normally pick up a few cases of my favorite brand of soup when it drops from the normal $2.50 a can down to 99cents a can. Some of my family members like to use soup for lunch and the cans are simple for them to prepare. A few cases will normally last until the next sale which means while everyone else is paying $2.50 every can I buy is less than half that.
Canned goods normally last about a year but some last longer. Tuna, Spam, Salmon and other items also go on big sales that can be 25% to 50% off.
Along with food you should stock up on other items that you normally use like liquid soap when it goes on sale or paper products. Hitting a big box store and picking up a 25 pack of toilet paper means you do that once in a while which saves you time through out the year while shopping. It also saves you money.
Another thing that can save you time and improve your breakfasts is making a whole bunch of pancakes and freezing them. Yes pancakes freeze really well and they are not only good for breakfast but also for a late night snack. Just take a few out and microwave them and boom you got some pancakes with no real cleanup after.
Pizza is the same way. You can purchase pizza at really good discounts or you can make your own and freeze it for later. I buy 5 pound bags of shredded mozzarella at a warehouse club and then fill plastic sandwich bags full of it for later use. It normally takes a few hours for it to warm up so you have to remember to take a bag out of the freezer the night before.
I am sure you can think of many things that you can store for an extended period of time that often go on sale for much less than the normal price.
Starting your pantry doesn’t mean buying everything at once. You build it up over a number of months by watching for sales. Start slow by getting a few boxes of pasta when its on sale. Then buy a couple bags of dried beans and learn to cook with them its really not hard. Within a short time you will have enough stuff that you bought on deep discount that could feed you and your family for a couple weeks or maybe even a couple months.