Stocking the pantry with bulk amounts of food is something that has held my interest for a while. Years ago, I got my first experience with having a stock of food available from couponing, which was great, but they weren’t exactly the healthiest options, and eventually I got tired of playing the couponing game.
After couponing, my thought process transitioned stocking my pantry with healthy foods I know we will eat, I know will last long, and that are bases for meals. In other words: pantry staples.
If you are currently on a tight budget and working to get out of debt, you can still manage to organize a food storage system within your budget and I’ll share how I am doing it at the end of this post!
Why Stock a Pantry
Having a well-stocked pantry is like having money in the bank, a little grocery insurance policy, and “plan b” for those days when getting to the grocery store isn’t possible. Let me explain further…
According to Jim Cramer “stocking up your pantry can be one of the wisest short-term investments you can make if you have the space and the cash to spare“. According to Government Data, food prices are rising at roughly 4.5% a year, meaning that waiting to buy something when you need it will likely cost you more money in the long run.
As have a stockpile of basic pantry essentials provides you insurance against unpredictable prices, financial trouble, and situations like extreme weather events.
What to Stock in your pantry
If you are looking to build a well-rounded pantry to support homemade meals you are going to want to build a supply, or stockpile of basic ingredients. Dry ingredients like, rice, oats, beans and pasta should be your foundation, because they have a long shelf live and can easily be incorporated into a variety of meals.
- Flour: all-purpose, whole wheat
- Sugar: white, brown, confectioners (powdered)
- Rolled Oats
- Rice: long-grain white, brown, or jasmine rice
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Dry Beans: black, white (cannellini, navy), kidney, garbanzo
Oils & Vinegar:
- Oils: vegetable or canola, extra virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, non-stick spray
- Vinegar: apple cider, red wine, rice, balsamic
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Mustard: yellow, Dijon
- Hoisin Sauce
- Peanut Butter
- Tomatoes: paste, diced, sauce, crushed/puréed, Ro-Tel
- Beans: black, kidney, white, garbanzo
- Pumpkin Purée
- Pasta Sauce
- Coconut Milk
- Broths and Stocks
- Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk
- Soups for quick meals
How to Stock your Pantry on a Budget
Start Slow & Small The temptation is to dive in headfirst and start buying lots of stuff to get your pantry fully loaded is real. But, if your grocery budget is tight already, it’s best to start by setting aside just $5 to $10 a week to buy things to build your kitchen pantry.
On your next grocery shopping trip, consider which foods you are currently buying every week, and buy the staple pantry item in bulk, as a 1-3 month supply, or however much you can comfortably fit into your weekly grocery budget.
For example, I buy 2 cans of black beans every week, which is roughly $1 at Aldi (One month’s supply – $4). This week during my regular shopping trip I picked up a 3 month supply which worked out to be 2 flats of 12 cans for around $12. Easy peasy and now that is off my weekly shopping list for a while.
Do this every shopping trip. Begin with the food that your family eats the most, that has a reasonably long shelf storage. If you shop every week, by the end of the first month you’ll have a great start to your pantry storage.
My plan for stocking my pantry for the next 3 months looks like this:
- Week 1 – Add a 3 month supply of BEANS to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 2 – Add a 3 month supply of RICE to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 3 – Add a 3 month supply of ROLLED OATS to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 4 – Add a 3 month supply of MACARONI to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 5 – Add a 3 month supply of SUGAR to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 6 – Add a 3 month supply of SALT to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 7 – Add a 3 month supply BAKING SODA & BAKING POWDER of to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 8 – Add a 3 month supply of POWDERED MILK to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 9 – Add a 3 month supply of FLOUR to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 10 – Add a 3 month supply of OLIVE OIL to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 11 – Add a 3 month supply UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER of to the regular weekly shopping trip
- Week 12 – Add a 3 month supply of YEAST to the regular weekly shopping trip