Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Simple Savings - The Pantry Principle: Buy low and stock up!

I watched a short video today about how food prices are rising.  One way to combat this is to use the pantry principle.  For those of you who don't have a pantry of food, just take it a little at a time.  I shop sales and have for years.  The only time I don't is if I am trying a new recipe that has a few ingredients that I don't have on hand.  The pantry principle is very simple.  You buy when prices are low and stock up until they go on sale again.  Only buy what you can use before it expires.  For example, I bought oats last year when they had a big sale and they were between $1 to $1.40 for 42 oz. for name brand oats.  I bought about 10 of them, because we are eating more oatmeal for breakfast than we used to.  I also use oatmeal for muffins, granola, or occasionally for cookies.  I am still using those oats and will buy enough for a year when they go on sale again.  When I first started doing the pantry principle, my pantry had oats and lots of them.  But, the next month canned foods were on sale for 25 cents a can.  That is a great price.  I bought enough to last me until they go on sale again.  So, then I had oats and canned veggies.  Not too appetizing, but through time you add more and more and finally get a pretty well balanced pantry of food items that you regularly use and eat.  Chocolate chips, flour and sugar are on sale during the holidays.  You will notice regular sale patterns as the weeks go by.  Little by little, you will have enough in your pantry that you can wait until it goes on sale again before you buy it.  That way, you are getting your mayonnaise for $1 or $1.50 instead of the $3.99 I had to pay a few weeks ago because I ran out.  You will find that it is hard to pay regular price as you get used to buying things for much less.  If I were just starting and had $50 a week to shop, I would use 10-15 dollars to stock up on sale items and use the rest to buy what I need for the week.  As you stock the items you regularly use, little by little you will end up spending less on your regular weekly items and have more money to stock up on sale items each week.  Figure out what your family likes and doesn't like.  I ended up donating about 15 boxes of Hamburger Helper because we are used to eating homemade food and don't eat it.  I got it for only 37 cents each, but since we don't eat it, I don't buy it at all not matter what the price is unless I am donating it to charity.  I bought too much cereal last year on some good sales as I was just learning to coupon and went kind of crazy.  I was grateful that my older kids and son in law helped eat it.  It would have expired before we would have.  We don't eat 8 boxes of Fruit Loops in a year.  We are hard pressed to even eat one.  I don't coupon much any more since we didn't eat a lot of the items I bought with coupons, but that is what works for me.  It is good to have 3-6 months worth of flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, etc. on hand.  If there is a hurricane warning, you won't have to run out and fight the crowd as they clear the shelves in the grocery store.  If you lose your job, you can last for a while without having to spend a lot of money on groceries.  Also, you can get things at the price you want to pay and save lots of money that way. 

Does this make sense?  Do you have any questions?  Do you shop this way?  Do you have some good ideas to share?  Link up or comment if you would like to add some ideas.

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