How to Stock Your Pantry for Under $100

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You open up your kitchen cabinets and pantry and find them bare minimal, while at the same time, your bank account seems to be on life support. To make matters worse, you have several hungry mouths to feed on top of that.

Chances are, you’ve experienced this at one point or another and know that it’s no laughing matter. Maybe this is a reality that you’re currently dealing with and you’re wondering how you’ll be able to put food on the table? 

Fortunately, there are a number of different strategies on how to stock up your pantry when you’re on a limited budget and it won’t require you to eat Ramen noodles to do it. Whew! Some of them are also helpful tips when you’re looking to establish a pantry for emergency situations as well. Here’s how to stock your pantry for under $100. In case you missed this post, 100 Low Budget Meals Anyone Will Love Every Day

How to Stock Your Pantry for Under $100

How To Stock Your Pantry For Under $100

Clean Out Your Pantry 

This may be something that doesn’t seem to make sense with the topic, but there are a number of reasons why you should do this. For starters, cleaning out your pantry helps you get rid of any food that may be outdated or something that your family will never eat. Just remember that the date on the label is the sell-by date unless it’s marked that way.  

It also allows you to take inventory and see what you’re actually dealing with. You may be surprised what you’ll find that’s been sitting there all this time that you can create a meal from. In fact, there may be several different meals waiting for you, which only requires one item for you to pick up at the grocery store to make the meal complete.   

Pay Attention to the Weekly Ads 

Stocking your pantry on a budget may require more time and planning on your part, but looking at each store’s weekly ad has a number of benefits. Yes, this may require you to make multiple grocery store stops during the week, but you’ll be satisfied to know that you found the cheapest price on what you needed. 

Another reason for you to pay attention to ad flyers is because they often have coupons and other discounts for you to take advantage of in their stores. Also, looking at the ads before you visit can give you time to look in your pantry and see what meals you can create with the items on sale, alongside what you already have on hand.  

Shop the Cheapest Store

You’re not doing yourself any favors by continuing to be a loyal customer to a grocery store that has higher prices. When you’re not shopping off of the ad flyer, at least make sure that you’re shopping at one of the less expensive stores in town. Depending on where you live, that could be Aldi, Piggly Wiggly, or Trader Joe’s. All of them have private labels that are comparable with the national brands and you’ll wind up paying a lot less. 

Purchase Non-Perishable Items In Bulk

Are there any foods that you find your family eating quite often? It may be time for you to consider buying them in bulk. Dried beans, lentils, rice, and oats are all items that can be stored for a longer period of time and you can find them in 20 lb and even 50 lb bags. Though you’ll be paying more money upfront, making the decision to buy your nonperishables in bulk can save you a bunch of money over time while knocking off about a quarter per pound.

Another thing to consider is if you are purchasing in larger quantities you may be saving the number of trips you have to take to the store, thus saving time, gas for the vehicle, and the related maintenance expenses over time.

Stick With Water

You may have a few unhappy campers under your roof for a while, but cutting out all beverages from your grocery shopping visit is another biggie. It’s not healthy for your family to be drinking pop and energy drinks anyway. Yes, that even includes no longer buying bottled water when you visit.

Some of you may find that your tap water is unfit to drink. That may prompt you to consider the option of buying a water filter for your refrigerator that will remove any impurities in your tap water. I highly recommend installing a Reverse Osmosis system. If you are handy, you can install one yourself for around $300.00 or less. Then once a year clean out the tubes and install new filters for under $100.00. You will never buy bottled water again, and that’s a good thing.

We’ve also found that things like humidifiers get less dirty and last longer with the reverse osmosis water. That saves having to buy distilled water from the store too which can prove expensive over the long term.

Grocery Shop Alone

While we love our children to the moon and back, if you have the option to do your grocery shopping without them, don’t feel guilty in doing so. Yes, that even means leaving your spouse behind, who can be just as troublesome. That way you’re not walking out to your car with items that were placed in your cart by others based on their wants, and you’re able to focus on maximizing your value with every dollar that you spend.  

Penny-Pinching Foods

There are several food items out there that are not only extremely cheap, but still contain all the nutrition that you don’t want to miss out on for your family. Here are a few of them to consider: 

Eggs

Large eggs usually run you right around $1.00 a dozen. That’s cheap for the amount of protein and the number of meals you can create with them. You’ll need them for baking purposes, for breakfast, or in your egg drop soup.  

Dried Beans

A large bag of dried beans will cost you considerably less than what you’d pay for them in canned form. There are also many different types of beans out there, allowing you to create different dishes with them, whether you’re in the mood for chili, soup, tortillas, or some other bean dish. 

Rice

Rice is also super cheap and can stretch several of your meals. With the right spices and seasonings, the rice shouldn’t have to taste the same for every meal. If you need a rice cooker, check this one out: Rice Cooker

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great breakfast item that’s not only filling, but it’s actually healthy too. That is, if you avoid purchasing the prepackaged sweetened ones. If you know where to look, you can find oatmeal for under a dollar a pound. 

Peanut Butter 

There’s not a week that goes by where you won’t find a deal on peanut butter when you shop the ads. Besides, it’s a food item that you won’t be able to go without if you have children in your family. Peanut butter has plenty of protein and can be used in a number of different ways besides on a PB&J. 

Potatoes

A bag of potatoes will cost you very little and you can use them to make several different meals other than baked or mashed potatoes. They can be used to make a soup, in a casserole, or a yummy diced garlic roasted potatoes entree for breakfast. 

How To Stock Your Pantry For Under $100

Final Word

Even if you’re not on a tight budget, these tips can still be useful in helping you save money. It also doesn’t require you to sacrifice your family’s nutrition in order for you to do it.  Stocking your pantry for less than $100 may require you to shop differently than what you did before, but it will be well worth it for your checking account. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Wooden Bowls with Beans and Legumes Deposit photos_230175204_s-2019

21 thoughts on “How to Stock Your Pantry for Under $100

  • November 12, 2020 at 7:29 am
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    Great post! We do use most of them. I like to buy the biggest bulk foods that we can. Dried of course. I also shop the sales, just like my mother taught me. She would go the the farthest store, the main one she shopped at, and shopped the sales on the way back home. She did this as long as I can remember. We always had plenty to eat. We always had extra food stored. She was born in 1928, and knew to be frugal. She taught me that through actions. I do miss her so much. She left us in 2007.

    Reply
    • November 12, 2020 at 8:24 am
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      Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, my mother was born in 1929 and dies in 2006. We learned so much about the same frugal tips! Love it! Linda

      Reply
      • November 12, 2020 at 8:48 am
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        Linda, isn’t it odd how much our lives parallel? We did learn from the best!

        Reply
  • November 12, 2020 at 7:38 am
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    Gosh, Linda…. your eggs are a dollar a dozen?? I am paying between 3.50 and 6 for a dozen of free-range. I won’t consume factory eggs.

    Anyway, my purpose for writing is that you alerting us to the RO water unit eliminating the need for distilled water made me really think. We have an RO unit, but I have been following instructions and buying distilled for my C-PAP machine. I was not thinking it through. Well, I’m not buying it any more!!!

    Thank you very much. I will not be consulting with the manufacturer, because I believe I understand the science behind the RO and the distillation process.

    Reply
    • November 12, 2020 at 8:22 am
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      Hi Glenda, let me explain, we buy 5 dozen at a time. That makes them cheaper. We share with neighbors. RO is the best thing ever. Stay well, Linda

      Reply
  • November 12, 2020 at 8:53 am
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    Loved this article as it brought up memories of shopping with my mother but also shopping after my second son was born ( 16 yrs after my first): I’d put the baby with my oldest at 5am, grocery shop! Far less junk food and a lot easier than having both with me. Zoom to today: I now try to Make my 2 sons and my grandson (2 yrs younger than my youngest) come into the store with me, as I’d like their feedback, suggestions. And, lol, their muscle when I buy bulk. Your article is so practical: cleaning out pantry also gives an idea of past impulse buys, which sure don’t help stocking for under $100. And, fewer trips does help with transportation costs. Peace to all!

    Reply
    • November 12, 2020 at 9:14 am
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      Hi Wendy, it’s crazy when I organize my pantry, I see stuff that I forgot about. I have a teeny tiny pantry with sticks put between the cans in my kitchen. Isn’t it wonderful to have sons help lift the bulk stuff? I had my granddaughter living here for a year while she went to school. She helped us with so many things. She was so fun to have around too! We live about 10-12 miles from the nearest grocery store and even though we only have one car which gets great mileage, I do not like shopping. So the less I have to go to any store, the better. Like you said fewer trips and transportation costs. Stay well, Linda

      Reply
  • November 12, 2020 at 10:05 am
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    Yes, it is important to buy where you get the best deal. Here Trader Joe’s and Safeway are among the most expensive. I shop at Winco and Walmart and occasionally at Costco. Also, at Cash and Carry which is open to everyone but deals with large quantities. They are excellent for large sacks of oats, beans, sugar ,etc. Whatever saves you money is great!

    Reply
    • November 12, 2020 at 2:19 pm
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      Hi Cheryl, I totally agree wherever we can get the best deal and quality. I wish a Trader Joes was here just so I could get a certain Christmas cookie!! LOL! Funny but true! We have limited choices here and we do not have an Aldi or Winco. But it’s all good! Linda

      Reply
  • November 12, 2020 at 6:01 pm
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    This is how we always shopped. Picture….. nursing baby daughter at 5am, putting her back to bed, dressing for work, leaving an hour earlier then necessary, with a cooler and ice pack in the car….Each day hitting the sale specials at one of 4 stores I shopped on the way to work. Worked eight hours, meet husband in parking lot, trading kids, go home do dinner, homework, laundry, sleep….. and repeat….. I need a nap just thinking about it… if it wasn’t on sale, we didn’t need it.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2020 at 6:02 am
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      Hi Chris, wow, those were the days. We didn’t have time to be exhausted!!! Boy, does that bring back memories! I remember the term, “groundhog day”, we did the same thing every day. I’ve told my daughters being a mom is the hardest but most fulfilling job in the world. Great comment! Linda

      Reply
  • November 13, 2020 at 5:53 am
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    Linda, I enjoy reading your posts and the comments. I did not know that using RO would mean not needing to buy distilled water for my CPAP or my wife’s iron. Our water here is very hard so most of our drinking water comes from our filtered refrigerator tap.

    You really get eggs for less than a dollar a dozen? I have chickens and with the cost of feed I suspect MY eggs cost around that. My six birds lay between 3-5 eggs per day so I always have plenty. Those numbers will slack off during Winter due to lack of daylight. This Fall and Winter I’m studying up on the best ways to grow my own chicken food and next Spring I plan to start doing that.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2020 at 6:06 am
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      Hi Ray, in order to get them that cheap you have to buy 5 dozen at a time. They usually cost $3.99 or $4.99 for 60 eggs! We split them with neighbors too! They will never be eggs like what your chickens lay, but they work for us. Linda

      Reply
    • November 13, 2020 at 6:07 am
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      Ray, one more thing I use my RO for my humidifier that I run 24/7. RO saves so much money. Linda

      Reply
  • November 13, 2020 at 8:47 am
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    Hello Linda,
    I am trying to rebuild my water storage. I had to sell my 50 gallon barrels when we moved.
    I just purchased some portable water bricks and purification drops, also water bottles with filter straws for each family member.
    Do you have a recommendation for an outside water collection barrel?
    Can you recommend a RO to purchase?

    Reply
    • November 13, 2020 at 8:57 am
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      Hi Wendy, I haven’t purchased a water collection barrel yet, it’s on my wish list. We bought our RO from a plumber because we are not plumbers (LOL). We have built houses and done electrical but plumbing we hire out! I saw them online from Costco for under $300 but you have to install them yourself under your kitchen sink. This looks like ours but they all look the same. You just need to be able to get new filters every year and clean out the tubes. Our plumber comes once a year for about $95.00 to replace the filters and check the pressure, and clean the tubes, etc. https://www.costco.com/aquverse-5-stage-complete-ro-system.product.100516084.html I hope this helps, Linda

      Reply
  • November 13, 2020 at 9:02 am
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    Thank you! You are always very helpful! I looked on Amazon for the best ratings on water collection barrels and they reviewed the top five. I think I found a decent one for around $100. I want to use it to water my little garden. Taking baby steps here and there.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2020 at 11:21 am
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      Hi Wendy, I need to order one next year, I have wanted one forever, Mark not so much! LOL! He can help me install it!! LOL! Gardens are the best! Linda

      Reply
  • November 16, 2020 at 9:38 am
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    I wish you would open your Facebook group back up. It was so helpful to see the discussions on shortages. Now that they are happening in my area I don’t have a place to turn to . You provided a needed service.

    Reply
    • November 16, 2020 at 9:45 am
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      Hi Renee, you are so kind. I wish the members were as nice as you. I’ve been antsy to get it back up and running. Renee, I will open today, fingers crossed we can keep the mean people out and block them. Thank you, my friend, Linda

      Reply

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