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
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 For starters, cleaning out your pantry helps you get rid of any food that may be outdated or something that your family will never eat.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.
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:
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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
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