Sep 21 2011

Switching to a ‘stock my pantry’ shopping method

Several years ago, I wrote about whether it was better to shop for your menu or stock your pantry. Back then, the shop for my menu method worked best for me. I looked for what was on sale and I built my menu around that.

But now, I think I’m going to try changing my approach. I think I’d like a reasonably stocked pantry, and then build my weekly menus around that. I still want to have the freedom to cook whatever sounds good, and hopefully having a well stocked pantry will help in that endeavor.

Last week, I was at a natural food store and I picked up a 50-lb. bag of organic whole wheat flour for $20. I parceled it out into freezer bags and stuck ’em in my freezer. It took up less space than I thought. I probably would like to buy a stand-alone freezer to put in our garage, but only if I can justify the extra expense for the freezer and the extra energy costs.

Where I live now, I’m closest to a Marsh and a Kroger. I like the deals and selection at Kroger best. Then, there’s a natural foods store that’s not too far. Lastly, I can go to Trader Joe’s and stock up from time to time so I’m not making lots of trips.

Further, Azure Standard, the natural bulk food food store, is going to be adding a drop point to Indianapolis in the coming months. Perhaps I can find some deals there.

And of course, there’s always good ol’ Amazon. Great prices on things and usually free shipping if you do it well.

I’m going to set out and make a list of some pantry staples that I’d like to have on hand and then scout out the best places for me to get them.

I don’t like going to the grocery very much right now, so if I can do bigger bulk purchases, and then only get produce and dairy products weekly that would be much faster.

Do you do a shop-the-pantry method? How does it work for you?



5 Responses to “Switching to a ‘stock my pantry’ shopping method”

  1. As I said on the previous post, I continue to go the “stock the pantry” route. We stock up on staples when they’re on sale or buy them in bulk, and have lots of meal options on hand all the time.

  2. I also like to keep a stocked pantry. It helps that I have space and shelving in the basement for my “overstock”! I try to keep it manageable so that I don’t end up with expired food.
    What I really like to stock up on is things that don’t go bad, like toilet paper and Kleenex. It’s nice to know that if anything ever happened with my husband’s job or something, we’d be able to cut costs pretty drastically and just use up our stockpile.

  3. I am also a fan of the stockpile method for several reasons.
    1) I think you can get things even cheaper this way than planning meals around sales.

    2) if you have unexpected guests or a last minute invite, there is generally something on hand to make a dessert or meal without running to the store.

    3) If bad weather or illness comes up and I can’t make it to the store, there is no reason to worry. No more standing in line with the crowds the day before a big snowstorm!

    4) I’m not great at meal planning in advance, so this way I can just look in the cupboards and see what strikes my mood and the situation.

    We have plenty of room to store food, so the pantry method really works for us.

  4. It’s especially great in the winter! Who wants to go shopping during a storm? Not me.

    The stockpile is also a great thing to have in case of leaner income times.

    I am thankful that I finally do have storage space. Previously when I stockpiled things, I made room on shelves in my bedroom or under a bed, but that’s less than ideal.

  5. I stockpile. I typically only shop/buy whatever is on sale. You know…I remember when I first started shopping that way I remember reading about how you would come to know the sales…it’s so true. I definitely know now when to buy and when to wait because a better price is only a week or two away. And I definitely make out better with my coupons that way. Especially on things like soap, toothpaste, toilet paper and kleenex. I can always gauge when the rock bottom price is coming. Then I really stock up. It kills me to pay full price for something. I mean just kills me.

    And you are so right about not needing to go out in bad weather. Or when bad weather is pending…you know how everyone runs to buy milk and bread and stuff. Well we never have to do that because of the stockpile! Although I do have to watch myself that I rotate things regularly or else I forget about things in the back of the shelves! Know what I mean???

    Great post!!!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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