By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern
I grew up in a family of 6, where both of my parents were self-employed and my three brothers and I were homeschooled, which meant we were always home and always ate home-cooked meals.
This meant that my mom always had to keep our pantry well stocked. As I’ve grown up and helped my mom in the kitchen and at the store, I’ve picked up on some of the ways that she has kept our pantry well stocked with good and nutritious food and done it while keeping a budget in mind. Here are 4 of her main tips on stocking a pantry cheaply.
Get staple ingredients
When you look in our pantry, there are always sealed bins of staple ingredients, like brown rice, white rice, pinto beans, bread flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, and white sugar. My mom always makes sure that we have these on hand, as they are used in almost every recipe. Also, these items don’t spoil fast, so if my mom happens to catch that one of them is on sale, she stocks up on it to use in the future.
Clip those coupons
My mom has always been a coupon clipper. Even though each individual coupon only saves you a couple of cents, over time these savings add up significantly. Keep an eye out for paper coupons that come in the mail, coupons that come on the packages of some food items, or the new digital coupons that grocery stores let you download onto your rewards card.
Look for reduced-price foods
Often, grocery stores will reduce the price of certain items that are either being discontinued or are nearing their expiration date. As long as they are not spoiled, these foods are just as good as their full-priced counterparts. When you buy reduced-price products, you’re minimizing food waste and saving money. That’s a win-win!
Buy in bulk
My family’s favorite store is Costco Wholesale because we can buy certain ingredients in bulk at a much cheaper price than the grocery store. Costco and other wholesale stores are definitely the places to go if you are looking to buy large quantities of dry goods, canned goods, meats, and even vegetables, breads, and dairy! They are perfect for stocking up on those essentials that store well and don’t go bad.
Whether you have a family of 6 as I do, or a smaller or larger family, keeping your pantry stocked while also saving money is definitely helpful. The nice thing about a well-stocked pantry is that you’ll usually always have everything you need whenever you decide to cook something, and it reduces the number of times you have to run to the store for ingredients!