Frugal Toolbox: Your Pantry

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Serious about saving money? You need a pantry. Got a pantry? Is it working hard to keep cash in your pocket?

Even if it’s just two shelves in a crowded little kitchen, your pantry can save you money, make you healthier, and save you time.

When you shop strategically (using loss leaders and maybe coupons, if you’re ambitious) you save money and you usually end up with more food than you can consume in one setting. Your pantry is your stockpile of cheap food. Group like items together to help you find what you need in a hurry.  At my house, with only two of us, we implement frequent Eat Yourself Out Of House And Home campaigns—I buy meat strategically, too, so the freezer and the pantry get emptied in one glorious onslaught of cheap, delicious home-cooked yum.

Over at Six Dollar Family, Stacy tells you how buying and keeping money saving staples like rice, flour, pasta, and broth on hand in your pantry saves you money. No need to buy expensive, highly processed side dishes when you can raid the pantry and make something good using your staples.

You can customize your pantry selections for your family’s preferences.  I keep a few canned veggies on hand in my pantry because I can get them ultra-cheap at Save-A-Lot or (when they’re on sale) at Winn Dixie. We’re not big veggie eaters at my house, but some nice ginger carrots or a creamy corn chowder on a cold day can’t be beat.  I have a lot of canned tomatoes on hand at all times because we like homemade pasta sauce and chili. My addiction to Cap’n Crunch cereal means there’s a special spot for my stash in my pantry. What’s in yours?

Having a pantry means you can make more food at home and ingest fewer scary ingredients. My homemade pasta sauce uses stuff like tomatoes, oregano, and garlic. Not a multi-syllabic preservative to be found! Homemade tortillas use masa (a corn flour) and water. Period. No scary chemicals included. The homemade corn chowder I mentioned? It’s got some salt for flavoring, but a whole lot less sodium than the canned kind. Cooking at home means you control the ingredients.

So all this cooking from scratch sounds great, but isn’t it time consuming? It doesn’t have to be. When you need a quick meal, your pantry comes through for you. Homemade pancakes take a little longer to measure but we’re still talking only five or ten minutes (plus, pancakes for dinner—what, I ask you, is not to like about that?)

How does your pantry help you save money, eat better, and save time?

 

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Author: 25percentsolution

Follow me on Twitter @25pctsolution.

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