When Tim started his business last August, we did not have lots of money in reserve, nor did we take out a loan. He started his own business, in part, because we wanted margin both in finances and in time. He was very busy all through the autumn and we socked away as much extra as we could.
Work slowed through the winter, as we knew it would, and we tightened our spending to next to nothing. God has provided for all we have needed; work just when we didn't know what we'd do, contacts for encouragement that also led to work. He has taught us to trust Him in new ways this winter. He is faithful.
One way He has provided for us is through something He lead me to do years ago and that is to have a pantry, to deepen it when I could and to use it.
Brenda has been writing about pantry living for years. I've learned a lot from how she buys extra as she can to deepen her pantry. She also has shared links with others who stock their pantries. The reasons people do this are many. Some life on a limited budget, some want to be prepared for a crisis, some want to be as independent as possible.
For us, I felt the Lord nudging me to start to garden nearly 10 years ago, to teach the kids how to grow vegetables (also just to have the skill that they could do this and help their feed their families nutritious foods), and to freeze or can the extra. That is when I started to build my pantry.
I learned to can foods in my missionary years, and that is when I learned to cook from scratch, making my own sauces, using spices to season food rather than buying a seasoning packet, to make jams and jellies. I wanted to pass those things along to my children.
The benefits of stocking a pantry are numerous - it allows you to share with others, it allows for spontaneous hospitality, and it has allowed us to not spend much on groceries over the winter this year.
This past week, I had to use as little money as I possibly could. Because of what I had in the freezer in meat, and bread, and because of the food in the pantry, and the fact that our hens are laying very well now, I was able to spend $33 at Aldi (mostly for fresh produce and cheeses) and $22 dollars at Target (where I find on plan items for my eating plan). We are eating very well.
I was able to do this by stocking up meats, including lunch meat, canned items, pastas (which we don't eat very often), and ingredients to make food from scratch, when I had the extra funds. During non lean months, I use part of my weekly budget for this, which allows me to take advantage of buying meat on sale such as the turkeys I bought at Target after Thanksgiving that were .79 a pound! We've also been gifted foods. Right before Christmas our friends gave us a ham from their own pigs. That is a wonderful gift!
There are a few pantry blogs I read for inspiration -
The Bluebirds Are Nesting
A Working Pantry
I am thankful that I can be a help to the family in saving us money by taking advantage of sales, of cooking mostly from scratch, and from building our pantry. My friend Brenda encourages do it bit by bit and just doing what you can. If you are able to buy one extra can of something your family likes and will eat, then do it.
It's also a great way to stock up on gift items, such as specialty teas, chocolate, etc. For example at Christmas time Aldi had wonderful cappuccino chocolate chips! I'd never seen those before, and I was able to buy some. These are a great gift for your coffee loving baking friends!
I hope you are encouraged by this post, that is might help you to get started. Today, I am going to use our cash reward for Costco to stock up on toilet paper, meat, and some frozen veg.
Do you keep a pantry?