Monday, February 22, 2016

Pantry Living: How I Spent Less Than $60 For Groceries This Week

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 couldBecause 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?  


I made these brownies for our fellowship meal yesterday with ingredients I had in my pantry.

14 comments:

  1. Yes I do and the one thing about it is that I have to remember to go deep into it and use those items before the ones in the front of the shelves. I'm in clean out mode at the moment.

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  2. Wonderful tips Deanna! And oh...those brownies are calling my name! Have a great week!

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  3. My mom kept a very well stocked pantry. She was a depression era baby and never wanted to be without. I live in a tiny cottage, so storage is an issue, but yes, we always have extra and it makes me feel secure knowing that.

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  4. I do not keep a pantry as well as I should. I like this and appreciate the encouragement to do so! Good for you!

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  5. Great post, Deanna! Yes, I do keep a pantry, probably a little too much of one. I love to can vegetables from the garden, buy canned chicken on sale, purchase tp in bulk, and generally try to stay ahead of the game by buying when things are not as expensive.

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  6. I want to! I whole heartedly agree with every single thing you are saying but it's a bit overwhelming for me. ..where do I begin. Thanks for all the great tips and resources! I am going to check out these blogs!

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  7. Those brownies look so wonderful. Now I am craving brownies...*smiles*! I try to add things to our pantry here and there and practiced and tried a few from scratch recipes. I enjoy it. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I wish I had a large pantry to be able to buy more in bulk but storage is my issue. We always had a garden when I was growing up but just didn't have the appreciation for fresh produce back then...I could just kick myself! I LOVE my veggies now and enjoy the fresh produce from my son's garden. It's just a smart way to live. Those look like some killer brownies!

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  9. I do and I owe it all to reading Brenda's blog all these years. it's going to come in handy tonight when I know that I have frozen homemade chicken soup in individual serving sizes. You are feeding a lot of people so congrats on being able to bring home the groceries under budget! $66 is amazing!

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  10. Oops! Even better! (just $60)

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  11. Yes, I do. My parents always had a garden and we would freeze and can fruits and vegetables for the winter. They would purchase a 1/2 of beef and freeze it. I don't do that, but I do put up vegetables and fruits, and keep a good stock of meat in the freezer. I purchase it when it's on sale. Since Christmas I've been whittling it all down, and it does take some time.
    Those brownies do look scrumptious!

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  12. Yes, I do keep a pantry. It is something that I had to learn. As a newlywed and even as a young mom, I was so disorganized and often ran out of things or did not have all of the items I needed to prepare a recipe. First of all, I had to learn to plan...and then I had to learn to buy extra. My mother-in-law, my friend Ann, Brenda ("your" Brenda)...all have had a part in inspiring me to build my pantry.

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  13. I do keep a pantry, and it has been a blessing many times! As you know, we have been living without any income for the last 6 weeks, and being able to cook from scratch, and live out of our pantry has been a HUGE blessing! Praise God, my husband was offered a job today!

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  14. Yes, I do keep a pantry and it's been a blessing over the years. I have recently started building up my water supply!

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