Having a well-stocked pantry can help make or break your grocery budget each month. The thing is, initially stocking a pantry with all the necessities to create great meals can be quite costly. It also takes time, unless you want to pay a fortune!
Here are 6 tips you’ll love on how to stock your pantry on a budget.
Watch for Sales
The first way to save big money when it comes to stocking your pantry is to watch for sales on the products you know you will use in a timely matter. Be sure to stock up as much as your budget and storage space will allow!
Don’t wait until you run out of an item to buy it. This is a great way to ensure you’ll be paying top dollar! By buying ahead, you can purchase the pantry items you need when they’re on sale or on markdown, allowing you to purchase twice (or triple?) the amount than if it weren’t on sale.
Know what your family likes
Don’t stock up on things your family would rather not eat. Say you come across an amazing deal on kidney beans, but you know most of your family members hate eating them, it’s not worth the cost to stock your pantry with kidney beans that won’t ever be used, even if they were a great price.
There are always plenty of coupons out there that come in handy for stocking up on cereal, canned goods, bread and more. Bulk Barn also has a great coupon each month if you prefer to purchase some items that way. Coupons are also great for stocking your “household” pantry. I’m never without a nice supply of toothpaste, shampoo or razors!
Buy in Bulk
The unit price of rice, beans, or spices often goes down as the package size goes up. So purchasing items in bulk can be a great deal! I like to buy rice, flour and sugar in big bags because I know we’ll use it up before it goes bad. This is much cheaper for us then buying small packages each time we run out. On the other hand, buying small quantities of spices we don’t use often at the bulk food store, also saves us money.
Also, if you find a great deal on something when you buy it in bulk, but you don’t have the storage space, consider splitting your purchase with friends.
Think outside the “can”
Rather than always buying canned goods, (beans, vegetables), consider purchasing a bag of dried beans or a bag of frozen corn instead. Often, your money can stretch further if you go this route.
Related: Basic Pantry List and a Free Printable
What tips and suggestions do you have for stocking your pantry on a budget?
I’m a big fan of Sally’s instant oatmeal that you can get at Walmart (and Target and maybe Superstore). There are 5 in a box for $1.77. Almost every morning I make myself a bowl and give Sienna a few spoonfuls. Well, pretty soon, she was eating my entire bowl. I could see this getting expensive quickly if I was making two bowls a day. Although Sally’s is whole grain and “good for you”, I still didn’t feel comfortable giving it to Sienna on a regular basis because I wasn’t sure how much sugar was actually in each package.
This is when I decided it was time to search for a recipe for homemade instant oatmeal packets.
I found this recipe over at Life as Mom and gave it a try. It was a hit with both of us. I used snack size bags that I had sitting around and because I’m crazy, I wash and reuse them a couple of times before they get tossed.
Here’s my version of Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets:
- 1/4 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon instant milk powder
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- sprinkle of salt
- pinch of cinnamon
Add all the ingredients into one little bag.
Make up as many bags as you'd like.
To make the oatmeal:
Add the oatmeal mix to a bowl.
Add 6 Tablespoons of water.
Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
Recipe adapted slightly from [Life as Mom|http://lifeasmom.com/2010/03/frugal-friday-making-my-own-instant-oatmeal.html].
I put together each packet in an assembly line fashion. First of all I added the oats to each bag, then I added the milk powder, then the brown sugar…and so on. I make about 10 bags at a time, in case Sienna decides she doesn’t like oatmeal anymore. 🙂 You could even add some dried fruit to this! The possibilities are endless, really.
What convenience items do you enjoy making from scratch?
Homemade Pudding Mix
Here we are, the last recipe for March Mixes! I hope you enjoyed this series and have found some new recipes to add to your pantry!
As the picture shows, pudding with some whipping cream on top makes for a nice treat! But homemade pudding mix has many other uses as well. Such as an ingredient to keep cookies soft, to flavour whipping cream, for cakes, and even pudding Popsicles!
- 2 1/2 cups dry milk powder
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups corn starch
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup cocoa
To make the pudding mix
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months
To make the pudding
In a double boiler, add 1/4 cup pudding mix to 2 1/2 cups warm water.
Stir until thickened. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add 1 tsp butter and remove from heat.
Beat 1 egg with half of the pudding mixture, then blend it together with the other half slowly so the pudding doesn't get lumpy.
Cook one more minute.
Stir in 3/4 tsp vanilla.
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Mmm, cookies! This recipe can be prepared as a mix (great for gift giving) or made into dough and frozen into individual balls for quick cookies!
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix together flour, baking soda and salt, brown sugar, white sugar and chocolate chips.
In a medium bowl, mix butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet into the freezer for one hour. Place dough balls into a freezer bag.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Place cookie dough balls onto a cookie sheet to thaw.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until golden brown.
To make a mix follow these instructions:
Combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 3/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt; pour into a 1L jar.
Layer 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup white sugar, pressing down firmly after each layer.
Close jar and attach these directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Beat 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1 large egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in large bowl. Add cookie mix and beat until combined. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
By preparing this recipe for whole wheat bread mix, you’ll always have a “loaf” of bread on hand!
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dry milk powder
Mix the dry ingredients together until they are well blended.
Pour 4 cups of mixture into four different bags or jars and label Whole Wheat Bread Mix.
To bake in the Bread Machine
Add to your bread machine: 1 1/4 cup warm water, 1 1/2 Tbsp oil,1 bag/jar of Whole Wheat Bread Mix and 2 tsp bread machine yeast.
Put your bread machine on the basic setting and then press start.