Saving in the Pantry

How often do you find yourself going to the grocery store? Personally, I hate going to the grocery store. I know my family (and I) need food to survive, but with the cost of food today I literally cringe at the thought of my total grocery bill. The sad thing is that I’m only feeding a family of four. I can’t imagine those of you who have five, six, or more family members all living under one roof!

Aside from the normal bills (mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc.) food is one of the highest expenses for most families. While I can’t eliminate the food bill completely, I can help you save a little extra with the following tips.

  • Keep Inventory – I can’t tell you the number of times that I would go to the grocery store, list in hand, and come home only to discover that I had purchased several items that I already had in my pantry. I finally decided to keep track of the things I had in the pantry and my spice rack to eliminate this needless spending.
  • Use What You Have – Have you ever went through the pantry only to find a lot of the items out of date? I’ve had that happen too and it’s irritating because I have to throw the food away which only wastes more money. I’ve started to plan meals around the items that I have in the pantry. For instance, if I have a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup and some angel hair pasta, I’ll put chicken tetrazzini on the menu for the week because there will only be a few additional items that I need to buy to make the dish, saving me money.
  • Be Creative – If you aren’t careful, you can spend half your paycheck on groceries every two weeks! The cost of food is on the rise, making it even more imperative to look for ways to make your dollar stretch. When I sit down to plan my weekly meals out, before hitting the grocery store, I try to be creative with the ingredients I am going to buy. For example, if I’m going to make chicken tetrazzini one night, I make sure to have tortillas on hand for chicken wraps the next day for lunch. If you can find a way to turn one meal into something a little different, it will make eating leftovers interesting for the family, saving you even more money!
  • Buy Extra – When you can, go ahead and buy a little extra at the grocery store. Don’t buy extra “junk” but instead, buy extra of the foods you and your family eats on a regular basis. For instance, if you are going to use the last can of cream of mushroom soup for an upcoming meal, buy an extra can to have just in case you need another can of it before your next trip to the grocery store. If you find some meat on sale that you regularly cook with, buy extra and freeze the excess. This saves money as you’re getting it at a discount already, but it also saves later when you need the meat because you already have it. There’s no need to go out and buy it!

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