"Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be a part of it."
-Geri Weitzman

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frugal Tip of the Month: Stock your Pantry

   One thing I have started doing this year is stocking up on the items for my pantry.  With great sales and coupons it's helped me out.   Of course everyone's pantry is different and you want to keep that in mind.  I wasn't always a fan of this concept and I will tell you why.  Number one, our household is not that big at all so I didn't think that we really needed to keep a lot of stuff.  Number two, I don't have an actual "pantry" in my kitchen so I thought it would be inconvenient for me to have it anywhere else.  Number three, we don't buy a lot of boxed or canned food.  My thought was that's what we had to have in our pantry.  Yes, I know I was very wrong on all three counts.  So this is a small guide or ideas that I hope will help those of you that are wanting to stock up, use those darn coupons or take advantage of great sales.  This is what happened:
   1. I had an "awe ha" moment.  I realized that my pantry didn't have to have all the things that "everyone" should have.  What I mean by this is look at what you go through more often than other things.  Also take notice of when you use it.  Do you bake more in the winter time or do you bake all the time?  Don't stock up on things that you won't use.  For instance, we eat more soup and bake more in the winter months.  So right before Fall I start to watch when things go on sale and look for coupons for those particular things.  I know that canned food doesn't go bad for a long time.   However, if I keep this method I can stock up on other things that I go through more often during other seasons.
  2.  I came to terms with the pantry not being in my kitchen.  Once I was able to get past my weirdness about this I bought a pantry unit and put it out in my garage.  Not only does this help me keep stocked up but also keep my garage clean.  Sounds odd but it's true.
   3.  Your pantry can and should have items that are not food.  I don't know if it was just me but when I thought of a pantry I didn't think of toilet paper and cleaning products.  I just felt like there was some "rule" that was out there that said there could only be food in my pantry.  After a grocery trip that ended in a bill over $100 in just cleaning and non-food items I swore I wasn't going to do that again.  Stock up on toilet paper and cleaning products that you use all the time.  You can take advantage of sales that will help you get ahead.  Last week I bought a 30 pack of toilet paper for $15.99 at Target and it was the brand that I always buy.
   4.  Price watching and coupon cutting is a Sunday morning routine now.  Now that we determined to stock up on what we use I don't spend time cutting out coupons that I will have until they expire or buy something just because we have a coupon.  I keep a "cheat sheet" in my purse of the items we use the most.  Anything from cereal to dollars per pound on meat this helps me get to know my stores typical price ranges.  That way when I am at my main grocery shopping store and I have seen in an ad ,or have a coupon for something, I know where my best deal is.   Get to know your needs and your stores.  For coupon expertise visit www.thekrazycouponlady.com.
  With that all said I have to tell you that this is what has helped me.  Everyone is different especially if you have a bigger family, a bigger house and or a bigger budget.  These things have just helped me and I think that no matter if you like to have a garage size pantry or a coat closet size this will help.

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