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This is Why! part 6

Previous entries can be found HERE . Thus far we’ve talked about how I use leftovers to help stock my pantry, how I shop to fill my...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Have You Noticed?

Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.  Proverbs 6:6

Have you noticed that things are a bit different here at A Working Pantry this year?

Have you noticed that you are no longer reading about big killer deals we’ve found?

Have you noticed that you’ve been reading the phrase ‘I used what I had on hand to _____’ a lot more?

I hope you’re not disappointed but things have changed.

We no longer have the grocery budget we had to work with in 2015, it has been greatly reduced which means we just don’t have the resources to take advantage of those killer deals.  Does this mean that we have given up on shopping for deals and bargains?  Absolutely not!  But we are much more careful to use our grocery budget for killer deals on necessities and basics.

We are getting creative in substituting what we need for what we have.   In other words, there is a whole lot of ‘making do’ with what we have on hand going on at our house.

I am learning how to get ‘free groceries’ for my pantry (no, this is not a gimmick or some kind of get rich quick scheme).  After chatting with Vicky from The Vicky Challenge about a fiscal fast that her family does a couple times a year, I was inspired to use some of the tips she shared with me to add ‘free groceries’ to my pantry.  I’ll be sharing more about the ‘free groceries’ and other ‘free non-grocery items’ I was able to get and how I did it later in the month.

We are looking for new ways to stretch our smaller grocery budget all the while keeping our pantry well-stocked. 

So, you see things have changed here at A Working Pantry.  I still have a well stocked pantry and will continue to work to keep it that way.  However, out of necessity, the pantry that I have at the end of 2016 will look a bit different than the pantry I started out with in 2016. 

I’m excited and have accepted the challenge of keeping it well-stocked while eating out of it almost exclusively every day.  

It’s going to be an adventurous year!  

I can do this and so can you if you're in a similar situation ... I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!

She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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  1. Patsi,
    I feel so honored! Many thanks to you and Annabel both for making last year and this one so wonderful! I have been given a voice I never thought possible.
    Many Blessings,

    1. Vicky, it is I who feel blessed to be able to learn from you, you really are a wise woman. Thank you for being willing to share that wisdom.

  2. Dear Patsy, I look at it this way... there are seasons and we have to adjust to them. And later there will be a season of plenty and it will be time to make hay while the sun shines!
    I think it is awesome to show that we can adapt to changes in circumstances and do the best we can. We have to be willing to change and do and try different things. A lot of good can come of needing to learn new things too. I love your "can do" attitude and the way you still help others as well.xxx

    1. Annabel, I agree completely and I have a choice with my attitude, we all do. I have a lot of knowledge and hard earned wisdom in the area of keeping a pantry but there is still a lot I can learn. By sharing our journey I hope that while others are learning from me, I will be learning from them as well.

  3. Patsi,
    Looking forward to taking this walk with you...
    You are a resourceful and creative woman, I have no doubt you'll find many ways to look well to your household while keeping your financial cost at a minimum.
    Also cannot wait to hear the many new ideas everyone shares!

    1. That's the plan Kathryn, 'look well to the ways of my household while keeping our financial cost at a minimum!'

  4. One thing I have become more aware of is the amounts that I should reasonably store! In the past, if there had been a big sale on something, I would buy a huge amount without looking at how much we would really need.
    Now, I have done a better inventory and am more selective about what I am buying (less high processed stuff) and how much ( I don't really need to buy a 3 year supply of something that isn't the best use of my "pantry money"!

    My pantry has become much more well rounded and balanced with healthier options that we actually eat on a regular basis, so it is in a constant state of being rotated! No more collecting dust or going bad for our food storage- it is now our everyday food on our menu plan!
    So, I guess, for us, we're trying to use our more limited amounts more wisely.

  5. Your blog has been such an inspiration for me, Patsy. Not only have you shown us how to stock a pantry, now you are about to show us how to use it and keep it going when times are tough. I'm looking forward to reading everything you share on your journey!

  6. I would love to know ways to add to my pantry for free!

    1. Jaime, I'll be doing a post on it the end of the month. It was one of those 'duh' moments when Vicky shared her methods with me.

  7. I love your attitude. I also have been spending quite a bit of time "making the best of it" in the situation we are in, and you are an encouragement to me. We are sorting and cleaning like crazy people, getting ready to list our house. I am using up so much stuff. I agree with Gardenpat--I think I have stored too much! I have to keep reminding myself that I am not cooking or storing for such a large family anymore.

    It is very restful to look at the areas that I have finished. They are so empty, compared to what they were, neat, tidy, and peaceful. The problem is that the food, fabric, clothes, etc. just seem to keep "having babies" when I'm not looking and I still have a long ways to go!

    1. LOL beckyathome, I love the 'having babies' statement. I guess that's one thing about living in our small house, there is no room to store too much!

  8. We are using our storage each day as we continue to stock as well. And our new turn in life is we have taken on another mouth to feed. So stocked for 2 adults, feeding 3! Cant wait to hear what all is shared. I can always learn something new..

    1. I enjoy learning from others too Kim and it sounds like you need to up your pantry stocking a bit!

  9. Patsy, I love how you are sharing your knowledge with all of us! A well stocked pantry is so important no matter what our circumstances are. And it can be done in small ways!! I, like many, have very limited funds to spend on groceries. Our food storage and other supplies are being rotated and I replace items only on sale and when I can. (We have been blessed with food from others who will not be using it, so I know prayers are answered daily)!! :)

    I would like to remind everyone about how important water is. It's used for cooking, cleaning, laundry etc. I say this because as much as I store, I don't feel like I have enough if our water supply was cut off. So, I'm planning to increase our supply to have extra, not only for drinking but for cooking, etc. We store (and eat) a lot of rice, pasta, dry beans and potatoes. My dehydrated foods all need water to rehydrate. Yes, you can use broth, juices, tomatoes to cook in but I just feel very strongly about storing more water. So, I'm planning on re-filling vinegar jugs, 2 liter bottles, etc. as they become available. (we have had several issues with our city water in the last couple years and we had plenty to drink and cook with but I know I can do better). I have lots of home canned chicken, beef, broth, beans, etc., which is my "convenience" foods but I still store a lot of dry goods as well.

    Also, I agree with what gardenpat says about storing the things you need. I, to, have learned what we use, and as we are getting older, our eating habits have changed. I just read Living on less money blog from your side bar, and she has lots of great ideas too. Little by little our efforts of stocking our pantries helps so much and it can be done bit by bit!

    I just wanted to share what I'm working on. Finding a place to store more water is a challenge but it can be done! :) Also, (just from experience and cleaning up a big mess) don't re use milk jugs to store water in! I know there are lots of options to buy for water storage, I just can't do that. And as I rotate the water jugs I do have filled, I haven't had one 2 liter bottle or juice or vinegar bottle (so far) leak. :)

    Have a great day! I hope you are feeling better, Patsy! Teri

    1. Teri, I am feeling better, thank you! I agree about storing water and that's a good tip about using 2 liter bottles. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I'm learning right along with you. :) We have had several financial blows between my health challenges and subsequent surgery last year and 2 car repair bills within the last 2 weeks. We reduced our grocery budget cash outlay by me earning more gift cards to places like Walmart where I can price match deals from other stores also. I'm planning on preserving more from our garden this coming gardening season now that I also have a pressure canner in addition to my water bath canner and I have 2 extra free standing freezers in the garage.

    1. Debbie, earning gift cards is one way I'm getting free groceries too. Isn't it nice that we have this option!

  11. I love reading about your plans and how you're accomplishing things with fewer resources. Good for you, and thank you for your willingness to share what you're learning!
    Blessings, Leigh


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