Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer Series 2019: Week 4

Previous entries in this series can be found HERE!
Last week we talked about why we wanted a well-stocked pantry which should have answered a similar question, how much should I stock?  If you know why, then you know how much! 
 If your why is a month’s supply of food for your family because you get paid monthly, then the 'how much' is a month’s worth.  If you want a little more food security and decide on a 3 month supply of food, then your 'how much' is 3 months.
The question we’re going to talk about today, now that you know the size of pantry you want, is how to go about stocking it.  How much of everything should you stock for the size of pantry you want?
 Here are some ideas to help you determine that:  
Get a calendar/planner/spiral notebook and write down your meals for a month.  Write down everything your family eats each day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks … everything.  This gives you a month’s worth of menus.   After you have your menus, write down everything it took to prepare each meal.  This is your pantry stocking list for 30 days of meals.  Don’t forget cooking oil, butter, milk, flour, corn meal, bread, etc.  If you want a 3 month pantry, then multiply everything by 3.
Another way is to date items you purchase when you add them to your pantry.  When an item is gone/empty, note the date you used the last of said item.   This will give you an idea of how long an item typically lasts at your house and you can plan accordingly.
I have a much more laid back method.  I shop clearance, loss leaders and sales of things my family will eat.  When I come across a sale, I buy whatever my budget will allow and add it to my pantry.  I also garden and preserve a lot of our food.  In addition, I preserve bulk size items we get at the grocery store, etc and add them to my pantry.  I only stock what we will eat!   We make our menu/meal plan from what is in our pantry, we shop our pantry … in other words we eat what we have on hand at any given time.
Okay, it’s your turn, what is your method of determining ‘how much’ to stock in your pantry?
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27

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  1. I stock my pantry just like you stock yours. If there is a week without any deals then we just skip it. I find that having a list of must have perishables is freeing for me since if I have those things on hand I don'e need to shop at all on those off weeks. Our must haves are milk, eggs, OJ, cranberry juice which is not perishable but a must have here right now, potatoes, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and some fresh fruit. We could survive without all those things but just prefer not to. This week there were no deals so we have not bought any groceries for 10 days. I love a week when we don't have to shop!

    1. Lana, that is the way we shop too and oh yes, I love it when we can go days without having to go to the grocery store! It is how we keep a well-stocked pantry frugally!

  2. I think that I mostly go by how full my pantry is - I only have so much room!
    I prefer to eat fresh fruit & veg, meat and dairy but I only have the freezer above my apt. sized fridge so I am limited - therefore pantry is mostly full of cans, jars and packaged items.
    I try to keep a variety of foods so that I wouldn't be eating Spam for a couple of months!
    Like you, I watch for sales and offers and stock up accordingly - whether for food or non-food items. I also rotate as I add things and I also check expiration and best before dates every couple of months (although I also use a lot of common sense) but as dates start to get closer I find ways to incorporate them into current meals.
    It's just me so I don't need a huge supply but its amazing how much you can put aside if you just do it a bit at a time.
    I also think of what type of food I need to make a meal - and what I could substitute. For instance, I don't eat a lot of bread, PB or jam but this is a quick and filling "meal" so I do keep a few packages of WASA Crispbreads, there's enough jars of jam for a few months and I'll be adding a few more jars of PB next time there's a good sale. If I don't eat it myself then I'll donate it to the church (One of the ministers has dibs on a couple of shelves in our huge walk-in pantry) and people keep it stocked with a variety of things for those that show up asking for help. We run a huge feeding program but people will often drop off a box of canned veg or 6 jars of PB - things that we can't use when feeding 300 people but comes in handy every now and again.
    Can't wait to read the comments on this post.

    1. Margie, we rotate too and keep a good variety on hand. I agree with you, I don't want to be eating Spam for any length of time either! Great ideas!

  3. Hi Patsy and we started off our food storage by marking the purchase date on all products and then worked out how long each item lasted. Then as we wanted to set up a years supply of things we worked out how many of each item we would need and when they came on special we would buy what we had used and added 1 to start off with. This surprisingly stocked up our pantry more each and every week with little outlay.

    A really helpful hint we use is a perpetual shopping list we keep on the freezer with a magnet of everything we use in the home. As we use something we mark it off the list with a permanent marker. We simply typed all the items in a column format on the computer and then placed the lists in display folder sleeves. Once we have done our shopping we wipe what was purchased off the list with methylated spirits and start again.

    Each month we keep aside $40 to stock our pantry further up with food and if we find a super special we will purchase it on items we use otherwise we keep it to carry over. Also with the normal grocery budget if there is room to stock up on items on super special we will do that too.

    We don't menu plan as such though.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

    1. Lorna, you've shared some really good ideas! Your comment shows that we don't have to do everything at once. Baby steps is how we arrive at having a well-stocked pantry. I like the idea of your perpetual shopping list, we keep an ongoing one at all times that is similar to what you do. It also helps to have a 'set aside' budget for stocking up, we do the same.

  4. Patsy, I shop similar to you and stock up when sales roll around. However, I started my pantry by using coupons, along with sale items, to get more buying power. Unfortunately, manufacturers caught on and we don't see very many good coupons anymore, here in Canada. But I still shop the sales and buy as much as I can, while considering my storage space and how popular the item happens to be at the moment. My family changes their tastes for things like they change underwear, so it's somethimes hard to keep up.

    I also take into consideration long and short term needs. For instance, I always stock canned pasta and ready to use soups, easy protein items (canned tuna, flakes of ham, baked beans, peanut butter, powdered milk etc.), instand mashed potatoes and canned fruit and jam to use if there were an emergency with extended power outages. My family eats these items regularly as well, so I need to ensure I stay on top of replentishing this stock. We also keep an extra tank of propane for the BBQ as a back up for cooking.

    I also ensure we have lots of staples (baking supplies, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, herbs/spices, condiments, etc.) along with frozen meats, cheese, fruits and veggies. I follow seasonal sales all year long. Every summer, I spend extra money to buy in-season produce that my family likes to eat, and try to preserve enough to last through winter. Throughout the year, I watch for deals on meat, including luncheon meats on discount, to restock our supplies. Sometimes I am forced to pay full price, but I'm currently feeding 4 meat loving adults, 1 hungry teen and sometimes a second teen (DD's friend who has food insecurities in her home), so meat is a hard one to keep stocked.

    Finally, I research ideas of how I can used "free" food to stock my pantry. I make soup stock from chicken and turkey carcasses. I save veggie scraps to add to the poultry stock, but could make veggie stock from it too. I freeze bread ends/heals, that know one like to eat, and use them for making bread pudding (sweet or savoury), stuffing, etc. I have foraged for crabapples and made delicious crabapple jelly. I've even tried making jelly from apple peelings/cores as well as peach skins/pits. I even pick dandelion greens to feed our Guinea pig. Of course, I also grow a garden, with hopes each year I can use it to add to my pantry. So many ways to stock a pantry!

  5. Rhonda, Yes! Yes! Yes! You are doing an excellent job on being resourceful in keeping your pantry stocked! Way to go!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for breaking it down so simply, Pasty. I can do that! Figure what I feed us in a week, what goes into it, and multiply times 52 even or whatever.


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