A well-stocked pantry is a kitchen staple, but keeping it full of the right ingredients can be both time-consuming and expensive. Not to mention, many people don’t know what having a “well-stocked pantry” actually looks like.
Pantry basics are divided into several categories: grains, canned goods, seasonings and spices. A standard pantry could include:
- Grains: flour, oatmeal, rice, polenta, quinoa
- Canned goods: stewed tomatoes, beans, tuna
- Seasonings/condiments: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, sea salt, black pepper
- Spices: cumin, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander
- Other: sugar, vegetable stock, nuts
With all of these items on hand, you can make a filling meal quickly and easily, without heading to the store – you just need the veggies and protein to round it out. Luckily, you can easily stock your pantry on a budget when you maximize your coupons, choose your grocery store wisely and more.
1. Make a Better List
Once you know what should be in your pantry, it’s time to go shopping. How many times have you gone to store and left with all the things you don’t need and none of the things you do?
A list helps you stay organized, so you get everything you need, while shopping smarter. Use your list to compare prices on items at different stores, before you go, so you know you’re always getting the best deal possible.
Make your list more effective with apps like GroceryiQ. With this app, you can create a detailed grocery list, find coupons – which are intergrated within the app for major brands and stores across the country – and create favorites so it’s easy to add the same items every few weeks.
2. Shop Around Before Falling in Love With One Store or Another
While shopping at just one store is convenient, it may not be the most cost effective method. Researching which grocery stores have the best prices is an almost foolproof way to make sure you’re getting the best deal. For example, according to a recent study, Aldi is one of the most inexpensive places to do groceries. Sixty-six of their items were priced the lowest when compared to other grocery stores, like Publix and Trader Joes.
Consider visiting different store for different items – depending on what’s available at what price. Some items may be more affordable for certain pantry items Trader Joe’s while Aldi may provide you with the best price for other items. Long story short: Stock your pantry as items run out and head to the most affordable store for that particular item.
3. Maximize Your Coupons
Coupons are one of the simplest and easiest ways to stretch your budget. Online coupon companies provide a clutter-free way to get the best deal possible and many grocery stores have entire sections on their websites dedicated to coupons that you can print and use.
Whole Foods recently launched an app that provides users with a barcode for all the coupons offered that day and it’s scanned straight from their phone screen at checkout. Also, many grocery stores, including Publix, allow for coupon stacking, or using both store and manufacturer coupons for certain items.
4. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is the best way to stock your pantry on the budget – just remember to only buy in bulk if you know you like the item. Twenty pounds of quinoa at 50 percent off is great, but make sure that you actually like quinoa before you buy all of that.
With a little research and preparation, you can stock your pantry on a budget. Use these tips to save money on every trip to the store and your bank account will thank you.