Stocking your pantry is a skill. Maybe you’ve never had space for a pantry, or perhaps you find yourself always running out of what you need. Either way, it’s time for you to stock up.
Why do you want to stock your pantry? Having the food you need is the obvious answer, but there’s always a more specific motivation. If you don’t want to go shopping as often, you’ll buy different things than if you’re going to stock up for the zombie apocalypse.
If prepping for emergency food scarcity is one of your goals, include the following considerations when you buy:
- Calorie density
- Nutrient density
- Adequate water supply
What Do You Eat>
The first step to stocking a pantry is knowing what you eat. It’s worth putting a little effort into making sure you know what your family actually consumes.
Spend a week or two documenting the following:
- What the people in your household eat each day
- Everything you purchase at the grocery store
What Don’t You Eat?
Food waste is common. One reason is that people buy aspirational food items (ingredients they want to use someday) instead of ingredients they know they’ll use.
Take a look at everything you already have. Has that cardamom been unopened in your cupboard for years? Do you have cans of green beans that expired in 2017?
Write down all the things you bought but never used. That’s your “Do Not Buy” list.
Purchase Over Time
You probably won’t be able to think of everything you need in one go. Stocking a pantry is a learning process. Also, things go on sale at different times. Pantries are, above all, about practicality. Overspending isn’t very practical.
Less Expensive Versions
Get more cost-effective versions of the things you already eat.
Dried foods are outstanding pantry staples. For instance, though canned beans are inexpensive, dried beans are even cheaper. When your pantry is fully stocked, you’ll have more time to plan for and complete tasks like soaking dried beans before cooking them.
Store brands are another pantry hack. Often, the store brand comes from the same manufacturer as more expensive brands. The store just slaps on its own label.
Shopping sales is a classic method for saving money—as long as you don’t let sale prices trick you into buying things you won’t actually eat.
Not everything should be bought in bulk. Things you don’t use often? Get small amounts.
But many things are a great choice for bulk buying. Spices, peanut butter, and rice are just three examples of shelf-stable foods with excellent bulk prices.
Setting up a pantry takes thought and thriftiness. Once you’ve done it, though, you’ll be happy you did. Assess your habits, budget, and motivations to curate the perfect pantry for your lifestyle.