Shopping for the Pantry

by Jenn Fowler | January 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm | comments

If you are going to eat a tasty, nutritious meal with your family then at some point you’ve got to go shopping! How do you plan your family’s grocery shopping? I use a “shopping for the pantry” method at my house. Rather than planning my shopping trips around a specific set of menus or meals, I like to keep my pantry/cupboards stocked with a variety of the items I typically use. As part of my plan, on the fridge I keep a dry erase board. If I grab the last jar, can or package of something I write it on the board. When it’s time to go shopping I just copy down the items on that list.

How is shopping for your pantry useful?

  • I can save time. My shopping list is ready whenever I want to go-no inventorying cupboards and figuring out meals.
  • I can be flexible. A stocked pantry allows me to make a variety of meals without having to head to the store. Guests show up? No problem, I can grab extra sauce & pasta (or veggies and curry cubes) to make more. If I suffer an unintended kitchen mishap-say the roast isn’t defrosted or I burned the biscuits, I have other options available just by opening the cabinet, fridge or freezer door.
  • I can take better advantage of sales. I’m already cooking from what I have on hand, so my shopping list isn’t organized around what I need to make that week’s meals. That frees me up–if I find an unexpected sale I can simply buy a bit less of each item on my list, say two cans of tomatoes instead of four, and re-allocate money to the sale items without worrying about breaking my budget or rearrange my meals.
  • I can feel more secure. When my pantry is stocked with the ingredients we use on a regular basis I know that if for some reason I can’t shop for a while due to storms, vehicle failure or even a job loss, I’ve got enough food on hand to feed my family for a while.

So what do you think–do you prefer shopping for your pantry, or for the week’s meals?

Jenn Fowler is a blogger, speaker, social media consultant and ex-Army Officer. She lives in a quaint village in Upstate New York with her husband Yankee Bill and their two wild and creative children—Princess (10) and Buddy (8). When she isn’t blogging about living a good life on a budget at Frugal Upstate, she is gardening, reading, acting, crafting, cooking and knitting—although not necessarily in that order.