By Shannon Buck – Copyright July 2007
Wow! Prices (on everything) are so high these days! It is hard to plan and budget for things when you cannot afford them.
I was trying to create a workshop for purchasing food on little money, but I had to stop. I am going to have to start over due to the rising prices. For now, I am going to make some suggestions for a pantry list.
These are all of the items that I always try to have on hand so that I do not have to spend a lot on food during a lean week.
flour (All purpose & whole wheat – I mix these 1/2 & 1/2, but I do not fret when I cannot afford whole wheat.)
canola oil (Vegetable oil *only* when I cannot afford canola)
olive oil (I am trying desperately to lose weight. I do not expect you to get this!)
cinnamon ($1 or less, as are other herbs and spices. try a 4 store if you have to.)
sweetened condensed milk
sweet and sour sauce
assorted canned vegetables
assorted canned fruits
I try to keep a few dozen eggs in the refrigerator, and cheeses, butter, chicken and ground beef in the freezer.
You can make a lot of foods just by keeping these on hand. I try to buy store brands whenever possible, but watch out! I have noticed that some store brand items are priced the same as name brand items.
Try to shop sales and only use coupons when it will really save you money. For instance, another bread may still be cheaper than the brand you want to use the coupon with, even after the coupon has been applied.
I went to Sam’s Club recently and made some purchases. I paid less on these items than I would have at the grocery store: Flour, sugar and pasta in bulk sizes.
Flour should be in the freezer for twenty-four hours, then stored in some sort of container(s). You can freeze after transferring if the containers are freezable. I used to use the plastic ice cream buckets. I only have one of these left. I now use canning jars to store bulk food purchases. Why? Because I received dozens for free. Every so often I have to buy tops. Be aware that it takes a lot of these jars to store 25 pounds of flour. It can take about a dozen jars just to store a bulk package of egg noodles. Where do I keep all of these? Above the bar and the cupboards in my kitchen, as well as above my food pantry. (By the way, my food pantry is just a cheap cabinet with four shelves that sits in my livingroom.)
I buy in bulk when I get the chance, but only if it will truly save me money. And only if I know that we will use everything that I purchase. I will not have to purchase pasta, flour and sugar again for quite some time. The flour will last months. I have whole wheat flour on hand, so I will mix it 1/2 and 1/2 when I am baking.
Get a few recipes for foods that you can make from scratch. Here are some excellent foods that can be made fairly cheaply this way:
breakfast and snack bars
biscuits and rolls
pancakes and waffles
fruit crisps and cobblers
breads and muffins
cookies and cakes
pizza and pastry dough
apple or banana pancakes
soups and stews
I have yet to find a from scratch frosting recipe that I like, and I am seeking custard/pudding recipes as well. I will continue to search out recipes as I have a chance.