Staples in my pantry are rice, wheat flour, corn meal, tomato puree, pinto bean, salt, sugar, saltines, elbow macaroni, spaghetti, crackers, and cookies.
Each item has its own place. I got boxes from Aldi to organize my pantry.
At first, I tracked one month of my cooking. It gave me an idea the ingredients I used in my cooking and I listed them down on a spreadsheet.
Then, I have column for quantity needed for a month, unit price, and total cost. The unit price is based on the lowest price from 3 grocery stores I shop in including Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Aldi. There are two other grocery stores that I shop in when they have sales.
I have 2 more columns where I write quantity to buy for the current month and the cost column.
I also total by store. It gives me an idea how much I expect to spend in any given store.
The final total at the bottom of the cost is adjusted each time I change the quantity to buy for an item in order to stay within budget.
I created our Grocery list spreadsheet on Google Drive. My husband has a smart phone that he uses to check the grocery list as he shops. He does the grocery shopping and I stay with the kids at home. Sometimes, we do it together . I profit to check prices to update my list spreadsheet.
When grocery shopping with the kids, I grab cookies and water along for them. I don’t buy items on the shelves at the checkout. And my kids don’t even think about asking for them.
After recording what I cook for one month, I picked 14 dinner meals for my family.
I changes a little based on what I have in the garden but it is easier for me at the end of my work day to know what is on my meal plan for the day. Sometimes it changes based on what is on sale during the prior week and we bought a lot of. For example, last week we bought a big bag of French steak buns on sale on the day it expired. Usually that means the buns would go moldy within a week. I have steak in the freezer and roasted chicken in the fridge from leftover of Baked Potato and Chicken. I made the same day French steak buns and Steak stir fry, and the next day I combine the leftover steak and roasted chicken and made sandwich with French steak buns and steak- chicken stir fry. Oh did I mention how my husband bought Taco shell for $0 and I changed my meal plan and made pork steak Taco for lunch that day. Taco shell was not among my staples. Now I changed my meal plan to include it.
How do you build your working pantry?