Do you have enough food at home to feed your family if a storm came in or for a short-term layoff from work? Have you gone to the store and seen how fast it is cleaned out during a storm warning or when the major highways are closed due to weather? Having some extra food in your home can bring peace of mind and security during stressful situations. It is like having insurance – the kind you can really use. Going to the store can be your option, if you have your pantry full. The option of going to the store saves me time and money every month.
Many years ago I started using and teaching the Provident Pantry Principle. All it takes is a little planning and then the shopping becomes a game. You are a purchasing agent for the most important corporation, Your Family Inc.
1. Determine your grocery budget and all that it will include (cleaning supplies, paper products, etc.). Look at your spending for the last three months, and then divide by three. This amount should take into account spending habits and seasonal specials and events like birthdays, etc. When will you have your budgeted amount? Is this monthly amount enough? Adjust budgeted amount accordingly.
2. How often do you shop? (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.) This will be your shopping cycle.
3. Where can you shop? Are there better sources for food and household items? Co-op, large box stores, online, CSA, farmers, etc?
4. How often do you eat at home? How much food is prepared at home? How often do you eat “party food”? Prepared foods cost more and often lack many nutrients. Make sure convenience food is worth the higher cost.
How to Fill Your Pantry
1. Inventory your food prior to the next shopping cycle.
2. Plan menus from what you have on hand for that time. (one or two weeks, one month, etc.)
3. Assess basic “needs” to feed your family for that shopping cycle. Do not include “wants.”
4. Look at budgeted amount.
Example – $200 for two weeks
4 bread, $8
5 pounds hamburger, $12
2 gallons milk, $7
1 deodorant, $4
1 shampoo, $4
Laundry detergent, $11
3 dozen Eggs, $5
Dish soap, $4
Total costs, $85
Remaining amount: $115
1. Prepare to spend the remaining $115. Read ads, determine loss leaders or seasonal item or bulk buying and the items your family will use. Consider extra staples that will store well (grains, sugar, honey, olive oil, beans, etc.) or even garden seeds.
2. Shop using wisdom and discipline.
3. Re-assess your needs for next shopping cycle.
As you repeat this process, your pantry will fill and you will become the master of your food budget. Going to the store will become an option and you will save time and money.
My favorite shopping ~ besides my pantry, freezer, garden, local farmers and meat shops, etc.
• Azure Standard – www.azurefarm.com (grains, bulk items & items carried in health food store)
• Bulk Foods – www.bulkfoods.com (whey protein powder, etc.)
• Grocery Outlet – Bonney Lake, Enumclaw, etc.
• Cash ‘n’ Carry – Kent, Federal Way, Tacoma
Eat and buy a variety of local, organic, bulk, whole foods and save money.
Kristine Farley is a mother of many, energy wellness coach, herbalist and teaches a variety of classes. In her classes, Farley shows people that healthy options are not hard and that they can be adapted to their current lifestyle. She lives in Bonney Lake on a mini-farm with her family. Her Web site is www.kristinef.com; e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org; visit her blog at http://herbalmommasda.blogspot.com.