The seasons are changing and with the chill in the air I have to admit I feel like a squirrel hoarding food for the winter!  This is what a happy momma squirrel must feel like when she sees her nut supply overflowing.  My shelves are filling up…the empty canning jars are few and far between and the freezer is singing a happy tune.

I am still aiming for only having to shop once or twice a month after I build my stockpile up enough that I can shop in my own pantry and freezer on a daily basis and only have to watch the sales to replace what has been used.  I have been cooking long enough I know what my family uses and only looking to stock my pantry with those items.  If you are new to stocking your pantry, start here by building up your pantry list.

I am watching the weekly ads of 4 of my local grocery stores to help with building my mini-supermarket right in my own kitchen.  I have to be careful to only buy those items that I am sure will have a good shelf life and those things that I know my family will use.  I store as much as I can in air tight containers to keep things fresher longer.

I am constantly on the lookout for certain items to stock my pantry that I know we will use:

  • canned food – tuna, tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, fruit, peanut butter, (hubby’s favorite Manwich…about the only pre-packaged food I buy)
  • pasta, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, tea, coffee, natural or organic cereal, granola bars, beans (to keep little critters at bay with dry goods store them in your freezer)
  • baking items – flour, sugar, baking chips, nuts, cocoa, dry milk, canned milk, yeast, butter, oil (now is the time to start watching for holiday baking sales…a great time to stock up)
  • meat for the freezer – bacon, hamburger, steak, chicken, pork (I will be very happy when our chickens are ready to butcher and hubby gets a deer I really hate buying over the counter meat…I actually cringe when I have to buy meat since what goes on sale is not grass fed hormone free.)
  • cleaning/health & beauty – T paper (this is the only paper product we buy), white vinegar, soda, organic bleach (I clean everything in our home with those 3 items), washing soda, borax, ivory soap, q-tips, deodorant, toothpaste

Keep your eyes open for sales on any of these items.  When they do go on sale stockpile enough of them so you don’t have to purchase them at full price and can wait until they go on sale again.  I am learning that the cycle of sales run about every 3 months.

I was fortunate to have a good fruit yield this year and my freezer is stocked with blackberries, elderberries, blueberries, strawberries, corn on the cob and now pie pumpkin. I should have enough for those yummy winter pies and even enough if I run out of jam and have to make more before next year’s fruit harvest.

So what you don’t see on our lists are things that we have stopped using for either the cost factor or health reasons. We have not only saved money but we feel healthier since we don’t pump or bodies with all of those artificial additives.

  • soda, sugary drinks (we drink un-sweet tea, water and milk…I do keep fruit juice and old fashion Kool-Aid in the house for the grandkids)
  • paper napkins, tissues, paper towels (we now use cloth napkins, hankies and old rags)
  • laundry soap, softener, cleaning supplies (I make homemade laundry soap, use vinegar for softener and clean only with vinegar and baking soda)
  • processed foods, frozen dinners, cookies and fattening snacks (everything I make is from scratch so I know exactly how much salt goes into it them)

As I continue to build our reserve I am content and happy to know that it is getting closer to where I can shop in my own pantry…only go into a grocery store once or twice a month and save money on our grocery budget every month.