Keeping a food pantry – who does that anymore? Well, you have a convenience store in your home that you didn’t even realize. It’s your pantry! A lesson I learned from my Grandmother who grew up during the depression was to always keep your food pantry well stocked.
I’m Kim, guest posting here at Just Plain Living, and you can find me sharing at Homestead Acres. I’m a mother of 6 who is passionate about living a simple lifestyle. I’ve enjoyed living off grid and now practice urban homesteading on a 1 acre homestead in town.
As a child, I can remember watching her going over the grocery store flyers each week and planning out her shopping trip. Grandma shopped in season and put up food for winter when it would be more expensive to buy.
She learned how to make the most of everything, make delicious food for her family at a low cost and keeping a well-stocked pantry was the key to making it work.
Convenience Of Keeping A Pantry
Keeping a pantry in your home can simplify how you run your kitchen. How many times have you been ready to start supper and realized you are out of the main ingredient?
If you build your own well-stocked pantry it’s like having your own convenience store at home. You don’t need to run out to pick up that missing ingredient it’s a short walk to your pantry or root cellar.
Protecting Your Family Against Inflation
Keeping a pantry helps to protect your family against price increases and saves you money.
Inflation is a part of life but many events can cause sudden spikes in prices that will really hurt your food costs. Do you remember the grain crisis of 2008? Bad growing conditions caused a shortage of grain worldwide and the price went through the roof. I still remember the 8 kg bulk bags of rice we normally buy went from $6.00 to nearly $20.00 overnight. That is a huge price increase in only a short time.
The inflation wasn’t limited to just rice any grain product jumped considerably and the impact was felt in the stores and restaurants for well over a year.
Last year the news was filled with stories about $8 cauliflower heads because of the long drought in California. This year we have already seen the price of potatoes double from the drought in Canada.
How does keeping a pantry help your family against inflation? You build a large food storage system and try to only restock it when you see a good sale. When the grain crisis hit I already had enough rice and wheat stored for a few years. I was able to save a lot of money by waiting for the prices to come back down before restocking my grain storage.
Preserve your own food by canning, freezing and dehydrating fruits and vegetables when they are in season.
Many grocery stores follow a cycle in their sales. If you watch closely you’ll realize how often flour, sugar, and other staples come on sale. Plan to restock your pantry ONLY when something is on sale.
Making extra trips to the store to pick up ingredients you’ve run out of takes a lot of time. This takes you away from other jobs that you really should be working on instead. You know what happens when you go grocery shopping and feel frustrated right? You are more likely to buy extra items. That extra chocolate treat looks so much more like a need than a want when you’re feeling down. It’s almost as bad as shopping when you’re hungry. Avoid doing that if you can it really does cause you to blow your grocery budget!
Increase Food Quality
By keeping a well-stocked pantry you can give your family a better quality of food at a lower price. Once your pantry has been stocked you only need to focus on restocking it as ingredients start to run low. Never wait until you are out of something before you restock it!
The money you save by not having to buy every ingredient every week at full price can be used to buy higher quality meats. Look for a local butcher you will often find the meat is a lower price and much better in quality.
I’ve found that after switching to buying our ground beef and sausage from a local butcher I was able to use half of the meat I normally would in recipes. Their ground beef is 100% meat with no fillers added it leaves you feeling more full. I spend less per pound on ground beef, use less of it in my recipes and we eat less because it’s more filling. A triple win!
Storms And Power Outages
Have you ever had a bad storm come through your area? You think that you should swing by the grocery store on the way home and grab a few things before it hits. When you arrive at the store you find many empty shelves. The problem is you were not the only one thinking about picking up a “few extra” things that day. The store emptied of bread, milk, bottled water etc. very quickly.
If you keep your pantry well stocked you never need to worry about stores running out because of a storm warning. We live in the “snow belt” in Ontario. In the winter we often get strong snow squalls that can close local roads. Sometimes this is for a day sometimes 3 or 4 days and often the storms will cause power outages. Maybe you don’t live in an area that gets snow but there isn’t a place on earth that doesn’t have bouts of bad weather. Hurricanes, flooding, thunderstorms they can all cause a lot of damage.
Life Emergencies (like job loss)
Life has so many bumps along the way that we just can’t see coming. Have you ever had a sudden job loss? I can’t count the number of times my husband has been laid off work due to downsizing with the market slowing.
When you have a sudden loss of work there are so many things that are going through your mind. How will you pay the mortgage, car or medical needs? You worry about if your savings will last until you can find another job. Having a well-stocked pantry takes feeding your family off this list of worries.
Keeping a pantry isn’t just about your own needs. It’s also a wonderful way to help others in need. We all know people who struggle. Maybe it’s your friend, an elderly neighbor, a young family out of work or a family member having a hard time.
If you keep your pantry stocked it makes it so much easier to help others. When you hear of someone needing help you can put together a basket of groceries and take it to them or leave it as a gift on their doorstep.
It also makes it easier to cook some special meals to help out an ill neighbor or a mother who just had a baby. Sometimes these things are forgotten about because life is just busy and maybe another trip to the store just feels overwhelming to you. But they are so important to the people who need some help. Keeping your pantry lets you easily make up a quick meal or freeze some meals that you can share when needed.
Peace of mind
Your pantry becomes like a good friend. Knowing it’s there helps you to calm down and not panic when something goes wrong. As a mother, I know that making sure my family is fed well is a top priority for me. When life gets messy I know I can rely on my pantry and root cellar to keep my family fed and free up extra money to look after through problems without stress.