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How Spending Some Time on Your Pantry and Freezer Can Help You Feed Your Family on a Shoestring

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Are you curious to see how spending some time on your pantry and freezer can help you feed your family on a shoestring? Stick around, I’ll show you, and it has everything to do with day two of the Living Well and Spending Zero Challenge.

feed your family on a shoestring

Day two of this spending zero challenge deals with a topic that is very near and dear to my heart – feeding a family on a shoestring. Every single day, the three most popular posts here on the blog are 15 Essential Tips For Feeding My Family of 8 For $250 a Month, 15 Frugal Tips For Feeding a Large Family, and 15 More Frugal Tips For Feeding a Large Family. I know that you and countless other readers are looking to save money in every way these days, not only because these are the most popular posts day in and day out, but also because I, too, am always looking for ways that I can stretch my family dollar even further.

As our homework for this challenge, we are taking an inventory of the food we have on hand, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have kept an inventory of what I keep on hand in my freezer for quite some time. Doing so allows me to keep food from expiring, to keep food from getting freezer burn, to keep from overbuying on things I already have, to keep from running out of the staples that I always like to have on hand, and to know what ready-made freezer meal kits I have on hand for a meal in a pinch. If you’ve ever had a meal in the freezer but were unable to identify what it was, then you understand just how handy this inventory list can be.

I have four freezers now, and they are almost always full, but it is not because I have spent a fortune on filling them. Remember how I feed my family of 8 on $250 a month? My freezers, and my pantry, are built up over time based on stocking up when items that I normal buy or new items that we are willing to try are on sale and end up bring within my price point when they are combined with a coupon.

How do I know if something is in my price point? I created a log over a series of a few months simply by writing down the grocery items that I purchased from the receipts every time I came home from shopping. As I bought the same things two and three times, I finally had something I could start comparing prices with, therefore determining my good, better, and best price points that tell me when and how much to stock up.

Does creating this price list seem overwhelming to you? It can be, but this month we have all the extra time we would normally be spending on shopping, watching for sales, and stockpiling to use in a new and different way. Maybe spending some time researching how to shop smarter on groceries or in any way would be a great project for you this month. Who knows, maybe Ruth already has this planned as part of this 31 day challenge, but my price list is invaluable to me and has always been worth the time and effort I put into creating it.

In the same way, the time you spend on taking the time to create the inventory list of food items that you already have on hand will be so worth it for so many reasons.

I am so excited to get creative with my meals this month using the ingredients that I already have on hand. Even more, after more than five years of shopping frugally combining sales and coupons, I am excited to take the month off all sale shopping. I know I may lose some deals along the way, but I also know that the deals will come around again.

This time off excites me because I have been given an enormous gift of something that is of the greatest value – time! I have been given the time that I would normally spend finding the deals, gathering the coupons, and then shopping to spend on something else. Something that is way more fun. I do love the thrill of finding a great deal, but after five years this, is a much needed break.

I am also excited to be creating a pantry inventory. This is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time but have never felt the desire to actually do it. Thank you to Ruth who has finally told me to just get up and do it! Just as I keep freezer staples on hand, I keep pantry staples on hand. I know that having a pantry inventory will more easily allow me to keep better track of these staples as well.

Day two is in the books for me. Hopefully you’re working through your inventory lists, but if not, you’ve still got plenty of time. In fact, you can still sign up for the challenge if you’ve not done so and join right in. Just go here and read Ruth’s post.

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