Friday, January 28, 2011

How to Have a Full Pantry For Less

Honey, what’s for dinner tonight? Let’s look in the pantry and see. It’s so easy to make mealtime easy when you have plenty of items on hand. But what if you can’t afford to fill your pantry? Wisely using your coupons can help you!

Some people think that “building a stockpile” means that you’ll have to add on a room or take over the kids’ closets to store everything. That’s just not being smart about what you have and what you need.

My pantry isn’t like some of the “extreme couponers” you hear about who have 200 boxes of pasta, 100 jars of sauce and thousands of rolls of toilet paper. I limit myself to 10 of any one item. Mainly because I don’t have the space, but really, why have something if you aren’t going to actually use or eat it?

Something I’ve learned is that sales happen on a cycle, as do coupon inserts. You will get your Proctor and Gamble coupons once a month and generally on the week they come out, CVS and Walgreens will run specials on their items.

I haven’t written down anywhere what the cycle is, but it’s looking to be fairly regular that once a coupon in my binder expires, no more than two weeks later the same coupon is released.

Anyway, the point of learning the sale cycle is to learn when to stock up when a particular item goes on sale. When my preferred pasta is on sale and I have coupons, I stock up with enough just to get me to the next sale.

This is an inexpensive way to have a full pantry with enough items to make any meal. This is not just for food, but household items as well. My preferred laundry detergent goes on Buy One, Get One Free about every 6 weeks. I only need two bottles to get me that far. And I have plenty of space for two bottles.

This time of year is best for stocking up on healthier items since everyone seems to want to lose weight for the New Year. Companies are aware of that and you’ll get great coupons to correspond to the healthier things you want to eat. With the Super Bowl coming up, watch for chip, dip and entertaining items to go on sale and have coupons released. This is when I stock up on paper items!

The strange thing I’ve learned is that store brands are not always the best deal. Granted, sometimes they truly are, but sometimes a coupon will make a national brand cost less than the store brand. It pays to pay attention and not assume that something is the best deal.

Before this column ends, I want to local food pantries. If all of us who are using coupons to build our stockpiles would band together, there wouldn’t be a shortage. I take a lot of personal care items and feminine items to the health center at our local university for students as well. 

Let’s keep the shelves full.

No comments: