Frugal Retirement-the Pantry as Savings Account

One of the reasons I purchased this house was that it had a full walk in pantry. Approximately eight feet square, it has room for large items on the floor and graduated shelving to the top. Some might say that for an empty nester with a part time college student living at home, it’s simply too much-or at least more than needed.  There are times when the room has been full and times when it’s been almost empty.

These days I am on a mission to cut expenses.  Adjusting costs to my social security and pension income is a process.  One of the ways I’m doing this is by turning my pantry into my own little “store” if you will.  I want to be able to “shop at home” for the lowest price. I want to cut my food budget, but still eat well.  Before I can even start the process, its going to take some serious cleaning of my pantry.

I’m also going to need to ramp up my couponing and deal finding skills. Ideally, my goal is to cut the food budget in half.  I don’t know if that’s possible. To meet this goal I’ve been re-reading books on food storage, learning about some basic canning skills, and looking at serious loss leader shopping.

Loss leader shopping requires that you buy items at their lowest price and keep enough until it comes out at that price again. As such, certain deals come around during certain seasons.  For example, in the next couple of weeks baking supplies will probably be at their lowest price until the week before Easter. Combine those sales with all the coupons available now and you come away with deals that probably wont be seen for awhile.

I’m in a baking mood.  One of my local stores has sugar one sale for $1.99 for five pounds.  I have a fifty cent coupon which my local store will double, making it worth a dollar. I’ll end up spending 99 cents for five pounds of sugar. A rare deal, at least in my area.  How much will I buy?  Well, I have a son who thinks one should have a little coffee with their sugar!  While I try to cut consumption of sugar, holiday baking plus a couple moths storage will require more than a few five pound bags

Sugar is just one example of things I’ll be adding to my pantry. Other things include baking supplies, broths and soups, cereals, spices ad the things which which one makes great meals. As I work to meet my pantry goal, I’ll set a certain amount of my grocery cash for stock ups only.  This money will be used to buy great deals on sale each week and store in my pantry or freezer. It may take me awhile, but eventually I’ll have a pantry and freezer full of all the basics except fresh produce and milk.

Even i I only save thirty percent by purchasing sale items-that’s a hefty savings to the budget. Furthermore, that’s without taking into account the other advantages of pantry and pantry shopping (less regular shopping trips, the ability to stay home in case of illness or emergency and still eat well, and other advantages)

That’s a savings I’ll surely take. Keep an eye out as I share my progress in this area. Coming tomorrow-before pics of my personal grocery store-the pantry!

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