Why you should shop from your pantry and freezer first
Have you ever taken an inventory of your pantry and freezer. Shopping from your pantry and freezer first is something I love to do, but you need to know what’s in there before you begin. I challenge you to pull everything out and see what is really in there. I know it seems like a daunting task but it could surprise you what’s in there. If you’re really keen, write it all down. Once you’ve done that the challenge is to make as many of your meals from the week using only the items you already have.
I encourage you to try to do this before you shop each week, but I know that we always have time for that. If each week is too difficult, aim to make one week a month a ‘shop from the pantry and freezer’ week. If you have been freezing discounted foods, buying marked down or bulk meat and making food for the freezer (all things I highly recommend you do), then you should have enough food for at least half of your meals for the week. Many of you will find that you actually have enough for almost the whole week, with only a few top up items to buy.
How to shop from your pantry and freezer first
Pull out everything you have and make a list
This sounds tedious but it will be an eye opener. I normally find that i have an awful lot of one or two items (for me it’s always tinned tomatoes) and so I know to stop buying them for a while. Write a full inventory of your pantry and freezer. Include everything! To make it easier for next time I keep my list on the fridge and cross off items when I use them.
Plan meals using only these items
You should be able to come up with a few meals that include ONLY the items you already have. The most obvious of these will be meals you have already made and frozen, like bolognaise, chilli and pizzas. Include breakfasts and lunches too. Remember that the top of the list is for meals where you need to buy NO extra ingredients.
Plan meals using MOST of these items
The second step is to look at what meals you can make using most of the items you already have. In our house this is often something like burritos, where we have the meat, wraps and vegies but will need to buy fresh sour cream. Or we have frozen bolognaise, but need to stock up on spaghetti.
Write a list for the remaining items
This should be a small list! Try to set a challenge to make this a low grocery budget week. If you are going to shop from your pantry and freezer first your budget should be much less than normal. I try to aim for at least half as much as normal. Set yourself a challenge and try to stick to it!
I really hope you try to shop from your pantry and freezer first next week! Make sure you let us know how you go.