Two years ago, we were faced with a difficult financial dilemma.Â It was the second week of the month and I had to make the decision to pay bills, or buy groceries. I decided to try to make it another two weeks on what we had in the pantry and freezer and pay the bill. Amazingly, we went the two and a half weeks living on canned, boxed and frozen food. The following year we came up short again. Taking the lesson learned the previous year to always have a stocked pantry, I did not fret. Instead, I got creative with my cooking.
Since then, I have made what I call Budget Meals, part of my monthly menu. There are some weeks I forget to make a menu or things come up and I don’t make it to the farmers market. Budget Meals are great to have around for those nights the refrigerator is empty. Rather than order take out or make a trip to the grocery store, I basically clean out the refrigerator. There have been many instances I have postponed going to the grocery store and used what I had on hand. I have found that by coming up with “Budget Meals”, I can prolong a shopping trip one to two weeks saving me hundreds of dollars.
This is what “My Frugal Pantry” looks like now.
Canned fruit-Pineapple, mandarin oranges, pumpkin
Dried fruits- raisins, cranberries, apricots
Cooking Spices: black pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves,
Baking Ingredients: all-purpose flour, wheat flour, oat flour, flax meal, wheat germ, salt, baking powder, baking soda, granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, powdered Milk, evaporated milk, honey, vanilla, shortening, cocoa powder, olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil,
Brown rice, pearl barley
Canned and dry beans- black, kidney, white, lentils
Cream of Mushroom or chicken soup
Oatmeal- rolled oats, steel cut oats
Vinegar- white, red wine, cider, balsamic
Nuts- raw almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews
My Frugal Freezer:
Shredded Cheese- Mozzarella, Cheddar/Jack,