July 22, 2011

Tightwad Gazette III - Day Seven - The Pantry Principle Update

Before I get into the content of this post, I wanted to say something that has really gotten my attention this week. There are a few visitors to my blog that have recently faced unemployment in their families. As far as recent, I am talking about within the past month.

If you or anyone in your family have been unemployed, it would be great to hear from you about that experience and how you got through it. Or in the alternative, perhaps you are still unemployed and struggling to find work. I would definitely like to hear your comments on what it has been like and how you have or are coping.

Now onto the Tightwad Gazette III. Tonight’s reading is an update from Amy on the pantry principle.

The Pantry Principle Update

In an update from a prior article on the Pantry Principle, a reader had written to Amy and asked what does a “tightwad” pantry include?

This is indeed a wonderful question. However, because people have different needs, preferences and resources, there is no real must list for a pantry according to Amy. Instead Amy offered a list of what was in her pantry and you can revise it to meet your family’s needs.

1. Baking supplies: Baking powder, baking soda, yeast, salt, cocoa, coconut, sunflower seeds, soy flour, eggs, bulk purchased gelatin, cornstarch, vinegar, paste food coloring and colored sprinkles.

2. Breads: Whole wheat loaves, bagels, English muffins, saltine crackers. (They make other breads.)

3. Cheese: Parmesan, cream and hard cheeses when the price drops below $2.00 per lb. (Remember, these are 1996 prices.)

4. Cold cereal: Any cereal when price drops to 7 cents per ounce, frequently corn flakes, rarely presweetened cereal.

5. Condiments: Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard. (They make jams, pickles and relish.)

6. Fats: Corn oil, olive oil, margarine, shortening, no stick spray.

7. Fruits: Apples, bananas, raisins, and occasionally, other fresh fruits when on sale. Canned pineapple and other canned fruit as it turns up in “mystery cans” from the salvage store. (They grew strawberries and acquire blackberries, blueberries, and pears from a relative.)

8. Grains: White flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, oatmeal, cornmeal, rice, popcorn, wheat germ.

9. Juices: Orange, apple, grape and lemon.
10. Legumes: Peanut butter, dried beans, dried peas, lentils.

11. Meats: Chicken parts, ground beef, ground turkey, whole turkey, tuna, ham, pork shoulder, bologna, hot dogs, bacon, salami, kielbasa, and other meats when sale price is low enough.

12. Milk: Dry milk, whole milk.

13. Non-nutritious beverages: Tea, ground coffee.

14. Packaged dinners: Macaroni and cheese.

15. Pasta: Spaghetti, macaroni and other pasta when the price drops to 33 cents a lb.

16. Seasonings and flavorings: A large selection of herbs and spices, wine and sherry for cooking, bouillon, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, artificial vanilla extract, maple extract.

17. Sweeteners: White sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, molasses, honey, corn syrup.

18. Vegetables: Onions, celery, potatoes, frozen French fries, instant mashed potatoes, tomato paste. (They grow a wide variety of items.)

So that is what is in Amy’s pantry and freezer. Mine is different and so is yours. For example, mine includes a lot of canned creamed soups, canned vegetables and fruits along with spaghetti sauce and canned tomato products.

When you keep a stocked pantry you can skip shopping for groceries when it is necessary, you rarely run out of an item and you save time by going to your pantry to make up your menus. It is a definite win win situation.


Debs said...

Thoughts on unemployment would be really helpful. I'm a stay at home mummy and my husband's job is really not secure at the moment, we literally wouldn't be surprised to hear any day that the job is finshed - he works for an agency, so no job certainty.

Rose said...


Great ideas from you and Amy as far as pantry stockers. In addition to having store bought items, you can make a lot of convenience foods from scratch. For example, instead of paying $1 a can for cream of soups, make your own dry white sauce mix or learn how to make a white sauce from scratch, which only takes about 7-10 minutes.

I was laid off last month, and I am cooking with more rice and beans. Also, any good sale on meat, butter, cheese, flour, or any basic, I am stocking up with any extra cash we have.

I have only purchased a sweat shirt in the past 6 mo. and am planning to hit thrift stores next month because many of my clothes are showing wear.

Also in August, I will be canning up green beans, corn, mixed vegetables, pickles, and fruit. We planted as many potato plants as we could fit in our garden. Potatoes keep well and may be canned.

We were blessed today when my DH's boss called and asked him to work an extra shift, all overtime. This extra bit of money will be treasured and not squandered. We are trying to look where we can cut back, and use any extra money to enhance our situation, rather than jeopardize it.