This isn’t one of those SHTF prepping articles, although it very well could be. The advice in them is simple, and harkens back to Grandma’s days – have a pantry in your home, filled with non-perishables and the basic ingredients of food you can prepare and enjoy cooking (note the last part – if you don’t like it, don’t put it in).
A pantry filled with pasta, canned soup, and sauce (or the ingredients for pasta sauce, if you’re a home cook) will give many meals when purse strings are tight or you’re too busy to think about what to do for dinner. We’ve all had that slump heading toward payday, when there’s not enough food in the house – homemade spaghetti dinner, tuna casserole, or a pasta bake, assuming you have cheese in the fridge, can be a great budget stretcher. Add a salad for optimal nutrition, and voila! A restaurant meal in your home.
Now a pantry doesn’t need to be rows of shelves in a secured basement bunker (although I’m sure those SHTF folks would approve) – mine is just a cupboard in the kitchen, filled with cans, rice, and pasta; and my stash of baking supplies. (Yes, baking, because I tend to bake when I’m stressed, and money can be stressful, and then I eat warm chocolate chip cookie goodness, and chocolate cures all… but I digress.)
Your pantry is not just for emergencies, but there when time and money are tight, and keeps you off the pizza delivery bandwagon. If you have the ingredients on hand, you can whip up a simple pasta dish before the delivery guy rings the doorbell.
Use your pantry to supplement your basic meals too, think of them as low cost meal enhancers. I can whip up a batch of tea biscuits or dumplings in minutes, I use it to extend dishes of chili or stews for only pennies a serving.
Given that groceries and meals are one of the biggest expenses families have (next to housing, and sometime more than their vehicle costs), you want to save your pennies where you can. A well-stocked kitchen pantry is a great time AND money saver, and that’s always a win.
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home – money – life