Wondering How to Stock Your Kitchen on a Budget?

Clear Glass Jars on White Wooden Shelf

By Christina

And depend less on the grocery store?

Stockpiling, hoarding, gathering as much as you can, sounds almost like Y2K all over again.

You may have seen all over social media the trend of stockpiling and while that’s nice and dandy not all of us have the space or the funds to gather piles of canned foods or toilet paper.  I’m here to help you stock your kitchen-on a budget. 

(we need to make sure that we never run out again!)

 

These uncertain times have many people, regardless of where they live, in fear of the future.

The future of the costs of food, of being able to live, etc. 

While we are facing this crisis right now, stock your kitchen and training yourself to create your own food isn’t just for emergencies or personal emergencies anymore. It is the key to expanding your budget, saving money, and seeing yourself out of the darkness. 

 

Take a moment

Imagine that you or your spouse lost your job. The loss of an income can be devastating to families living paycheck to paycheck and those already eyeball-level in debt. 

My husband and I had to deal with this over the last year. The pennies needed to be pinched, hard. And because he was working as a contractor there was no unemployment to fall back on just our savings.

To say that things have been bumpy is putting it mildly. 

 

This is where I learned how to start gardening, making everyday things from scratch, and learning that I don’t need the grocery store for everything.

I learned how to stock my kitchen using little to no money. I also learned how to make meals that are delicious and health. 

If I can learn this on a trial-and-error basis, and come out better than ever, so can YOU!

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a wooden shelf filled with lots of jars of food

Pick your goal(s)

First, you want to decide what is going to work for you and your family. Perhaps stocking canned foods, paper goods, bottled water, etc is what you need to do. (instead of gathering whole stock to make your own foodstuffs)-remember every family is different. 

Take into consideration the size of your family, and start off small. 

Plan to have at least three days of food on hand then add three more days at a time. 

Stocking your kitchen with items you need to make your own food can be expensive at the start.  The price of whole stock flour may make your eyes water but if you need buy only a 5lb bag. The point is to buy what you need to get you to the point where you only need to refill. 

However, if you’re preparing for uncertain times and you’re doing it slowly the rewards outweigh the costs. 

Start with a small goal and then extend it as your skills grow and as your budget allows it. You’ll feel better with each goal met and each new skill that boosts your confidence. 

*side story: the first time I tried canning it was terrible! I had pickled jalapenos. Something easy I thought. Expect I did something wrong with the mixture and the jalapenos were just hot, not pickled. Don’t ask me who I did that! But I’ve learned from there, and I can pickle just about anything! Beets are next!

 

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bread on white ceramic plate

5 tips to help you stock your kitchen on a budget

 

I have a family of four people, so I understand that gathering the things you need to begin with is expensive.

However, I have also learned that if you look online and do a little research, you’ll discover what stores will give you more bang for your buck. 

For example, I normally go to a larger grocery store only because I was under the impression they had competitive prices.

However, I learned one day on a chance stopping that a discount store had almost all the selection I needed and half the prices. Discount stores helped me reach my goal and stock my kitchen the way I dreamed. 

Where I would spend 80 euros at the big store I would spend around 30-40 euros at the discount store. So of course I chose the discount store. 

 

Here are the best tips I have to stocking your kitchen on a budget. 

1. Buy bulk

This seems like a no-brainer. Buy a 10-15 lb bag of flour. You’ll need it for those pancake mixes, bread recipes, and whatever else you use flour for. 

You don’t have to hit up big box stores to do this, you can purchase them online. Here is a link I discovered on Instagram to help you! 

Other ways to get items in Bluk are as follows

Look for co-ops nearby. When I lived in Oregon a lot of the surrounding farmers had monthly packages you could purchase.

You would buy either “strange looking” grown veggies and fruits that the supermarkets didn’t want, or the surplus the farmers had. (strange looking meaning  Siamese carrots). 

Shop on Amazon. Many “regular” folks have Amazon stores where they sell their goods. 

You can also look at restaurant stores where restaurants buy in bulk. 

 

2. Shop discount stores and sales

The discount stores don’t get enough credit. They do have quality products at low prices. I’m not an affliate I just think discount stoes are great to stock your kitchen. 

Most of what they have is simply products that were destined for the supermarket chains but perhaps the packaging had a misspelling or they had a dent or something that made them look unattractive. 

I suggest you keep an eye on the ads you get in the mail and compare. Check out when you need to head to the store, usually, sales happen in a six-week rotation, and then stock your kitchen.

For example, a large box of Oatmeal meant for quick cooking but not instant-(see my recipe for making your oatmeal jars)– you could get that box or can for about $3 but on sale or at a discount store you can get this for approximately 1.50 or 2.00. 

 

3. Get seeds! 

The  best way to stock your kitchen and make your own food also includes growing your own food. And that means stockpiling seeds.

Now I understand that not everyone likes veggies the way I do, which leads me to my best bit of advice. 

Grow what you’ll eat. 

Choose seeds that you know you’re going to use. Such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. If you don’t eat or like green beans then why grow them? 

Grow what you’re comfortable with, to start. Especially if you have a wicked black thumb. 

I was so nervous to start my garden because of the dreaded black thumb.

I will admit that my first attempt went badly, but armed with a plan, and a potting shed I feel more prepared this season than ever before. (so far my black thumb has slightly turned brown and the garlic is grown nicely)

 

4. Buy staples, not processed or convenient foods

Look I’m all about buying snacks such as potato chips. Until you learn how to make your own, which by the way is amazing!

I suggest you buy foods that you can use to make foods or use in your compost. 

For example with the potatoes, whatever you don’t use toss in the ground-free seed! And grow your own. Then discover the recipes you can use for them.

And since I am not about denying yourself let’s face it that is dangerous-try buying bags of chips only when it is within your budget. You know as a treat. 

Types of foods you are going to want to buy are things such as:

  • Oatmeal-large batches that you can divide out (see here for instant oatmeal recipe)
  • Sugar and flour
  • Canned tomatoes for sauces-until you can grow and make your own (recipe coming soon for spaghetti sauce)
  • Tomato paste-I am researching how you can make this but don’t hold your breath! 
  • Rice
  • Cooking oil 
  • Grains-lentils, pasta, quinoa (again what you will eat and will inspire you to cook)
  • Beans-the variety that you like (research this because cooking beans can be a long task. Some beans you have to soak overnight before cooking them)
  • Nuts, dried fruits -for granola or snaking. 
  • Salt and pepper and other spices (see how to make your own Italian seasoning)
  • You can also harvest your own salt when you visit the beach. Netarts Bay in Oregon is a great place to gather salt water and create your own sea salt! 
  • Coffee and tea; especially if you live in areas where you can’t grow your own. Even with a greenhouse. I may try this! 🙂 

5. Mason jars

Once you have all that produce fresh from your garden you’ll discover you have way more than you can possibly eat. Which is great!

Now you can build your food storage for those months when you can’t grow anything. Learning how to can foods isn’t as hard as you think, and nowhere near as deadly as you might fear. 

A couple of lessons can be found on YouTube or through magazines. Martha Stewart, my housewife spirit guide, has great advice and tips on canning on her website. 

 

Once you’re ready you can start making your own jams, preserves, and other fruit products.

And I know I said this before but once you make your own jam you’ll wonder what you were thinking buying it from the store. 

You might even think like me, Oh I should sell this. Only to do the math and realize it would cost the buyer $8 a jar. 

 

Other things you can create when you’re confident with canning:

  • Chicken soup
  • Sloppy joes-though I prefer to freeze mine. 
  • Spaghetti sauces-without meat. (if you’re going to can meat you will need to have a pressure canner. A water bath will not work for meats or green beans. 
  • Veggie soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Chicken and beef broth

Never miss a post!

Get your dose of tips, advice and lessons learned at my expense. Grab a cup of coffee, get cosy and let’s do this! 

Take it slow. 

Don’t let intimidation or fear hold you back. You’ll see the rewards in both your wallet and your waistline once you manage your homemade goods. 

 

There is nothing quite like making your own food, even if you don’t know how to cook there are ways to learn. 

Start small, again take it slow, and have fun! 

 

Next step: Chickens!

 

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Hi, I’m Christina

how i'm managing my anxiety

I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice to help you live simply and in the moment, and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!