Cent Saving Saturday: Plan Week’s Meals from the Pantry and Freezer

Cent Saving Saturday

I completely believe in hoarding stockpiling.  Stockpiling allows you to plan meals around lean weeks, those weeks between paydays or when you are saving up for something big (or paying off medical bills, etc.).

The goal is to keep (in stockpile) enough ingredients for at least two weeks’ worth of suppers.  That means major starches:  rice, pasta, oats (and/or grits), and flour.  We try to keep a “healthy” supply of elbow macaroni as well as “spaghetti” style noodles in stock at all times.

We try to keep a few pounds of meat in the freezer as well.  That way the most expensive part of our menu (meat) is a worry we don’t have in the week’s planning.

We keep, in the pantry, a variety of canned veg and tomato product.  We keep frozen veg in the freezer.  That rounds out the “healthy” portion of the meals on those lean weeks.

The goal on those lean grocery weeks is to only buy perishables:  bread (unless you make your own), dairy/eggs, and produce.  On those weeks when we are eating off of the stockpile, our grocery bill has been known to be right around $20–or less!  (Keep in mind:  a gallon of milk lasts two weeks–usually–in our house.)

Another added benefit of living off of the stockpile is that you can pre-plan your weekly meal plan far in advance.  I try to plan out (at the latest) the Wednesday before the start of the meal plan because that is when our circulars come out.  Many websites recommend planning your menu around the loss leaders.

That works great…but what if there aren’t any loss leaders your family will eat that week?  Usually I purchase the protein-packed loss leaders (because, let’s just be honest, it’s usually a meaty loss leader) and freeze them for later.   If it’s a produce-based loss leader, I can switch out the canned or frozen for the fresh.

Eating off your stockpile also allows you to plan for meals when your meal plan mojo has disappeared (as mine did last week).  We usually have the ingredients of our most often-in-the-meal-rotation recipes (chili, tacos, red beans and rice, Josh’s mom’s mess, spaghetti, breakfast), so it makes meal planning easy on those weeks when my mind is blown.

And for those weeks when there is a bit more in the grocery spending budget, you can use the extra $$$ (once you’ve trained yourself and your family to eat off of the stockpile) to add to your stockpile for the week (if there are great stock-up sales) or put it aside for another stockpile week.

One of the grocery stores near where my mother-in-law lives in Ontario has a huge blowout stockpile sale in late spring (May-June) that is fantabulous!  Those are the sales to save up your extra saved grocery dollars for.

My favorites to save up for are the buy so many and save so much sales (I’m hoping Kroger will have another with their Private Selection stuff), Albertson’s quarter sale (25 cent salt, anyone?), and the baking sales around the holidays (where McCormick spices and extracts go 1/2 off).

And now…for the weekly sales:

Super 1

Strawberries, 1 pound, $1.98

Gebhardt refried beans 78 cents/can

Kroger

Kroger is continuing the Buy 6, get $3 off sale.

Cream cheese/sour cream 10/$10

Pepsi/Coke/Dr. Pepper 2 L $1 each wyb 6

Quilted Northern toilet tissue, 12 double rolls, 2/$10 wyb 2

Kroger Cheese 16 ounce $2.99

Albertson’s

Boneless Skinless chicken breasts $1.78

Calidad tortilla chips 99 cents

Red Gold salsa and ketchup 88 cents

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