Frugal Tip #4

When times are good and your wallet is fat, it’s easy to forget about the frugal things you do on a day to day basis that made that wallet fatter and the times better.

I’ve decided to remind myself of things that I do, or need to re-focus on doing since I seem to have been on a wave lately with extreme frugalness one month and extreme spending the next. Yes. It’s true. 
I figure that if I try to practice these tips consistently and then a few things I need to get back on track, the wallet will certainly get fatter again, right?
Half the battle is recognizing a weak spot!
So here you go, Frugal Tip #4:

Shop your kitchen pantry, fridge and freezers BEFORE you menu plan and BEFORE you shop.

What, you don’t menu plan?? Are you kidding me?

Ok. I know. It’s not for everyone … but I can tell you from experience, having some kind of plan does help aleviate the “whats for dinner” or “I’m tired and hungry and do not know what to make” … at least a plan tells you what you have on hand to prepare …

BUT … that’s not the Tip #4!

Tip #4 is to shop your own kitchen first … I think you might be a bit surprised at what you find! I’m doing a Pantry/Freezer Challenge for July and decided Monday (the 22nd) that it was pretty much starting THAT day … that’s the day I decided not to go to Costco, even though I was within 1/2 mile of the place … such willpower.

By skipping the store even one trip per month, you could save yourself upwards of $40 … I know my average stop is $50 so skipping the store is beneficial to me 🙂

To be even more Frugal and really on top of things, you should have a rough inventory of just what you have on hand. I’m bad about this … I’ve got 2 side by side refrigerators/freezers and a over the top of fridge freezer…and all three are stuffed full. The pantry isn’t much better. If I was more organized I know I could feed the family for the month. It might get a little odd at the end of the month but I know for 2 weeks or so, we could eat like royalty! I keep saying that I’m working on this, and yes, it is an ongoing project, but just once, I need to get all 3 freezers done in one day and typed up. I do have a page here of my ongoing inventory which is always about 2 months behind … but with my Freezer/Pantry Challenge starting, I need to get focused and be done, don’t you think?
Even though you might think there’s nothing to cook or eat, if you get past that thought, there’s plenty of things to make. It might not be what you particularly WANT at that very moment but sometimes what you WANT is not what you NEED. 

Go ahead. Open up the freezer and what do you see? Bits of leftovers stuffed in to ziploc bags? Mystery bags? Go ahead, pull a few out, put them in a shoebox and let them defrost.  Whatever it is when defrosted, that’s what you are making your meal around.  The last time I did this, it was a bit of black beans and rice that were leftover from a cuban feast we had. I knew I had some pulled pork in the freezer too so I rooted around and found that and looky there, we had our dinner planned 😉

Now, lets walk over to the pantry, shall we? What do you see in there? Canned vegetables? Grab a can and heat it up on the stove. Make it a little special and throw some seasoning in there, dehydrated onions go a long way in sprucing up a ho-hum can of green beans!

From here on out, try to make it a point to LABEL your freezer items … start freezing a few leftovers for future meals (that does go back to Tip #1, doesn’t it?). AND try to keep everything organized. Yes, I know, way easier said than done!

So, tell me, do you shop as you feel the need, OR do you shop your kitchen first? I’d like to be honest that I do, consistently, but it’s not the truth … and I’ve been known to buy duplicates of something that we don’t use often because I didn’t know I had some shoved in the back of the pantry … and other times, I don’t buy something because I would have sworn there was more in the back of the pantry.

Listen, this does not JUST apply to the kitchen! Look in your closets, drawers, craft cabinet. I challenge you to make do with WHAT YOU HAVE!! You can do it, you know you can!!

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2 thoughts on “Frugal Tip #4

  1. Some great tips. You are so right about really looking in to your pantry. Just today we thought we had run out of my husband's favorite lemonade. He bought 18 canisters on sale so he could make it through the summer. The sale couldn't be beat but we found 6 in the back of the pantry. He will have enough! As far as shopping I usually buy the things that are on sale and freeze the meat. Then I make my menu plan out of what is in the pantry. I think I do it backwards than most but it works great for me. Have a great night!VickieVickie's Kitchen and Garden


  2. Well, along the lines of the freezer challenge, we did this recently to get ready for our move. We had a HUGE fridge/freezer upstairs, a deep freezer down, a full pantry up and overstock pantry down. I didn't do much other than minor fresh food runs for… get ready… MONTHS. It was our goal to eat something out of the freezer or pantry with one fresh item every meal. I started months before our move and even then, we threw away a few things and gave away quite a bit. While I like to have a good stock, I think I might have gone overboard! LOL


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