Friday, April 12, 2013

Pantry On A Budget Part One

I get so many questions every year about my pantry and what I do buy rather than produce myself that I want to do a couple of posts on just that subject. Again this is the way that I do things and this is what works for me. I encourage you to find your own norm for your family. Everyone is different and every situation and location is different. 

Tip number one is buy in bulk when you can. This type of buying eliminates the pretty package and the expense that goes with that along with the money to advertise and such. Bottom line is that you get more for your money. I am fortunate to live in an area where I have several locations mostly Amish where I have this option. For things like spices, flour, oats and such it can't be beat. There are places online where you can order these things also. In the photo above are 5 pound bags of flour in my freezer awaiting being moved to my flour canister as I use it. 

I buy it in bulk in these plastic bags and save as much as 1/3 the price of what it is labeled for in the store. Other things I like to buy like this are bags of coconut, spices, rice and oats. I freeze them to discourage bugs and then take it out and store in large jars. 

1 pound of tapioca costs 1/4 of what it sells for in the store! 

The same with corn starch I just simply take it out of the bags and store it in either canning jars or old mayo jars. 

Dried raisins also can be bought in bulk. I use them in my granola, cookies and in my morning oatmeal. They also make a great healthy snack for my grandkids.

I can get 1/2 pound cinnamon for under a dollar. That would not even buy one of those little jars in the store. 

Popcorn and powdered cheddar cheese. The cheese makes a great coating on the popcorn. I also get a sour cream and onion that tastes great on popcorn.  The cheddar I also use for casseroles and homemade hamburger helper. A pound of my homegrown ground turkey or even ground venison and a hand full of bulk noodles along with this powdered cheese makes a great skillet meal for pennies. 

Between my bulk purchases and what I grow and dehydrate myself my spice and baking cabinet overflow most of the time. 

 And today April 5th this is the only prepackaged food in my whole house. 

What do you buy in bulk?

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 


  1. My pantry contents seem a lot like yours. I go once or twice a year to a local Amish store and purchase all of my spices there along with yeast and other flours for baking. Having the items in bulk is a lifesaver for me as I run out of things often and I can go to my backup storage cabinet or freezer and pull more of what I need out!

  2. Toilet paper and paper towels. So much cheaper and we don't run out for a long time.

  3. I buy lots of things in bulk.. my freezer door looks much like yours. I buy my cornmeal stone ground from an old couple in Geauga County.. its gmo free and its really tasty. I also buy my tapioca from the Amish store nearby.. It seems that their prices arent as low as they used to be. Last time I was in Geauga County I saw a new bulk store, so I plan to stop there & see if they have better prices..
    I either grow & dry most of my own herbs and buy all my spices from San Francisco Herb Co online.. Their prices cant be beat, anywhere. They have some organics, some are conventional.
    I keep TP & paper towels on hand too.. Actually I have a huge basement pantry and keep loads of stuff down there & buy when somethings on sale & I have a coupon most of the time. I do buy some of my favorite goods at Costco.. I prefer the quality over lower quality cheap goods and that works for me for some things, but not everything.

  4. We don't have an Amish store near us, so I rely on Sam's Club and online sources. For us we buy -- oats, flour, 3 kinds of wheat, rice, sugar, etc. I buy baking powder and other things like that at Sam's club. I also buy powdered milk in bulk. We're not milk drinkers, but I use it for cooking and powdered works just fine for that. Like Kellie I try to keep paper products on hand and toiletries, too. I also try to do cherry picking at the grocery store on things like pickles, jellies, etc. since I am not to the point where I can produce all that we need.

  5. We have several local Mennonite stores that carry bulk food and surplus. Same kind of wonderful deals. We like to buy oat groats and grind our own oatmeal. So good fresh. They also always have apples,peaches or whatever might be in season for canning. The drought took our orchard crops last year but still able to put up over 100 pints applesauce buing three varieities apples. Makes much better sauce than just one varieity. With my own trees often have 6 or 7 kinds of apples in my sauce.

    We buy our TP and such from Amazon Subscribe and Save. Scott is 70 cents/roll this way instead of over a dollar at the local stores. Only kind we can use with septic. Get our coffee beans this way,too. $2 less a 33 oz. bag than Walmart and it is free shipping! Also yogurt starter which is always fresh unlike some we've gotten from local health food store.

  6. Oh how I wish we had an Amish store nearby. The only place to buy in bulk around here are the big box warehouse stores which is where we buy our paper products as well as rice, sugar, flour, oats & coffee.

  7. I've been following your blog for quite some time, but had no idea where you were located. If the labels on your bulk items are any indication, we live VERY CLOSE to each other. Although you may be getting a pretty good deal on some of your bulk items, I bet I could share my source for staples like rice, wheat, beans, oatmeal, powdered milk, etc., that could save you a substantial amount. I'd love to talk with you. A lot of what we do in our lives seem to parallel each other. You can leave me PM on my YouTube channel letting me know how to get in touch with you. My channel name is 'Katzcradul'. I look forward to hearing from you.

  8. I buy in bulk too and store in jars or buckets depending on what the item is. Looks like we buy a lot of the same stuff too. :)

  9. I too have a pantry that looks like yours, but my local Mennonite store is higher in price compared to yours. I usually just buy my oatmeal, cornmeal, wheat germ, etc there, but I did look at the spices when I was there the other day. I have to say that your store has better prices. It is actually cheaper for me to get some of my spices at Aldi. Buying in bulk does save a ton of money and I can't wait to see what else you have to say.


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