One of the ways I save is with a working pantry. I mean “pantry” in a general sense, to include freezer, medicine cabinet…all those places where we keep “extras”. Years ago I used a lot of coupons and stockpiled some items. I didn’t feel very efficient at it sometimes. Occasionally I had to throw things away that were way past their expiration or I ran out of staples and had to replace them at full price.
When we moved to SmallTown I discovered the Tightwad Gazette. As I was reading every home tip book that could save me some money, I fell in love with Amy D. I’ve read the Complete Tightwad Gazette cover-to-cover more than once , and other sections many more times. It is there that I learned to create a “working” pantry. The idea that sales occur in cycles and that all one really needs to do is stock up enough to get to the next sale, was a weight off my shoulders. I was never particularly comfortable with buying a LOT of something just because it was really cheap. I didn’t want to tie up money and space in 30 tubes of toothpaste when we only use 8-10 tubes a year.
Averaging how much of a staple we use in a month or two seemed easier. I know we eat baked beans fairly frequently so during the summer, especially the summer holidays, I stock up on several months worth of baked beans. I know I won’t get that price in the winter, and since we eat beans year round, it is a good choice to go into fall with more than a dozen cans. Same with ketchup. Cream Soup. Oatmeal.
With toiletries and personal products I plan to buy more when the last one from the cupboard is opened. That way if it doesn’t fit in the budget immediately it should within a couple of weeks, plenty of time to restock without running out. And time to wait for a sale.
By planning a bit more I’ve reduced the waste in my pantry and I rarely have to buy most items at full price. Especially here in SmallTown I’ve learned the importance of having a working pantry. When the hopes of buying cough medicine are nil after 9pm and at that it is EXPENSIVE, it is easy to realize the savings of having some items on hand.