The Pantry Primer: Getting Started

pantry getting startedThe Organic Prepper

You’ve been plotting the creation your stockpile.  You’ve made a meal plan, taking into account foods that can pull double duty as “right-now” meals and as “storage food”.  You know why you need to build a pantry, you know how to build it, and since the timing is getting more imperative by the day, now you just need to start doing it.

We are finally in our home sweet home after a long journey:  a 3600 mile drive, 5 weeks with dear friends, and finally, here we are!  I’m also getting started on rebuilding my own stockpile.  

To get started, you need to focus on building your pantry basics so that you have everything you need to begin cooking from scratch as soon as possible.

Make a list!

For shopping trips, I recommend making a list.  However, the list is not the Gospel – it is just a guideline. If you have a whole chicken on your list, but chicken is expensive and pork is on sale, then you need to be flexible and take that into consideration. Your list should include:

  • Items that you have coupons for
  • Sale items, listed by store, that are a good deal
  • Must-have items, like milk if you have small children (there should be very few must-have items – flexibility is the key to a barebones budget!)
  • Ingredients that you require for your meal plans (again, this should be flexible – also, don’t waste money on an ingredient that you can only use in one dish if your budget is tight!)

Buy the best quality of food that you can afford.  Click HERE for some guidelines on how to shop as healthfully as possible when money is tight.

Go shopping!

A few tips to help you keep the budget under control if you are spending an afternoon stockpile shopping:

  • Eat before you go – hunger can impair your judgement because everything just looks so darned good!
  • Take a bottle of water or a cup of coffee with you so that you aren’t tempted by the coolers or the Starbucks
  • at the front of the store.
  • Go alone – it is always more expensive with a spouse or a child in tow.
  • Map your route before you go – if you have several stops to make, do so efficiently and without backtracking.  Organize your lists by store.

This week’s purchases

The first shopping trip is always the trickiest – especially if you have to repurchase things like condiments, spices, and pantry basics.  I added the following foods to my kitchen and stockpile this week.

  • 1 gallon of organic milk $7.99
  • 3 heads of romaine $2.50
  • Whole pineapple $1.99
  • Ketchup $2.59
  • Mustard $0.89
  • Linguini $0.89
  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes $0.99 each
  • sharp cheddar cheese $2.49
  • square of Parmesan $2.55
  • Greek yogurt $1
  • Baking soda $0.69
  • 4 gallons of spring water $0.89 each
  • 2 pounds of hormone free ground beef $6.00
  • 1 pound of hickory smoked pork loin $1.99
  • grapes $2.99
  • 1 pound of hormone free butter $2.49
  • frozen organic green beans $3,49
  •  3 mangos $1.00
  • ground turkey $2,99
  • 1 Newman’s frozen pizza $4.99
  • 3 pounds of oranges $3.00
  • bananas $1.99
  • 6 antibiotic-free chicken breasts $7.20
  • Chicken sausage $3.19

Today’s total with tax: $70.24

  Some shopping notes:

*The chicken breasts were 50% off because of last day of sale.  I immediately repackaged them into 6 servings and put them in the freezer.   I likewise separated the ground beef. ground turkey and the sausages into servings and put them right into the freezer.  (Here are some tips on the best practices for using your freezer for food storage!)

*Because I will be making yogurt and cottage cheese later this week, we’ll be going through more than a gallon of milk this week.

*The pizza….I know, I know. Not the cheapest way to do it. I grabbed that to celebrate the first day of school.  We have a longstanding tradition of going out for pizza – this year, we’ll be having it at home.  When I debated buying the ingredients to make it from scratch, I decided I had to wait and just go with the frozen pizza this time around.

Stockpile Summary:

pantry week 1Not including milk, we now have about a two week supply of food, and perhaps a bit more if we rationed it carefully.

We have beans, peanut butter, dairy, and meat for protein sources.  (My daughter is allergic to eggs or I would have bought those also).

We have couscous, oats, rice, and pasta for grains.

Most of our fruits and veggies are fresh at this time, which is not ideal for a stockpile.

The real accomplishment is that we now have quite a few pantry basics that will make scratch cooking easier, like baking soda, baking powder, flour, and spices, and these “support items” will last much longer than two weeks.

GRAND TOTAL:  $135.98

In case you missed them, here are the other articles in this series:

The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

The Pantry Primer: Grocery Outlet Victory

The Pantry Primer: Meal Planning While You’re Building Your Stockpile

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

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