Wednesday, January 28, 2009


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Originally uploaded by Simply Frugal
The heart of living frugally is buying only what you need, and paying the lowest possible price for it.

I'm an impromptu cook who loves looking in the refrigerator and cupboards to whip up an on-the-spot meal. But that requires discipline. I only go to the grocery store once a week, so my food palette needs to have all the basics ready to go. Over the years, I've created a number of inventory lists. Some are for times when you have no electricity. Others are for a basic 1200-calorie exchange menu.

The Bare Cupboard Basics list gives you the very cheapest sources for healthy eating. When my cupboard is bare, it actually has a lot of the basics: flour, sugar, eggs, beans, canned or frozen vegetables, and spices. In a pinch, I can cook two-weeks worth of meals from the cupboard. I buy these in large quantities when the price is right*, and use the list to check my inventory every week.

*The Price Is Right
If you know what the everyday price at your local low-cost grocery store is, you will always be able to tell if a sale price somewhere else is a bargain. More about that in a future post.


Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm exactly the same, we talk about things being 'in season' when they're on sale. 2 years ago, we bought a house and it has a walk-in pantry, so I reckon I could do about 2-3 months from cupboard stocks :)

Simply Frugal said...

Over the years, I've begun to find patterns in the sales at my usual store (Meijer).

I stock up on flour, butter, and sugar during late November, and December. There's usually a big frozen food sale in February. And canned fruits and vegetables usually go on sale in late August and September as the previous year's harvest is moved along to make room in the warehouse for the new crop.