The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Pantries and Preparedness. When it is just so hard to get ahead.

Last week Marie asked how to get ahead with the pantry when all the funds are tied up and emergencies come up to top it off! Well,  we have all been there. On Friday (Feather your Nest Friday) a number of lovely ladies made wonderful comments on this subject, much of it from experiencing the same thing. Thank you to everyone who replied.

This is a good subject... how to get ahead when it seems like an impossible task. When groceries run out before pay day. When other things have eaten into the finances and we still have people to feed... all those times.

Getting ahead is a buffer against emergencies. There is only one thing worse than running out of money before pay day and not having enough food in the house. That is this happening when you have a child.

This is where your emergency pantry supplies are a God send.

Some of the best stuff of my blog is what happens in the comments. The replies on this are so good. Cath suggested... the basic pantry ingredients that make a lot of different things are a really good place to start with, amongst lots of other things (I suggest reading the whole thing)
Mimi had been through such times and learned a tricky little method to set food aside. (this I thought was one of Mimis loveliest comments ever!)
Wendy added how she does this and she is very good on this subject!
Jen added how she has made progress in this area from her own experiences. Also Caths book, Eat Well, Save More, which I can also recommend.

It was all so heartwarming and helpful.

On Monday Wendy wrote a post that is just perfect. Her method of saving in one area of the budget to help another area...  you have to read this, it could revolutionise how you think of your budget...Creating your own mini economy. This fits in so well.
Wendy and I think alike. This is how I do everything. It is saving in one area and benefiting another.
And that is how I get ahead in the pantry, or one of the main ways.

Wendy's system relies on you knowing how much you have for different categories in your budget. This is crucial.
If you need help making your budget or maybe updating it then there is a good series I am following on budgeting that might be useful at A Chat over Coffee How to Budget.
Knowing your budget helps so much.  All year I have used the savings in different areas to grow my pantry and supplies. I have stocked a cellar this way. This was my priority and it has come togehter in hundreds of small ways and small steps.

Some of the areas we saved in included...
We did not have a weekend away that we usually have.
We are saving on prescription drugs. This will equal over $600 over twelve months.
I have made almost all of my Christmas presents and cards.
I didn't buy clothes most of the year.
Reward points from the supermarket all went to pantry items...
Each of these savings has been used to add to the pantry/cellar. That was my goal for the year.

Some of the things Ive done to stock the pantry are little by little things. ie I haven't bought any coffees out which I once did. Each time I buy a pantry item instead.
It all adds up!

Giving up a bad habit or unhealthy thing and using the money to build up your pantry is a win/win. I would be jumping with joy if I heard someone saying they gave up gambling or smoking and used the money to buy chickens. Can you imagine that!? There may be something that can go and is better off gone. And that money could go into something that grows more and more savings like fruit trees, or a compost bin or a canning kit!

A garage sale might clear out useless stuff that takes up space and simultaneously give you room for shelves and the funds to fill them.

Having said all of that there are still times that there is nothing to sell, swap or change and there is no room to move. Only free food is going to increase the pantry. But it is possible to get a lot of free food!

There are two posts dedicated to free food...

Stocking your pantry for free.

Free food continued.

Vicky also replied to Marie  here...

How do we stock a pantry when we are on limited grocery dollars, but would like to increase the pantry?
I have had several ladies over the years ask me this because they are tired of being out of food by the end of the week or had to allocate the grocery money for another bill or emergency and really want to have a lot more food in the cupboards.
First everyone's pantries are different as we all know, but one thing does need to be taken into account when it comes to pantry stocking although we would like to think so not everyone cooks or bakes! No kidding I know ladies that can't cook or bake at all and that's ok I am not eating their cooking. Besides we always say store what you eat and eat what you store. So if you want to get ahead in the pantry area just a little, but are unsure how to approach doing it maybe these suggestions will help give you an idea! And please remember these are suggestions not a given as we all eat differently.
If your pantry is low or you are just starting out:
First take stock of what ingredients you do have, that includes cupboards, fridge and freezer.
How much of these ingredients do you have? example: half a bag of beans, 2 cans of soup, a pound of hamburger or a pack of hot dogs
What do you make with these ingredients you do have and how often do you use them. example: has that half bag of beans been in the cupboard for a long time or is it from last week and you eat beans once a week? Don't spend grocery dollars now on something you don't use very often instead buy something you do.
With the ingredients you do have or have left can you use them this week to make a meal with? example: beans and bread or hamburger gravy?
If so that will be at least one meal planned for the week that you will not be buying items at the store for and can get something else to add to the pantry. A meal ahead if you will.
Next you want to stock your most economical ingredients first even if you have to change your meals for a little while and serve some of the same things. Price being the biggest factor. example: don't buy a 15 dollar bottle of olive oil if you are trying to get ahead or don't spend 6 dollars on a bag of chocolate chips wait for a good sale.
How many meals do you get out of your ingredients? example: if a frozen pizza is 5 dollars on sale, but would only feed your family once can you forgo it and buy 5 dollars worth of sale items that will either be more than one meal or part of more than one meal. example: say frozen veggies are on sale and you can get 5 bags of those for the cost of 1 frozen pizza or 5 boxes of pasta. You are farther ahead. You are adding to the pantry.
What kind of meals are you serving that can be changed or tweaked? Can you reduce the ingredients to get more bang for your buck at mealtimes? example: let's say you bought chicken breast on sale great job! But most chicken breasts are a good size and if you can cook 1 and shred it and make something like creamed chicken over biscuits or chicken and noodles you have chicken in the freezer for other meals thus stretching the grocery dollars.
If your family likes simple foods don't try to wow them every night. If they like grilled cheese and tomato soup or hot dogs and macaroni then serve it. If you have baking cocoa, sugar, butter, oats and peanut butter make a batch of no bake cookies or bars and skip the store bought cookies. Use what you have first.
If your family likes fruit, but doesn't eat it all when you buy it don't feel obligated to buy a whole bag of apples or a bunch of bananas on sale or not, buy just a few pieces of each so your money is not wasted. If they like breakfast foods and they are cheaper that week serve eggs or pancakes for dinner.
So let's say you stretched your meat the first week and have some left for other meals and you skipped the convenience pizza and bought frozen veggies or canned items or even 2 dozen eggs for what you would have spent on that pizza now you are ahead. You do this for at least a month and you will start seeing a difference in your pantry. If you have some of your budgeted food dollars left stick them back and wait until the next sale. Get a different cut of meat that's on sale or buy extra of something else. An extra bag of flour or cheese or butter if it's on sale. The biggest thing is to not serve the meals that require expensive ingredients when there are tasty and affordable alternatives.
This all just basic as there are a multitude of ways to save when it comes to the pantry, just a different way to look at it so I hope there is some information here that helps.

Thank you so much Vicky and everyone who replied. Plenty of experience on this and such kindness and willingness to help someone else.

Most of us have built up supplies very gradually and using a whole variety of methods and utilising every opportunity! And when you hear of situations where there is no spare food (or worse) we are reminded of why we do this! It is a good reminder.

I  wanted to share with you some of the pictures I have received.  Everyone has been busy!
Vicky was harvesting cabbages. And not just a few!

As Autumn sets in she has been harvesting and busy.

Glenda as been picking berries.

The work involved in picking these reminds me of picking Mulberries only worse! But Glenda freezes them and then deals with them in batches.

I love seeing how you are building up your supplies! 

So over to you. How do you manage to add to your pantry for tough weeks when money is already tight? 

Thank you to everyone! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, what a lovely post. I am now taken back to our early years married when hubbys wage was the same as our rent. We ate a lot of savoury crepes then, with lean fillings, lol. I also recall a spontaneous BBQ with some US Marines who then invited other Marines, we had no money & I laughed out loud when I foujnd out how many were coming. They bought meats with them! We all had a massive meal & I froze the leftovers & we ate that for what seemed like an infinity.
    Have a lovely day, Karen xox

    1. Dear Karen,
      Thank you! We had savoury crepes lots growing up! The good thing is when you are a child you have no idea that you are being fed this because it is inexpensive! And I still like them!
      The BBQ was a bit of a loaves and fishes situation! You had a good sense of humor to laugh at the time, I think I wold have freaked! But you ended up being better off than before! Thank you, we have all had some of these "interesting" times I think! Love

  2. Marie I have been in your place - not had any spare money and even worse my grocery money ended up paying the chemist bill because one of both of the children were sick.

    We started out married life with no family around us, at all. Our children were born and family came to visit but where most people could go and have a meal with family to help them out we didn't have that option.

    I started building up my pantry slowly - a tin at a time but only ever something that we used. No good having a pantry full of tins of tuna when you have a husband like mine who will not eat it even if it is made into Annabel's Tuna Mornay (sorry Annabel).

    To start with I worked out our base recipes - these were the ones that everyone ate and then I went from there. The other thing I did was made sure that treat food was that - muesli bars and store bought biscuits just did not cut it in our house as regular food - they were when we were away on holidays food.

    It is amazing what you can buy for the amount that you would pay for a packet of biscuits or muesli bars.

    I didn't really have a choice, it had to be done and I had to work out how to do it with my limited means. One can at a time, a packet of flour, or sugar or ???? each fortnight shop, it soon amounted to quite a bit but I had no idea it would.

    Over the years I have had to let my pantry run down and start again, generally I have followed the same plan. Now that the children have left home the extra money available has meant that I could build the pantry up quicker than ever before.

    I still make sure that I have items that will get used in it.

    Our storm season has started so I need to check through the pantry items and make sure that I have no gaps.

    Annabel I have a GF who is as you have said - I shake my head after I have visited her and wonder what is going to happen in a couple of years time when she retires from work. Her partner is already retired and doesn't seem to have grasped the need to make sure that there is money there for important things like paying bills, fixing the roof because it leaks and putting food on the table.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Experience is such a good teacher. It must have been hard having no help when the kids were small. Mostly I had Mum and dad near by, after Chloe was one year old anyway, until they were grown up. We were also always able to go to the farm for a meal and the meals were giant roasts etc even with left overs to take home quite often. I know now I was very lucky.
      I hope your friend gets a budget and a realistic plan. Its a worry!
      Thank you for sharing this Lynette. Bit by bit and as you say things you will use... that gets you spare meals put away after a little while.
      With love, Annabelxxx

  3. I just got the ad for one of our local grocery stores that is having a case sale and figured out that there was only one thing that I would even consider sticking up on and then realized that I could get that same price throughout the year on sale. Since we are trying to pay off my high medical bills after surgery, I am getting more and more careful in my spending.

    1. Dear Debbie, Medical bills are a set back but your health is the most important thing of course.
      I hope you can get this bill paid off. That will be wonderful. With love,

  4. Hello Annabell - I know I have been in this situation, and it is a tough one. The biggest thing is letting people know - I let people know I will gladly accept leftovers at parties, lunches, etc. Getting leftovers to eat immediately leaves budgeted grocery money to stock the pantry for the future. Or freezing the leftovers to use another time. Accepting excess garden produce. Or when friends/family/neighbors go out of town and need to clean out their fridge or they simply have things they can't use. I put aside "found money" into a special account which can literally be change I find or from things I sell. I also complete online surveys and reward programs like Swagbucks - which might be just a small amount but it adds up over time. I also use store rewards/loyalty programs to add a bit to the budget and put that money into stocking the pantry. Also letting people know that for gifts, food items are appreciated. When my daughter came back from Italy, she brought me a huge bag of dried mushrooms as a souvenir!

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Left overs can be a great bonus! Once at the farm we catered for a really big crowd (ourselves) of about 300 people. We did huge pots of potatoes, Dad did a whole side of beef and a lamb etc. It was all BIG. At the end there was a lot of roast meat left plus potatoes. It took a long time but I stood and packed sliced meat, potatoes and gravy into portions right for the three of us. I got so many! I guess we had that once a week for half a year. It was wonderful!
      I like your expression "found money" I will think of that now!
      A hamper of food is a perfect gift for a family I think. Many thanks! With love,

  5. This is a really great post, one that I will be thinking on and re-reading many times to try and absorb as much wisdom as possible! I will certainly be going back to the older post to find and read all of the comments in full that were in response to Marie's query. Thank you Annabel and all of the kind, lovely ladies that comment here to support, help, encourage and inspire each other! It really is a lovely 'community' here. To Marie, hope you have been having a less stressful week this week, and hope you have found some good ideas to help you in future. Take care, and as I remind myself all the time, just keep taking one baby step at a time. Kelly : )

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you for such kind words. There is a lot of wisdom, experience and help. All year I have found if I have asked for help or advice the ladies deliver! This has helped me learn so much!
      You are quite right, baby steps get you there. With love,

  6. Many years ago, when my husband and I were adjusting from 2 incomes to 1 and had a small baby, money was very tight. At that time I only used cash to buy groceries. There were weeks when no money was left at the end of the week. And other weeks I might have $1 or $2 left. One thing I learned was to take any amount left over, no matter how small, and put it in a separate envelope. It became kind of a game to see how much I could have left at the end of the week. It might take 2-3 weeks for me to accumulate enough to purchase anything. But I used this "extra grocery money" to buy something for my pantry (at this time it was just one shelf in the kitchen cabinet). I remember being so excited to make my first pantry purchase! I had just 1 item on the shelf but it was a beginning.
    I think an important thing to remember when money is tight... is that sometimes you just have to make it through each day without pressuring yourself to achieve anything extra. If you can't add to the pantry today...then maybe next week...or the week after that. Do whatever is easy and stress-free for you.

    1. Dear Sharla, thank you for this. It is funny what we remember and how your excitement at your first pantry purchase has stayed with you. And I can understand that!
      I agree that saving that little bit of change toward a purchase is a great idea and motivator.
      And that there are times just getting through is enough and a job well done. Many thanks, love

  7. Annabel this is a great post. Im just starting to build my stockpile slowly and i cant believe how excited i get when i can 1 or 2 things at a time. At the moment ive only been shopping at Aldi"s but i have 3x flour, 2x sugar, 6x toilet rolls and 4x teabags, i thought i would just concentrate on these items for now until i have at least a 3 months supply then stop building them for a while and start on something else, its working for me right now, im watching all the specials, keeping my price book up to date and when im ready to start on the next batch of the stockpile i'l be able to get the best price xo

    1. Thank you Karen. Well done on your stockpile building! It is awesome that you have a price book and are watching the specials. Pretty soon you will never have to pay full price for anything. What a saver!
      I am building up my supplies with great specials and also I find if I keep some complete meals on hand (can be in cupboard, fridge or freezer) then if things go wrong we don't need take away. This saves me and benefits the whole budget. All these little things add up.
      Well done. You will be so glad you did this! With love,

  8. Dear Annabel,
    This is a wonderful subject! I loved all of the replies to Marie's question. A few things...I agree with Wendy (and many others) and bit by bit is a long term decision and discipline that pays off hugely. In my experience it really is the only way to build. But In the short term: I would suggest for every main meal made, if possible freeze a portion if you have the space. I look at my freezer completely differently now, it IS a part of our pantry. Even single-serves add up and create entire meals for whatever caused the lean moment ie., lack of grocery money, can't access money for whatever reason, an unexpected bill or illness. Another thing is credited to Mimi, and that is the practice of seeing what planned item I can do without today, and stretch into another meal for later. Even something as simple as altering (reducing) the amount of meat, or veggies, etc in a recipe today and turn it into something else later, can add up very quickly. The computer and library are our for recipes that you know your family will enjoy that are frugal and start rotating them into your meal plans and you will very quickly see money "appear" for pantry stocking. I think this is just as important as knowing your prices. Finally, I was just reading an old Laine's Letters where one of her grocery tips was to search for and know recipes that omit oil, butter, eggs, etc...she cited the possibility of hard times and those ingredients being possibly hard to come by. In other words, build your cooking skills in a way that you can skim by for a few days. Short term sacrifice for a few days if you will, so you can add something that your family can stretch and benefit from. There is such a wealth of good information here! So many sweet ladies with wonderful comments and wisdom. I hope Marie (and everyone) is patient with themselves. Today is the only day we have. Put forth your best effort for today and sleep soundly. Thank you for a wonderful and thoughtful post, Annabel!
    Love, Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette, thank you! I better go and find this post of Laimes. Why a good point! Of course versatile recipes would be great, as you say, when there I no butter or no eggs, you can get around that. These would be good recipes to have. Mmmm I think this is a really good idea.
      I agree about the single frozen serves. Although at the time it can seem pointless to freeze a single meal I remember I did this and if one of the girls was home from school this would make a perfect lunch, things like that. I still do it. I was away for two nights not long ago and Andy had these meals. Very handy!
      You are right about being happy with getting through today well. That is the main thing. With love and thanks,

    2. Dear Annabel, the letter was called Fearless Food Shopping :)

  9. Money was really tight when my girls were just babies. We lived in what the government called the poverty trap ( around 1998 - 2000 ) It meant that if my husband earned one dollar above $23, 500 we would lose some of our family benefits and pay more tax. Thankfully DH could eat his tea at work ( Pizza Hut ). I would stand in front of the pantry and work out what was the cheapest meal to cook. It was usually tinned spag on toast or crumpets. The only veg we had in the fridge crisper was carrots with corn and beans in the freezer. We couldn't afford more veg and we couldn't afford for anything to go off, so carrots it was. At times we didn't eat that well but all our bills and mortgage were paid.

    I shopped the specials and bought up big when I could. There was no unit pricing back then so I shopped with a calculator. I always shopped with a list and bought no name (still do ).

    Back then my stockpile wasn't that big but we never run out of anything ( from memory ) Changing from fortnightly shopping to monthly was a huge money saver. Some months there were 3 fortnights eg - 1st, 15th and 30th and we couldn't afford the third fortnighly shop. So monthly worked better to fit in with the monthly mortgage payment.

    We never bought fad / trendy foods. Family and friends didn't understand why we didn't eat fancy but we never gave in to peer pressure we couldn't afford to. We just stuck to our budget.

    Some things haven't changed. We are still on a low income. We still shop monthly and buy everything we can no name. We still buy ingredients not fad / trendy food. I still shop the specials and clear the shelf if my food slush fund allows.

    The difference now is that we don't have a mortgage because we sacrificed to pay it off. We eat better and spend much less on our groceries. We now grow some of our veg and a little fruit. God is good and we love our lifestyle. I wouldn't change those hard times for anything..

    1. Dear Wendy, Yes those hard times are great teachers. And also now the mortgage is paid things are much better.
      Growing your own, the chooks, cooking from scratch... I know you feed the family very well.
      Wise food choices are a big factor. Junk food can cost a lot and you can buy a lot of ingredients instead. It's funny that anyone would want you to buy junk or buy foods you couldn't afford!
      Unit pricing is a handy thing. It does save me many calculations. With thanks, Annabel.xxxx

  10. Excellent ideas, ladies! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Lana. I hope you are having a good week. Lots of good ideas from lots of experience I think. Very grateful. xxx

  11. Such wonderful tips here. I too love reading the comments as much as the postings!!! And it really is true that by just starting small, we really can gain traction over time - and be prepared for lean times (and we're never really sure when they may be). I truly believe God will provide, but he also wants us to be good stewards of what we have and help ourselves, too. Much love to you all - I love this site.

    1. Dear Shannon, Thank you so much! I totally agree with the two fold idea of doing what we can and trusting God with the rest. Working, hard, being good stewards, using our gifts and talents and all these things add up. Plus learning and sharing. All a great help. Thank you! With love,

  12. Just had to agree with freezing even single servings of meals. I save all the plastic containers that lunchmeat comes in (I realize buying these isn't always economical but I worry about larger quantities not being used) - they're my Tupperware!!! And I think Wendy mentioned not having much variety of veggies in the fridge at one time, they're pretty much what I stock too. I buy the big bags of frozen peas and corn from Walmart, and cook them up together - I love this combo. And they say that frozen are just as good as fresh - so it works for us. It's all about making do with what you have. We might not have many $, but we have love and a nice hot meal each night.

  13. Unit pricing is wonderful!!! I shop mostly at Walmart and Target for food items, unless a supermarket is having an even better sale. I always look at the unit price per pound or quart now. Yesterday, I stocked up on canned tomatoes (the big 28oz can), and was able to get them just 0.55 each. Along with the pound bags of pasta for just 0.75 each, these are my most used staples in my pantry. Keep up the wonderful blogging, I just love seeing the new updates - but it does make me miss Australia, and NZ too - as lots of your content is so specific to Aus.

    1. Dear Shannon, I know some of what I say must be a mystery to some ladies in other countries! I am trying to use more universal measurements etc. When I started out I never dreamed anyone far away would be reading! Im glad you understand though! Love

  14. A great post full of great advice and I hope this helps Marie and everyone that needs a little help. Like everyone else only buy what your family will eat and find recipes with basic ingredients and have stock up on these. Most people can find $5 a week to start a stockpile and it is amazing what you can buy with that. Baked beans are cheap and can be used in various ways as can a lot of other tin food.
    Flour is another ingredient to have as you can make damper etc if you have no bread and kids love hot bread straight out of the oven, pancakes biscuits etc. Powdered milk can be used in various ways savoury sauces add to a meal or the base of a meal and can stretch it further for an extra meal. It is hard if you have babies and need disposables, maybe have some cloth nappies to use if times get tough or if you cant afford disposables till the next week.
    We have all been in the same situation at sometime in our lives and it does get easier. This year I was out of work for 3 months and then a few months later I had a hand injury and had another 6 weeks where I couldn't do anything and a stockpile does help out so much as what income I got had to pay the rent and bills.
    Hope this helps in some way.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Annabel
    Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      Mum always told us that a can of baked beans was very good for protein and goodness and to always keep them. Very good to have on the shelf.
      I agree about basics that can be used to make a great range of things. They can fill everyone up. Very useful. Rice is one of mine. A bit of rice can be a great stretcher!
      I know you had some extra work hours, I hope they helped you catch up as you did have a hard time this year!
      Many thanks, with love,

  15. This is really snowballing Annabel! So wonderful to see! I love that we're sharing so many different strategies, because let's face it, what works for one person, may not work for another. Colette, I'm glad you brought that other tip up about leaving out or reducing ingredients in a recipe. I've made chilli con carne without the tinned tomatoes, using just ends of fresh ones and some tomato paste instead, saving the tinned tomatoes for a tomato and basil fresh-from-the-garden pasta sauce. Nobody noticed any difference in the chilli and in fact commented on how nice it was. And I got two meals in place of one! Another great thing to do is to reduce your reliance on packet mixes. I make my own Morroccan, Mexican, Italian and Thai seasonings, my own marinades and stir fry sauces, and add home grown fresh herbs when in doubt. You will not believe how much this can save you. Sure a bottle each of Soy sauce, Fish sauce, lime juice and lemon juice might initially cost double the amount of a bottled or premixed sauce, but right there you have the makings of 15 bottles of marinade or sauce. It's a massive saving! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Like Colette I use that tip so much. Making something I think oh if I leave this out I could make... etc and end up wiht another meal even if it is over several meals this hapens. Also with extra serves. If I add this or that I will get two extra serves... and they become another meal. Everytime we do this we are saving a lot. This is a great way to get ahead.
      Your post about money in the fridge was fantastic. It is so true. We throw out money when we throw out food!
      Thanks so much, love

  16. So many good tips, as usual! I have found meal planning really helpful in making use of what we have. When I am looking for new recipes for foods or want to use something I am unfamiliar with, I type "recipes with x" into an internet search and have found some good ones. You can also search things like substitutions or "cake recipes without eggs." Using little bits of leftover food in another dish or having a meal that is comprised of individual, assorted servings has helped me. Although I still freeze some meal-sized portions, I have found individual portions to be really helpful for lunches, quick dinners and those times when each person would like something different. It also keeps someone from snacking up what could be part of another meal.
    Annabel, I am so glad I found your lovely blog!

    1. Thank you so much! I agree that searching what to do with excess or something we might have been given etc is a great way to h those. ideas. I use Taste... they always seem to be reliable recipes. Also Donna Hay or Jamie Oliver. I get on well with those and they are things we like. it is so handy.
      Thank you so much for this, have a lovely weekend, Love

  17. It's taken me forever to read this post because I also wanted to hop over to read Wendy's economy post and then absorb all of the comments here. Such helpful information from everyone!

    I'll agree with some of the previous comments that I find it helpful to stock versatile ingredients like flour and sugar as well as shelf-stable ingredients for recipes. One example is a family favorite Italian-style one pot meal that calls for pasta, stock, diced tomatoes, olive oil, and spices but no meat. I can buy the ingredients as I find sales and they'll keep a long time in the pantry. If no olive oil is available then I can skip it. And the recipe makes enough to fill up my menfolk as well. Internet searches and Pinterest are great places to find frugal, pantry-friendly recipes.

    1. I did send everyone on a bit of a treasure hunt! But they were treasures!
      I am wondering if this recipe is on your blog? I really like the sound of it. As I grow a lot of fresh herbs a handful of those over the top at the end would be really nice... so I would love to try it! With thanks,

  18. Thanks for linking up to Home Matters Party. #HomeMattersParty

  19. This was wonderful, thank you Annabelle!

    1. Thank you Marie and thank you for commenting! Love Annabelxxx

  20. Oh my, oh my goodness, what a brilliant post and what wonderful comments. I need to get my notepad out and re read. My husband only recently returned to full time work (about 18 months ago), but now I'm at home with our baby so we need to be careful with our grocery budget. It sounds crazy, but I secretly love feeding my family on a tight budget. I know we are eating well and are doing it off our own back. I love to freeze a lot now. I have started freezing grated verge mixes to go in lots of things like zucchini slice or spaghetti. Makes it healthier too. I love Mimi's tip about making own marinades and spices. I need to do more of this. I have only tried to make taco mix, which was yummy. Awesome tips. Next I need to think what I can stockpile....lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge, I am glad you liked this. I think in two ways about stockpiling. First stock up several days of things you use so that in a storm or something you wouldn't have to go out. Also when things are a great price and they are the things you use get extra until soon the days comes you only buy them on special. Otherwise stockpile what you can. If fruit comes your way then use that. Make pies, makes jam. Free stuff and amazing specials are a great way to get ahead. If you let people know you make jam and love fruit then often fruit comes to you. Next week I am doing a post on how to manage it and put it to good use to build up your supplies... Easy ways as it can be hard to manage but it's such a good opportunity! Getting ahead as you have with frozen vegies is great as you say they can be added to many things, make fritters, soup etc as well.
      Have a lovely weekend! With love,

  21. (Sorry if it's a double post. My computer indicated a problem. If it is, just delete one). Oh, my!! I had to get out my "saver notebook" to take notes on this one. I have been doing some of these things for years,, but there are so many good, new-to-me ideas here. Thanks to all!

    1. Dear Cristy, thank you! Sometimes it only takes one new idea to make a difference and help. I am so glad you found something. This ear I have found many and its been so good! With love and thanks,


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