The Importance of Taking Stock
Before you head out to the grocery store with your Food $$ and the knowledge of how much you are looking to spend on meats, milk/cheese, and fruits/veggies—WAIT !
What do you already have at home in our fridge, freezer, and cupboards? It is important to take stock of your stock.
So often it is easy to say, “There’s nothing to eat.”
However, quite often that isn’t the truth. Is it? Maybe the truth is you just don’t know what to do with the odds and sods of the eclectic collection of canned items, fridge leftovers or odd meat pieces in the freezer. A copy of our Free Stuff for Daily Needs Cookbook might be able to help give you fresh ideas to deal with these odd sods you have in your stock.
Or, perhaps you don’t even know what is really at the back of your cupboards. And by the way, what is that fuzzy thing growing in the back corner of the top shelf of your fridge? How about the bottom of the freezer? When is the last time you rotated the items in the freezer to make sure the old meat on the bottom doesn’t stay there until it is freezer burned?
How about those 3 Turkeys you got this past Christmas from various Social Services or Community Groups? Hey, don’t laugh. This happens quite often.
So, get your pad of paper and pen and start making a list of what you have.
- What meats are in the freezer?
- List the canned goods are in the cupboard and how many of each.
- What fruits and veggies are in the fridge?
- Oh, and don’t forget to check the toilet paper, soap, shampoo, and even the toothpaste supplies.
Now armed with this information YOU are now EMPOWERED to start making some decisions.
What items do YOU KNOW you are out of? Start an actual grocery list of those items you know you need to purchase whether it is eggs, milk, lunch snacks, or whatever. Now just set this list aside for a few minutes.
DETERMINE—HOW MUCH STOCK ON HAND DO YOU NEED?
There are 3 main things that will help you to determine how much stock you will want in your home and cupboards.
- How often do you use it
The first one will be of course, money—some of you will need to take several months and slowly stock your cupboards—but we’ll talk about how to do that in another article.
Another factor is space. How much cupboard space do you have available? Do you have a large freezer? Or is the fridge freezer compartment your only freezer? (It is possible to put 1 months worth of freezer meals for a family of 4 in a fridge freezer—been there, done that.)
HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE IT?
The last thing you need to look at is how quickly you use an item up. If it is used up quickly and often—you might need several of those items in your stock cupboard so you don’t runt the risk of running out. There might be other things that are used more slowly and you only need to put on your shopping list as you grab the last bottle, package, or can out of the cupboard.
Now with the list of the items you do have in your home—determine things like:
- How many bars of soap do you want to store in the cupboard?
- What is the right amount of rolls of toilet paper or packages you want before starting to buy more? 12, 48, or double that amount?
- Do you want 1 unopened bottle of ketchup in the cupboard? Or do you feel more comfortable when you see 5 bottles in the cupboard because your kids treat ketchup like candy on everything they eat?
Now you know 2 very important things:
- WHAT YOU HAVE and
- HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO HAVE
You can now look at these lists and see which other items you need to add to your grocery list you started a few minutes ago.
Don’t panic if there is an item you want to have a lot in stock and you don’t. We’ll show you how to build up that stock supply over the next while and articles.
Remember, our goal about EMPOWERING YOU, and helping you to save money and not run out of the essentials that YOU NEED.
DO YOU STOCK “STAPLES”?
“Staples” are considered to be things like flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, spices, etc. Here is a list of the most common things that you should also have on stock in your cupboards.
- white sugar
- brown sugar
- baking soda
- baking powder
- milk powder
- biscuit baking mix (Bisquick or similar)
- all purpose flour (or similar)
SOUPS FOR COOKING:
- chicken soup base (powder or cubes)
- beef soup base (powder or cubes)
- creamed soup of chicken soup
- cream of celery soup
- mushroom soup
- onion soup mix
- chili powder
- curry powder
- mustard powder
- ground cloves
- ground cinnamon
- seasoning salt
- celery seeds
- vanilla flavoring
- celery salt
- vegetable oil
- lemon juice
- prepared mustard
- BBQ sauces
- spaghetti sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- salad dressings
- mayonnaise (or whipped salad dressings)
- soya sauce (reduced sodium)
PASTA AND RICE:
- Pasta Noodles (spaghetti, elbows, etc.)
- Brown beans
- mixed beans, chick peas, kidney beans
- canned stewed tomatoes (diced—if you are just going to cut them up anyways—same price as whole tomatoes)
- nonstick spray
- soda crackers
- aluminum foil
- lg freezer bags
- med freezer bags
- butter (or margarine spread is usually cheaper and you can bake with it too)
Learn to keep these type of items stocked
By keeping these items available in your cupboards at all times, and a copy of our Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs Cookbook, you will find ways to cook delicious, nutritious meals for your family while using up those odd cans of beans, smaller cuts of meats, and random cans of soup.
As you continue on this journey of providing nutritious home cooked meals for your family—this above list will change and adapt to YOUR NEEDS and likes—but for now—this is a place to get you started.
Now whether you are making a really detailed stock list or keeping it simple—learning how to stock your cupboards, fridge, and freezer, and keeping them stocked—will over time—help YOU SAVE $$.
STOCKING SAVES YOU MONEY
How? For instance, you normally pick up your favorite instant coffee for $3.99 a jar. But it comes on sale for 2/$5 which works out tot $2.50 each. Well, that is a bargain—so you pick up a few extra jars. Coffee doesn’t go on sale for awhile, however, you have coffee in your stock cupboard that you did buy on sale. So you can wait it out and buy coffee again only when it is on sale.
And if you do run out, just buy the one (1) jar you do need, at regular price, to help tide you over to the next time they are on sale.
Over time you will see that certain types of things seem to go on sale in cycles. Maybe a certain item like cream cheese goes on sale every 3 months. Stock up on it when it is on sale to get you through to the next time it is on wale.
This approach of stocking items when they are on sale will EMPOWER you to save money on your grocery bill. In fact, some people get so good at this they never buy anything at regular price anymore.
For instance, when butter is greatly reduced I will buy up 10 lbs and pop the 9 I don’t need to use right now in the freezer. Quite often I’m on the last brick when it goes on super sale again—Why buy it for $5 a pound when I can get it for about $2.50/lb instead?
Prices listed here are just examples and will vary by region and country. But watch the sales in your own area and discover the best buying shopping pattern for YOUR region.
So now YOU know the IMPORTANCE OF TAKING STOCK.
Not only will it EMPOWER YOU to save money, it will help you know how much food you already have in your home.
The three main points to remember about determining how much stock you want to have is:
- How often is it used?
Only you can make these determinations of how much of any one item you want to have on hand.
Don’t Forget to Rotate the Items
Yes, one last thing–don’t just come home from the store and put the new stuff you just bought at the front. Pull the older items to the front and put the newer items at the back. In this way you keep rotating stock and keeping it fresh. You’d be surprised how many people if they looked in their cupboards will find items that are dated: Best Before—2008 or older. I’m not kidding–I’ve seen it. Even with myself, I have to thoroughly rotate the cupboards around at lease twice a year to make sure I haven’t got some obscure can or box of something hiding in a corner.
If you are just getting started on stocking a kitchen or you may be wondering if there is something missing from your stock, YOU are now EMPOWERED to know where to start.
Again, don’t just take this list—add to it, make it yours. This is all about EMPOWERING YOU in your FOOD budget and cupboards.
Oh, and now that you know what you have on hand—what new recipe are you going to try to use up those odd items in your stock? Happy cooking!