If your income fluctuates or you live paycheck to paycheck, you might occasionally find yourself in the predicament of having little food in the house. You already know that having a well-stocked pantry and freezer can help you avoid this situation, but it's a catch-22: In order to get the pantry stocked in the first place, you need extra money, which you do not have. Actually, however, you can manage to get your home stocked with food for lean times if you follow some of these strategies.
Scour the Ads for BOGO Sales
"Buy One Get One" sales are great for stocking up on foods that you already eat or purchase frequently. Occasionally, you might even see BOG2 ads, which indicate that if you buy one of a particular product, you will get two for free. What a deal! Many grocery stores, even high-end ones, offer BOGO sales each week.
The trick is to walk into the store and buy only those products, without stopping along the way to pick up items that are not on sale. You should also not buy anything on sale that you don't already eat or use enough of.
When you take advantage of these sales, you're literally doubling your money's value. If you would normally buy two boxes of pasta anyway, going to the store with pasta listed on the BOGO ad means you come home with four. Two of these can stock your pantry for the future.
Use Store Coupons
Using coupons is an obvious way to save money, but you might think that you don't have the time. Luckily, there are websites out there that not only provide you with printable coupons, but even let you know which stores in your areas are already offering these items on sale. If you can devote time each week to visiting these sites, you can potentially save a good deal of money while stocking up. Go to your favorite search engine and type in "combine coupons and sales [town name]" to find a site to help you do this.
Put Extra Money Toward Food
If you do have extra money, instead of using it to dine out or buy something that you don't really need, put it toward staples for your pantry. If you don't have extra money at the moment but know that you will in the next few weeks, you can actually shop now by using a cash advance or payday loan. This is a good way to use these types of loans, because you can take advantage of good sales instead of letting them pass you by. Visit resources like http://www.getezmoney.com to get a better idea of your options.
Check Expiration Dates
One of the important factors to keep in mind as you stock your pantry is that you need to use up older items first. It's easy to make the mistake of putting new items in the front of the pantry when you are in a hurry to get your items put away. This can allow the older items to remain in the back of the pantry until after their expiration date. Instead, get into the habit of putting new items toward the back of the pantry so you can use up anything approaching its expiration date and avoid throwing it away.
Stocking your pantry is an excellent way to plan ahead for hard times. If you experience a week where you can't spend much on groceries, at least you won't have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. By combining all of the above strategies, you can build yourself a nice stockpile in a matter of a few weeks or months. Remember to keep adding to it in order to maximize your choices if the time should come when you need to rely on your pantry for a week or two.