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Taking Inventory of Your Pantry will Save You Money

Updated on October 21, 2009

Every week or two we go to the grocery store and spend money on various food and toiletry items. Not all of those items get used every week though. In no time at all we have built up a random assortment of foods that we might not even know are there. It is so easy to lose track of the foods you have in your home, especially if you have a deep chest freezer like we do. Pair that with three different pantry areas and it is easy to not truly know what I have on hand and what I need to buy. The same can be said for toiletry items and I frequently find myself buying something that I really didn't need. Taking an inventory of the items you have on hand will benefit you in several different areas.

First, taking inventory will save you money. You might discover that you have plenty of meat on hand and won't need to buy any for a few weeks. It is better to use up what you have before buying new, or it could quickly get freezer burn and go to waste. Knowing what you have on hand will prevent you from buying what you already have.

Second, taking inventory will prevent waste. You will likely find items that are about to expire and need to be used up. Now is the time to pull those items out and work them into your menu soon. This means less foods bought at the store that week which equals more money in the bank. If you wonder why you ever bought it to begin with and don't think you will use it, donate it to a food pantry before it expires.

Third, when you take inventory you can make a note of the items you need to purchase to complete meals. Maybe you have no spaghetti sauce, but ten boxes of pasta. Add sauce to your list for the week and you will have a pretty cheap meal on hand. By coming up with a list of random ingredients that will help you complete meals that you have most of the foods for you will avoid wasting foods.

Fourth, by actively going through all the items you have on hand you can easily make a meal plan (possibly even in your head) that will help take some of the dinner stress off the cook. I know that when I can't think of anything to make for dinner several nights in a row, that I should take inventory and create a list of all the meals I could make with what I have in the house already.

Fifth, when you take inventory and realize all the food you have that needs to be eaten, it will hopefully inspire you to cook more at home and not eat out. Frequently eating out happens when we don't have a plan and don't know what to cook. Taking inventory will help both of those problems and get you inspired to eat at home more.

So before you head to the store again, take a look through your cabinets and refrigerator. Figure out what you have and what needs to be used and make a list from there. Your wallet will thank you.


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    • marygarrison profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for the helpful pointers!

    • Nemingha profile image


      9 years ago

      I do this on a regular basis and, you are right, it does help save money and avoid waste.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Made me think back in the 1950s and 1960s how much of this stuff was taught in school and now the typical home economics classes are a mere six weeks and skip so much practical stuff young people need to know in terms of life skills they may not get at home. Great hub!

    • Darren2010 profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Jen,

      Great Hub! There is so little info on the web about organizing. I found lots of sites but your hub is better because it shows the end result and it works through step by step. Would have been interesting to see the before picture. Good job.


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