How To Save Money While Stocking Your Pantry


People ask us all the time for advice on how to stock up on essential pantry items.  Many people assume we have a membership to Costco and just make weekly or bi-monthly trips to the warehouse for our pantry items.  We don’t have a membership to Costco because we didn’t feel it “penciled out” for us.  We go back and forth on this every 6-12 months and we re-evaluate whether it would be a help or a hindrance on our budget.

As the boys are getting bigger and demand more food, we may at some point get a membership.  But in the meantime, I’m able to stock up on pantry essentials, paper goods and other necessities outside of Costco.

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Spring Break in Spokane, WA.

In past blogs I’ve talked about how much I love shopping at  Costco sizes on items and prices which are comparable–sometimes even less since Amazon has various coupons, promotions and other savings programs (plus, free shipping!).  This eliminates the chances of us becoming a consumer target resulting in our buying things which aren’t on the list. This tends to happen when I’m in an actual store with hungry boys!

The reason this blog post came about was because we just got home from a spring break trip to Spokane and we had our Suburban piled high and wide with grocery items.  Spokane has stores which we don’t have in Missoula.  Stores like Winco and Cash and Carry all offer bulk items for incredible prices.  So, when we travel we always scope out the potential places where we could stock up on pantry items for less than we could at Amazon or Costco.

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We go through a lot of oats in our family!

We had to laugh because we spent 3 days in Spokane seeing and doing various things and shopping at thrift stores, sporting goods stores and craft stores.  On our last day, we hit the Winco and Cash & Carry grocery stores.  Guess what–our boys had SO much fun and claimed these were the best stores ever!  Either Jon or I have taught them right or we’ve scarred them for life.  Who would have thought a bunch of boys would love grocery stores.  Our oldest even offered us his cash just to be sure we had enough money for everything (Winco only takes cash).

We stocked up on dark brown sugar, flour, dried beans, popcorn seeds, dried fruit, oatmeal, lentils, tortillas, tortilla chips and yeast to name just a few. These are all bulk items which we stock in our pantry.  Having items like this allows us to cook from our shelves instead of depending upon the stores for every meal.  We can simply look in our pantry and build meals from the ingredients we have on hand. Shopping and planning this way helps us save hundreds of dollars each month on our grocery bill.

Stocking the Pantry

Dried beans are a must for our pantry.

It may seem crazy to even think about groceries when you are on vacation but that’s what makes a super saver!  Because being alert and prepared for the opportunity to save money at any time or any place makes for a frugal shopper.  And as I mentioned earlier, when you have boys who love food this also serves as great entertainment for them to walk through the aisles!

Stocking our pantry is an ongoing task.  It’s not something that we do once and forget.  We are consistently adding new things to the shelves and using up other things.  So, it is super frugal for us to be on our toes and always on the hunt for the best deals on pantry essentials.

Now, we won’t be back to Spokane for a while so we do accommodate for that when we find something we really like and it has a great price.  Like butter…we can get butter at the Cash & Carry for $1.96/lb.  Anything under $2/lb is our stock up price, so we obviously stock up and freeze our butter hoping it will last us until the next time we get back to Spokane.  We bought 30 lbs of butter last July and it lasted until almost March.  But we never just make a trip to Spokane for groceries, which would defeat the whole purpose of being frugal!   We just plan our stocking- up into already planned trips!

If you want to know more about the pantry items I find essential and always keep on hand so that I can make homemade frugal meals in a flash then check out this blog post!

Do you have any stores in other towns which you like shopping at and get good deals?


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.  Read more of Erin’s blogs about homesteading, farming, homemaking and other fun things at
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