Is everyone thinking about what they need to have in the house in case there’s a round 2 of shortages at the grocery store? Today I’m chatting about the things I keep on hand so it can jog your memory on what items to put on your next grocery list.
It’s not easy to eat cheap and healthy on a budget. We’ve done price comparisons and taste tests and we know what we need to buy to keep the grocery bill down.
Others have discovered our secrets! Lately, the groceries we can count on being in stock when we shop aren’t always available, and prices are going up, making it tougher to keep that grocery bill down.
It was only three to four months ago that stores were running out of just about everything.
In most cases the problem wasn’t shortages from the manufacturers. They had the supply. The issue was keeping up with shipping the product to the stores where it’d fly off the shelves.
Panicked shoppers were stockpiling, and unfortunately some people were clearing the shelves so they could resell products that others need – at jacked up prices.
After a couple of months, things started to catch up with the retailers. Customers weren’t snatching things off the shelves, in many cases because they already had the product at home that still needed to be used up.
People are noticing shortages again this summer. Especially people who are ordering groceries for delivery or pick up. Items they want are sold out and so are similar products that could have been substituted.
The coronavirus is still rapidly spreading. Some cities and states are implementing lock down procedures trying to get it under control. Are we headed for another round of shortages at the grocery store?
What to stock up on now before another round of shortages?
The answer to the question on what to stock up on now before it disappears from the grocery shelf is to ask yourself what you needed three or four months ago and couldn’t find in the store.
For many people that was toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, flour, sugar, pasta, and meat.
All of a sudden everyone wanted hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and hand wipes, whether or not they even bought these items before.
I keep hand sanitizer and wipes in my car because when I’m picking up after the dogs, well, my hand might come into contact with something I wish it hadn’t touched!
I was OK on hand sanitizer acquired in 2019. One in the car, one in my backpack, and one under my bathroom sink waiting to be called into action. Whew!
I see a fair amount of hand sanitizer in the stores now. I’m planning to buy more. The Purell in my car is almost finished.
If you don’t already have one, I recommend buying a small chest freezer. I keep all kinds of things in my freezer that many people wouldn’t think about freezing just so I can extend the shelf life.
Flour. Oatmeal. Powdered milk. Yeast. Cornmeal. Bisquick.
Slow down the expiry date and keep creepy crawlers out of your dry goods!
You can buy bags of dry rice and store in the freezer too if you want. Get a good sized package of rice if you have a large family or eat a lot of rice. Check the International section of the grocery store or go to ethnic grocers to find really big bags of rice. You might want to invest in a box of Instant Rice, too.
Bread freezes really well, so keep a few loaves in the freezer.
Frozen produce – get the biggest bag you can find of your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Dry and canned goods
Remember my post about stocking up on soup from earlier this year just before the Covid-19 crisis?
That was a bit of a premonition!
Stocking up on cases of your favorite soups is a excellent plan. Keep an eye on sales for sure, but don’t get caught scrambling if we go for Round 2. Make sure you have at least one case of soup on hand. Full price or not! It’s still cheaper than buying the cans individually.
If you normally buy canned fruit and vegetables, add an extra one to your shopping cart each time you’re shopping.
Canned beans can usually be found for $1 or less, or get more for your money and buy a bag of dry beans. Store the dry beans in plastic or glass containers. They last for years!
Keep your eye out for when tuna goes on sale and stock up. I grabbed about 20 tins of CloverLeaf tuna last week at 99¢ each, marked down from $1.59.
If you like Spam or deviled ham, keep a few cans in your cupboard.
Don’t forget cartons of shelf staple milk. I prefer nut milks instead of soy, and I keep at least one each of regular and chocolate in the house, but four or more is better if uncertain on future availability. They’ve gone up in price a bit. A few days ago Walmart was selling the Almond Breeze brand for $2.50, other brands higher priced. I usually wait until I see a sale priced under $2. But I also know the dollar store sells the Almond Breeze brand for $2, so I stopped by the next day and picked up a couple.
I’ve cut back on eating pasta as part of my healthier living plan to lose weight, but I noticed 99¢ spaghetti and macaroni in two pound bags the last time I was in Walmart. I usually only buy whole wheat or harvest grain pastas, but I tossed a bag of macaroni in my cart. I used to make baked macaroni, but haven’t in years. Here’s the easy recipe I used, thanks to Kraft. https://www.kraftwhatscooking.ca/recipe/four-star-macaroni-cheese-bake-85593
Or maybe I’ll just make some pasta salad with that macaroni!
I had chocolate chips on my shopping list, and bought both dark and semi sweet chips. I also grabbed a second bag of dark chocolate chips and put that in my freezer. I’ve never actually frozen bags of chocolate chips, but I’ve frozen other chocolates, so hoping for the best.
I always keep an extra jar of peanut butter in the cupboard. How about the lower-in-calories PB2 chocolate peanut butter powder? Even though I don’t use it a lot, there’s a jar in my cupboard. Guess I should toss it in the freezer before it expires…
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Don’t forget to keep rice in your cupboard. Minute Rice and a bag of long grain.
Pancake mix is a good idea to have on hand, because you can eat pancakes for lunch and dinner, too! Yummy! I love pancakes. It doesn’t take much to make pancakes from scratch, but during these times, having a box of pancake mix ready to go just makes things that much easier.
You should also keep snacks on hand. Comfort food. I always have popcorn in the house. It’s cheap and low calorie. Depending on what I do with it. Like sprinkle some of that chocolate peanut butter powder on it! I got a great deal at the Real Canadian Superstore a few weeks ago. Bags of their brand of popcorn are $2.99 each. The deal was if I bought two, the price became $1.69 each. Well, that was an easy decision! I usually have a jar of Orville Redenbacher in the house, too, but that’s probably because I bought it on sale.
What’s really tempting for me is when I see cookies on sale. Keep repeating to myself: stay out of the cookie aisle! Seriously, if you want cookies, bake them yourself. Or give my trail mix granola bars a try.
Don’t go out and buy a lot of stuff you can’t afford because you’re worried about empty grocery shelves if Round 2 of shortages happen.
Keep in mind what I encourage readers to do – never buy food on credit. Unless thing are really bad for you. Unemployed and starving and no emergency fund might make that OK if you don’t have community services that can help, like a food bank.
The idea is to build up your pantry, and that pantry includes your freezer. Just add an extra something or two onto your shopping list. Or whenever you see something you like to eat on sale while in the store, put it in the cart.
Prices are rising. Buying food now while you can afford it is not hoarding. It’s adding a couple of extra items to your shopping cart before the prices go up any further or before they run out of stock again at the store.
What do I always have in the house?
Here’s a list of some things I always make sure I have on hand.
- Canned soup
- Ramen-style instant noodles
- Tea bags
- Canned tomatoes
- Dry beans
- Shelf staple milk
- Instant milk
- Instant coffee
- Hot chocolate powder
- Ginger ale
- Frozen fruit
- Frozen vegetables
- Egg substitute
- Canned pumpkin
- Chocolate chips
I want to avoid listing every little thing in my cupboard, fridge, or freezer, but I do have a lot of different baking ingredients (cocoa powder, baking powder, etc), spices, salad dressings, and condiments,
From time to time I buy cake mixes and puddings when I see them on sale, but I often end up not using them before the best before date, so I want to avoid wasting food. I’ve never bought instant potato mixes. That just seems so wrong! BC, Washington, and Idaho are well known potato producers, so we don’t seem to run out of potatoes around here! However, that is something I’m thinking I should keep on hand in the cupboard.
What do you think?
It’s enough on my mind that I’ll take a look at instant mashed potatoes the next time I’m in the store. Maybe you should too!
You want to keep enough items on hand that you can create meals, snacks, baking even if you’re making creative menus out of what’s in your cupboard or freezer.
If you have a can of tomatoes, a can of sliced mushrooms, and pasta, you can put a meal together!
You saw what I did with Hawaiian baked beans. Open a can of baked beans and add a can of pineapple. Easy stuff! Toss in a little variety.
Your list will look different than mine, depending on whether or not you eat meat and what you can afford.
I keep a lot of stuff in the freezer that not everyone thinks of keeping there. In addition to the flour and oatmeal and other baking ingredients, There’s usually butter and margarine in there if I spotted some on sale.
Sob! They’re not going on sale as much as they used to before the coronavirus.
Keep in mind – buy extra foods that you already like and know you’re willing to eat. Don’t get caught scrambling at the last minute if Round 2 of shortages sneaks up on us.
Have you been stockpiling anything?