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I’ve heard here and there that it is handy to have a pantry list. I even used to have one, but I haven’t had one for a while. I have a pretty good system, where whenever something gets low, whoever notices will write it on the white board, where I then transfer it to my iPod Shopping List app–since I always take my iPod shopping with me! This worked quite well with weekly shopping, since I could always get by for at least a week without almost any given item, if it somehow didn’t get on the list.

But lately I have been noticing the price of gas, and how much gas it takes to go to town (since town is 20-30 miles away from home, depending on what places I go to). I realized that a trip to the closest WinCo (large discount grocery store) was at least $8 round trip. Add in a couple of other stops, and I was easily spending $10 on gas for each trip into town. And that’s conservative, assuming I only go to that section and don’t make any other stops. So I decided it was time to try twice-a-month shopping.

Sure, there is a grocery store in Estacada, where I live, but prices there are a bit on the high side. I don’t mind spending an extra $.10 or so extra on bananas, but some things are more than twice what I would pay in town. Most veggies will last 2 weeks if they are stored properly, and some things, like lettuce, we can get by without for a few days until I can get back to town (especially since I only ever buy organic lettuce anymore). If I urgently need something, I can probably go buy it at the local market, since the cost of buying 2-3 things at a higher price will be cheaper than driving 40 miles round trip.

But to shop only twice a month, I need to really be organized. So I made a pantry list again.

Click to download PDF of my list

You’ll notice that some items have numbers beside them. Those are things like canned goods. I figure that we will need at least 5 jars of spaghetti sauce, for instance. Now, I’ve started buying it by the case, so if we have at least 5 jars at the beginning of the month, I won’t buy any. If we have fewer than 5, I’ll buy a case. The same goes for other canned goods: I want to have at least the number on the list at the beginning of the month. This way I hopefully won’t have to buy those items again, and I hopefully won’t run out before the next trip to town.

Other items do not have numbers. Items I buy in 25 lb bags, for instance, I don’t buy very often. However, having them on the list means I can check them to see how much is left. If I think I could run out before the end of the month, I’ll add them to my shopping list. Of course, I can’t buy fresh veggies to last the month, but having them on the list will help me remember what I need to check on. I expect I will buy a few things on the off weeks down at the local grocery store, but hopefully it will be only veggies and fruit.

Now, I will buy things that aren’t on this list. For instance, I don’t ever plan on buying canned beans, but I might occasionally buy, say, canned artichokes, if a recipe called for them. But because I always plan a menu before I finalize my shopping list, I will know if I need it and put it on the list before it shows up in the menu.

Because I use my iPod for my shopping list, I haven’t felt the need for a master shopping list that I can highlight as needed. However, if you take a written list to shop, you might want to consider having one. Because I shop at different stores, it just seems easier to use the app, because I can make a list for each store, and I know what items on the pantry list are purchased where.

So what about you? Do you have a pantry list? What about a master shopping list? What items would be on your list that aren’t on mine?


This post is linked with The Modest Mom and We Are That Family

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