Save Money by Shopping in your own Pantry

pantry cropped

If you have been following my $21 Supermarket Challenge you will know that I have cleaned out my freezer of ‘forgotten food’ and am now working on clearing out my pantry.

Chef  [my husband, still on crutches]  normally does all of the food shopping and cooking so I had to do the stocktake of our walk-in pantry in his stead.  Well! I must say I have found a mountain of items … that is an understatement.

This is some of what I found and used in our pantry this week:

Mug of Soup

32 Twin-packs of Cup of Soup:

Don’t limit yourself to using these as a convenience individual soup. You can use these as flavour bases for your own bigger’n’better feed-the-family soups when you want to use up leftovers. By adding fresh ingredients, especially in-season vegetables, to bulk it up, you can enjoy this as a main meal.

You can also use them as a flavour base and thickening agent in your slow cooker, casseroles, sauces or livening up plain mince in hamburger patties, sloppy joes, chilli dishes etc.   Let your imagination be your guide!

hard taco shellsTaco Kit  –  13 months past its Use-by date:

This taco kit contained hard and [thankfully] soft tacos. The oil in the hard taco shells had gone rancid, and the compost bin ate well. We were, however, able to eat the soft tacos which we supplemented with corn chips [ yet another pantry discovery! ] in lieu of the hard tacos.


Chilli Con Carne WrapsA tin of chili con carne:

I am not sure how old the tin was but I know that tinned items do have a long shelf life.  I simply added this to beef mince to liven up the mixture and make it go further.  This mixture was then rolled into the soft tacos as mentioned above.   

Photo source:

can water chestnutsA tin of sliced water chestnuts:

I finely diced the water chestnuts and part of a brown onion and added this to 500 grams [18 oz ] minced pork with a tablespoon of Hoi Sin [ yet another find in the pantry. It was an open half-filled jar ] plus some chopped Coriander/Cilantro straight from our garden. I then rolled this mixture into balls and pan fried. This was such a hit that, (at the Chef’s request!), I made this a second time with the remainder of the ingredients.         Photo source:

Lessons Learnt:

The biggest lesson I have learnt about saving money on food is to designate one day per week to do the shopping. This has been our downfall in the past. Previously when we have run out of say bread or milk, we would have immediately headed to the shops. This is where we (to be fair, not just the Chef) fell into the trap of ‘ I’ll just pick up a very few items or Specials whilst I am here’. So instead of purchasing one or two items, we’d leave the supermarket with basketsful of items which then crowded everything already on-hand to the back of the pantry.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but to save money, you do need to spend a little extra up-front on some back-up items to cover or substitute for items that you regularly use, but which you always seem to run out of, at the most inconvenient times.

For example:

  • Have some UHT long-life or powdered milk in the cupboard
  • Freeze a few slices of bread as your emergency stash and have some packets of bread alternatives:  long-life flat bread; tortillas; rice cakes or even a bread mix to make your own
  • Keep some emergency tinned items from which you can make a meal, like fish, vegetables, baked beans, etc

Have you tried the $21 Challenge yet?


P.S.    The main photo is not my pantry [ I hope it will become this organised in the near future ]     This photo was sourced at



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2 comments on “Save Money by Shopping in your own Pantry
  1. Nice article, awesome tips! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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