Back to Basics: When You Haven’t Got Two Pennies to Rub Together – Eating From the Pantry & Freezer


Most times I grocery shop I like to pick up a few extras here and there – things that really don’t make or break your grocery budget. I’m a stickler for menu planning. I make my bi-weekly menu plan and then write out all the items needed for each meal before heading off to the store. This helps me stay within my grocery budget. For each item on my list I typically add in an extra for things that are low cost cheap and shelf stable such as rice, beans, canned veggies (gasp! yes, I buy canned vegetables but I opt for fresh as much as possible.). These extra items ALWAYS come in handy during lean times. We’ve had plenty of weeks where we didn’t have two pennies to rub together after all our bills were paid! That sure makes for slim pickin’s in the kitchen come meal time.

When the budget isn’t stretched to the limit and I find myself with a little wiggle room I like to stock up on other things like peanut butter (which my kiddos tend to eat by the heaping spoonfuls!), raw honey (expensive!), and meats like chicken, beef and bacon to toss in the freezer.

What a well prepared pantry!
What a well prepared pantry/food storage!

My regular staples include sugar and flour ’cause you just never know when this Southern Mama will get a hankerin’ (*desire* for you non-southerners!) for something sweet!

Another tip I learned from my precious, frugal Grandma is to use hot dog/hamburger buns instead of sliced sandwich bread for toast. This is a huge money saver for breakfast. Buy a couple of packs, toss ’em in the freezer and you’ll always have ’em on hand. I can buy an 8

Me & Grandma (making Chicken & Dumplin's!)
Me & Grandma (making Chicken & Dumplin’s!)

count (which is actually 16 slices!) of buns for $1 or less at most stores. And if you make it like my Grandma does there ain’t nothin’ better! May sound weird at first, but trust me it’s scrumptious, especially if it’s slathered with home-canned apple butter or fruit preserves! To make it like Grandma, butter your buns before you toast ’em and they’ll end up heavenly! *You can only do this in a toaster oven and not a regular toaster. Or you can do like me and toast ’em in the oven with the broiler on but keep an eye on ’em cause it don’t take long!*

Crate of Corn 2
Crate full of Corn

When you find produce on sale grab it while you can. Freeze it, can it or what have you but these opportunities are a must! A few weeks back I bought a whole crate full of corn for just

Ready for the Freezer!
Ready for the Freezer!

$6! May be a lot of work to put it up but it saves you money in the long run. You’ll be glad you did it once it’s done, I promise!

Fresh picked!
Fresh picked!

One last thing for now: Garden! My garden is small, I mean very small! But anything it provides you with is a blessing! Nothing beats fresh picked herbs or home-grown tomatoes in the summertime and fresh collards in the winter! Don’t be intimidated to get out there and learn if you think you don’t know how. I jumped right in head first (haha!) and am learning as I go! You will make mistakes, but you learn what to do and what not to do and what plant likes the sun and which ones like the shade etc. It’s hard work but oh so rewarding. You will reap what you sow, literally!!

I guess all these habits of mine have become a safety net of sorts.

But above all these things, PRAY. Worry NOT. God always provides and He is always on time.

“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?” – Luke 12:24 NKJV

What are some things you do to help make it through lean times? Please share!

Mrs. G