Save money on groceries by spring cleaning your pantry today!
Want to save money on groceries? I say start by Spring cleaning your pantry! It's that time of year and instead of just cleaning the cobwebs in the corners of your house, I challenge you to take a deep dive into your pantry. This is a great time of year to take it all out…yes all of it! Throw out items past their due date (hopefully not much), use up food close to its expiration date and reorganize the other items.
How much money can you save cleaning out your pantry?
According to a survey taken by the American Chemistry Council the typical American household throws out ~$640 worth of food each year. While this number includes both refrigerated items and pantry items, that money is much better off sitting in your retirement fund or making family memories on a nice weekend get away.
One of the top reasons Americans waste food is they forget what they have. I know I've been there before. Do you ever buy a bag of rice because you just didn't see it in the back? The kitchen, especially cupboards and pantries can be one of the most unorganized areas in a home…even in very organized homes! It's easy to do because they're generally small spaces and food can start to pile up if you're cooking new recipes each week. Items start to get pushed to the back where they become out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
Finding an organization system that works for you helps! Especially if you have limited pantry space. You can get some of my kitchen organizing tips and hacks here. Next make a meal plan to use up all those items in your pantry so they don't go to waste. This is the best way to save money on your upcoming grocery bills.
Here are some ideas to use up pantry food and save money on groceries:
What do you do with half opened bags of grains?
Use rice or quinoa in a fun burrito bowl or Buddha bowl and use the pasta for a salad or dinner entree. If you happen to also have black beans lying around make these Quinoa Black Bean Burgers! Even if you have to buy a little produce to add to these items you'll still save money getting these bags used up!
What to do with canned or dry beans getting close to their expiration date?
Beans always go great in a quick chili or soup. They're very easy to make and you can freeze for later! Try this 3-Bean Chipotle Chili (make w/ any variety of pinto, red, black or white beans!).
I actually did a whole Meal Prep Monday podcast episode on creative ways to use up beans here!
Need to use up some tomato sauce?
For me this is a no-brainer. If I have a jar of marinara taking up space I make lasagna. I pretty much always have a lasagna in my freezer for the perfect meal to feed unexpected guests or when the day just didn't go as planned. This is also a great way to use up any leftover lasagna noodles lurking in your pantry!
Using up canned seafood like tuna and salmon
If you have some tuna fish or canned salmon, they always go perfectly on a salad. This makes a wonderful, quick lunch option. You can also make a quick sandwich or serve on your favorite crackers as a snack. I personally love tuna salad on cucumber slices.
My Sweet and Crunchy Tuna Salad recipe is also a delicious way to use up a can – feel free to sub salmon!
How to use up extra cocoa
Cocoa is one of those items that lasts a long time but it's not used often. Check the expiration date. If it's getting old make some fun treats for the family like these cupcakes or my favorite peanut butter cups! You can also make hot cocoa on cold evenings. I love chai hot cocoa (make hot cocoa and add a chai tea bag). Delicious!
What to do with nuts?
Let's face it…nuts can really start to gather in your pantry. You use half a bag of pecans for a recipe and the leftover bag starts to get buried in the back of your cupboard. The good news? Nuts are easy to use up. Toss them on a salad, add to a pasta or rice bowl or eat them as a snack. You can also top off some oatmeal or make some snacks! I also love making banana sushi where you can use any nuts you have on hand!
Nuts are a wonderfully healthy pantry item to keep on hand, but they do go rancid if they sit too long. If you're not sure if your nuts are still good, smell them. You can smell the difference if they've gone bad. If you find this happening frequently, store your nuts in the freezer. This is especially helpful if you live somewhere warm, where nuts tend to go bad more quickly at room temperature.
Take some time to empty, reorganize and use up all those pantry items to avoid food waste and to feel energized and inspired when you open your pantry door! You'll be amazed how much money you save in the upcoming weeks.
If you really want to save money on groceries Spring clean your pantry every week. Getting into this habit means you'll avoid having pantry items pile up over long periods of time. When you use all the food you've purchased that's money back in your pocket every week!
Get a free copy of my grocery inventory template so you have a running log of what you have (even if it's hiding in the back) and what you need!
Want more kitchen organization tips?
Check out these articles on one of my very favorite subjects!