Monday Money Saving Tip – Pare Down the Pantry

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Sometimes saving money is all about making the most of what you have. This tip will help you with saving money and getting your kitchen organized!

Take inventory of your pantry. Just like the old adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Literally! There is nothing worse than having to throw out food that has gone bad. Being aware of what is in your kitchen cabinets, fridge and freezer is a money saving strategy in and of itself. Start by emptying the cabinets and fridge one section at time. Inspect the dates on all items. If the expiration date on a particular item has passed, assess whether it is still usable. Toss any perishable items that are past their date as well as anything that looks suspicious. Canned goods and unopened boxed items may still be okay. When in doubt, throw it out. If you are unsure, it just isn’t worth taking a chance.

Get organized. Take advantage of this opportunity to wipe down all shelves/surfaces. Next, group like items together. Put items that are expiring soon towards the front. Corral odds ands ends such as small snack items using plastic bins. I like to use baskets that I get at thrift or dollar stores.

Make a plan. Plan the week’s meals around items that need to be used soon. This is time to get your creative on! Opened bags of chips and pretzels can be crushed to be used for breading meat and topping casseroles. They can also be used for adding crunch to salads or for making candy (think chocolate covered potato chips or pretzels). Canned vegetables like beets or carrots can be pureed and added to cake batter for a nutritional boost. Use Google to find all sorts of recipes.

Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity. Until next time, Happy Homemaking!

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