Eat from the Pantry to Save Money

There’s times when pretty much all of us should eat from the pantry until we have used all those items we have avoided for the past few months, or even a year.

eat from the pantry

I can’t be the only one who hoards boxes of Jell-O.

I have no idea why I do it. We rarely eat Jell-O. Yet, for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I feel the need to always have Jell-O in the pantry.

Look, there comes a time when you need to finally eat those boxes of Jell-O. I mean, whether I meant to buy them or not, I paid money for those boxes. And hey, my kids are ALWAYS looking for a snack. It’s not like the Jell-O won’t get eaten if I make it.

I really have no good reason to have unopened boxes of Jell-O sitting in my cupboard for a year or more.

So many of us have perfectly good food sitting at the back of our pantry that we continually bypass when it comes to what we want to make for dinner.

I get it, I do. I mean, I don’t necessarily feel like eating ancient grains when I can make homemade pizza. Of course, the ancient grains would be WAY better for me, but the pizza, well, the pizza tastes delicious. It’s comforting in a way those ancient grains will never be.

But that food can save us some money if we actually eat it. To be honest, if we don’t eat it, we’re wasting money since we spend our cash on it.

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to eat through your pantry. You can do this one of two ways. You can decide you won’t grocery shop while eating through the pantry. Or you can focus primarily on what is in your pantry, and still buy some perishable groceries to compliment the food you make from the items you find in your pantry.

Either way can produce similar results which is saving money, and eating the food you once spent your hard earned cash on, avoiding food waste and cash waste.


Decide that you WILL eat the stuff, even if you don’t feel like it. Like I said above, it’s easy to bypass the less appealing food for your favorites, but your wasting money if you end up having to throw out the food in the pantry because you continually avoid eating it. Sure, much of the stuff has a decent shelf life, but even non-perishables tend to go bad eventually.

Add beans to a soup or chili. Beans get a bad rap, as they can be absolutely delicious. If you are struggling with what to do with the can of beans, why not add them to soup or chili? Chickpeas and lentils work great for this too.

Make a meal plan AROUND the pantry. When making a meal plan, don’t start with what you usually put on the plan. Instead, take an inventory of your pantry and create meal ideas from that. You can then write a grocery list on anything you might need to complete the meals using the food from your pantry.

Donate some food. If you’ve come to the end of eating through your pantry and you still have some food items you just won’t eat, consider donating them to a food bank, shelter, or even a friend you know that really likes the product you won’t consume.


If you are the type to keep a stockpile of groceries that you have bought while they were on sale, eating through your pantry is not going to work the same way. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from eating through your pantry.

More than likely whether you stockpile or not you will find items at the back of your pantry that have been neglected. If you are a stockpiler, I would dig out all the items that are in the back of your pantry. There is a good chance you will find stuff you either have forgotten about or been avoiding using.


While eating through your pantry you might feel like you are missing out on the food you usually buy. Remember that it is only temporary, and can help you out financially. And then maybe make a mental note to not buy all those items you avoided eating all this time.

I mean, maybe eventually when I see Jell-O on sale I will have the willpower to just keep the grocery cart moving without stopping.

If not, it means I’m eating Jell-O during the next time I decide to clean out the pantry.

It’s a good practice to take some time to eat through your pantry at least once a year. It’s also an excellent thing to do when you are doing a no-spend challenge. Right now my family and I are doing a 30 day spending freeze and I always like to eat what I can from the pantry when we do this.

What about you? Have you ever challenged yourself to eating out of your pantry for a time? If not, is it something you might consider doing?

And the real question – do you hoard Jell-O or is this problem unique to me?? 🙂

2 thoughts on “Eat from the Pantry to Save Money”

  1. Guilty of Jello stockpiling, too. No one eats it here now since our youngest left home over 5 years ago. I have to get in the cupboard and just throw it out as I have should have done a long time ago.

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