No more running out of grape jelly or toilet paper! Learn how to manage your pantry inventory to save you from many (not all!) last minute emergencies. 

How to Manage Your Pantry Inventory

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It would be the end of the world if my husband ran out of grape jelly. And how bland would my cooking be if I ran out of salt? Complete disaster would strike if we ran out of toilet paper! Learning how to manage your pantry inventory will save you from many (not all!) last minute emergencies. 

Managing a household can get crazy. Cleaning, making meals, laundry and bills are all required in addition to keeping everything stocked. A well-stocked pantry (and other cupboards) is essential for keeping a household running smoothly. 

Manage Your Pantry Inventory to Save Money

There are lots of little ways you can save money around the house. Managing your pantry inventory is just one way. 

No more running out of grape jelly or toilet paper! Learn how to manage your pantry inventory to save you from many (not all!) last minute emergencies. Keeping healthy snacks like nuts and string cheese on hand can prevent you from running through the drive-thru on your way to pick up the kids.

Read More: Quick and Easy Real Food Snacks

A few staples like pasta and spaghetti sauce can provide a quick meal when you have nothing planned or you got home late.

Even canned tuna or chicken can be whipped up with mayonnaise and served on bread for an easy lunch. 

By always having a few options in your pantry you can skip last minute drive-thru or deli meals. This will save you money and provide healthier meal options. 

Shopping what’s on sale or marked down saves you money, too. I have more than one jar of spaghetti sauce on my shelf because I found a good sale and bought five. 

Read More: 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries

I have a rotisserie chicken in the freezer because they were marked down at the end of the day. This will make a great soup for my family. 

By shopping sales you can stock your pantry for a little less money. 

Another way managing your pantry supplies can save you money is by minimizing your trips to the store. The fewer amount of times you have to step into a store, the fewer amount of impulse buys you will make!

How to Manage Your Pantry Inventory



Make a List

I like to keep a shopping list on the fridge. I simply take a little notepad and superglue a magnet to the back of it. If you have a Dollar Store nearby, grab magnetic note pads there. Anything we need goes on the list. 

If you are an app family, go ahead and sync your app with others in your house. Or use Google docs. Or whatever is easiest for your family in the tech department. 

The main thing is to make the list available to all members of the family so they can add things to it

Use the List 

Just having a list isn’t good enough. You have to make sure people know how to use it. No more running out of grape jelly or toilet paper! Learn how to manage your pantry inventory to save you from many (not all!) last minute emergencies. [Making them use it is another story!] As long as your family members all know your expectation of them adding things to the list, they only have themselves to blame if they run out of their favorite food item. 

But I can control me. So when I take the last of anything off the shelf I add it to my shopping list. 

Now some things like toilet paper and string cheese aren’t as acceptable for adding to the list the last minute. This is when you have to plan further ahead than just taking the last one! 

Plan a Week Ahead

We live a ways from town. So running out to grab something is a big ordeal. That’s why I like to plan at least a week in advance. This gives me flexibility in planning my town day and then I get everything we need on that day. 

If I see we will run out of something in a week’s time, I add it to the list. 

If You Take the Last One

When I see I’m taking the last one off the shelf or out of the drawer, I check my shopping list to make sure it is on there. And add it if needed.

My husband doesn’t like writing things on the list, but if he empties something, I ask him to not throw away the container/wrapper.

This way when I see the empty container on my kitchen counter I am triggered to check my pantry and then the list. Although, this system could get messy with a large family.

Always Buy the Staples on Sale

I don’t have many things that I always buy, but butter is one of them. If I ever see a sale on butter I stock up no matter what. Butter keeps great in the freezer and I have the space to store it. Rarely do I have to put butter on my shopping list. 

Chocolate chips is another thing I always buy if they are on sale. By buying a bag or two when they are on sale I save money, never run out and can bake and give away cookies more freely.  

Use Coupons

Toothpaste is one of those things that rarely goes on sale…at least the kind my husband likes. So if I see a coupon for his toothpaste, I buy it whether it’s on the list or not! I’m never more than a tube ahead of his need because that’s how rarely I see coupons for it. Plus, it doesn’t go bad! 

I do the same thing for shampoo and conditioner that I use. 

Plan a Month Ahead

This is not an option if you don’t have the storage space. I am blessed with storage space so a lot of things I can buy that far ahead. 

Why would I want to shop that far ahead? 

I live 1 1/2 hours from a club store. When I get down there I like to stock up on our favorites in bulk like toilet paper, coffee and cheese. 

Buying at a club store means larger amounts have to be stored. 

Don’t Forget About Amazon

If you hate going shopping, Amazon has the subscribe feature! Just add your regular needs and have them arrive on your doorstep without thinking. Things like diapers, toilet paper and coffee are great items to subscribe for. 


Have a Secret Backup

We’ve all hidden chocolate so well that no one else can find it! Consider having a secret stash of other household essentials. 

Yes, I will call chocolate an essential. 

A hidden roll of toilet paper in the game closet could save your hiney one day. Literally. One house I was in had a special, homemade wall decoration that hid a roll of toilet paper! 

Stashing a can of nuts in the car can get you through til supper. 

Or how about a hidden roll of paper towels?

I hide cookies in the freezer so that I always have a little treat to go with coffee or tea if someone stops by…or to for myself!

Keeping your household stocked efficiently can be overwhelming. Start with a simple shopping list and develop your system from there. Soon you will be able to manage your pantry inventory without thinking. 


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