Reprinted with permission from No-Debt Living Newsletter, copyright 2000 No-Debt Living. Written by Robert Frank, the editor of No-Debt Living Newsletter, providing financial and time-management news with a Christian perspective.

Coupons and rebates have become a way of life for anyone trying to shop wisely and economically. But, in order to optimize your food budget and purchasing power, you also need to establish a pantry.

A pantry is a two edged sword, so to speak. It allows you take maximum advantage of sale prices on items you normally use. But sometimes, you have to buy items in advance. Consequently, you need to know how to manage your pantry, or it can create some problems and losses.

Here are some general tips to establishing your pantry.
  1. Stock only items that you normally use.

  2. Never buy items simply because they are on sale. When you do, there is no savings value.

  3. Consume pantry items at a regular rate. If you tend to eat more because you have a pantry, you've also eliminated your savings.

  4. When buying items that can deteriorate with time (like cereal, batteries and crackers), never buy more than you can consume during that period. Again, if you do, you've wasted your money.

  5. Whenever you buy items that have a shelf-life, make sure you mark them appropriately or rotate them.


If your budget is limited and you can't afford to start a pantry, take the money you save from using coupons and rebates and save it until you have enough to begin stocking a pantry.

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