If there’s one thing I’m really great at — it’s grocery shopping. I went through a few phases, including overbuying and buying cheap gross stuff. But, I feel like I’ve hit a sweet spot where I know how much I need of things (or at least how much will fit in my pantry) and I’ve got it down. I thought we’d tour the grocery store together and I’d tell you my buying plans for each area.
Today we’ll start with canned goods.
Sure, cans have BPA, but they are awfully handy, and I’m sure that the ziplocs I sometimes store dried/cooked beans in the freezer probably also have BPA. I’m not sure of a better alternative at this point, for most of these items.
After covid the knowledge that I HAD food was a comfort for sure, it did make me re-think what I was buying.
Here are the cans I keep in bulk, in this you’ll see the item, the # I keep on hand, and my target pricing for the item (I will admit pricing has really fluxuated
BTW if keeping food organizing is making stocking up hard — check out this course. It really simplifies organizing for busy families. Jump in for just a month and make your pantry easier for you!
- Garbanzo Beans (4) 80 cents
- Kidney Beans (6) 80 cents
- White Beans (17) 80 cents
- Black Beans (17) 80 cents
- Refried Beans (8) less then a dollar
- Chili (18) less then a dollar
- Pork and Beans (4) depends on the can size and the quality (some are awfully cheap, but I prefer the better varities, and those I try to go to about 1.50
- Stewed Tomatoes (5) 75 cents (for 14 oz cans)
- Diced Tomaotes –regular (10) 75 cents
- Diced tomatoes — flavored (like rotel) (10) 75 cents
- Crushed Tomatoes (I usually buy the 28 oz cans) (6) 1.50
- Tomato sauce (20 — tiny cans) — 25 cents
- Tomato Paste (10) — I am actually not sure, I’m guessing 75 cents?
- Good soup (progresso, or the nicer campbells)) (17) — less then a dollar
- Condensed Soup (my kids still love this stuff) (11) — less then a dollar
- Sliced/Chunk Pineapple (7) — less then a dollar (I try to keep some of both the larger and the smaller cans on hand, so the price obviously varies, but less then a dollar for the larger cans)
- Crushed pineapple (10) – less then a dollar
- Pumpkin (2) — I have no idea, I just stock up at Thanksgiving
- Can berry Sauce (2) — again, just a thanksgiving thing, but I do keep it on hand
- Pie Filling (4) — depends on the type
- Mandarin Oranges (7) — no clue, I don’t actually buy very often
- Pears (7) less then a dollar
- Peaches (7) Less then a dollar
- Corn (6) 75 cents
- Creamed Corn (3) 75 cents
- Beets (3) ??
- Canned Salmon (4) — I so very rarely find this on sale I tend to just buy it when my supply is low.
- Canned Chicken (10) — I think the costco price is close to 2 dollars, and I have actually never bought it anywhere else.
- Canned Tuna (20) — 1 dollar/can
- Sliced Oilves (10) — 75 cents/can
- Whole Olives (3) — less than a dollar
- Green Chilies (12) less then 75 cents/can
- Red Enchilada Sauce (4) depends on the size… about 2 bucks for the larger can, 1 for the smaller
- Green Enchilada Sauce (2) same as above
- Chipotle Pppers (6) — not sure, don’t buy frequently
- Evaporated milk (5) I haven’t bought this for a while either, I’m guessing about 75 cents/can for the smaller cans, which tends to be what I use.
- Sweetened Condensed (2) less then 2/can — I think
- Spam (3) — not sure,
- Broth (9) I have started buying the boxed stock at Costco, but for cans I try to hit 50cents/can
- Tomato Soup (20) — 50 cents/can
- Cream of Mushroom (2) — 75 cents
- Cream of Chicken (5) — 75 cents
- Cream of Celery (5) — 75 cents
Yipes! When you type it all out like that, it’s quite a lot! Canned items, are probably the bulk of my food storage, and probably the easiest to stock up on.
Grab my pantry excel file to be more mindful about what you have and what you need:
Note: Target prices are prices I am hoping to get. I notice when I’m low and I just shoot for a price CLOSE to that price. Do I always get it? No, sometimes it’s a bit lower, sometimes a bit higher. It’s just a good idea, to have a target price that’s good for items that you buy frequently.
Note on Quanities: They are constantly being adjusted by how much we use an item, as well as how much space we have to store the item. I used to want 20 cans of evaporated milk, but I just don’t use it much any more and I’d rathe have the space for beans. I went through a phase where I thought I should have canned vegetables, but we NEVER used them, so it was a waste. Anyway, you need to adjust as needed.
Is this helpful? Would you want it for other grocery isles?
I will say my target price here is lower on many items then it was in CA. I will say that some of the items it’s just the same, so who knows.
And yeah — stocking up is a GREAT way to do it, but make sure you’re also keeping track of what you have an need. Staying organized is key. Jump in this class before you waste another dollar on food you already have:
Of, if you’re not quite ready start with the 5 Word Organization Challenge:
Thank you for this. I am looking forward to adjusting this list to fit my needs. I went through several phases also – canning, all natural – and just really want to use canned foods to help make healthy meals quick and easy.
Love the tips. I’ll be cataloging what I have on hand then going to the store for canned goods tomorrow. Quick note, less than is a lower cost than.
Sherry Anne says
Interesting list. I enjoy your selection. What do you do
with garbanzo and black beans?
I mostly use the garbanzo in hummus, sometimes in some salads. I have also sauteed them with some garlic and olive oil. Black beans goes in almost anything mexican. i use them ALL the time. I also keep a fair amount of dried beans on hand.
Sherry Anne says
Thank you Hilary. I appreciate you information
Sherry, I hope it’s helpful!
Sherry Anne says
Thank you your comment was helpful.
I have compiled and follow “rules” such as the ones you have. I would also like to add that some off season items are good to buy.
For an example: top ramen was $5.87 a case all winter here, but now in July it’s $3.49.
I bought 5 cases since my older kids drop by a lot and love the stuff for lunch or a snack.
Also, we have bimart in my area and they put canned tomato products on 2 for $1 during summer. I buy 6 or 7 cases for the winter.
Knowing the pricing for several stores in your area can be key. I have Bimart, Winco, Costco, and the ones I only buy certain items at–(Safeway, Wal-Mart, Fedmeyers).
For me Wal-Mart is one of the more expensive.
I mostly use walmart because I am able to pricematch all the ads in my area there. It just saves me time. I would agree — their main prices tend to be higher than Winco (we have a Winco – but it’s about 30 minutes away, and that won’t do for a regular shopping trip). BUT, their store brand is often as cheap as I can find it (canned beans, their price is great) and adding price matching makes it worth it (not a huge walmart fan, but our income says we should be). 🙂
I find large cans of Bumble Bee salmon on sale frequently at CVS for $2/can. It is very popular, so get a raincheck if they are out. (Their rainchecks have no expiration date). My finicky family loves my salmon croquettes made with mashed potatoes and seasonings.
Yeah, for sure! When you can find the food your family loves at good prices it’s a total win!
It’s driving me crazy that some of your quantities are odd numbers lol. Obviously it’s just my own weirdness but I can’t buy canned goods in odd numbers. I always buy an even number lol.
We just recently started stockpiling canned goods when we remembered after 3 years of living in our home that we had a second kitchen in our basement with empty cupboards. We used the stove down there on holidays but had never used the cabinets. Now we are slowly working on building a good pantry.
Hilary Erickson says
Hahah, I do silly things like that too. 🙂 A pantry is so helpful 🙂