Monday, January 4, 2010

Food Inventory List

One of the many things I plan to do this year is to keep an inventory of the items I have in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. This inventory will serve at least two main purposes: first, it will allow me to always know what I have on hand, and second, it will help me in my effort to stockpile.

Sadly, many times I don't have a good grasp on the groceries I have on hand. We have a decent sized pantry, but the pantry is difficult to see in, and items easily get lost in there. To top it off, I really haven't taken the time lately to properly organize it, so it is even harder to locate the items. Although I plan to complete a pantry reorganization during this inventory process, the inventory list will still be helpful because it is difficult to quickly assess what is in the pantry because of how it is built. I also have a difficult time easily assessing what is in my freezer, so the inventory list will certainly help keep up with what I have. It is easy to see everything in my fridge, but I'm still going to include those items on my inventory (although, I feel like it is less important to keep an inventory for these items because I replace them often since they usually don't last for a long time). Knowing what food I have available will not only be useful in meal planning, but also in preventing headaches when I start making something only to realize I'm missing a key ingredient!

The second purpose of my food inventory list is to use that information to help me stockpile. This purpose is really what prompted me to want to complete an inventory in the first place. What do I mean by stockpiling? When I talk about stockpiling, I'm talking about purchasing multiples of items I commonly use when they are at a low price, I have a coupon for them, or, ideally, they are at a low price AND I have a coupon for them. Before I really started paying attention to how I grocery shopped, I naively assumed that the prices on most items remained relatively the same from week to week. I was very wrong in my assumption. One week a box of cereal might be $4.00, and the next week it might be $2.50. Rather than buying a new box each week, if I buy multiple boxes the week the cereal is at the lower price, I save money in the end. My food inventory list will help me focus on the items that we use most often, and therefore identify those items that would be good targets for stockpiling. (I first read about stockpiling through Coupon Mom. Tons of great information on that site!)

I plan to keep my inventory list on the fridge, so that I can easily update it as I use or restock items. Once I get my inventory list together, I'll be sure to post it.