Back to School Bonanza Day 7: Stocking Up Where You Least Expect

In our Back to School purchasing this fall, I found myself stocking up things that were non-classroom related.  In order to make the Queendom run smoothly, we have to have several items that are far, far away from the school supplies.  Translation: a well-stocked pantry.  There are a few items that are absolutely necessary in large quantities here in the Queendom when the Princesses head back to school.  Here’s my top ten list.

  1. Peanut butter.  Almost every day, the Eldest Princess takes PBJ in her lunch bag.  I usually buy a larger jar or two depending on what has the best unit price.  And that way, we have it on hand in case I get a case of the “I don’t want to follow the meal plan blues.”  
  2. Apple Sauce.  I usually purchase this in a large jar and use small re-usable containers to send it to school.  Since we only purchase unsweetened/natural apple sauce, Aldi doesn’t often have it.  But they are carrying it as a special item right now so I’ve been able to stock up at a lower price.  It’s also a great staple to have as a side dish that takes absolutely no prep!
  3. Pasta.  I almost always have a box of whole wheat pasta on hand.  While the type of pasta (elbow, rotini, angel hair, etc.) may vary, pasta is a great staple that can be used in a number of dishes.
  4. Pasta Sauce.  It kind of goes hand in hand with the above ingredient but I also thicken ours and use it as pizza sauce, occasionally top meats or sandwiches with it.  If I’m not making our own from our garden tomatoes, I buy Ragu Light Tomato Basil (No Sugar Added).
  5. Instant Brown Rice.  Whether we’re having “Chinese Take-In” or literally Beans and Rice, Rice is one of those staples that you can make “fit” with almost any meal.  I like to spice it up with cilantro, salsa, cheese, or even the above mentioned pasta sauce to give it some flavor.
  6. Ziploc Bags.  Everyone’s got their own semi-non-frugal thing and this one is mine.  We still use these for PBJ and some side dishes depending on what we’re sending in the lunch boxes.
  7. A Couple of Extra Loaves of Bread.  Keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to use them to make sure they don’t go stale.
  8. Beans.  The most frugal food of them all, we usually go with dried black beans and soak/cook them in the crockpot.
  9. Chicken Broth.  Either make your own or pick up the bigger container with the re-sealable top.  Add it to soups, casseroles, pasta, or meats to keep them moist and stretch things further.
  10. Cheese.  Everything is better with cheese!  I buy reduced fat (shredded, block, slices, whatever) and keep it in the fridge.  Usually it has a long shelf life but you can even freeze cheese to make it last longer if you score an exceptional deal and want to stock up.
Bottom line, the school schedule gives me less time to shop and I have to be prepared to make a variety of meals with fewer ingredients and little time.  Each of these items fits the bill to keep lunches and dinners healthy and filling.
What do you keep stocked during the fall months to save money and your sanity?
If you are interested in guest posting on the Back to School Bonanza, please e-mail me!  I’m particularly looking for posts sharing tips to saving with a student in Middle School, Shoe shopping tips, and sports/extra curricular savings!
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