Stocking the Pantry: Which Staples I Buy in Bulk


How’s that January budget coming along? Have you already spent more on food than you planned to? I don’t know about you, but if we end up overspending on the month, it’s typically in the food category—and groceries usually aren’t the culprit. (Did anyone else spend too much on dining out last year?…)

Boy, if there’s something I’ve learned over my years of marriage and motherhood, it’s that I’m much more likely to succeed on the food front if I have a properly stocked pantry—because groceries on hand, plus a little planning ahead, results in a lot less eating out.

I used to shop each week for a week’s worth of meals, but that was back when my kids were babies and going to the grocery store was my only chance to get out of the house. Now? Let’s face it: a trip to the grocery store kind of wears me out, and it’s not something I want to spend a whole lot of time doing every week.

The answer for me? Buying in bulk—or at least in larger quantities—and thereby shopping less often.

Now, as any Costco lover knows, not everything is appropriately purchased in mega size (as is humorously demonstrated in the first 50 seconds of this clip from comedian Tim Hawkins 😀 ):

As tempting as it is to grab up that huge tub of sour cream because, “Well, we’re here…,” sometimes it’s better to make an extra stop elsewhere (or submit an order through Hy-Vee Aisles Online, praise God!) to get a “normal” size.

But some items—especially those staples you use on a regular basis—may be better purchased in bulk. Not only will doing so save you a little money over time, but it also helps keep your pantry from running dry of that one thing you needed for tonight’s supper recipe. (Shredded cheese. Why is it always the shredded cheese….)

Here are the items we’ve deemed staples in our house and which I try to buy in bulk or in multiples to ensure I always have a proper supply in my pantry.

Items I Buy in Bulk/Large Quantity:

Bulk Pantry Staples | Des Moines Moms Blog

  • Canned Tomatoes (I love Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted!)
  • Diced Green Chilies
  • Ro*Tel
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Enchilada Sauce (I love Sweet Creek Foods Mild Red, which I order through Azure Standard.)
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Pinto Beans
  • BBQ Sauce (Costco size 😀 )
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Chicken Breast
  • Velveeta
  • Taco Seasoning (I love Simply Organic!)
  • Honey
  • Rolled Oats
  • Brown Basmati Rice
  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Frozen Fruits
  • Shredded Cheeses
  • Breakfast Cereal (Four kids can go through a normal size box in no time….)

Items I Buy in Multiples (So I Always Have One or Two in Backup):

Pantry Staples | Des Moines Moms Blog

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Salad Dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Maple Syrup (I love Trader Joe’s Grade B 100% pure maple syrup!)
  • Pickles
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Pasta
  • Canned Beans (Black, Aduki, Kidney, Navy)
  • Cream of Chicken/Celery Soup
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter (I love Kerrygold Pure Irish butter!)

Non-Food Items I Stay Stocked Up On:

Non-Food Staples | Des Moines Moms Blog

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Paper Plates
  • Plastic Cutlery
  • Batteries

You’re in the middle of meal preparation, and you realize you’re missing an ingredient. What is it?

(For me? Shredded cheese. Seriously—how did we already use up that huge bag of cheese?!)


    • Haha Kara! Yes, that is definitely not a staple in my house. 😉 But I think it’s fun (and helpful!) to hear what others try (or sometimes fail) to keep on hand. 🙂 Thanks for adding to the conversation!


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