I've wanted to share this idea for awhile but I needed to get my pantry cleaned up first!! =) I was telling my daughter-in-law about it and I realized that maybe others didn't know about it either. I learned about this years ago as a young wife from Barbara Salsbury She wrote a preparedness book that I devoured and I have been practicing her ideas ever since. (I don't think the book is still in print-but she has others)
She taught me the "Pantry Principle." It is an invaluable tool when first starting to build a food storage. It can seem so OVERWHELMING at first.
Simply defined, the Pantry Principle means to FIRST plan your meals around what you already have in your pantry/refrigerator/freezer. SECOND, check the food ads to see what is on sale to plan the purchases you could add to your food storage or to supplement your menu. This frees up a little more grocery money so that you can buy that extra can of soup or bottle of ketchup-only if it is on sale.
I think you would be surprised at how much stuff you already have available at home. After I told my daughter-in-law about this, she called me back and excitedly told me that she had enough food in her pantry to make meals for TWO WEEKS without having to go to the grocery store, except for maybe some fresh produce.
Keep doing this week after week and eventually you will be able to accumulate enough food that you'll be able to buy what you need only when it is on sale. You can go "grocery shopping" in your pantry! That's a pretty good "principle" if you ask me.