A frugal pantry is so important. It saves so much money on groceries. You can stock up on expensive food items, or try to focus on things that will last a long time and are not very much money.
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Watch the grocery stores for sales on baking items. These usually come in October/November. Stock up on baking supplies so they will last you until the next sale.
Flour is essential for most baking. It is used to make breads, muffins, pancakes, and even in soups and stews. Fortunately, it’s also very cheap! Flour will stay fresh in the pantry for a year. You can store it in the fridge or freezer to extend this storage time.
Sugar is another important staple in baking. It enhances flavor and is used in most baking recipes.
3. Baking Soda and Baking Powder
Two necessary items for baking from scratch are both Baking Soda and Baking Powder. Look for deals on these items and stock up. I like to keep a few containers of each in my long term storage.
5. Vegetable Oil
I try to keep oil on hand at all times. Look for sales and stock up. It will stay good on your shelf, unopened, for two years.
Cocoa will give you a chocolate fix, without having to spend a lot of money! Use it to make brownies, cakes, cookies, and hot chocolate.
In The Pantry
Pasta makes some of the cheapest meals. It can be cooked in many different ways and is very filling. A good pasta stock up price is under $1 for a box.
One of the most versatile and frugal food is Rice. Use it as a side dish with fish, chicken, etc. Or stir it into casseroles to make them a little more filling.
9. Dried Herbs/Spices
What pantry is complete without some spices? These give your meals that flavor we all want. Dried herbs is a lot cheaper than buying fresh. You will always find these spices in my pantry:
- Salt & Pepper
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
Keep a few of your favorite condiments stocked at all times. We personally use ketchup, mayo and mustard the most. Oh, and hot sauce for my husband…I don’t think he could go without it! May is a good time to buy condiments, as they will usually be on sale.
I love having vinegar in my pantry. It’s used in a lot of recipes, such as marinading meat and in salad dressings.
Vinegar is also a great cleaning agent. In my Quick Start Guide to Frugal Living I share all of my recipes for using vinegar in cleaning. Hint: It will save you a lot of money!
I love to use oatmeal when making cookies, granola, in smoothies and of course for breakfast. Try making my overnight oats for a quick and cheap breakfast.
13. Canned Beans
Canned beans are an excellent source of protein. They are also very affordable. To save even more money buy dried beans and can them yourself!
I like to use beans in burritos, soups, and stews. They are also a great BBQ side or pot luck food.
14. Peanut Butter
If you’re looking for a kid friendly, mom approved protein peanut butter is a wonderful option. We use peanut butter in our oatmeal, sandwiches, on toast, and on apples.
15. Ground Beef
Ground beef is something I always have in my freezer. It’s easy to pull out for quick meals. The cheapest way to stock up on ground beef is to buy it in bulk.
Buy a large 5 lb, or 10 lb loaf. Separate it into 1 lb sections. Freeze these sections in separate freezer bags. Sometimes I’ll cook it all up to make meal prep even quicker. I talk more about this in my Quick Start Guide to Frugal Living eCourse.
Chicken is one of the most frugal meats. This is also something that I like to buy in bulk. I usually purchase my chicken from Savory Butcher. This is where I get 40 lbs. of chicken for as low as $1.49/lb.
I love having a freezer full of chicken! Learn more how to prep bulk chicken in my article, What to do with your bulk chicken; including 6 Freezer Chicken Recipes.
Eggs are a great source of protein and are fairly cheap. Keep eggs stocked in your fridge to use for breakfast, lunch and in your baking.
18. Frozen Vegetables
Keep a few bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer. These are much cheaper than fresh vegetables and it’s nice to always have quick access to veggies.
I use our frozen vegetables as side dishes, in stir fry, soups and casseroles.
For a cheap fresh vegetable keep a bag of carrots on hand. I like the petite carrots, but if you buy the large unpeeled carrots they will be even cheaper.
Potatoes are hearty, filling and versatile. They can also be cooked in dozens of different ways. Use them in soups and stews. Shred them into your tacos to make it a little more filling. Mash them, bake them, or fry them! The possibilities are endless!
Buy a large box of potatoes when they are in season and keep them in a cool, dark and dry place. They will stay fresh for 6 months if stored correctly.
21. Canned Fruit
Watch grocery stores for case lot sales. This is when you can get a case of canned goods for a discounted price. I love to stock up during these sales and keep the canned fruit in my pantry until the next sale.
We eat canned fruit as snacks and I put them in my kids school lunchboxes.
22. Canned Tomatoes
Canned Tomatoes are very cheap, especially when you watch for the Case Lot Sales. They are great to have on hand to use in soups, stews, pasta sauce or to make some salsa (my fave!).
Bananas are one of the cheaper fruits. Put them in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal and eat them for lunch.
I always have a box of raisins in my pantry. They are high in fiber and a great energy boost. Eat raisins as snacks, throw them in a salad or mix them in your oatmeal.
Want to know a secret about me? I am legit addicted to popcorn. I eat it every.single.night. It’s my very favorite food. And fortunately, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to keep it stocked in my pantry. My kids also love popcorn as an after school snack!
Remember, the most important thing is to buy what your family will eat and can afford.