Budget Friendly Foods You Should Keep Stocked.
Having a pantry stocked with frugal foods will not only help you save money on groceries, it will also curb your temptation to buy expensive take out food. Today I get to share with you a few of the best cheap foods to buy for your frugal pantry.
Cheap Foods To Buy for Baking
First, let’s talk about cheap baking foods. Make sure you watch the grocery stores for sales on baking items. These sales usually come in October/November. When you see a good baking sale stock up with enough baking supplies to 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, flour is also very cheap! It will stay fresh in the pantry for about a year. You can even extend the storage time by keeping your flour in the fridge or freezer. Easy!
Sugar is another must have for baking! It enhances flavor and is a common ingredient in many recipes. Sugar will stay fresh in the pantry for two years, making it a great shelf stable food.
3. Baking Soda and Baking Powder
When baking from scratch you will also want both baking soda and baking powder. If you store baking soda in your pantry will stay fresh for up to two years. Baking powder doesn’t last quite as long and should be used within a years time.
If you are wanting to make any homemade bread or pizza crust you will need yeast. Yeast will last for 6 months on the shelf. Or! You can store it in the freezer (like I do) for 2 years.
5. Vegetable Oil
Oil is another important and cheap staple to keep in your pantry. When you see a good sale on oil, stock up. It will stay fresh on your shelf (unopened) for two years.
Cocoa is an important ingredient to keep stocked for a good chocolate fix, without having to spend a lot of money (just the way we like it!). I like to use cocoa to make brownies, cakes, cookies, and hot chocolate.
- Related: 15 Easy Pantry Dinner Ideas
Cheap Foods to Buy For The Pantry
Here are some great budget friendly food items I recommend keeping stocked in your pantry.
Pasta is a great item to keep stocked at home. It’s cheap, plus it can be cooked many different ways. You know you are getting a good deal on pasta when it’s under $1/box. I love making this quick pasta bake for my family and knowing it only cost me a couple of bucks!
It doesn’t get much cheaper than rice! You can 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? I love cooking with spices to give my meals that flavor we all want. Dried herbs are a lot cheaper than buying fresh.
A few good pantry staples are:
- Salt & Pepper
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
Condiments are another great item to keep stocked! They just make everything better! 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, really!
May is a great time to buy condiments, as this is when they will usually go on sale.
Vinegar is so useful in recipes and a great cleaning agent. Plus, it’s super cheap! Keep some stocked at all times for making marinades, salad dressings, or homemade cleaners.
One of our favorite breakfasts are these overnight oats. They are quick, easy, and delicious!
Oatmeal is also great to have stocked for making cookies, granola, in smoothies and of course for breakfast.
Want to save even more money on groceries? Sign up for the upcoming January Pantry Challenge below!
Cheap Protein Foods to Buy
We all need protein. It keeps us feeling full and our bodies strong. Many meats can get expensive, here are a few protein rich foods that are super cheap!
13. Canned Beans
Canned beans are an excellent source of protein. They are also very affordable (that’s what we like to hear!). 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 like to use peanut butter in our oatmeal, sandwiches, on toast, and on apples.
15. Ground Beef
Ground beef is something I always have stocked in my freezer. It’s so easy to pull out for quick meals (and I like quick meals!).
The cheapest way to stock up on ground beef is to buy it in bulk. I recommend buying a large 5 lb, or 10 lb loaf. and separate it into 1 lb sections. Freeze these sections in separate freezer bags and store in your freezer until ready to use. Sometimes I’ll cook it all up before putting it into freezer bags to make meal prep even quicker.
Chicken is one of the most frugal meats and another great item to buy in bulk! I love the feeling of 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. They will stay fresh in your fridge for about a month. Keep eggs stocked in your fridge to use for breakfast, lunch and in baking.
- Related: 30 Family Friendly Meals On A Budget
Cheap Produce To Buy
I get a lot of concerned messages from readers who assume they can’t buy frugal foods because they like to eat a lot of produce. Well, I am here to tell you that you can still eat healthy, including a lot of fruits and vegetables without spending a lot of money! Here are a few cheap produce items I recommend:
18. Frozen Vegetables
A great staple to keep stocked in your freezer are bags of frozen vegetables. 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.
When we are talking about cheap foods to buy, I have to mention carrots! 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 less expensive.
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!
The most budget friendly way to buy potatoes is to buy a large box 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. (I grew up on an Idaho potato farm, so I’m basically an expert 😉 )
21. Canned Fruit
Watch grocery stores for case lot sales on canned fruit. Grocery stores will often sale cases of canned goods for a greatly discounted price during case lot sales. 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 also 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 available, and so tasty too! Put them in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal and eat them for lunch.
If your bananas start to go bad freeze them! Simply peel the banana, put it in a freezer bag, and toss into the freezer. I use these frozen bananas in smoothies and for banana bread or banana muffins.
- Related: How to Eat Healthy For Cheap
Cheap Foods to Buy For Snacking
I love to snack! Probably more than I should, fortunately there are a couple of cheap snacks that I keep on hand!
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. They are so versatile!
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!
There are many cheap foods to buy to keep your pantry well stocked, without breaking the bank. Remember to keep watching for sales and deals. And, ALWAYS use what you buy!
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