Keeping your home stocked with Frugal Pantry Staples will revolutionize your meal planning. And, when you make your Frugal Meal Plan based on these pantry staples you are sure to save lots of money.
Going to the grocery store too frequently can be draining. Walking aisle after aisle, hoping that something grabs your attention. Just hoping for some sort of dinner brilliance … we do this over and over again.
And, every time we stop at the store to pick up an item, we end up spending at least $20 more than we had planned on.
You’d be better off avoiding this if you can.
If you could just figure out a way to make dinner with what you already have on hand – without feeding the kids cereal for dinner again.
Pantry Staples – Your #1 Kitchen Resource
Guess what! You do have something at your disposal to help you with this – your pantry. This is your #1 kitchen resource. Used wisely, it will save you many trips to the grocery store. Having frugal pantry staples in your kitchen can end up saving you a ton of time, and money, too.
With these essential pantry ingredients, you can create a whole range of meals, usually very simple, and inexpensive meals. Take a look at these pantry staples and download the Frugal Pantry Staples List for your next trip to the store.
When you go shopping, stock up on these ingredients and make sure you always have them on hand. You’ll be able to cook a frugal meal any day of the week if your pantry is stocked with these staples.
And, when you grab these things on sale and stock your pantry on a budget, you’ll have double savings.
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Keep These Frugal Pantry Staples in Your Cupboards
There are so many different kinds of pasta available that there really is no limit to the number of meals you can create using them. Boil some up and add a jarred sauce or even make a sauce from scratch.
I like to just toss ours with some butter, pepper and parmesan cheese for a great side dish. Maybe you want some noodles with an Asian flair; toss them with some sesame oil, garlic powder and a dash of soy sauce.
If you’re in a big hurry remember that smaller noodles cook the quickest, keep angel hair pasta on hand for a really fast meal.
2. Beans and other Legumes
Just like pasta, beans come in many varieties. You can have canned beans or dry. By far, dried beans are more economical. They take a little longer to prep and cook, but if you’ve got the time, you’ll save a lot by using dried varieties.
If you have an Instant-Pot, your beans can be cooked from dry in 30 minutes. You really can’t beat that. Canned beans are great for a 15 minute Chili, use them to whip up some hummus, or add them to a main dish salad for great protein and fiber.
Rice isn’t just a side dish. One of my favorite meals is rice topped with a fried egg and tossed around with some soy sauce and gochujang (Korean pepper paste). It’s great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can also make Fried Rice, Spanish Rice, or Taco Bowls.
Having a few sauces on hand can turn a very boring meal into something that will impress your family. How many times have you cooked chicken breasts for dinner? If you’re like me, it’s easily hundreds of times.
By keeping some sauces on hand you can quickly turn those boring chicken breasts into Chicken Teriyaki, BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, or Chicken Cacciatore. Don’t forget to stir some salsa into your shredded chicken for quick Tacos, Rice Bowls, and Quesadillas, too.
Don’t think of bread as just a sandwich maker. Bread can be used to make Strata, French Bread Pizza, and our family’s favorite, French Toast. You can even take something as simple as toast and dress it up in a crazy amount of ways. Check out 21 Ideas for Energy-Boosting Breakfast Toasts. And, of course, the options for sandwiches go on forever.
Forget the obvious burritos. Your tortillas can be used for quesadillas, wraps, and casseroles, too. Did you run out of bread? Put your sandwich fillings in a tortilla instead. The nice thing about tortillas is that they have a really long shelf life, so you can buy an economical package and keep them in the refrigerator to have on hand for dinner emergencies.
Oatmeal has saved us many times when we’ve run out of either milk or cereal. Plus, it can go in meatloaf, cookies, pancakes, breads, muffins, and more.
8. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is cheap. And, this stuff is amazing … it can be turned into spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, sloppy joes, basically anything you need tomato sauce for. The cans take up so little space and can usually be picked up for less than $.50.
Having popcorn on hand means you can always have a quick and cheap snack. The kids will go crazy over it and it’s healthier than chips or granola bars.
If you want to make frugal meals that taste good, you’ve got to have a good supply of spices on hand. Try to buy them in bulk, where you can pay just pennies vs. $3.00 and up on the spice aisle.
Some Seasonings we can’t live without:
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Taco Seasoning
- Chili Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- Poultry Seasoning
Potatoes are very frugal and healthy. I always buy the big 10 lb bag and cook my potatoes in bulk. If I’m making baked potatoes for dinner then I’ll make twice what I need and we can use the leftovers to make home fries for breakfast or a side dish for dinner on another day.
Frugal Pantry Staples for Your Refrigerator or Freezer
Some people only think of dry foods as part of their pantry, but the refrigerator and the freezer are valuable parts of a frugal pantry as well. Don’t neglect these areas in order to have the most success with your pantry meals.
Apples make a great side dish for any meal. Don’t have time to make potatoes or a salad to go along with dinner? Slice some apples to eat on the side, or saute them quickly with some butter and cinnamon if you’re feeling fancy.
Eggs are usually quite cheap and can be used at any time of the day for a meal or snack. You don’t have to limit them to breakfast. And, don’t forget … using them as a base for meatless meals can save you a ton of money.
- 21 Ways to Use Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Easy Egg Peeling Trick
- Budget-Stretcher: Eggs
- Easy Chile Rellenos Casserole
14. Dinner Sausages/Kielbasa
With these, we can have dinner in just minutes. There are so many different flavors to buy, too, from Chicken Apple to Spicy Italian. You can use them as the main part of a meal with a couple of sides, or you can throw them into your pasta, soup or beans.
15. Frozen Veggies
You can pick these up for less than a dollar and have a guaranteed side dish every single night. There are many different kinds, from peas and corn to riced cauliflower. They can be tossed into your casseroles and pasta dishes, as well.
Chicken is my #1 money saver. By making sure that it’s always in my freezer, I know I can always make a meal.
It’s such a great value when it comes to protein. You can find whole chickens, thighs, drumsticks and split chicken breasts on sale for under $1.00/lb. and boneless skinless chicken breast often goes on sale for around $1.50/lb.
Learn how I make Batch-Cooked Chicken Breasts and find some great ideas for Cook Once, Eat Twice Dinners, here.
Chicken is my favorite thing for fast, easy, frugal meals. I can take a package of chicken breasts from the freezer, thaw it in a sink of warm water, then saute it up in no time at all.
Looking for more ways to save money on groceries? Check out these articles.
- $65 Full Week Family Meal Plan
- Grocery Shopping Mistakes You Need to Stop Making
- Supper Budget Stretcher: Eggs!
- 10 Killer Ways To Save Money On Groceries
- Why You Need A Freezer Meal Plan
Remember, you don’t have to constantly run to the store if you keep these foods on hand. It will be downright life-changing to be able to make a meal right out of your cupboards every single day.
You’ll be so happy to save both time and money.