Are you unsure of what you should be stocking in your pantry? Today I’m sharing the basics of every good frugal pantry!
Staples That Should Be in Every Frugal Pantry
So many times have I been asked, “What are the most important things to have in a well-stocked pantry?” And yet, I’ve failed you, my readers, in getting this blog post written!
Ah well, better late than never right?
As I’ve been working even harder to have a very well-stocked pantry at our new home since we are so far from any grocery stores, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. What exactly are the best things to keep in your pantry at all times?
While this list will vary based on your family’s needs and preferences, I think it’s a good basis to start off your pantry with. You can use this list to learn how to fill your pantry shelves if you are just starting a brand new pantry or if you are looking to get back to the basics with a pantry that is over-run with too much.
–Click here to learn how to build a stockpile with $5 per week.
Beans are one of the best staples to have in any frugal pantry. They are inexpensive and they can be stretched a long ways. Plus they are a great non-meat source of protein. Our favorite beans to have in our pantry at all times are garbanzo beans, black beans, and pinto beans. On occasion, I will also stock some kind of red bean, but we use it less often than the first 3 I mentioned.
All frugal pantries need to be well-stocked with flour so you can make your own baked goods! We always have a 5-gallon bucket of gluten-free flour blend (See my recipe here), but if you do lots of baking (and aren’t gluten free) you might want to have even more on hand. You may also want to have different types of flour such as whole wheat if that is something you use often.
These ingredients both belong in any frugal pantry because they are a staple in baking of course. I always keep extra baking soda in my pantry (I buy in bulk, the 13lb bag) because we use it in so many cleaning applications as well such as this Miracle Microwave Cleaner.
Of course, salt is probably the most important ingredient in a frugal pantry! We all know that some frugal meals tend to taste a little on the boring side, and salt can help remedy that problem. We use pink salt and I buy it in bulk, never in the small containers which are so much more costly.
Oats are something that I think should belong in every frugal pantry because they are so versatile. You can use them in desserts, you can use them for breakfast, you can even grind them up and use them for flour. Plus they are a great inexpensive item to buy from the store or to buy in bulk!
Some of our favorite oat recipes are:
- Instant Oatmeal Packets
- Oatmeal Lace Cookies
- Oatmeal Bar Cookie Recipe
- Homemade Oatmeal Raisin Granola Bars Recipe
- No Nut Oatmeal Bites Recipe for Kids (Plus Free Printable!)
Home Canned Fruits and Vegetables
I don’t think that most of us live on bread alone, so having a good supply of home-canned fruits and vegetables in your pantry is always a smart idea. You can learn to start canning with these basic recipes. Water bath canning can be done in any large stockpot and since most fruits can be water bath canned, there really is no excuse not to give it a try. I promise that it’s easier than what you are thinking!
Home Canned Vegetables are a little more difficult since most need to be pressure canned to be shelf-stable, however, you could get around this by storing up vegetables in your freezer or dehydrating them if you want something shelf-stable.
Home Canned Jams
Jams are another easy thing to can since almost all are done in a water bath. I felt that they belonged on the frugal pantry list, even though they aren’t always the most frugal thing to use or make because they can really add a lot to a meal.
Jam or jelly can be added to meat to give it a new flavor, it can be used in a sandwich for a simple lunch, it can be added to meals like French toast to dress it up…there are so many ways to use this simple food item!
While I know not everyone has a good root cellar to store fresh foods, just about anyone can store onions and garlic on a cool pantry shelf. Onions and garlic are inexpensive to buy but they add SO much to a good frugal meal.
Onions and garlic are easy to store as well. Just make sure to keep an eye on them and remove any from your pantry that are starting to have green growth from the stem.
Potatoes are one other “fresh” item that I had to add to the frugal pantry list. They are also easy to store (just watch them to make sure they don’t grow mold or eyes).
Potatoes are always a great frugal staple because they can be the basis for so many meatless meals.
What kind of grains go in your pantry will be up to your family’s eating habits. As a mostly gluten free household, we keep rice on hand at all times and sometimes we also stock quinoa. I rarely keep other gluten free grains (millet, amaranth, etc) because I’ve found them to be too expensive to keep in our frugal pantry. We mostly stick with rice because it’s cheap and it’s filling.
Dried Herbs and Spices
One of my favorite things to keep in my frugal pantry is an array of dried herbs and spices. In another post, I’ve shared just How Herbs and Spices Can Save You Money so I won’t get into detail on that here. The main thing to know is that you should be keeping your favorite dried herbs and spices in your frugal pantry at all times.
Cooking and baking would be quite difficult if it weren’t for oils and that’s why they made it on to y frugal pantry list. Like grains, most people use different kinds based on how you cook and your family’s preferences.
We usually have olive oil and coconut oil on hand at all times. I buy both in bulk from Azure Standard.
Finally, I had to add sugar onto my frugal pantry must-have list. I know that not everyone eats sugar or the same kinds of sugar, but since it’s used in so many baking recipes and other staple recipes, it has a place on this list.
We always keep honey (local), maple syrup, and a small amount of cane sugar (used for Kombucha) on hand at all times.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I can’t even begin to tell you all the things that I use this for! I usually don’t use white vinegar in recipes so I don’t always have that on hand. But I do always keep ACV on hand. I use it in my canning as well.
There are many other items that are in my pantry and that I’m sure are in your pantry, but this is a good list of basics that you can start from and use to grow your own frugal pantry and stockpile.
Most of the items on this list are inexpensive, can be found in any grocery store or in most bulk foods stores, and are very easy to store.
I hope this gives you some inspiration as you work through building your own frugal pantry!
Looking for the storage supplies you can see in my pantry pictures? Here’s where I get my:
- Half Gallon Ball Jars (And I use these Measuring Spoons to get things out of them)
- Grey Plastic Lids
- Food Grade Buckets
- Gamma Lids
Want to know where I buy my supplies? Check out my Frugal Resources page!
What other items are in your frugal pantry?