build a frugal pantry

How to Build a Frugal Pantry

Keeping your pantry stocked with necessities is a great way to avoid the take-out trap. But how exactly do you build a frugal pantry so it can perform its duties best and not cost an arm and a leg?

Take a look below at some helpful tips on how to build a frugal pantry, so you can be sure you always have everything you need right at your fingertips. Building a frugal pantry is simple, and as you will see, it doesn’t require you breaking the bank to get started. Now, let’s get building!

1. Evaluate your eating habits.

To begin, take a look at the meals your family eats each week. Do you love casseroles? Slow Cooker meals? Veggie side dishes? Snacks? Knowing what your family enjoys regularly can help you best plan out your pantry. Write down 10-12 dishes your family loves so you can start to deconstruct the meals by the ingredients used.

2. Deconstruct the meals by ingredients.

Once you know what you are eating, it’s time to deconstruct the meals by the ingredients used. For example, if you love spaghetti dinners, you will want to make sure you have pasta noodles, pasta sauce, and ground beef on hand at all times.

Another example would be ingredients in the premade meals and snacks you buy, like instant oatmeal or muffins. It’s definitely cheaper to create these convenience items at home and they can often taste much better.

3. Create your list.

Once you know what you need, you can create your shopping list. The idea is to stock up on canned and dry goods that can be used in a variety of ways. All of these items can be purchased in bulk and last a long time, so you will have a stocked pantry that is easily accessible. Here is what your shopping list may look like:

  • How to build a frugal pantryDried rice, pasta noodles, quinoa, couscous
  • Flour, salt, pepper, sugar, baking soda, baking powder
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Dried and canned soup mixes
  • Dried and canned sauce mixes
  • Assorted seasonings and dried herbs for sauces, marinades, and coatings.
  • Dried cereals, granolas, and oatmeal
  • Crackers and bread mixes (for use as intended or to create coatings)
  • Oils and vinegars for cooking or seasoning
  • Dried beans, lentils, nuts, seeds

You could also check out my Basic Pantry List that includes a helpful printable!

4. Buy on Sale

Try to purchase all of your pantry staples while they’re on sale. This will give you the most bang for your buck and allow you to purchase more than what you normally would have if they weren’t on sale. If you’re into using coupons, be sure to use any that you may have!

5. Organize your pantry.

Once you have your items, you want to organize the pantry so the ingredients are easy to find. Group them as described above. This will help you see what you have, see what you want to use, and see what you may need to buy.

Currently, I’m organizing all like items in plastic baskets like these. But airtight containers like these are on my wish list!

6. Start cooking!

Use your frugal pantry ingredients to create all of your favorite meals. In most cases, all you need to add is fresh meat, dairy, or a few fresh vegetables or fruits to finish off the recipe. Having these pantry staples on hand will cover the bulk of the recipe while saving you time and cash.

So are you ready to eat great while saving some money? It’s easy to build a frugal pantry when you give these tips a try!

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What are some of the meals or snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis?