Why is it that it seems to cost so much to eat? All over the internet, you’ll see articles on how to cut your grocery bill or you’ll see the average grocery costs for families your size. I looked up one source that had the monthly cost for a family of four to eat was over $700. And that was on the low plan! When you’re on a tight budget, it seems like one of the easiest places to start cutting back is on the grocery bill. It is way more controllable than your mortgage or insurance costs.
But with the average family of four spending $700 a month, it can be discouraging. Where do you even start? One of the best things you can do is keep certain foods in your home. Frugal foods for your pantry can be a big money changer. If you keep certain foods in your home or switch to a more frugal option, you can keep your food costs down and you are less likely to spend money on takeout. Here are some frugal food options to keep in your pantry.
Beans rice, and pasta
Always keep pasta and beans in your pantry. Dry beans are cheaper than canned but canned are more convenient and faster. I like to keep both. I will cook up dry beans freeze them but if I need a quick meal or forgot to thaw a bag, I can grab a can. Pasta can be used in more than just Italian dishes. It is great for casseroles, pasta salad, and even a quick side if you throw in some olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, and a can of diced tomatoes.
Rice is an obvious frugal choice. Rice is one of the cheapest foods you can buy but very filling. Like pasta, it can be used for more than just standard rice. It is great in casseroles, as a pilaf, and there’s this amazing recipe for garlic parmesan rice that my whole family actually eats.
We stock up on canned soups in the winter when they are on sale. But even if they aren’t, they are still a fairly frugal option. A grilled cheese sandwich and canned soup can be a much cheaper alternative to fast food or takeout pizza.
Beef and chicken bouillon
Boullion is great for more than just making broth for soups. We use it mostly when making gravy or sauces for casseroles. I liked the powdered version over cubed. So much easier to use.
Craving muffins or cupcakes or brownies? If you keep baking supplies in your pantry you’ll always have the items needs to make a special treat. Even something like pancakes or waffles! No need to buy frozen or mixes. Just keep basic baking supplies in your pantry and learn a few simple recipes and you’re good to go. The stretch your budget even more, be sure to stock up on baking staples when they go on sale, typically around holidays.
Nothing is worse than bland food. Spices can take a simple, inexpensive meal and make it taste amazing! You don’t need a ton of spices or even expensive ones. I mix up a “house seasoning” in an empty spice jar that I use in a number of dishes. My house seasoning is: garlic powder, minced onions, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Simple but with it already mixed, it makes cooking dinner faster and simpler.
Marked down chocolates
Oh, yes. I said it. Buy chocolate after holidays or with coupons to keep in your pantry. You never know when you might need a little chocolate or something to throw in a lunch box. Buying it on markdown or with a coupon can save you money both on the item and later when you are craving chocolate. It will keep you from running out to buy something.
Snacks on sale
Even the most frugal person is likely to have crackers, granola bars, etc. in their pantry. Stock up when you can find your family’s favorite snack items on sale or when you have a coupon. Again, by buying them when they are cheap, you are saving money on the item so you aren’t tempted to buy it when it’s full price.
By keeping these frugal foods in your pantry, you are saving money from going out and buying them at full price or by buying a more expensive item. You can even use the money saved on your grocery bill to put towards debt, have a special ice cream night, or even buy yourself a new purse!