Having a good pantry with staples in it is the foundation for meal planning and saving money. Plus, if you have stock on hand at all times, you know that you can make something from what you have even if you don’t have time to go back to the store that evening. You can also avoid paying for many of the items on this list unless they are on sale buy stocking up when they are on sale and keeping a running list. Here are some items you should always have in your pantry that are low cost, nutritious and can be made hundreds of ways!
How to Build a Money-Saving Pantry
You should have some canned good staples that are good for creating a multitude of meals. Here are some suggestions for them:
“Cream Of” soups- Look for the ones that are low in sodium if you can. These soups lend themselves to all sorts of meals from casseroles, to crock-pot dinners and even as a great soup base for creating your own soups at home.
Beans- While this can be more costly in the long run, they are great for quick meals on the run such as chili, taco salad and so on. You can often stock up while they are on sale at less than 50 cents each.
Tomatoes- This includes tomato sauces and canned diced or stewed tomatoes. This makes a great base for casseroles, crock-pot dishes, vegetarian meals and even rice dishes.
Tuna or canned chicken- If you are out of meat in your fridge or freezer, canned chicken or tuna makes a great substitute for fresh meat especially if it will be baked into something.
Dry Goods are also a great thing to keep in your pantry for meals that can be thrown together. Here are some dry goods you should always have on hand:
Rice– Rice is hearty, filling and can be used in just about any dish or served on the side. It is also very cheap and a little bit makes a lot. Check out the international section of your favorite store for cheaper buys on this staple.
Pasta- All kinds of pasta from long spaghetti noodles to short corkscrews can be made into so many dishes and added to soups in a hurry.
Breadcrumbs or Panko- This is a staple I think everyone should have as it can be used for casserole toppings and breading meat for various dishes.
Dried Beans- These can take a while to make, but are incredibly low cost and filling. You can use beans to spread meat further in meals as well if you need to.
Powdered Milk- There is nothing worse than running out of milk and getting ready to bake or cook a meal. While powdered milk is not necessarily super low cost, a little bit of it goes a long way so pound for pound, it is cheaper than the liquid version.
Baking Mix- This can be used for low cost meals such as pancakes but can also be great to have on hand if you do any baking. You can even make your own to save even more money!
Popcorn- This is a low cost, easy to make snack and it’s great to have on hand.
In addition to the foods listed, every home pantry should contain seasonings and spices. If you have a good variety of the following seasonings and spices, you can kick up the flavor in any dish and spices, if bought in bulk, often cost pennies to keep on hand.
Buying many of these items in bulk is usually the cheapest way to go, so get some containers with lids to store them in. It not only looks nice, but keeps pests out!
What are some things that you keep in your pantry as a staple? Do you find that keeping this stock on hand helps you save money in the long run?