Keeping your kitchen stocked with frugal staples is an easy way to help you save money on groceries. By having the following ingredients on hand, you’ll be able to make a variety of inexpensive meals and always have a frugal base of ingredients to use when creating your meal plan.
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1. Dried Beans. Dried beans are far less expensive than canned beans –preparing your own is definitely worth the effort! To save time when preparing, cook dried beans in the slow cooker and store in the freezer for future use! Or here’s how you easily can cook dried beans in the oven.
2. Rice. Whether you choose brown rice or white rice, they can both be found inexpensively and be used in a variety of frugal meals.
3. Tomato paste. One can of tomato paste can be used for so many things and is cheaper than purchasing tomato sauce, pasta sauce, etc.
4. Flour. When you’re trying to cook and bake from scratch, flour comes in handy for many dishes and it’s such an inexpensive ingredient, there’s no reason to not keep it on hand!
5. Oats. Oats are one of the most frugal ingredients to keep in your kitchen! They can be used for much more than a bowl of oatmeal –you can use them to stretch your ground beef, make inexpensive baked goods, granola, or as an addition to homemade smoothies and more!
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6. Yeast. Keeping yeast on hand will allow you to make homemade bread, pizza dough and more at a moment’s notice.
7. Lemon Juice. Lemon juice is a versatile ingredient that can add a dash of flavor to almost any meal inexpensively!
8. Pasta. Keeping pasta-based dishes in your meal plan rotation is definitely an easy way to keep costs down.
9. Peanut Butter. From a PB&J sandwich to baked goods, peanut butter is an inexpensive ingredient to always keep on hand.
10. Eggs. Frugal cooks know that eggs can be used for more than breakfast! Eggs can be an inexpensive addition to a frugal dinner, such as a stirfry, eggs baked in potatoes and more.
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11. Potatoes. Potatoes are an inexpensive ingredient to use in casseroles, breakfast dishes and side dishes.
12. Olive Oil. While it is one of the more expensive items on this list, olive oil will be one of your most-used items as a home-cook. Use olive not just in its traditional uses, but also to stretch your budget even further by making your own homemade vinaigrette and mayonnaise.
13. Popcorn Kernels. Popcorn can make a frugal and relatively inexpensive snack. Here’s how I make brown bag microwave popcorn for only $0.12!
14. Cocoa. from hot chocolate to a variety of baked goods, keeping cocoa on hand is an inexpensive way to get your chocolate fix (bonus: it seems to last forever, or at least it does for us!).
15. Onion. Onions are an inexpensive flavor-enhancer that is used in many recipes! This ingredient may likely already make it onto your shopping list every week, as it’s such a common ingredient.
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16. Cilantro. If you cook a lot of ethnic dishes, keeping cilantro on hand is a great way to add a dash of authentic flavor inexpensively. One bunch of cilantro can typically be purchased for under $1 and can last for many uses!
17. Green onions. Green onions are the gift that keeps on giving. Buy once and you can regrow them almost indefinitely on the kitchen counter!
18. Garlic. Many recipes call for garlic, so keeping it on hand will ensure that you’re able to inexpensively flavor a variety of dishes. I prefer to use minced garlic because it saves time and a bit of clean up work.
19. Raisins. A frugal mix-in for a variety of breakfast dishes and baked goods. I often use them in my homemade oatmeal packets.
20. Frozen vegetables. Frozen veggies are often a steal in comparison to fresh vegetables and they’ll last much longer, so there’s no worry of them going bad.
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21. Tortillas. Tortillas can be used to make a variety of dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas and more. Corn tortillas are typically less expensive than flour tortillas.
22. Sausage/Kielbasa. Sausage can often be a frugal way to add meat to a meal while using a small amount. Simply chop or dice it into small pieces and add into soups, stews or a simmering pot of beans.
23. Ground Turkey/Ground Chicken. If you’re a meat eater, you’ve likely noticed the rising price of ground beef! Ground turkey or ground chicken are typically less expensive alternatives and can often be swapped for ground beef in recipes without a loss of flavor.
24. Spices. Stock your pantry with your favorite spices to inexpensively flavor meals. Be sure to keep both sweet and savory options on hand for baked goods.
25. Chicken broth. Chicken broth is a common ingredient in soups, pasta dishes and casseroles. It can typically be found for under $2, however, it’s even less expensive to make at home. Here’s how to make your own crockpot chicken stock at home.
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Have a frugal kitchen staple of your own you’d like to add to the list? Tell us your additions in the comments below!