The most important thing for cooking frugally is keeping a well stocked pantry. Look at your pantry as more than storage, look at it as your very own mini store. It should be well stocked with a supply of basic ingredients and a few of your favorite convenience foods.
The way to stocking a pantry the frugal way: Buy when it’s on sale! Buy enough to keep you in stock until the sale cycles again. Doing so, you will never pay full price again. When it’s on sale, use coupons also making that low price rock bottom! Everyone’s pantry will vary, but here’s what I keep on hand all the time. I plan meals around what I have in the pantry and freezer. I buy what is on sale to keep my pantry well stocked.
Baking Supplies: baking powder · baking soda · yeast · cocoa · salt · cornstarch · vinegar · food coloring · eggs
Beverages tea· hot chocolate· coffee· lemonaid· kool-aide· frozen juice
Breads wheat bread · white bread · saltines · graham crackers · croutons (myo)
Cheese Cheddar · mozzarella · American · parmesan · swiss
Cereals I refuse to pay more than $1.00 a box. Four of the six boxes in my pantry have been FREE!
Condiments jelly · catsup · mayonnaise · mustard · salsa (myo)· pickles/relish · salad dressings I make our BBQ sauce and salsa.
Fruits: Canned peaches · pineapple Fresh: apples · oranges· bananas · other fruit is bought in season Frozen: strawberries· bananas
Fats vegetable oil · olive oil · shortening · margarine · cooking spray
Grains: white flour · oatmeal · cornmeal · white rice · popcorn
Meats: chicken (whole and parts) · ground beef · ground turkey · pork chops · sausage (patties, links, 1lb rolls)· ham · bacon · roasts (beef and pork) (I pay $1.89 per pound for meat or less excluding steaks)
Juices: lime · lemon
Seasonings and Flavorings: Salts (sea salt, iodized, kosher)· Peppers (black ground, peppercorns)· bouillon (both beef and chicken)· Worcestershire sauce· Soy sauce· Canned broths (both beef and chicken)· Red hot sauce· Vinegar· Dry brown gravy mix·
Other spices and herbs
Milk: dry milk · whole milk · evaporated milk · sweet condensed milk
Pasta: pre-packaged macaroni and cheese · spaghetti · macaroni · ziti
Vegetables: onions · potatoes · instant mashed potatoes · carrots · frozen broccoli · canned green beans · canned and frozen corn · red, yellow, oranger peppers · mushrooms (canned and fresh)
Sweetners: white sugar · brown sugar · powdered sugar · honey · corn syrup · pancake syrup (myo)
Miscellaneous Canned Goods: tomatoes (sauce, paste, diced) · Jarred Spagetti sauces · soups (tomato, cream of mushroom, chicken and celery) · ramen noodles · pork and beans · chili beans· pumpkin · peanut butter