• The Stocked Pantry

    Reducing your grocery bill to under $250 is a cinch, if you maintain a fully stocked pantry of basic ingredients. Here is a basic list of must have ingredients:

    Baking/Cooking Goods

    □ Baking Mix (Biscuit)
    □ Baking Powder
    □ Baking Soda
    □ Beans (dried)
    □ Breadcrumbs
    □ Chocolate chips
    □ Cocoa, unsweetened baking
    □ Cornmeal
    □ Cornstarch
    □ Corn Syrup, Light
    □ Corn Syrup, Dark
    □ Dried Fruits
    □ Evaporated Milk
    □ Four,
    all purpose
    □ Flour, whole wheat
    □ Flour, Semolina
    □ Gelatin
    □ Honey
    □ Lentils
    □ Molasses
    □ Nuts, various
    □ Oatmeal
    □ Pasta
    □ Peanut Butter
    □ Powdered Milk
    □ Split Peas
    □ Rice, Arborio
    □ Rice, brown
    □ Rice, Jasmine
    □ Rice, White
    □ Shortening
    □ Soy Sauce
    □ Sugar, confectioners
    □ Sugar, granulated
    □ Sugar, brown
    □ Unsweetened baking chocolate
    □ Semi-sweet baking chocolate
    □ Worcestershire Sauce
    □ Yeast
    Miscellaneous Items

    □ Minced Garlic
    □ Canned tomatoes
    □ Tomato Paste
    Tomato Sauce
    □ Broth
    □ Canned Pineapple
    □ Canned Fruit Cocktail
    □ Condensed Soups
    □ Pie Fillings
    □ Tuna
    □ Crab Meat
    □ Hot Sauce
    □ Olives, black
    □ Olives, Green
    □ Pickles
    □ Salsa


    □ Nonstick spray
    □ Canola Oil
    □ Coconut Oil
    □ Corn Oil
    □ Olive Oil
    □ Vegetable Oil
    □ Balsamic Vinegar
    □ Cider Vinegar
    □ Red Wine Vinegar
    □ Rice Vinegar
    □ Seasoned Rice Vinegar
    □ White Vinegar
    Seasoning/ Spices

    □ Allspice
    □ Basil
    □ Bay leaves
    □ Bouillon (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable)
    □ Caraway seeds
    □ Celery seed
    □ Chives
    □ Cilantro
    □ Cinnamon (ground)
    □ Cinnamon (sticks)
    □ Cloves (ground)
    □ Cloves (whole)
    □ Curry
    □ Dill seed
    □ Dill weed
    □ Extracts- Vanilla, Almond
    □ Fennel
    □ Garlic (minced)
    □ Garlic powder
    □ Garlic salt
    □ Ginger
    □ Italian seasoning
    □ Mace
    □ Marjoram
    □ Mustard
    □ Nutmeg
    □ Onion powder
    □ Onion salt
    □ Oregano
    □ Parsley
    □ Pepper (black)
    □ Pepper (cayenne)
    □ Peppercorns
    □ Pickling spice
    □ Rosemary
    □ Sage
    □ Salt (coarse & Iodized)
    □ Thyme
    □ Tumeric
    □ Vanilla

    Several of the items on this list are homemade, for example, the Baking Mix (similar to Bisquick), we home can tomatoes now- but on occasions we still purchase cans if we find them on sale or with coupons. My spice/seasoning list is considerably longer than this - but we don't purchase
    them all at once.

    When making our menu's for the week, I generally take a look in the pantry to see what I have on hand (something many folks do Every single night at dinnertime), then sit down to compile the meal plan.

    Once I have a list of meals, I literally carry that list into the pantry with me and do a quick check to see whether or not I have everything I need to make what's on the list. Sometimes you may find that you don't have a seasoning or don't have brown sugar. If that's the case and I still have weekly shopping to do, I may pick the item up, but more often than not, I find a substitute for it. For the brown sugar- I simply make my own using a bit of molasses and granulated sugar.

    Keeping a fully stocked pantry & learning how to use substitutes will drastically reduce your monthly grocery bills.

    See Free Printable Pantry Lists
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Smammy's Avatar
      Smammy -
      I'm sure someone has thought of this, but is there any kind of programs that have a master list of good unit prices per item? For example, on the grocery guide, you find a comparison of sale items. But, how do you know that these are the best prices you can get overall -maybe at a diiferent time or maybe in bulk?
      Just having a Master List of Unit Prices for items that you frequently buy in the area in which you live would be helpful, wouldn't it?
    1. GB101's Avatar
      GB101 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Smammy View Post
      I'm sure someone has thought of this, but is there any kind of programs that have a master list of good unit prices per item?
      Hi Smammy, It's called a "Price Book" and theres not really a program for it, but there are lots of different printables for you to create your own. It would be really difficult for someone to create a useable pricebook because prices fluctuate so much between regions.

      For example- right now I can already purchase fresh strawberries for $1.25 # - but where my sister lives in the NorthWest- they are $4.50 a pound.

      I used to keep a pricebook, but found that I was spending literally hours walking up and down the isles of the grocery stores in my area jotting down prices of things.

      Now I keep a list of When the items go on sale- what the sales cycles are so that I can look at an item and know whether it's a decent buy for us or a ripoff, or whether to hold out for a couple more weeks.

      Here's a bunch of info on Pricebooks in our Budget101 forums:

    1. pjcamp1106's Avatar
      pjcamp1106 -
      i have alist printed and taped to wall of my pantry
    1. mommadolan's Avatar
      mommadolan -
      I have a price list of my families favorite items and our "keep on hand" items. This way we only have to go to 2 or 3 stores to get all our groceries and supplies. My husband then plans the route to save on gas. We also split the kids and the list at every store so we each get half.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I am in desperate need to get my budget under control! My question is how do you get a well stocked pantry without spending $200 up front to obtain each of these items? Do you just purchase a few at a time?
    1. amanda23181's Avatar
      amanda23181 -
      I'm with the last poster on this... How do I stock up without spending a ton at one time?
    1. ShellyB's Avatar
      ShellyB -
      It's always nice to have a list of must haves. I also think a list of nice to have would be a good idea, too.
    1. mombirr's Avatar
      mombirr -
      Quote Originally Posted by amanda23181 View Post
      I'm with the last poster on this... How do I stock up without spending a ton at one time?
      Buy ON sale! When pasta is on sale, stock up! When you find a good price on protein, buy as much as you can afford/have room to freeze. Dollar stores have a lot of basic rice, pasta, dried beans etc.

      cheap. When fruits and veggies are in season, buy/can/freeze. Generic frozen fruits and veggies are picked at peak freshness, and much less seasoned or processed than canned. Take it a step at a time, and learn what you will actually use.
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