Pantry staples on a budget. What pantry items should you stock up on? Which ones should you avoid? These are the cheapest pantry staples you should have plenty of.
Having your pantry stocked up on essentials can help you save money and help with the rising costs of groceries. Getting pantry staples on a budget is also a great way to make sure you have food that you can eat when money is tight. See money saving tips when stocking your pantry.
Why having plenty of pantry staples on hand can be helpful
Let’s say that one month your money is extremely tight whether it be because of work issues, unexpected costs, etc. Or let’s say gas and food prices rise making it tough to purchase groceries like you did before.
When you have plenty of items in your pantry that you can use to make food, that is one less worry that you need to have. With everything going on, worrying about how dinner is going to get on the table isn’t something you want to add on there.
As a bonus, having these pantry staples already can even help you save money on Thanksgiving dinner or other family events throughout the year.
The Best Pantry Staples On A Budget
- Jarred Sauces
- Dry Goods
- Dry Herbs & Seasonings
- Canned Good
- Oils & Vinegars
Pantry Staples On A Budget – What To Stock Up On
These are our top essential pantry staples on a budget that you should stock up on in case of emergencies, financial changes, and more.
Keeping extras of these items in our pantry has saved us so many times! We always follow the rule of buy 1 to use and 2 to stock up on when it comes to these items. That way, when we do go to use them in a recipe, we have them on hand.
1. Beans – Most Filling Pantry Staples on a Budget
Beans are one of the top pantry staples on a budget that you should have. Beans are not only a great source of protein and fiber, buy they are relatively cheap. What’s great about beans is that you can buy them in bulk or in pre-packaged form.
Also, there are a variety of different beans so you can use them for different meals. Beans like black beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans are all great options to stock up on. You can use beans in homemade chili, burrito bowls, as a side, or combined with other meats and veggies to make a complete meal.
Flour is an essential pantry staple because it’s versatile making it one of the best pantry staples on a budget. You can use it to make gravies, homemade bread, baked goods, cheap desserts, homemade pretzels, and other foods. Flour isn’t that expensive so you can stock up in bulk and store until you are ready to use it.
Keep in mind that flour does have an expiration date though. So you want to store it properly. Here are some helpful tips to keeping your flour shelf life last a little longer.
- Store in a specialized flour storage container, air tight container, or an air tight bag in the fridge or freezer. A Ziploc bag with the air pushed out will also work.
- Keep flour in an air tight container with the best by date labeled on the container.
- Add a bay leaf to the air tight container with the flour in it to help deter bugs.
- Keep it away from light. Make sure to store flour in an dark dry place.
One thing to note is that if you store it in the fridge or freezer, you want the flour to come to room temperature before you use it. This is to help make sure the flour will still rise.
3. Rice – Most Versatile Pantry Staples on a Budget
Rice is great source of carbohydrates and it’s also very cheap. Like beans, you can buy rice in bulk or in pre-packaged form. Brown rice, jasmine rice, whole grain rice, and long grain white rice, are all good options to stock up on. Really, any type of rice can be used in meals so we always keep some kind of rice in the pantry.
Rice is very versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes which is what makes them such a great pantry staple to stock up on. For example, you can make a stir-fry recipes with rice, casseroles, breakfasts, meatless meals, or even use it as a side dish.
A good source of protein, versatile, and healthy. Lentils also provide a high amount of not only protein, but calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin B.
Lentils have a long shelf life and can be used in salads, soups, and stews. They can also be mashed and used as a replacement for ground meat in different recipes. Store lentils in labeled air-tight container, in a dry cool place to keep their shelf life longer.
We use sugar to help sweeten and cut the tangy flavor you get from some tomato based sauces. We add sugar in our lasagna, spaghetti sauces, and other recipes that use tomato based sauces.
We also stock up on other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup.
6. Pasta & Jarred Sauces
Pasta is a must in our family and it’s cheap. You can find a box of pasta at your local store for under $2. Some stores even sell them for $1. Jarred sauces can come in handy as well so we always stock up on a few when they are on sale or we are running low.
Spaghetti noodles, rotini, egg noodles, and lasagna noodles are often our go to for pasta. However, we keep just about every kind of pasta in our pantry because it’s so versatile. One of our favorite pasta dishes is beef and noodles.
What to do with pasta: Egg noodle recipes.
7. Other Essential Dry Goods – Pantry Staples on a Budget
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Corn Meal
- Cocoa Powder
8. Dried Herbs & Spices
Dried herbs and spices are a pantry staple because you can use them in dishes to help give them flavor. You can add them to boring dishes, like meatball recipes, to bring them to life so we always have a ton of spices on hand.
These are just a few that we always make sure we have on hand. You can also add your own favorite dried herbs & spices to this list and those that you use most.
- salt, pepper, seasoned salt
- chili powder, cayenne pepper
- curry powder, cumin powder, paprika
- oregano, basil, thyme bay leaves
- onion powder & onion salt
- garlic powder & garlic salt
- taco seasoning – not just for tacos, you can even try these taco stuffed meatballs
- crushed red pepper, and Cajun seasoning
- vanilla extract and others that you may often use
- we enjoy Greek seasoning and use it in a variety of pasta dishes
You can purchase off brand spices for $1 at many grocery stores, so having at least one of each kind is affordable. We find that we use garlic powder and onion powder the most in our recipes, so we keep extras of those on hand.
9. Canned Goods
Our motto is that you can never have enough canned goods. Canned meat, broths, canned fruit, soups, and vegetables can be a great addition to the family dinner. Plus, they are affordable pantry stapes on a budget that you can stash away for future use.
You can use them in casserole dishes, dinner dishes, as an ingredient, as a side dish, in desserts (like these pineapple desserts), and so much more. Canned juices are another great item to stock up on when you want to fill your shelves with pantry staples on a budget.
Canned foods have a long shelf life, many of them have a use by date for at least a year so that gives you plenty of time to stock up and use them.
—> You may also find these canned tuna recipes helpful.
10. Oils & Vinegars
Like herbs and spices, oils and vinegars can add extra flavor and take your dishes to a new level. They are pretty inexpensive to buy and they have a long shelf life.
Most common oils & vinegars: vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.
Condiments are always a must when you need pantry staples on a budget. The items you’ll stock up depend on the ones your family uses most.
For us, it’s ketchup, mustard, jelly, mayo, pickles, Ranch dressing, salad dressings, etc. You can stock up on these while they are on sale, store them in the pantry, and you won’t have to worry about running out.
Pantry Staples On A Budget
These essential pantry items can be a life saver when it comes to throwing something together for dinner when you’re working with a tight budget or can’t afford to head to the store. They’re definitely worth stocking up on!
There are many cheap pantry staples that you can stock up on, which will help you stretch your food budget. And, by cooking from scratch and incorporating these affordable ingredients into your recipes, you can make delicious and nutritious meals without much money.
Pantry Staples Checklist
Grab the printable pantry staples checklist below so that you can check each item off the list!