For the Beginner Cook – Basic Items For Pantry and Refrigerator


Cooking at home is a terrific means of saving money and bonding with the family. In order to make epic meals on a budget, you will need to stock your pantry and refrigerator with some key items that show up is virtually every recipe you attempt. If you are not fully stocked and prepared, you will likely end up wasting money on driving to the store or paying extraneous fees at convenience stores.


Although stocking your pantry will save you time and money over the long haul, you should be aware of the fact that it takes a significant initial investment to acquire all of the needed items. For this reason, you would be wise to stock up slowly, adding a few key items each time you venture out to the grocery store. In addition, you would be wise to search for coupons that will reduce the price on each pantry item you purchase. If you have to wait a week or two to find the right coupon, it will be worth your time and will save you money on key items used in a number of staple recipes.

1. Baking

Pantry items such as all-purpose flour, cake (self-rising) flour, baking soda, yeast, condensed milk, corn syrup, baking powder, sugar, confectioner’s powder, brown sugar and vanilla extract should all be purchased in order to make a wide variety of baked goods. The money you can save by baking items from scratch is significant. Use the finances saved to stock up the rest of your pantry and the savings will grow exponentially with each new item you use to make your food from scratch.

2. Dry Goods

Pasta, Ramen noodles and peanut butter/jelly will go a long way toward stretching any budget. Items such as coffee, dry cereal, pancake mix, oatmeal and grits will sustain your family’s morning routine for many weeks at a fraction of the cost of items such as eggs and bacon. Rice (brown or white) and beans (or any variety) will serve to bulk up virtually any main course and help you to fill your family’s stomachs without breaking the bank. Snack items such as popcorn, pretzels and tea will allow you to treat your palate between meals without spending enormous amounts on pre-packaged snack foods or expensive chips.

3. Canned Goods

Beef, vegetable or chicken broth are essential canned items that will help you to create soups, casseroles and other main courses on a moment’s notice. Canned tuna is a great sandwich filler or menu accent. Canned tomatoes or tomato paste allow you to make your own pasta sauce in an affordable manner. Canned vegetables allow your family to get their needed daily nutrients without paying full price for fresh veggies at the market.

4. Spices

If you do not invest in spices, many of your recipes will turn out bland and disappointing. While a fully stocked spice rack can take many months to complete, you should start out with at least salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. Once you have these items, you can venture out to purchase more varied spices such as cumin, cloves, chives, rosemary, nutmeg and


1. Baking

Eggs, milk and butter are three items that no refrigerator should be without. These items show up in a huge percentage of recipes and you will be left in a lurch without them. Whether you are making pancakes, biscuits, cakes or a number of other basic food items, you will need one or all three of these items to get the job done. Purchase these items in bulk at warehouse stores in order to enjoy savings and to have them on hand at all times.

2. Condiments

Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and salad dressing are essential items that add flair and flavor to a great number of recipes. Even the most marginal budget should include these items, as they will help you to dress up items such as baked potatoes, sandwiches, salads and more.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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