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Everyday Cheapskate: Make Sure You Have These 9 Essential Pantry Items

Mary Hunt on

I won't ask if you've been paying attention to what's going on with food in the U.S. Who could possibly avoid getting smacked in the face nearly every day with the high cost of feeding a family?

I just read that the average cost of ground beef in the U.S. is hitting an all-time high. I believe it, and not only beef. It is shocking how grocery prices have skyrocketed, which underscores the need for a well-stocked pantry.

The way to fight back is twofold: Eat the sales, and eat at home. That means only putting items in the cart that are on sale (my benchmark is 30% discount), and preparing and eating that food at home.

I know -- it sounds so easy. And it can be if you make sure your kitchen pantry is well stocked. It's annoying and expensive not to have basic items on hand. You don't have what you need and don't have time to go get it, which means, of course, you'll have to go out for dinner. Again.

Taking the time and effort to make sure you always have the following nine essential pantry items will save a lot of money, provided you pick these items up as they go on sale. Think of this as a project.



I detest evaporated milk because I had to drink it as a kid. But it's fabulous for cooking and baking! Keeping a few cans in your pantry ensures you'll always have milk on hand when the recipe calls for it.


This is amazing. You can find it in the baking aisle as "cultured buttermilk blend." I can't tell you how many times buttermilk as an ingredient in something has thrown me to the wolves. Who keeps buttermilk on hand?

And when you need only a small amount, then what to do with the rest of it? This dry option is the answer. I keep it in the freezer, and it lasts indefinitely. I find myself reaching for it quite often. It's so easy to use, following the chart on the label.


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