Budget Basics: 5 Tips for Stocking Your Kitchen and Pantry on a Tight Budget
Photo: Maddi Bazzocco / Unsplash
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that when the world gets scary, people flock to the grocery store to stock up. While this type of apocalyptic shopping isn’t recommended, keeping your kitchen/pantry stocked with all the essentials is not a bad idea. Of course, inflation is making this harder and harder by the month.
If you’re currently trying to stock your pantry on a budget, keep reading, as we’re about to divulge several tips to help you get the things you need without breaking the bank.
1. Invest in Cookware that Counts
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or someone who only cooks occasionally, you need cookware that gets the job done. Rather than buying a complete kitchenware set filled with items you may or may not need, purchase only the pieces you know you’ll use.
While it’s nice to have a complete matching cookware set, the best affordable cookware set is the one that meets your needs precisely. And the truth is that most people only really need a saucepan, a frying pan, and a large pot.
2. Buy in Bulk
Buying bulk goods is a great way to save money. While you will spend more upfront for the bigger versions, you’ll save in the long run if you figure out the price per unit.
Here, it’s important to note that buying in bulk usually results in savings. However, it’s crucial to calculate the price per unit as there are times when the smaller, individual packets work out to be more cost-effective.
When buying in bulk, look at each item’s shelf labels to find the price per unit and then compare that to the cost of buying the same item in a smaller package to be sure you’re truly saving money.
Another important point when buying in bulk is to ensure you have the storage space and containers necessary to keep your bulk purchases fresh for as long as possible. Airtight containers and extra pantry space are a must.
3. Stick to Basic Seasonings
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on seasonings. There are so many to choose from – and those specialty seasonings are irresistibly enticing. If you love to cook, you know what we mean.
Your best bet, though, if you’re working with a tight budget, is to stick to the basics and find out which seasonings can be substituted for the specialty ones you may not have. For example, if a recipe calls for rosemary and you don’t have any, you can use thyme as a replacement. Another example is using oregano and parsley in place of Italian seasoning. Google is full of suggestions for seasoning alternatives – you just have to look.
4. Buy Generic Brands
In most cases, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a brand-name product and a generic one, especially where pantry items are concerned. Don’t be afraid to opt for the store brand rather than the name brand to save money – you’ll likely notice no difference except to your wallet.
5. Shop the Clearance Section
Just because something is in the clearance section doesn’t mean anything is wrong with it. You may find something you need, and you may not, but always check the clearance shelves when restocking your kitchen and pantry.
It can be challenging to stock your pantry and kitchen on a tight budget, but following the suggestions above will get you the things you need without breaking the bank.