Frugal Grocery Budget Part 1: Know What You Have on Hand and Make a List

Sadly, with today’s economy, many, many people are severely struggling with money. Many people are out of jobs or under-employed. Many people also have the added burden of debt from college and still can’t find a job. It is very scary.

I like to think that I am fairly frugal when it comes to my grocery budget. I know I could be more frugal, but I do the best that I can with what I have. I know that many people coupon, and I do too, occasionally. I used to coupon more, but where I live only a few stores take coupons and none of them double any value of coupons. For me, in my circumstance, it isn’t worth the .50 cents off of a name brand product when I can buy another brand for $1.00 less not on sale.

For all of you who can’t do couponing to any great measure, don’t despair. I have some ideas for you that have helped me tremendously throughout the years.

To Start:

1.) Know what you have in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.

It may not be much, but that is ok.

2.) Write down every grocery item you have in your home with space in between each item,

For example:

*  2 pounds Bread Flour


* 2 (16oz) Cans of Chopped Tomato


3.) After you have everything written down, write what you would like to make with each product under its heading. Look through your list of what you have, you might write down the same things under different products; make sure to see my example of how I handle this. If you don’t have all the ingredients to make an item, note what you need next to it. For example:

2 pounds Bread Flour

– 1 pound bread loaf

– 1 dozen sweet muffins —  need: 3 eggs

– 8 stuffed pretzels -need 8oz of shredded cheese.

4.) After you are done, tally up what you need to buy vs what you have. Make a separate list of what you need to buy. Below I have given an example of what I have in my house and what I would need to buy.

What I Have on Hand

5 Pounds Bread Flour ( This equals about 15 cups Flour)

16 Stuffed Egg Pretzels — need: 1 jar salsa

1 Large Pizza Crust

1 Loaf French Bread

1 Dozen Chocolate Chip Cookies– need: 1 bag chocolate chips

1 Dozen Dinner Rolls

Cubed Pork Fingers

Apple Crumble

5 Pounds Oat Bran

Stuffed Pretzels, Pizza Crust, French Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dinner Rolls

Oat Bran Hot Cereal –need: 1 quart milk

1 dozen meatballs–need: 1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 pound Baking Soda

Stuffed Egg Pretzels, Chocolate Chip Cookies,

1 Jar Baking Powder

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 pound yeast

Stuffed Egg Pretzels, Pizza Crust, French Bread, Dinner Rolls

3 Dozen Eggs

Stuffed Pretzels, French Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dinner Rolls, C.P Fingers, Meatballs,

Egg Sandwich’s using egg ring

Fried Rice

2 pounds ground chicken

1 dozen Meatballs,

Sloppy Joes –need: 1 green pepper

3 Pounds Cubed Pork

Cubed Pork Fingers

Fried Rice with 1-2 pieces leftover Cubed Pork

1 Pound Jasmine Rice (About 2 cups uncooked rice)

Fried Rice,

Chicken Flavored Rice

2 Pounds Pinto Beans

Refried Beans– need:  Velveeta Salsa

Cooked Beans in Chicken Base Broth

3 Pounds Mozzarella

Stuffed Egg Pretzels, Egg Ring Sandwiches, Meatballs

1 Large Pizza

4 Pounds Sugar

Stuffed Pretzels, Potato Bread, French Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dinner Rolls, Oat Bran Hot Cereal,

2 Jars Pizza Sauce

1 Large Pizza, Cubed Pork Fingers dipping sauce

1 Box Pastina

Chicken Broth Vegetable Pastina Soup

1 (160z) Box Bow Tie Noodles

Butter Noodles to go with Meatballs

3 Pounds Potatoes

Home-Fried Potatoes

French Fries

Potato Soup

1 Jar Chicken Base

Pastina Soup,

Potato Soup– need: 1 (8oz) package cream cheese

Cream of Carrot Soup — need: 1 pint Heavy Cream

5 pounds Carrots

Pastina Soup, Cream of Carrot Soup

Baked Carrots

4 pounds Apples

Apple Crumble

3 pounds butter

Stuffed Pretzels, Potato Bread, French Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dinner Rolls, Apple Crumble, Potato soup, buttered noodles

1 (160z) olive oil

Cubed Pork Fingers, Meatballs, Pizza Crust

Items I Need

1 bag chocolate chips

1 quart milk

 1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 green pepper

Velveeta Salsa

1 (8oz) package cream cheese

1 pint Heavy Cream

Important to Remember!!

Once you have made your list of what you can make with certain food items, KEEP IT! It will be such a relief to you when you don’t know what to make later down the road. All you have to do is look at your list and you will probably have enough of something on hand to make a couple of frugal foods.


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