How To

A Frugal Family’s Grocery List

As fuel costs rise and the demand for food increases, so do the prices at the grocery store. For example, domestic wholesale food prices rose a dramatic 3.9 percent in February 2011, the largest increase in a single month since 1974. Internationally, the cost of food rose 37% in the year between February 2010 and 2011, according to an organization of the United Nations.

In the midst of a recession, even a slight increase in a grocery budget can have a major negative impact on the family budget. The financial burden of digging deeper into your pockets to cover basic needs, like food, often means going without. Instead of making the hard decision between essentials like food, medical expenses or utilities, reworking your grocery list may be the ticket to making your dollars stretch.

The following food items are inexpensive pantry and refrigerator staples that are also the foundations of many tasty and nutritious recipes. Just add a meat (on sale, of course!) and additional vegetable or side, for a simple, budget-friendly meal.

You can also check out MintLife’s weekly Frugal Foodie column, as well as this article about how to grocery shop frugally and ethically.

Keeping a continuous stock of these items guarantees you will always have something to feed the family. These items are all on the inexpensive side and because you can make numerous breakfast, lunch and dinner meals by re-using the following ingredients, you will also save money by keeping the grocery list small.

Seasonings

-Garlic
-Salt
-Pepper
-Dried Italian Herbs

Produce

-Pre-washed salad greens and at least two other salad vegetables of your choice
-Apples
-Potatoes
-Onions

In the Baking Aisle

-All-Purpose Flour
-Regular Sugar
-Brown Sugar
-Vegetable Oil
-Olive Oil

Grains and Pastas

-Rice
-Sliced Bread
-Oatmeal
-Spaghetti Pasta
-Ziti Pasta

Canned Foods

-Beans
-Crushed Tomatoes
-Tomato Sauce
-Chicken Broth or Stock

Dairy

-Eggs
-Milk
-Butter

Example meals include:

-Eggs and toast or oatmeal with brown sugar for breakfast.
-Roasted potatoes with garlic and onions and a meat of your choice for dinner.
-Various rice dishes, such as fried rice (rice, eggs, chicken broth, onion and another vegetable of your choice).
-Various pasta dishes (spaghetti, crushed tomatoes, garlic, dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper).

Lori Hutchison teaches high school English and owns the site, Masters in Teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys writing guest blog posts about various topics of interest — especially how to save money!