Must Have Staples to Add Flavor and Cut Costs

You might be surprised to know that there was a time when we had to send our kids off to their grandparent’s due to lack of food and money.  It was hard and I never want to revisit that time again but it did teach me something.  It taught me to stock up on the most important & most eaten things and everything else comes after.  It also taught me that you don’t have to go without flavor just because you’re rationing or because you are trying to be frugal.

I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you cut costs on your grocery bill, stock up and still be able to add some flavor to the menu!

Pantry items to have on hand for flavor!  I buy a lot of this at Sam’s Club in bulk and supersized to save money.  Just be cautious and make sure you’re getting a good deal.grocery1

  • Ground Pepper  (MUCH cheaper at Sam’s than at the grocery store.)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Sugar
  • Minced Garlic in a jar.  I know, I know..fresh is the best but this lasts longer and has just as much flavor!
  • Oil (Olive & Canola)
  • Onions (They last a long time and they are inexpensive)

Tips to help you cut the costs on your grocery bill.

  • *Cut the beef out. Fortunately, our beef is supplied as part of our income here on the ranch so we don’t have that expense, but if you want to save some money, buy chicken or even go meatless.  Eat more rice, beans, and pastas.  They are more filling anyhow and and easy on the pocketbook even in their super-size, which I recommend.
  • *Buy big and in bulk. Like I mentioned above, a regular size can of pepper runs me around $3.50.  At Sam’s Club, I pay $4.00 for almost 3 times the amount!!!  HUGE savings.  This applies to so many things.  Cereal, milk (I freeze gallons of milk all the time), eggs, rice, and pasta.  I know those Quaker Oats Instant packets are handy but try buying a big container of oatmeal and add your own flavors, using fresh or frozen fruit.  It’s just as easy and you can make as little or as much oatmeal for more than half the cost as buying one of those box of packets!
  • MAKE A LIST! Something that has reduced my grocery bill is my handy dandy notebook Smartshopper.  Yes you can use a notebook, and that is perfectly fine but I have to say, I LOVE my Smartshopper.  When I need something, I just record it in and print it out.  Having  a list reduces the chances of you buying items you don’t need or not sure if you’re out of or not.  This  can be a huge money saver.  I find that most people lose their list or forget to write it down because you don’t have a pen or paper handy but with the smartshopper, I walk over immediately and add it to the list.

Finally, COUPONS!!! I can’t say it enough people.  Even if you only have a coupon for $.55 off, it adds up over the month/year and can reduce your grocery bills by quite a bit.  I always check out Alyssa for updates on the upcoming inserts in your Sunday paper.  She knows the scoop ahead of the time and can help you determine if it’s worth getting a paper at all or getting 3 or 4!  You can always print coupons, just be sure to check back regularly because they are always adding new ones.

Check out for more ideas on cutting costs and recipes to help you save money by not buying premade!

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  1. says

    Reducing meat intake is a great way to save money. It can also help your health. I work on a non profit campaign called Meatless Monday which encourages Americans to cut meat from their diets just once a week. Cutting back on saturated fats by 15% – which is equivalent to going meatless one day a week – reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.
    We have great recipe ideas that are light on your wallet and easy to make. You can find them at

  2. says

    These tips are great, so many of us have been laid off of our jobs,and wonder how to make ends meet. Usually on our priority list we take care of our, rent/mortgage, utilities,and pray there is enough for food!
    Thanks for a good reminder on how to eat good foods at more affordable price.


  3. Sharmayla says

    Hi! My husband got his hours cut, and I came up with a super-frugal shopping list:

    Oatmeal or a good healthy dry cereal for breakfast
    PBJ sandwiches for lunch
    Soup for dinner

    What do you all think? Any comments? Thanks!

    • Jamaican cook says

      I love it! Soup can be a healthier alternative to a traditional meal. Think of all the different flavors and ingredients. you will also reduce your red meat consumption because you don’t need as much meat if any at all! Just watch the added salt.