How to Start a Pantry Staples List to Save Money

There are so many ways to save money on your groceries each month, but one of the most effective is by having pantry staples on hand. Pantry staples are the ingredients or food you have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer that make it possible for you to make a meal on the fly. These foods are very specific to you and your family, and you should not rely on others’ lists to make your own. By keeping your own pantry staples list for your family’s kitchen, you can save plenty of time and money. Read on to find out how!

By using a pantry staples list, you can save an estimated $125 on your grocery budget! Learn how to start your own pantry staples list (or download the one I made!) and start saving your money now.© Yeko Photo Studio / Dollar Photo Club

How Much Money Can You Save with a Pantry Staples List?

You can save a good amount of money with a pantry staples list. Not just pocket change but cold hard cash.

  • With pantry items on hand, you can skip a night or two of grocery shopping and still make it through just fine. You’ll save money on gas since you aren’t driving to the store as often, and you won’t throw out food that could have gone bad since you are using it up. Estimated savings per month: $75
  • You also will be able to stock up on these items when they are on sale because you know you will be using them and they won’t go to waste. You can easily freeze a lot of the perishable items on your pantry staples list to use in the future. Estimated savings per month: $50

Uh, who wouldn’t want to save $125 per month?!

How to Make a Pantry Staples List

A lot of the headache of meal planning can be relieved by keeping a solid list of pantry items that your family eats regularly.

So how do you create your family’s own pantry staples list? Let me tell you…

1. Keep track of meals or list meals you eat regularly

Ever since this past April, I have been keeping track of all the dinners we’ve been eating. Although, for the last month it’s been hit and miss. It has really come in handy when writing out a weekly meal plan.

Because I’ve been tracking these meals, I was able to come up with a list of the meals we eat on a regular basis.

2. List out every single ingredient you need to make the top 10 meals

Find the top 10 meals you seem to eat often, and list them out on a blank piece of paper with some space in between each meal. Now start listing all the ingredients it takes to make those meals. It can take you a good 15-20 minutes to write down all the ingredients for your 10 meals, but this is a critical step in order to fill out your pantry staples list.

Here are 3 meals we eat regularly as an example for you.

Chicken w/tomato & onion salad: Chicken, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, lemon, butter, onions, tomatoes, oregano, olive oil, vinegar

Split pea soup w/hot sandwiches: Split peas, chicken broth, ham, carrots, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, marjoram, smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaf, malt vinegar, bread (yeast, salt, flour), lunch meat, cheese, mayo, mustard

Pizza: Dough (olive oil, salt, flour, yeast, baking powder, oregano, garlic), sauce (tomato paste, powdered parmesan cheese, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley, sugar OR honey, onion powder, red pepper flakes), mozzarella cheese, toppings (pepperoni, ham, pineapple, olives, peppers, onions, etc.)

3. List the ingredients on your pantry staples list

Finally, you will want to go through your list of ingredients from your 10 meals and put them on a pantry staples list (download yours here).

I’ll share my list of pantry staples with you, but keep in mind that yours will be completely different. Remember that your family is unique and probably doesn’t eat the same things we eat on a regular basis. It’s best to find out your own pantry list by keeping track of what you eat on a regular basis and then writing down the ingredients that seem to come up over and over. Remember to write down pantry staples you use for snack, lunch, and breakfast items.


Avocados (only when in season)
Bell peppers
Salad (some kind of lettuce)


Rice (brown and white)


Ground turkey
Italian sausage
Lunch meat


Butter, unsalted
Cheese (colby jack or mozzarella mostly)
Provolone slices
Sour cream

Baking goods

Baking powder
Baking soda
Brown sugar
Vanilla extract
Vegetable oil



Canned/Dried goods

Chicken stock/broth
Garbanzo beans
Pinto beans
Split Peas
Tomatoes: tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced tomatoes


Bay leaves
Black pepper
Chili powder
Crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic powder
Ground ginger
Mayo/Miracle Whip
Onion salt
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce


Apple cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Coconut oil
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Rice vinegar
Sesame seed oil
White vinegar
White wine vinegar


Dried fruit: craisins, raisins, and prunes
Nuts: Almonds and mixed
Oats: quick and rolled
Peanut butter
Popcorn kernels
Seeds: Sunflower seeds
Tortilla Chips

After you’ve filled in your pantry staples list, put it on your fridge or in your pantry. Every time you do your grocery shopping for the week, grab your pantry staples list and see if you need to replace anything.

This Pantry Essentials Checklist from Food Network was a huge help as I made my own pantry staples list.

What is the strangest ingredient you buy all the time?

Join the Humble in a Heartbeat Community!

When you join, you’ll learn how to get healthy meals on the table without compromising time, taste, or your food budget.

I will never share your information or spam you. Unsubscribe whenever you want. Powered by ConvertKit


I'm a mom of 3 on a journey to feed my family nourishing foods. Personally, I believe that you can feed your family healthy, delicious meals without spending a fortune or slaving away in the kitchen.


  1. What a wonderful post and fabulous suggestions!

    It’s my goal this year to trim our grocery budget. This will definitely come in handy. Pinned.

    Happy New Year!

    • Thank you for pinning, Jennifer, and I’m so glad it’s helpful. You’ll have to let me know if you were able to save money on your groceries with this.

  2. Great suggestions! I’m always a bit lost when it comes to this. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the printable!

  3. Thanks for this, Charlee Anne. Doing Pantry Challenges is an excellent way to save $

  4. Lorraine Williamson says:

    love this idea been trying to plan meals before the trip and combine with sales thanks for sharing have a great day


  1. […] Pantry Staples Printable List: There is a free printable for a pantry staples list. This is a great way to save money by knowing exactly what you use most often and then finding it on sale! […]

  2. […] No kid will complain about that. You can also tweak it to use ingredients you have in your pantry right […]

  3. […] you know you can Save Money with a Pantry Staples List? Humble in a Heartbeat has 3 easy tips plus a free printable to get you […]

  4. […] sense. You don’t want to just randomly make meals without regard to all the other ingredients in your pantry, but by using your spices and not letting them just sit there, you are no longer wasting money on […]

  5. […] Pace Transformations {10 Tools to Help You With Your Debt Free Journey} 9. Humble in a Heartbeat {Save Money With a Pantry Staples List} 10. Our Simple Homestead {Learning to Live on Less}   Never linked up before? Here’s […]

  6. […] As a newlywed, I made a lot of new recipes. Even if I came across a great recipe that we both liked, it would be months before I decided to make it again. That’s one thing my husband complains about: I don’t make his favorite foods enough. But I’ve learned more recently that it is a lot more cost-effective to make the same foods over and over again. Sure, every once in a while it’s nice to try a new dish, but when you want a grocery budget that is fairly predictable and easily affordable, you need to make meals over and over again. […]

  7. […] The next step will be writing out all the ingredients for each meal and putting what we need on our shopping list for the week. Once I get to a point that I know what we eat for breakfast most of the time, I can write down the ingredients that we use a lot on my pantry staples list. […]

  8. […] take note of foods you may need to stock up on (if you keep track with a pantry staples list what you normally […]

  9. […] Before I get to my shopping trip and meal plan for the week, I need you to do a bit of work for today’s challenge. If you don’t already have a pantry staples list, you need to come up with one. You’ll find all the information you need to make one over on my post about starting a pantry staples list. […]

  10. […] heard of pantry staples? If you’ve been around my blog for long, you might have read my post on starting a pantry staples list. Your pantry staples are the ingredients your family uses often. You should always have them on […]

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge