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Pantry Staples

by Nikki Willhite

Ever had to go without food?  It is not fun.  I had one rather memorable week while attending college when my roommates and I ran out of both money and food.

What did we do?  We ate rice for a week.  Rice was one of the few foods we had in our pantry.  It is amazing how many ways you can eat rice.  Rice is filling, and with just a can of soup or a few spices you can vary the taste.

Foods that fill you up and don't cost a lot of money are the foundation of a frugal pantry.  These foods are also good for emergencies, when you can't get to the store.

Here is a list of a few of the basic foods that will serve you well.

Eggs (powdered)
Milk (powdered)
Noodles (or other pasta)
Peanut Butter
Spices (including salt and pepper)
Tuna (canned)


Beans and rice, and tuna casserole are what many people eat when money is tight.  Soups become more hearty with the addition of rice or noodles.

Tradition goes out the door when you are hungry.  You can have rice for breakfast and pancakes for dinner. 

With the addition of a little sugar and a few spices, those pancakes can taste mighty good when hunger sets in.

The powdered eggs and milk may not sound good now, but are good emergency foods, and can be used in baking. Many frugal people make up powdered milk and mix it with regular milk to save money.

The reason peanut butter and shortening made the list is twofold.  Both of these foods store almost indefinitely.  Peanut butter is a favorite of children and a source of protein.  Shortening is important for both frying and baking. Shortening and oil were one of the most valued food products after WWII when there was so much hunger.  With a little oil many edible plant roots could be fried and made palatable.

If you've ever been on a camping trip you know how good food can taste in the "wild."  Try eating it at home, and it seems like a different food.

Hunger is not pleasant.  All it would take is one giant truck strike to empty the shelves in our supermarkets.  If everyone would just store just a little extra food, we would all be better off.

Most people have storage space in their homes that they are not using.  Lots of people don't like "lower" storage.  Get over that notion.  There is nothing wrong with the storage space under your bed, and if you can afford it, you can buy plastic bins to encase your food. 

Stock up on these foods when they go on sale or buy them in bulk.  Costco isn't the only store that sells food in bulk.  "Cash and Carry" caters to restaurants, but will also sell to the public as do other similar restaurant suppliers.

An expensive haircut or a manicure is going to be of little use to you if your house is empty of food and you can't buy it.  Think first of the security and well-being of your family, friends and neighbors.  One of the most beautiful things in life is people helping people.  Be ready to help.

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! 


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