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While you might only think of oatmeal as a breakfast food in the cold of winter, there are a lot of ways that oats can add up in an effective pantry. Let’s see how oats add up as a staple to save with.
What are the health benefits of oatmeal?
The health benefits of oats and oatmeal are undeniable. In fact, way back in 1997, the FDA recognized that there was a relationship between the consumption of “soluble fiber from whole oats and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.”
There are other benefits to consuming oats as well. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, oats are also a source of phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium, and zinc. In addition, the “Beta-glucan fiber [in oats] may help to prevent sharp rises in blood sugar and insulin levels after eating a meal, and may benefit gut health as the fiber is broken down and fermented by intestinal bacteria.”
What are the frugal ways to buy oatmeal?
The overall trend in buying oats is that a DIY mindset and buying in bulk are favored. When you think of oatmeal, you might think of those little one-serving packets that are full of sugar. For that convenience, you are paying BIG!
Store brand oatmeal will run you about 20 cents for a quarter of a pound. On the other hand, those little packets will cost you more than SEVEN TIMES that! Still, want the convenience of single servings? The Frugalite has your back. Here is a great article on how to make your own. One of the biggest benefits of this will actually be the opportunity to limit the sugar you add!
There were some interesting surprises in my oat shopping research, however. One of the biggest ones was that no-name oats were much cheaper than any national brands, by a factor of almost half (for 2.2-pound bags or larger). This is the first time I saw this big of a difference between national brands and store brands for the Saving with Staples series. In fact, the difference is so big that organic oats are almost the same price as national brand oats (40 cents vs. 30 cents per quarter pound).
Another big surprise was that there were no savings to be had at the local bulk warehouse store. The 11.37-pound bulk package of national brand oats they offered was 21 cents per quarter pound, compared to 20 cents per quarter pound for store brand oats in a 2.2-pound bag. What I learned from this research was….well, to do my research when buying oats. Big bulk packages in wholesale stores may not be the deal you think they are…so do the math and check those expiry dates!
What are some creative ways to use oats in lean times?
If you are having a lean week in terms of your budget and you have a bag of oats in your pantry, you can make almost everything you need from oats.
Yes, you could make regular oatmeal. How about trying overnight oats, which are easy and delicious? I like mine with canned peaches.
If you are like me and enjoy your toast every morning, why not try Scottish oatcakes? These have a crisp texture and are popular in Scotland for breakfast.
If you like sandwiches for lunch, would you like to bake some yeast bread with your oats? This recipe makes two loaves that might last you the week.
I really like quick bread recipes like this one, too (no kneading, no rising required).
On hot summer evenings, when I come home from milking in the barn, the LAST thing I want to do is cook something hot. And, I only have a short time before I need to be in bed. So, I make a quick smoothie with healthy kefir, organic kale, and some oatmeal! Why not take advantage of that healthy fiber in oatmeal? You won’t even know it’s there!
Leftover oatmeal? Try one of these 42 recipes!
OK, you made some oatmeal, and now you have some left over. As a true Frugalite, you would never ever throw that out! Waste not, want not. If you are feeling ambitious, check out these 42 recipes that use…you guessed it!…leftover oatmeal. From frying the leftover oatmeal itself to using it to make muffins, bread, cakes, and flourless pancakes – the possibilities are almost endless!
Life hacks can involve oatmeal too!
There may be other areas of your life where you would like to save money. Oatmeal has many other potential uses: use it to treat pet dandruff, clean your cast iron cookware, fertilize your house plants, and entertain your children, to name a few!
Eat oatmeal and save a great deal.
Oatmeal is a staple with a surprising range of uses. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty tips offered here? Do you have one you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!
10 thoughts on “Saving with Staples: Oatmeal”
Great article! I have so many uses for oatmeal too. It’s probably mentioned in at least one of the recipes but I wanted to mention that oat flour is very easy to make using a blender (even a cheap one), or a coffee grinder, whether hand crank or electric. Another fun oat fact – the difference between plain quick oats and plain old fashioned oats is just how thinly they are rolled, so if you find a large amount of quick oats on sale, buy with impunity.
Since I often make protein muffins (not really the most frugal thing to make but a lot cheaper than most brand name protein foods), I sometimes use ground oats as part of my flour. Makes a nice texture.
Hi Redbranch, This is a very useful point you are highlighting: Frugalites take note! If flour is suddenly hard to come by and you bought one of Denise’s five gallon buckets of oats on sale (see Denise’s comment for more info), you can make your own flour! I do think most of us will have at least one of the required gadgets in our kitchen. I have a great blender that I’m sure would make wonderful flour. This would be an excellent way to improvise in the face of a flour shortage….and THRIVE like a true Frugalite. Thanks so much for sharing. Wishing you the best!
I am an oatmeal junkie! Love the stuff.
When I had acne as a teen, my mom used to make a paste of ground oatmeal and water, and it really helped. Of course I smelled like breakfast, but that was ok.
I put oatmeal in all my cookie recipes, use it to make meatloaf, and I have even added it to pancake recipes (ground up, of course).
When my dog was ill after being poisoned, I made an oatmeal gruel for her, added some milk and sugar, and she recovered nicely after her trip to the vet whose medicine made her turn up her nose at dog food. I decided to feed it to her periodically, along with eggs, sweet potatoes, and rice mixed with leftover meat and naturally–oatmeal. She thrived and slimmed down, too.
It will last a long time in a prepper pantry if stored properly. I put it in vacuum sealed jars and store it in a dark place.
Hi Marie, Thank you so much. What a wonderful comment you have shared, full of tips (meatloaf!!!!) and even veterinarian uses for oatmeal. I learned a lot from reading your comment and I’m sure many Frugalites will, too. Wishing you the best!
I bought a 5 gallon bucket of organic rolled oats during the black Friday Amazon prime day. Who knew you could get a deal like that? I’m a very happy camper and use it daily. Oatmeal is a staple. I put it in my smoothies and add water to make my own oatmilk. This article was full of wonderful links, thankyou.
Hi Denise, Wow! That is a great tip for all of us to look out for a great sale on a large bucket. The other way I thought I might be able to get oats cheaper was from a local farmer. I tried to reach them for the article, but they are so busy farming (I’m sure) that none of them got back to me. When I do hear back, I’ll add that price to the comments section. I’m glad to hear you already put it in smoothies. I hadn’t considered making your own oatmilk: this is a fantastic idea if dairy milk becomes scarce. I will practice doing this myself. Thanks for the tips! Wishing you the best!
Earned a degree in Home Ec during Johnson’s War on Poverty (1964-68) where every class included many ways to save money- the food classes especially. Oatmeal was cheap and was one of the foods given to what is now food stamp recipients. We had to come up with recipes to use those oats in forms other than oatmeal and cookies. Two cookbooks I’ve found that contain many of those types of recipes are: Quaker Oats Stretching Food Dollars and The Oat Cookbook. Main dishes like Oat & zucchini Bake & variations with other veggies, Oatloaf to serve with tomato sauce, Potato oatcakes with gravy and sides of veggies. Both can be found, for free, at Internet Archive – http://www.internet.org. It is a fabulous site for free books, articles, movies.
Hi Bellen, FANTASTIC! The timing of your studies has clearly given you insight into many ways to use basic pantry items creatively. Thank you so much for sharing those books I hope that many Frugalite readers check them out and benefit from them. In fact, you are likely to see some of my own learning featured in future articles! Wishing you the best!
http://www.internet.org goes to an ad for the Metaverse?
I think Bellen may have meant archive.org
Try this link for the Quaker Oats pamphlet: https://archive.org/details/Stretching_Food_Dollars_Quaker_Oats_/page/n1/mode/2up
Try this link for the Oak Cookbook: https://archive.org/details/oatcookbook0000cado
I hope this helps. Wishing you the best!