42 Cheap Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

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Being a mom is hard enough as it is, but when you’re on a tight budget, it can be downright daunting. Fear not frugal eaters! We’ve got your back.

In this article, we will list 42 cheap foods that you can buy when you’re broke without breaking the bank.

So the next time you’re at the grocery store and feeling pinched, don’t worry – just reach for one of these affordable eats!

Photo of a grocery cart filled with vegetables, fruits and other items pushed by a woman

42 Cheap Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

There are plenty of cheap foods to buy when broke, even if you have specific dietary requirements.

Here is the ultimate list of 42 cheap eats that will help you save money without skimping on flavor or nutrition.

1. Cereal

Photo of a white bowl with cereals

Cereal is a classic cheap food. It’s perfect for breakfast, or even as a snack. There are so many varieties of cereal these days, it’s easy to find one that fits your taste.

You can drive the price as low as possible by purchasing a generic brand of cereal and by buying a larger box. This is often cheaper than a box half the size put out by a trendy brand.

More traditional types of cereals also tend to be cheaper, such as corn flakes or oat-based cereals.

2. Potatoes

Photo of a white bowl with potatoes

If you’re looking for cheaper foods that are still family favorites, the potato is a great way to go.

A potato is versatile and can be used in a number of dishes, from baked potatoes to mashed potatoes to French fries.

You can also add them to dishes with protein in order to increase the meal’s filling power.

Another bonus of potatoes is that they often come in large bags, which can last you several meals. This makes them a great value for your money.

They also store for a long time, so if you buy a large bag of them, they will last for several meals without going bad.

3. Beans

Photo of four different beans in small sacks

Another great cheap food to buy when broke is canned beans. Beans come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors.

They can be mashed into a dip, added to soup, or even used as a replacement for meat in a dish (how about homemade veggie burgers?).

Beans are also high in protein and fiber, which makes them a great option if you’re trying to eat healthy on a budget. They’re also low in fat, so they’re a good choice if you’re watching your weight.

Pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans are all great options. You can usually find them in the canned food aisle of your grocery store.

If you want to save even more money, purchasing dry beans and cooking them yourself is a great way to go.

Just make sure to soak them overnight before cooking or use a pressure cooker to quickly get them to the right consistency.

4. Hot Dogs

Photo of hotdogs in a white bowl

Hot dogs are a cheap food that can be easily dressed up or down. You can have them plain, with ketchup, or with all the fixings.

They make a great quick meal or snack and can be cooked in a matter of minutes.

You can also use hot dogs as an ingredient in other dishes. For example, you can add them to macaroni and cheese, or slice them up and add them to a stir-fry.

Hot dogs are usually found in the meat aisle of your grocery store. Look for the generic store brand and buy them in bulk to get the best deal.

They last longer than other meats in the fridge and can be frozen as well if you can’t use them all up at once.

5. Canned Vegetables

Photo of different canned vegetables and beans

Fresh produce can range in price depending on seasonality, but canned vegetables are a great way to get your fix for a fraction of the price.

Canned vegetables are also convenient because they’re already cooked and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Canned vegetables can be added to soups, stews, pasta dishes, and more. They also make for great ready-made sides that require very little money or time.

Some popular canned vegetables include green beans, asparagus, carrots, peas, and corn. There are also blends or “medleys” of several different types of vegetables.

Look for generic brands as well as bulk discounts when buying several cans at once.

Canned fruit is also available. You can find fruit cocktails, pineapples, and mandarin oranges in most grocery stores. These make for great snacks or can be added to yogurt or oatmeal.

6. Frozen Vegetables

Photo of different frozen vegetables in plastic containers

If you want a healthier version of a canned produce that isn’t as expensive as fresh produce, frozen foods are the way to go.

Frozen vegetables are usually frozen at the peak of ripeness, so they retain more nutrients than canned vegetables.

These cheap foods last much longer in the freezer and can be used as needed. Simply take out what you need and cook them according to the package directions.

Frozen veggies can be steamed, stir-fried, or added to soups and stews. They make a great healthy addition to any meal and can be easily customized to your liking.

Some popular frozen vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and green beans. You can usually find them in the freezer section of your grocery store.

Again, look for generic brands or bulk discounts when buying several bags at once.

7. Ramen Noodles

Photo of cooked ramen noodles with sliced boiled egg and vegetables in white bowl

Anyone who has bought cheap groceries before has had ramen noodles on the list. This classic college food is not only cheap, but it’s also easy to make and can be very filling.

Ramen noodles are usually made with beef or chicken flavor packet. They can be cooked in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Simply add water and the flavor packet (or use your own seasonings) and cook until done.

Don’t let the barebones instructions on the package fool you. Ramen noodles can be dressed up with a variety of toppings to make them more exciting.

Try adding egg, vegetables, or meat to your ramen noodles for a more filling and satisfying meal.

You can usually find ramen noodles in the International aisle of your grocery store. They come in bulk and can be very inexpensive.

8. Sweet Potatoes

Photo of whole and sliced sweet potatoes with aknife between then on a wooden chopping board

Sweet potatoes are a versatile and cheap food that can be used in sweet or savory dishes. They’re packed with nutrients and are very filling.

You can bake sweet potatoes, fry them, or even microwave them. They make a great side dish or can be eaten as a main course.

Sweet potatoes can be topped with anything from sugar to chili to create a variety of different flavors.

Sweet potato fries are a big hit with kids and they won’t even notice that you’re implementing cheap meal ideas.

You can usually find sweet potatoes in the produce aisle of your grocery store. They’re typically cheaper than other types of potatoes and you can purchase yams as well if they are currently at a better price.

9. Yogurt

Photo of a blue bowl filled with fresh yogurt with a teaspoon beside

Yogurts aren’t always the cheapest foods available when you’re on a tight budget. However, there are many brands and varieties that offer a serving for as low as 50 cents.

Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. It also has probiotic benefits that can increase the nutritional value of your overall diet.

It can be eaten as a snack or used in place of sour cream or mayo in recipes.

When buying yogurt, look for brands that offer coupons or discounts. You can also buy yogurt in bulk to save money.

10. Pasta

Photo of different uncook pasta in bowls and wooden spoons

Pasta is one of the most popular selections when it comes to finding cheap foods to buy while grocery shopping. A huge advantage of pasta is that it can be made into a variety of different dishes.

You can find all sorts of pasta shapes, sizes, and colors. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can make with pasta.

You can keep it simple with just a few ingredients or get creative and add a variety of vegetables, meats, and cheeses.

Pasta sauce is usually affordable as well and can be made from scratch if unavailable.

When buying pasta, look for brands and styles that are super cheap and adjust your dish in order to save as much money as possible.

11. Macaroni & Cheese

Photo of macaroni and cheese in a white bowl

If you want to add cheese to your pasta, it will be even cheaper to get a box of macaroni and cheese than to purchase both pasta and cheese separately. This is one of the most classic cheap foods to buy when you’re broke.

Macaroni and cheese can be made with just a few ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. All you need is a package of macaroni noodles and powdered cheese, butter, and milk.

You can also add additional seasonings to taste, as well as meat for additional protein.

If you don’t want to purchase milk or butter, you can get a macaroni and cheese brand that has a sauce packet.

These are also some of the cheapest food options in the store and don’t require any additional ingredients.

12. Canned Tuna

Photo of a canned tuna

It can be hard to get ahold of seafood when you’re committed to cheap foods, and that’s where canned tuna comes in. This is a versatile and inexpensive option that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Tuna is usually very cheap, especially when bought in bulk. It’s a great source of protein and omega-three fatty acids. Tuna can be added to pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, and more.

There are plenty of other canned fish varieties that you can buy for super cheap. These include sardines, oysters, salmon, and herring.

All of these make great cheap foods to buy when you’re broke and can be used in a variety of different dishes.

13. Tomato Sauce

Photo of a white bowl filled with tomato sauce and a wooden spoon with tomato sauce

Tomato sauce is another one of those versatile and cheap foods to buy when you’re on a tight budget. It can be used in pasta dishes, as a condiment, or even as a pizza sauce.

Tomato sauce is typically very affordable, especially when bought in bulk. You can usually find it for less than $0.50 per can.

If you want to save even more money, you can make your own tomato sauce at home.

Canned tomatoes are a good alternative to tomato sauce if you’re looking for something cheaper. These can be used to make your own sauce or added to other dishes.

They have more texture than tomato sauce but are just as versatile.

14. Bologna

Photo of a bologna sausage with three slices on a wooden chopping board

Bologna is a type of sausage that is typically made from pork, beef, or a combination of the two. It’s a popular lunchmeat because it’s relatively cheap and easy to find.

Bologna can be used in sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and more. It’s one of the best cheap foods to buy when broke because it’s so versatile.

15. Canned Chicken

Photo of a canned chicken soaked in some fluid

Buying fresh chicken isn’t only expensive, but it makes it more possible for you to accumulate food waste. When you’re on a tight budget, it’s best to stick with cheap foods that have a longer shelf life.

Canned chicken is one of the best options because it’s relatively cheap and can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s perfect for salads, chicken salad sandwiches, pasta dishes, and more.

Plus, it has a long shelf life so you don’t have to worry about it going bad.

When buying canned chicken, look for brands that are lower in sodium and fat. You can also buy canned chicken in bulk to save even more money.

16. Chicken Wings & Thighs

Photo of fresh cuts of chicken wings on a wooden chopping board

If you want to grab fresh chicken when buying cheap foods, go for the wings and thighs. These are typically the cheapest parts of the chicken, and they can be used in a variety of dishes.

Chicken wings and thighs can be baked, fried, or cooked in a slow cooker. They make great cheap meals when served with rice or potatoes.

You can also add them to salads or pasta dishes for extra protein.

Chicken thighs are perfect for those who love richer and fattier cuts of meat bursting with flavor. They are also one of the most affordable cuts you can buy.

Make sure to purchase your chicken in larger amounts if possible, since this will help to reduce the overall price. Simply freeze any chicken that you won’t be using right away for future cheap meals.

17. Red lentils

Photo of red lentils on a wooden scoop on a wooden board

Red lentils are a great option to buy when you are broke for a few reasons.

First, red lentils are very affordable. You can usually find them for less than $1 per pound, which makes them a great option for budget-minded shoppers.

Second, red lentils are very versatile. They can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to vegetarian patties and salads.

Finally, red lentils are very nutritious. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and iron, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

18. Ground Turkey

Photo of a finely ground fresh turkey in a white plastic container

Less common than ground beef, ground turkey is a great alternative for those looking for cheaper options. It’s leaner than ground beef and just as versatile.

Ground turkey can be used in tacos, burgers, pasta dishes, and more. It’s a great source of protein and is relatively low in fat.

This makes it a great balanced protein for your family when you’re buying cheap foods.

19. Ground Beef

Photo of fresh ground beef

Ground beef is one of those cheap foods that provide you with lots of richness and flavor without breaking the bank

There’s a large variety of ground beef available at most grocery stores, so you can find the perfect type for your needs.

Whether you want lean beef or something with a little more fat, there’s an option for you.

When buying ground beef, you’ll come up against many options. There is sirloin, chuck, round, and more. In general, the higher the fat content, the cheaper the ground beef will be.

If you choose a high-fat variety of beef, consider keeping the fat in a separate container to cook with later.

This way, you can use lean ground beef most of the time and save the fat for when you want a richer flavor in another dish.

20. Rice

Photo of different kinds of rice in a wooden container

Rice is one of the most popular cheap foods to buy when broke because it’s so versatile. It can be used as a side dish, a main dish, or even as a dessert.

There are many different types of rice available, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. Whether you want white rice, brown rice, wild rice, or basmati rice, there’s an option for you.

White rice will be the cheapest, but they will all be reasonable in price.

You can purchase instant rice or dried rice depending on how much time you want to spend cooking as well as your grocery budget.

21. Oatmeal

Photo of a cooked oatmeal with sliced banana placed in a yellow bowl on a saucer

Oatmeal is another one of those cheap foods to buy when broke that’s perfect for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and filling. Plus, it has a long shelf life so you can keep it on hand for when you need it.

If you’re looking for the cheapest foods possible, choose plain oatmeal. You can add sugar or canned fruit to it at home to make the flavor more appealing.

You can also make oatmeal cookies with this pantry staple, a family favorite for decades that costs only pennies per cookie.

22. Tortillas

Photo of several pieces of tortillas in a white cloth

If you’re looking for cheap food that can be used with just about anything, pick

 up some tortillas. You can use them to make tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more.

These days there are plenty of different types of tortillas available. You can find whole wheat tortillas, gluten-free tortillas, and even low-carb tortillas.

If you choose a traditional Mexican brand or purchase tortillas that are freshly made by the deli, you will save much more money than if you purchased the fancier varieties.

23. Whole Milk

Photo of ilk in a plastic bottle and glass pitcher

You wouldn’t think that whole milk would make it on a list of the cheapest foods for your grocery budget, but there is a good tip that can double the amount of milk you get out of your purchase.

Simply grab a gallon of whole milk and water it down with water. This will give you the same amount of milk as if you had purchased two gallons of skim milk but at a fraction of the price.

You can also use this tip for cream, half and half, and any other type of liquid dairy products.

24. Margarine

Photo of margarine with a butter knife

Margarine is an affordable spread that can be used in place of butter. It’s perfect for those who are looking to save money but still want to enjoy the same rich flavor and texture of butter.

You can find margarine in sticks, tubs, or even spray form. Choose the type that you prefer and that will fit into your budget.

While margarine is cheaper than butter, it’s still important to use it sparingly. A little goes a long way when it comes to this spread.

25. Blocks of Cheese

Photo of two blocks of cheddar cheese on a brown mat

Cheese isn’t often considered a cheap food, but even a little bit can transform a dish into something special.

If you’re looking for a way to save money on cheese, purchase it in blocks instead of pre-shredded or sliced cheese.

A block of cheese will last much longer than the other two options and it’s also cheaper per ounce. Simply shred or slice the amount you need and store the rest in the fridge for another time.

26. Eggs

Photo of brown eggs in a plastic egg tray

Eggs are amongst the best cheap foods to buy when broke if you’re looking for an affordable way to get animal protein into your diet.

You can use them to make breakfast, sandwiches, stir-fry, baked goods, and many other dishes.

Buy these in bulk to get the best deal. Most people buy a dozen of eggs, but you’ll save even more money if you buy an 18-pack, which can be found at many discount grocery stores.

27. Onions

Photo of different types of onions

Onions are a great building block when it comes to flavor and can be added to almost any savory dish. dish. They’re also very cheap, especially when you buy them in bulk.

You can find onions in the produce section of your grocery store or purchase them from a bulk food retailer. Choose the option that is cheapest for you and that will fit into your budget.

White onion is the most versatile while a red onion will contain the most nutrients.

28. Cabbage

Photo of several heads of cabbages and sliced cabbage in different sizes in white bowls

This superfood is one of the best cheap vegetables available.

Cabbage is loaded with vitamins (vitamin C, K, B6 to name a few) and minerals, making it a great addition to your diet.

You can use cabbage in a variety of dishes, from salads and slaws to soups and stir-fries. You can even bake it as a main dish.

Keep an eye out for slaw mixes as well. These usually contain cabbage, carrots, and onions, which will give you everything you need to make a healthy and affordable dish.

If you’re lucky, you may find this blend for cheaper than the cabbage itself which will save you some prep work.

29. Carrots

Photo of several carrots with some green vegetables beside them

Carrots are another one of the best cheap vegetables available that can reduce your grocery bill.

Like cabbage, they’re loaded with nutrients and can be used in a variety of dishes.

One of the most popular ways to use carrots is in a soup or stew.

You can also shred or chop them and add them to a salad, slaw, or stir-fry.

Keep an eye out for carrots that are sold in bulk.

These usually come bagged and will last much longer than the loose carrots that are typically found in the produce section.

30. Flour

Photo of white flour in a brown bowl

Flour is the best cheap food option for those who have time to cook from scratch.

You can make bread, pizza crust, tortillas, and so much more with this one ingredient.

Not only is flour a great way to save money, but it’s also a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.

Choose the type of flour that you need for your recipe that will fit into your budget. All-purpose flour is the most versatile while whole wheat flour contains the most nutrients.

This is one of the most important pantry staples to have on hand since it can make so many different dishes. Be sure to stock up when it’s on sale.

31. Sugar

photo of granulated sugar in white bowl and cubed sugar in white wooden spoon

Another one of the cheapest foods you can add to your pantry is sugar. Of course, this can be used to make desserts, sweeten up oatmeal and fruits, and for general baking.

But sugar can also be used in savory dishes like sauces, marinades, and stir-fries. A little bit of sugar can help to balance out the flavors in a dish.

Granulated sugar is the most versatile while being the cheapest food in this category. You can even make it into powdered sugar by running it through a blender or food processor.

32. All-Purpose Seasonings

Photo of all-purpose seasonings in purple container

It can cost a lot of money to have many different seasonings on hand. You can take down the cost of your grocery budget by just buying one or two all-purpose seasonings.

All-purpose seasoning is a great way to add flavor to your dishes without breaking the bank.

You can use it on meats, vegetables, grains, and more. Be sure to choose a blend that you’ll use so that it doesn’t go to waste.

33. Peanuts

Photo of peanuts in a wooden bowls with some peanuts in shell nearby

While peanuts aren’t technically nuts, they are a great source of protein and healthy fats. They’re also one of the cheapest foods you can buy in bulk.

You can use peanuts in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to desserts.

You can even make peanut butter at home with just a few ingredients.

This can save you money if you replace your cashews, almonds, and other more expensive nuts with peanuts.

Just be sure to make sure no one in your family has allergies to this food.

34. Green Peppers

Photo of three pieces green pepper

Green peppers are a great way to add flavor and nutrients to your dishes. They’re also one of the best cheap vegetables you can buy.

One of the most popular ways to use green peppers is in stir-fries.

You can also chop them up and add them to salads, soups, or sauces.

Green peppers are great when you want to buy cheap foods because they are less expensive than their red yellow and orange counterparts.

This is because it takes less time to grow a green pepper and they are therefore more plentiful.

35. Shelf-Stable Milk

Photo of three shelf-stable milk and a glass of milk

Shelf-stable milk is a great way to get your dairy fix without having to worry about it going bad.

This type of milk has been treated so that it can be stored at room temperature.

There are many different types of shelf-stable milk, from whole milk to soy milk to almond milk.

This is a great option if you don’t have space in your fridge for regular milk or if you want to save money on your grocery budget.

36. Tofu

Photo of a plate filled with tofu and a wooden spoon filled with soy beans

Tofu is a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It’s also one of the cheapest foods you can buy.

Tofu can be turned into an easy dinner by adding a few seasonings or fresh vegetables.

It can also be baked, fried, blended into a sauce, or added to a smoothie.

The fact that it has so many uses makes it a great option for those looking for foods that fit a frugal lifestyle.

37. Sausages

Photo of different kinds of sausages

Sausages are a great way to add protein and flavor to your meals.

They’re also one of the cheapest meats you can buy.

The pork varieties tend to be the cheapest, but there are many other types of sausages as well.

You can use sausages in a variety of dishes, from pasta to soup to breakfast sandwiches.

You can also cook them on their own as a quick and easy meal.

It’s easy to freeze sausages, so be sure to stock up when they’re on sale. This will save you money and time in the long run.

38. Peanut Butter & Jelly

Photo of peanut butter and jelly spreads in jar next to two breads in top view

Peanut butter and jelly is a classic combination that’s loved by kids and adults alike.

It’s also one of the cheapest meals you can make.

All you need is some bread, peanut butter, and jelly. You can also add in some bananas, apples, or other fruits if you want to get fancy.

This meal is perfect for busy families on a budget because it’s quick and easy to make.

Choose larger jars of generic peanut butter and jelly to save even more money.

39. Crackers

Photo of different kinds of crackers

Crackers are a great way to add some crunch to your meals. They’re also one of the cheapest snacks you can buy.

You can use crackers as a base for appetizers, on top of casseroles, or just eat them on their own.

There are many different types of crackers, from simple saltines to more complex flavors.

Choose whichever type you like best and be sure to stock up when they’re on sale.

40. Bread

Photo of several kinds of whole and sliced breads

Bread is a staple in many households. It’s also one of the cheapest foods you can buy.

There are many different ways to use bread, from making sandwiches to toast.

You can also use it to make croutons, bread pudding, or French toast.

Don’t be shy and use different varieties of bread for different purposes.

For example, if you have leftover hamburger buns with no more hamburgers to go with them, make those into breakfast or lunch sandwiches instead.

41. Frozen Berries

A top view photo of several kinds of frozen berries in a container

Frozen berries tend to be cheaper than fresh berries, and they last longer since they’re frozen.

Plus, frozen berries are just as healthy as fresh berries. They’re picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen immediately, so they retain all of their nutrients.

So if you’re looking for a healthy, affordable option, frozen berries are a great choice.

42. Frozen Fruit

Photo of frozen sliced apples and pears on a wooden board beside a white tray filled with other kinds of frozen fruits

Although fresh fruit is often seen as the healthier option, frozen fruit can be a more nutrient-rich choice.

Frozen fruit is typically picked at its peak ripeness and then flash-frozen, which locks in nutrients and freshness.

In contrast, fresh fruit is often shipped long distances and can sit for days or weeks before it reaches the grocery store.

As a result, frozen fruit is often more flavorful and nutrient-dense than its fresh counterpart.

Additional Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Buying the cheapest groceries possible is only one part of saving money on your food budget. There are other ways to save as well:

1. Use the Loyalty Program at the Store

Photo of a pair of hands holding a wallet while pulling out a loyalty card

If your local grocery store has a loyalty program, be sure to sign up.

This will allow you to get discounts and coupons that can save you money on your groceries.

Loyalty programs are free to join and easy to use. All you need is a phone number or email address.

Be sure to use the card every time you shop so you can get the most savings.

2. Use Coupons

Photo of red wallet with cut out coupons beside a scissor

Coupons can be a great way to save money on groceries. There are store coupons and manufacturer coupons.

You can find them in the Sunday paper, online, or on your store’s website.

To use coupons effectively, wait until an item is on sale and then use the coupon. This will help you get the most bang for your buck.

Before you use a coupon, be sure to read the fine print.

Some coupons have restrictions, such as only being valid on certain days or only applying to certain items.

3. Use a Rebate Program

Hoto of a hand holding a cellphone showing a cash back application

Many rebate programs can help you save money on groceries. These programs give you cash back on items that you purchase.

The most popular rebate program is Ibotta. You can use the app to get rebates on a variety of items, from produce to dairy to household goods.

To use Ibotta, simply scan your grocery receipt after you shop. The app will then give you cash back on eligible items.

You can then withdraw the money to your PayPal account or use it to get gift cards.

Using cashback credit cards can also be a form of a rebate program. You’ll get a percentage of your purchase back in the form of cashback or points.

Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance in full each month so you don’t end up paying interest on your purchases.

4. Go To More Affordable Stores

Your go-to grocery shop may not be the best value for you. Consider trying other grocery stores such as smaller fruit markets, your local Walmart, or even the dollar store.

You may have to drive further to get to these stores but the savings will be worth it. Plus, you can always stock up when you’re there so you don’t have to go as often.

5. Buy Generic Products

Name brand products are often more expensive than generic brands. However, the quality is usually the same.

So, next time you’re at the store, be sure to check out the generic brands. You may be surprised at how much money you can save.

Watch out for coupons that offer discounts on name-brand products as well.

You can often buy the generic version for even cheaper than the discounted amount!

6. Buy Food Nearing an Expiration Date

Photo of a woman pointing at a boxed product

Many stores offer discounts for fresh fruit and other produce when it’s about to expire.

You can often find these discounts at the front of the store or in a special section.

The produce may not last as long but it’s still edible and you can save as much as 50% to 75% on high-quality produce.

7. Buy in Bulk

If you have the storage space and upfront cash, consider buying non-perishable items such as canned goods, rice, and pasta in bulk.

You can often find these items for cheaper per unit when you buy them in larger quantities.

You can usually see the per ounce price of an item on the shelf tag. Be sure to do the math to see if you’re getting a good deal.

8. Make a Food Budget

Photo of a woman in front of an openned refrigerator while making a list

Having an idea of how much you need to spend on food each week or month can help you save money.

It will make it easier for you to resist the temptation of buying things you don’t need.

To make a food budget, start by tracking how much you spend on groceries for a month.

Once you have an idea of your spending, set a budget that’s realistic for you and your family.

Be sure to account for things like eating out, special occasions, and snacks. Then, try to stick to your budget as best you can.

If you find that you’re consistently overspending, try to cut back on other areas of your budget so you can increase your grocery budget.

9. Use Up the Food In Your House

One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to use up the food you already have.

Before you go grocery shopping, take inventory of what you have and try to use that up first.

10. Cut out Alcohol and Dessert

Alcohol and dessert are two areas where you can easily save money.

If you don’t drink alcohol, you’re already saving money on groceries.

And, if you cut out dessert, you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll save as well. Dessert is often a luxury item that we can live without.

You may even see health benefits if you stick to this tip!

12. Purchase Less Popular Cuts of Meat

Photo of a man with a knife slicing a piece of meat in front of several more meats

If you eat meat, consider purchasing less popular cuts of meat such as chicken thighs or beef stew meat.

Organ meats are also cheaper while offering good nutritional value.

These cuts are often cheaper than more popular cuts such as chicken breasts or steak.

Use a crockpot or instant pot to let these tougher tissues break down into something more delicious.

You can have a restaurant-quality meal with cheap cuts of protein if you give your dish plenty of time to cook.

13. Buy Food That’s In Season

Photo of many different kinds of seasoned vegetables in a basket

Fruits and vegetables that are in season are often cheaper than those that are out of season.

So, if you’re looking to save money on groceries, be sure to buy food that’s in season.

You can usually find these items at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.

As a bonus, these foods will also be fresher and more nutritious when you purchase them at the ideal time of year.

How To Eat Healthy Foods When Buying the Cheapest Foods

Image of a person picking vegetables in garden, a persong buying form farmers market, and a bowl of vegetarian meal

It’s well known that it can be more expensive to buy healthy foods, such as organic produce or grass-fed meats.

If you’re really down to the wire when it comes to your grocery budget, you may not think you have much money for any fruits and vegetables, let alone organic ones.

But, there are some ways you can eat healthy on a tight budget. Here are a few tips:

Grow Your Own Food

If you have the space, consider growing your own food. You can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in your backyard or even on your balcony.

This will save you money in the long run and you’ll know exactly what’s going into your food.

Shop at Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s markets are a great place to find fresh, local, and often organic produce.

And, since these items are in season, they’ll be cheaper than if you were to buy them at the grocery store.

Know When to Shop

Many grocery stores sell their nutritious foods for a fraction of the price on certain days or times.

For example, you can often find markdowns on meats and seafood early in the morning.

Eat Less Meat

Even though produce can be very expensive, it isn’t nearly as pricey as meat is.

So, if you’re trying to save money and eat healthily, consider eating less meat.

You can add beans or lentils to your meals to make them more filling and nutritious while getting enough protein in your diet.

Cheap Food Meal Ideas

Image of low cost meals like beans and rice, grilled cheese sandwiches, tacos, omelets and casserole

It’s easy to find cheap meal ideas online. A quick search will reveal endless recipes for budget-friendly meals.

Some cheap meal ideas include:

There are endless possibilities when it comes to cheap meals. Be creative and experiment with different ingredients to find what you like best.

And, don’t be afraid to get creative with leftovers!

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, 42 cheap foods to buy when you’re broke. With a little creativity, these foods can be turned into satisfying and delicious meals.

So next time you’re feeling the pinch, don’t despair. There are plenty of options available to help you get by.

Just remember to be smart about your choices and to be flexible. Thanks for reading!



Images of foods like sweet potatoes, chicken meat, beans, milk,, bread and berries with text overlays that read 42 cheap foods to buy when broke

About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.