10 Cheap Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

cheap foods

Not all foods are created equal… Some are cheap, some are super expensive. However, although cheap foods often translate to poor nutrition, when it comes to the following choices, it is quite the opposite.

So, when you are low on money, you would want to cut back on your spending and that includes meal budgets. Again, food can be very expensive because not only do you need to eat, you need to ensure you get enough nutrients for good health. Buying grocery store budget meals can be quite expensive sometimes.

Here is a list of 10 meals you can prepare at home that are affordable, nutritious, and filling.


Beans are some of the most versatile dishes that are very affordable. Beans are a healthy and budget-friendly meal choice that costs about 12 cents per serving. You can buy them dry and cook them to save some money.

Beans being a plant protein is a healthier choice compared to some other animal proteins so you won’t only be saving money but eating healthy as well. Beans are so versatile you can use them in curries, soups, tacos, dips such as hummus, and snacks like roasted chickpeas.


Oats are some of the most affordable wholesome meals you can have. They are hearty and when you add spices they become incredibly delicious. Oats are very affordable even though the prices vary based on your location and the type of oats.

There are several varieties of oats including rolled, steel-cut, and instant oats. The instant variety pack of Quaker Oats which has 48 packets goes for about $10.70 on Amazon right now. Oats are one of the great sources of vitamins that are vital in the reduction of cardiovascular diseases.

They have high fiber which reduces glucose absorption thus useful for people with diabetes. You can use oats to make oatmeal, oatmeal bars, oatmeal cookies, oat bread, and even homemade granola recipes.

cheap foods
Photo by Africa Studio from Shutterstock

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are one of the incredibly nutritious meals. They are even more nutritious than fresh vegetables, unlike fresh vegetables despite information saying otherwise. The fact that they are frozen also comes in handy in terms of storage since it is granted that they won’t go bad as quickly as fresh foods.

Frozen vegetables are an affordable way to get nutritious vegetables with just as many nutrients. You can use frozen vegetables as side dishes in your lunch and dinners or use them to make a vegetable omelet.


Bananas are a basic staple when it comes to fruits and is easily accessible. The fact that they are high in sugar and are filling serves as a great and nutritious meal. Bananas have natural sugar that is not a concern for your health, unlike artificial sugar.

Bananas contain potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and important antioxidants that are great for your health. Bananas also have high fiber which aids digestion. Bananas go for about 50 cents per pound hence easily affordable. You can have bananas as a snack or slice them and add them to your oatmeal or even make banana pancakes.


Spinach is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, and folate and is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and riboflavin. The addition of spinach into your meal elevates its nutritional value at an affordable price. Spinach is also an easily accessible vegetable that you can also stock up in your house. You can use spinach for any meal.

For instance, you can make spinach omelets, add them into a quesadilla or even have spinach with whole grain pasta. For raw use, you can use spinach in salads to counter lettuce which has low nutritional value.

cheap foods
Photo by Africa Studio from Shutterstock

Brown Rice

Brown rice is high in fiber and is very easy and quick to make. It has important minerals such as magnesium and manganese. For people with celiac disease, brown rice is a great non-gluten option.

The fiber content helps with appetite control and also lowers cholesterol levels. Brown rice is easily available and you can buy several pounds for a few dollars depending on your location.

Brown rice is also versatile hence its affordability is an added advantage. You can have brown rice with stew such as beans or beef, use brown rice in burritos. You can also have brown rice as a dessert such as brown rice pudding.


Although the cost of a dozen eggs might vary based on your location, eggs are still a very affordable meal. The U.S. The Department of Agriculture noted that the wholesale price of eggs in the New York market is 85 cents per dozen. Eggs are a cheap and nutritious option and also very easy to make.

Eggs are also a very versatile meal and come in handy whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They also make for a great snack and work well with other meals. Eggs are a great source of protein and can be made in a variety of ways; sunny side up, scrambled, hard-boiled, poached, over easy, and more.

They can also be combined with vegetables for breakfast and included in casseroles for other meals.

Canned Tuna or Salmon

Canned tuna is mostly cheap and a very healthy meal. This has been mainly because tuna prices have been steady for a while now thereby making tuna accessible and affordable. Canned tuna and salmon are a low-cost protein option since they have omega-3s and they do not require any refrigeration.

Tuna and salmon are good substitute sources of protein from red meat and a break from vegetable protein. They are versatile hence you can use them for meals or snacks. You can use tuna to make tuna sandwiches, tuna melts, tuna noodle casserole among other recipes for a meal.


Potatoes are one of the most common meals and probably one of the most versatile as well. They are also well-liked and grown in all parts of the world. Because of their easy availability, potatoes are very affordable.

Potatoes are full of nutrients as well and very filling. They can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. As of June 2020, you can buy white potatoes at 85 cents a pound according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They can be prepared a mountain of ways hence you are not likely to get tired of them easily. You can mash potatoes, fry them or bake them. They can also be used in soup or you can make them into hash browns. You can also add them into shepherd’s pie. Potatoes can also be made into bread.

Ramen Noodles

Ramen noodles are known for being cheap and affordable and also a filling meal. Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup 24-packs cost $5.76 at Walmart. Ramen noodles are known for not just their affordability but also their versatility.

For a healthier meal, do not use the flavor packets within the noodles packets. They contain a lot of MSG. Instead, you can flavor your ramen with salt, pepper, or even broth or bouillon cubes.

You can prepare ramen and add vegetables, eggs, or even meat pieces to make for a full meal. You can add butter, parmesan, garlic, and parsley to prepare stir-fried noodles for lunch or dinner.

RELATED POST: 10 Cheap Drinks You’ve Never Made Before

(Visited 40 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *