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40+ Cheap Foods To Buy When You Are Broke

Last modified: Sep 29, 2022

If you are looking for cheap foods to buy when you are broke, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will provide a list of affordable foods that you can purchase without breaking the bank.

So, whether you are on a tight budget or just trying to pinch pennies, check out our recommendations.

Cheap Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

There are many ways to save money on groceries, even when you're on a tight budget. Here are some of the best ways to buy cheap food when you're broke:

  • Grocery stores: Many supermarkets have sales and specials to help you save money on groceries. Sometimes, you can even find coupons for additional savings.

  • Farmers' markets: Buying food directly from farmers can be a great way to get high-quality food at a lower price.

  • Online grocery stores: Many online grocery stores provide food discounts and deals. This can be an excellent way to save money on groceries.

  • Buying in bulk: Buying food in bulk is often less expensive than buying individual items. If you have storage space, this is a great option. 

  • Home gardening: Growing your own food can be a great way to get fresh, healthy food at a lower price.

  • Discount grocery stores: Discount grocery stores such as Aldi or Lidl can be an excellent source of low-cost groceries.

Following these tips can help you save money on groceries, even when you're on a tight budget

Read more: How to Stop Spending Money on Food.

Cheap Microwave Meals & Other Cheap Fast Meals

Want some cheap microwave meal ideas? Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Ramen noodles: It’s a college student staple food for a reason — it’s cheap and easy to make. Just add water and microwave it!

  • Macaroni and cheese: This traditional comfort food is simple to prepare in the microwave. Just add water to the macaroni, then add the cheese sauce packet. After a few minutes in the microwave, it’s done!

  • Soup: Soup is another great option for a cheap and fast meal. You can buy canned soup at the grocery store. All you need to do is heat it up in the microwave and enjoy! You can also make your own from scratch.

  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is a healthy and cheap option for breakfast or even a snack. Add water, microwave for a minute or two, and then add your favorite toppings.

  • Frozen vegetables: Frozen veggies are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins. Just pop them in the microwave for a few minutes, and they're ready to eat!

  • Popcorn: This is more of a snack, but it's a great option when looking for something fast and cheap. Just microwave some kernels in a paper bag and enjoy!

There you have it, some of the cheapest microwave foods out there! So next time you're looking for a quick and easy meal, look no further than your microwave.

Best Cheap and Healthy Food to Buy In Bulk

When you're on a budget, it can be difficult to find healthy food that is also affordable. One out of every three adults in the U.S. is obese. However, there are some great options if you know where to look. So, what are some cheap options that you can buy in bulk?

Starting with fruits and vegetables, you can often find these items on sale at your local grocery store. Buying them in bulk can ultimately help you save money. In addition, frozen fruits and vegetables are also a great option as they tend to be cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

Another cheap and healthy food option is whole grains. Products such as oats, brown rice, and quinoa are all great choices that can be bought in bulk. They're not only healthy but also very filling, making them an excellent option for those on a budget.

Another food group that is often overlooked when it comes to being cheap and healthy is legumes. Beans, lentils, and peas are all great options packed with nutrients. They can be used in various recipes, making them a versatile option for those on a budget.

Finally, don't forget about canned goods. While they might not be the healthiest option, they can be a great way to get your hands on cheap and healthy food.

Read more: 20 Nutrition Statistics for a Healthier Nation (2022)

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Proteins/Meat

When it comes to meat and proteins, there are plenty of cheap options that will fill you up without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best options:

  1. Ground beef: This is a classic, cheap protein option that can be used in endless ways. You can make burgers, tacos, meatloaf, and more.
  2. Chicken thighs: They are usually cheaper than chicken breasts, and they're just as versatile. You can use them for stir-fries, roasting, or soup.
  3. Canned tuna: Canned tuna is a great source of protein that's very affordable. You can use it to make tuna salad, sandwiches, or pasta dishes.
  4. Eggs: Yet another inexpensive and versatile protein source. You can make omelets, scrambled eggs, quiches, and more.
  5. Beans: They are a great source of protein and fiber, and they're very affordable. You can use them to make chili, tacos, soups, etc.
  6. Bologna: Bologna is a classic cheap protein option perfect for sandwiches. You can also use it to make bologna salad or pasta dishes.
  7. Peanut butter: Another great source of protein and can be used in many different ways. You can make PB&J sandwiches, peanut sauce for stir-fries, or even eat it with a spoon.
  8. Stew meat and roasts: These are great for making hearty stews and soups. You can usually find them on sale at the grocery store, so they're a great way to stretch your protein budget.

With so many cheap and delicious protein options available, there's no need to go broke to eat well!

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Grains

Grains are a staple in many diets around the world. They're cheap, filling, and can be used in various dishes. Here are some of the best grains to buy when you're on a budget:

  1. Rice: Rice is a versatile grain that can be used in many dishes. It's relatively cheap, especially when bought in bulk and can last for months.
  2. Oats: Oats are another versatile grain used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They're filling and packed with nutrients, making them a great option for those on a budget.
  3. Barley: This hearty grain can be used in soups, stews, and casseroles. It's also relatively inexpensive and filling.
  4. Quinoa: Quinoa is a nutrient-rich grain that can be used in salads, side dishes, and main courses. It's slightly more expensive than other grains, but it's worth the price for its nutritional value.
  5. Pasta: We all know it now: pasta is cheap. Whether you want spaghetti, macaroni, or something else, pasta is a great way to get your fill without breaking the bank.
  6. Bread: Bread is a staple in many diets worldwide. It's relatively inexpensive and can be used to make sandwiches, toast, and more. Be sure to choose whole wheat bread for the most nutritional value.

Plenty of grains can fit into your meal plan no matter your budget. With a bit of creativity, you can make delicious dishes that will also help you save money.

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Dairy

Is dairy really an option? Yes, it is, and it's a nutritious one at that. Here are some ideas for dairy products that won't break the bank:

  1. Whole Milk: This is the most versatile of all dairy products. You can drink it, cook with it, and even use it in place of cream or half-and-half in your coffee.
  2. Yogurt: Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium, and it's also pretty affordable. You can eat it plain or use it instead of sour cream in dips or tacos.
  3. Cheese: Cheese can be a bit pricey, but you can often find good deals if you shop around. And, it lasts a long time in the fridge, so you can buy it in bulk and save even more.
  4. Butter: Butter is another dairy product that's versatile and relatively affordable. You can use it for cooking or baking or spread it on toast or pancakes.

These dairy products are cheap and easy to find, so stock up next time you're at the store. Your wallet will thank you!

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Vegetables

Veggies are, without a doubt, some of the cheapest foods you can buy. At the very least, they should form the bulk of your diet when money is tight.

  1. Potatoes: They can be cooked in many ways and last a long time if stored properly.
  2. Carrots: Another versatile veggie that can be used in various dishes or eaten on its own as a snack.
  3. Canned tomatoes: A great way to add extra flavor and nutrients to any dish, canned tomatoes are a pantry staple.
  4. Frozen vegetables: A cheap and easy way to add extra nutrition to your meals. As we mentioned before, frozen veggies are a great option when money is tight.
  5. Squash: A versatile and hearty veggie that can be used in soups, stews, or even roasted as a side dish.
  6. Celery: Often overlooked, celery is a cheap and delicious way to add some crunch to your meals.
  7. Onions: A flavorful addition to many dishes, onions can be used in both cooked and raw ways.
  8. Cabbage: A filling and nutrient-rich veggie that can be eaten raw or cooked.
  9. Peppers: A colorful and flavorful addition to any meal, peppers can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

There's no excuse not to include vegetables in your diet with so many options available, even when money is tight. Remember, eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive!

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Fruits

Fruits can be quite refreshing and are a great alternative to unhealthy snacks when you're on a budget. Let's take a look at your options:

  1. Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are rich in antioxidants, which can help boost your immune system. They're also a good source of fiber, keeping you feeling full and helping regulate your digestion.
  2. Oranges: The perfect thing for when you need a vitamin C fix. They can also help lower your cholesterol and improve your overall heart health.
  3. Bananas: Bananas are a great source of potassium, important for maintaining healthy blood pressure. They're also packed with vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, zinc, and iron.
  4. Pears: Pears are a good source of fiber, which can help with weight loss and promote digestive health. They're also rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, and copper.
  5. Grapes: These are a healthy snack alternative perfect for when you're on the go. They're also a good source of antioxidants and vitamins C and K.
  6. Melon: Looking for a refreshing fruit high in water content? Look no further because the melon entered the room. Not only that, but it's also a good source of vitamins A and C as well as potassium and magnesium.

So, there you have it! These are just a few of the many low-cost fruits available. Be sure to stock up on these healthy options next time you're at the grocery store. Your body will thank you!

Cheap Food to Buy When Broke: Pantry Staples

Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy and affordable pantry staples that can last for weeks or even months. Here are some of the best options to keep in mind:

  1. Spices: Without a doubt, they are a great way to add flavor to any dish, and they generally have a long shelf life. Keep a variety of spices on hand to experiment with different flavor combinations.
  2. Sugar: Another versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet and savory dishes. It’s also relatively affordable, so it’s a good pantry staple to keep handy.
  3. Flour: Flour can be used for baking, thickening sauces, or coating chicken or fish. Keep a few different types of flour on hand, such as all-purpose, whole wheat, and self-rising.
  4. Yeast: Yeast is a key ingredient in baking, so it’s a good idea to keep it in your pantry. Active dry yeast and instant yeast are the most common types of yeast used in baking.
  5. Salt: Salt is an essential ingredient that can add flavor to any dish. It’s also helpful in preserving food.
  6. Olive oil: Olive oil is a healthy option for cooking and dressing salads. It has a relatively long shelf life, so it’s a good pantry staple to have on hand.
  7. Vinegar: Vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be used for cooking, cleaning (a bonus point!), and even making homemade salad dressings. Keep a few different types of vinegar in your pantry, such as apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and red wine vinegar.
  8. Cereal: A classic breakfast food with a long lifespan that can also be a great snack. 
  9. Honey: A sweetener that can be used instead of sugar, honey also has numerous health benefits.

This list can go on for days, but these are some key ingredients that wouldn't hurt to have around. Next time you go grocery shopping, pick up a few of these items and restock your pantry. You'll be glad you did!

Places to Get Free Food

If you're in need or know someone who needs help but doesn't know where to start looking for assistance, we've got your back. We've gathered a list of places where you can get free food.

  • Food banks: Food banks are organizations that collect and distribute food to people in need. They typically have a network of volunteers and donors who help stock their shelves and distribute the food.
  • Soup kitchens: Soup kitchens are another option for getting free food. These businesses typically serve meals to people in need, either on a walk-in basis or through referrals from other agencies.
  • Community gardens: Community gardens are a great way to get fresh, healthy produce for free. These gardens are typically managed by community groups or non-profit organizations, and anyone is welcome to join in and help with the gardening.
  • Food pantries: These businesses typically collect and distribute non-perishable food items to people in need.

In this day and age, no one should starve! We hope that this list of places to get free food will help you or someone you know in need.

Read more: How to Get Free Food Samples?

Bottom Line

With all these cheap and healthy food options and a little bit of planning, you can have plenty of affordable, healthy meals on hand.

From fruits to vegetables and grains to pantry staples, there are plenty of ways to get your fill without breaking the bank. 

All that being said, get out there and feast!

Read more: 14 Ways to Prevent Unnecessary Spending

Read more: 30 Fat-Melting Exercise Statistics to Get You Motivated (2022)

Read more: Life Insurance for Overweight People


What’s the Cheapest Meal to Make?

There are a lot of really cheap meals that you can make at home with just a few simple ingredients. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Spaghetti and meatballs
  2. Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches
  3. Ramen noodles
  4. PB&J sandwiches
  5. Tacos
  6. Soups
  7. Salads
  8. Cereals 
  9. Eggs and many more

What Should I Get for Groceries When I'm Broke?

When you're on a tight budget, it's important to focus on buying healthy and affordable foods. That being said:

What Can I Eat With No Money?

If you find yourself with no money and no food, there are a few options available to you. First, you can try to find a food bank or soup kitchen in your area. These organizations provide free or low-cost meals to those in need. Secondly, you can also look for work opportunities that provide meals, such as agricultural or restaurant jobs.

What Cheap Foods Fill You Up?

There are a few different options for cheap foods that fill you up. One option is to focus on high-fiber foods like beans and lentils. They can help keep you feeling full for longer. Additionally, whole grains such as oats and quinoa are great options for filling up on a budget. Another option is to choose protein-rich foods, such as eggs or chicken.

It's crucial to know your choices for cheap foods to buy when you are broke, and we certainly hope that our recommendations come in handy.

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