18 Cheap Foods To Buy When You’re On A Budget

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If you’re aiming to cut down your grocery expenses, selecting low-cost food items can be a savvy strategy to stretch your food budget further. Opting for cheap foods can make a notable difference in how much you spend on groceries.

With the average American household spending around 10% of its disposable income on food and the rising food prices this year, shopping frugally cannot be overstated. 

You can still make nutritious family meals by knowing which inexpensive food items to buy. So, before you hit the aisles, hold on to your shopping carts and keep this list in mind to help you spend less on groceries without compromising on quality.

1. Rice

18 Cheap Foods To Buy When You’re On A Budget

Nutritionally, rice is relatively low in calories but has a decent amount of essential vitamins and minerals, including B1, B6, magnesium, and zinc. 

Cost: Around $1.14 per pound ($0.52 per kilogram)

Meal Ideas: Fried rice, Chinese casseroles, stir-fries, etc.

2. Oats

Baked oatmeal with fruit and maple syrup
Baked oatmeal with fruit and maple syrup

Not only are they one of the cheapest foods, but they are also full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Cost: $0.33/lb. ($0.73/kg)

Meal Ideas: Oatmeal with added fruits or nuts is great for breakfast. They can be blended into smoothies as a base or sprinkled on salads.

3. Flour

Wooden measuring cup filled with flour with dried wheat plants. Copy space.
Wooden measuring cup filled with flour with dried wheat plants. Copy space.

While flour is known for being the cheapest food on earth, it’s also incredibly nutritious, providing protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc.

Cost: $4/lb. ($1.81 per kg)

Meal Ideas: You can make tortillas, pancakes, bread, cakes, and other stuff.

4. Squash

18 Cheap Foods To Buy When You’re On A Budget

Squash is a versatile and nutritious vegetable you can add to many meals. It is low in calories but contains nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and folate. 

Cost: $0.48/lb. ($1.05/kg)

Meal Ideas: Utilize squash in meals, including roasting it as a side dish or adding it to any soup, curry, or stew.

5. Bread

18 Cheap Foods To Buy When You’re On A Budget

From high-fiber whole wheat and multigrain varieties to the ever-popular sourdough, there’s something for every taste profile of bread. 

Cost: $2.50 a loaf

Meal Ideas: Add nut butter and other toppings for a delicious lunchtime sandwich. 

6. Pasta

Cajun pasta with leftover smoked turkey

Pasta is a delicious and inexpensive food. It is the cheapest food to add to your grocery list, but it packs an impressive amount of nutritional value in every serving. 

Cost: $4.39/lb ($1.99 per kg)

Meal Ideas: Creamy carbonara pasta or a classic spinach and ricotta lasagna

7. Peas

Closeup of black eye peas on sackcloth product fresh
Closeup of black eye peas on sackcloth product fresh

Peas are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and vitamins, making them a healthy addition to any meal. These are low in fat but packed with essential nutrients like folate, vitamins A and C, iron, and potassium.

Cost: $0.33/lb. ($0.73/kg)

Meal Ideas: Peas can be steamed on their own or added to salads, stir-fries, soups, or omelets.

8. Ramen Noodles

eating a bowl of pho with noodles and beef
eating a bowl of pho with noodles and beef

Nutritional-wise, ramen noodles don’t pack many vitamins and minerals, but they have some decent protein content that helps them keep their shape when cooked. 

Cost: $0.25-$0.45 per pack

Meal Ideas: These noodles can bulk up soups, be thrown into salads, or be enjoyed straight from the package. 

9. Quinoa

Red, black and white quinoa seeds
Red, black and white quinoa seeds

Quinoa is a nutritious, gluten-free pseudo-grain with vegan protein, iron, and fiber. It is high in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and copper, making it an excellent choice for your diet. 

Cost: $1.57-$1.66/lb. ($3.46-$3.66 per kg)

Meal Ideas: Stuffed peppers with quinoa, spinach quinoa salad with feta cheese, and roasted eggplant bowls with quinoa tabbouleh.

10. Frozen Pizza

18 Cheap Foods To Buy When You’re On A Budget

A classic Italian dish with tomato sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Pizza is affordable, tasty, and highly nutritious. 

Cost: $3.84-$10.48 per pie

Meal Ideas: Enjoy it with a side dish of fresh vegetables for a well-balanced meal or top it with sausage and peppers for an interesting new flavor.

11. Tortillas

Grocery Cart With Groceries Standing in Isle MSN
Image Credit: Depositphotos

Tortillas are a staple in Mexican cuisine made from corn or wheat flour. Generally, its nutritional value is high in calories, with little fat but moderate levels of carbohydrates and protein.

Cost: $2-$3 per dozen

Meal Ideas: They can be enjoyed as a snack or incorporated into meals like tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and more. 

12. Frozen Chicken

Raw chicken wings with spices and herbs.
Raw chicken wings with spices and herbs.

Frozen chicken is a convenient and budget-friendly source of lean protein. It’s typically affordable and available in several cuts and sizes, so you’ll have plenty of options. 

Cost: $1.99 per bird (Prices vary in different states)

Meal Ideas: Stir-fries, tacos, casseroles, and soups

13. Eggs

fried eggs with vegetables, top view, diet salad with quail eggs
fried eggs with vegetables, top view, diet salad with quail eggs

Eggs are notoriously the cheapest food around. The nutritional value of eggs is impressive, providing a balanced mix of proteins, fats, and essential vitamins like B12 and iron. 

Cost: $4.25 per dozen

Meal Ideas: Scrambled eggs make for a great breakfast dish, and you can use the same ingredients to make something like an egg salad sandwich for lunch or an omelet for dinner.

14. Ground Beef

tacos birria

You can purchase this versatile protein for a fraction of the price compared to steaks and other cuts of beef, and it contains nutritional value, including vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and protein.

Cost: $4.81/lb. ($10.58/kg)

Meal Ideas: Burgers, tacos, chili, casseroles, or even homemade meatballs

15. Lettuce

Woman Carrying Vegetables Preparing Meal Planning In The Kitchen
Image credit: DepositPhotos

Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that is an excellent source of dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. It’s inexpensive, usually costing no more than a few cents per serving, and provides powerful nutritional benefits. 

Cost: $0.68-$0.72/lb. ($1.54-$1.59/kg)

Meal Ideas: Use it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or as a side dish for dinner. It’s also great in soups, stews, omelets, stir-fries, and more!

16. Potatoes

Crunchy Barbecue BBQ Potato Chips
Crunchy Barbecue BBQ Potato Chips

Potato is a humble root vegetable packed with nutrition and can provide great value for your grocery budget. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and other essential minerals.

Cost: $0.47-$0..49/lb. ($1.05-$1.07/kg)

Meal Ideas: You can add potatoes to soups, stews, and casseroles for flavor and texture.

17. Spinach 

bacon wilted spinach salad

Spinach is a nutrient-rich, leafy green vegetable that is low in calories and packed with various vitamins and minerals. It is affordable for salads, soups, or a side dish. 

Cost: $1.31-$1.37/lb. ($2.89 – $3.01/kg)

Meal Ideas: Enjoy spinach in omelets, smoothies, or savory dishes like lasagna or stuffed shells.

18. Peppers

mexican beef fajitas in iron skillet with bell peppers and guacamole on the side
mexican beef fajitas in iron skillet with bell peppers and guacamole on the side

Peppers are colorful and versatile vegetables used in various dishes. They are usually inexpensive and are a great source of vitamins A and C and antioxidants such as lycopene. 

Cost: $2.17-$2.28/lb. ($5.02-$4.78/kg)

Meal Ideas: Peppers make great additions to salads, stir-fries, sandwiches, omelets, and more.

11 Quirky Items That Confuse Non-Americans About American Homes

Woman With a Suitcase MSN
Image Credit: zoomteam/Depositphotos.

Behold the internet’s treasure trove of knowledge! Amidst my casual scrolling, I stumbled upon an interesting question: “non-Americans, what do you reckon resides within the four walls of every American’s home?” 

As I looked into the answers, I found many interesting comments that made me even more curious. And now, I’m excited to share them with you.

This article originally appeared on Radical FIRE and is republished with permission.

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Meet Dee

Meet Dee

I love to share recipes with real ingredients that are both sweet and savory (especially sweet:) My mission with Gimme From Scratch is to inspire you with recipes that will bring your families together in the kitchen. I'm introverted at heart but know how important socializing can be for maintaining good relationships, when writing not only am looking forward to sharing information - It's also building connections between readers who love good food as much as I do!

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