If you want to know how to get cheap food, especially when you are broke, this article will prove very helpful.

It reveals some of the best cheap foods to get and some insights to help you with the process.


First things first…

Who hasn’t been there, right?

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It is a couple of days before payday and both your wallet and refrigerator are empty.

You could swallow your pride and go to a soup kitchen or ask for free food assistance from a local not-for-profit pantry.

However, your pride is not very nutritious or filling.

Besides the voice of your conscience is louder than the growling of your stomach and you realize that there are people and families worse off than you are when it comes to not having food in the household.

So you stay put wondering if that packet of mayonnaise will be satisfying.

Fortunately, a search between the cushions of the couch nets you some loose change and you wonder what sort of satisfying foods you can buy with a few coins.


Cheap but Nutritious Food

Fast-forwarding beyond your close encounter with starvation, you have decided not to repeat this vicious cycle once again.

Payday comes and your trip to the grocery store ensues.

However, this time added to your shopping list are grocery items that are fairly reasonable or cheap and will be used as your emergency stash when the money runs out.

Being hungry and with time on your hands, because you’re not cooking, you have investigated what sorts of foods are best to buy when broke.

Included in your research are the best places to secure these cheap foods when you have no money in the bank.

So, let us peek over the shoulder of that wiser and less hungry individual and glance at their grocery shopping list.


My Cheap Foods Personal Story

Another unsatisfying meal that an individual can partake of is the eating of crow.

By this, I mean that I have made some poor financial decisions and thought I was on the right track but was proven wrong which adversely affected our financial condition.

The bulk of what revenue was coming into the household now went towards the paying off of my indebtedness and left in shambles was the grocery list.

The money for the added expenses needed to come from somewhere and it seemed that the most likely place to gain that extra money for my increased debt was to draw from the expense line item for groceries.

Replacing good cuts of meat, wine, and snacks that were enjoyed were less costly items and basics. My grocery list had gone on a diet.

Consequently, I found myself more aware of what was being spent, knew  how to stop being broke, looking for sales, and becoming a coupon cutter.

I also found the items that I bought did not have the typical labeling of brand names. I was now buying in bulk, purchasing dented cans and generically labeled items.

All that said, now let’s Go Shopping With Your New Shopping List!


How “Right” Grocery Shopping Can Get You Cheap Food

Going hand in hand with choosing the best cheap foods to buy when money is an issue, is the important factor of where to go shopping.

When on a tight budget or when broke, it is best to stay away from grocery stores that have a large local or national presence.

You know the stores in which they offer food to the consumer but because of high overhead and affiliations with a nationally recognized brand, they usually have a high markup on the foods that are stocked on the shelves.

Related: How Much Should I Spend on Groceries?

It is best to stay away from these stores especially if one’s pockets are bare.

Therefore, a significant option is to go to those discount stores that also stock some of their shelves with food items.

Often, for less than a dollar you can buy the various foods that are listed above and also can look in their stocked freezer spaces.

Upon these refrigerated and frozen foods shelves, one can buy discounted items such as microwavable hamburgers, burritos, eggs, and other dairy products.

This would be an excellent way to stretch your grocery budget as well as having food in the house over those lean times.

Also See: Best Affordable Online Food Delivery Apps.


6 Best Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke


1. Beans

A nutritional food that is inexpensive but nutritionally rich is beans.

There are a variety of beans that fall under this general category. Specifically, there are pinto beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lima beans, to name a few.

The majority of these beans are complex as it relates to what they provide for the human body.

Specifically, most beans are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium. However, they are great sources of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates.

They are almost the perfect food, reasonable to purchase, and fairly easy to prepare.

Some ideas in which the way beans can be eaten include eating the beans without any other food or they can be mixed with other inexpensive protein sources or any vegetables that are available.

For example, they mix well with turkey, pork, or ground beef. They are also great in regards to preparing tacos, making hummus, or as part of your red-hot favorite chili recipe.

Beans are also a favorite ingredient as part of making any flavorful soups.

Beans are typically inexpensive and sometimes can be bought in bulk such as buying pinto beans or can be bought in packages.

Available for sale would be packages of, lima beans, navy beans, or a combination of those beans together.

If preparing dry beans for eating, it is important to clean the beans and then soak them in water over a period of 6 to 12 hours.

Once they have been saturated with water, they then can be placed in the microwave or on the stovetop and cooked for the appropriate length of time.

Also See: Ways to Earn Money in a Small Town.


2. Eggs

Another near-perfect food that is of nutritional value and low on cost is an egg.

Generally, a dozen eggs will cost anywhere from two dollars to four dollars, but if you do the math that equates to a minimum of $.16 per egg at two dollars a dozen.

There are a variety of ways that an egg can be prepared.

They can be fried, scrambled, boiled, etc.

They are also a good protein source that can be served with toasted bread, mixed with mayonnaise to create egg salad sandwiches, mixed with fried rice, or vegetables to prepare an omelet or quiche.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

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In addition to being great sources of protein, they also are low in fat and also provide various other vitamins and necessary supplements for a healthy body.

They are, however, deemed as high in cholesterol. Therefore one should watch their intake of eggs.

Related: How to find Food Taster Jobs that Really Pay.


3. Grains

When in a grocery market or discounted food store, don’t forget to pick up some plant-based foods.

Grains are nutritionally healthy as well as satisfying an individual’s appetite. By buying grains, you will get the almost perfect food.

In addition to supplementing your meal or being a meal in itself, you will extend your grocery budget between paydays.

An optimum cheap food because they are rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and minerals.

Examples of grains would include brown rice, popcorn, barley, wild rice, and so forth.

Grains can normally be microwaved when placed in water or the individual can use the stovetop to cook the grains in boiling water.

Another great way to purchase grains is by going to a local discount store that often stocks these packaged grains on their grocery shelf.

For example, one can buy steel-cut oats in pre-packaged pouches. Simply pour the contents of the package into a bowl and pour in the recommended amount of water.

When mixed together, place the bowl in the microwave for two minutes or more and you have a perfect bowl of oatmeal.

Often these prepackaged oatmeal mixes have a maple or cinnamon flavoring. They may also include bits of dried fruit.

Generally, no milk is required as they are very tasty and very edible.

Another way to buy grains is to go to a store that offers bulk items in large barrels.

Simply measure the quantity of grain that you wish to purchase and place it in a plastic bag provided.

Once the bag is tied off with an identifying tag write the bin number and proceed to the checkout counter.

This not only provides great nutritional food to supplement your grocery list but cuts down on costs such as not buying for packaging.

Also See: How To Get Paid As A Personal Grocery Shopper.


Cheap Food to Buy When Broke


4. Pasta

Another quality stable to supplement one’s grocery list and menu for the week is the purchase and cooking of the pasta.

If considering this reasonable food to supplement a meal or make it the meal, make sure you buy whole-grain rather than pasta in which the food label lists the pasta as enriched.

With enriched products it generally equates, in food terminology, as being less nutritious because of the processing of the product.

At a cost of roughly $.82 per package, pasta can be mixed with just about anything.

Also, a fairly inexpensive additional ingredient can be a can of diced tomatoes to provide more flavors.

More so, pasta is easily incorporated with other types of protein. For example, a tuna casserole can be made or one could even buy a can of Spam, cut it up, and mix it into the pasta dish.

The nutritional average serving of pasta is basically comprised of 14 g of carbohydrates.

The other nutrition is comprised of 19 mg of cholesterol, 2.9 g of protein, and provides 75 calories.

Also See: How to Make Money Delivering Food with UberEats


5. Lentils

Another flavorful and nutritious food is lentils.

The individual reading the nutritional labeling of lentils would discover that there is 14 cal per 1 tablespoon of lentils served.

There are no fats, cholesterol, or sodium in this food.

Additionally, per serving, there are 2.5 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of dietary fiber. Lentils also provide protein in the amount of 1.1 g and are rich in potassium fiber and zinc.

Also See: Best Time to Buy a Barbecue Grill.

Lentils have been discovered to be a good alternative if one’s family is not particularly fond of beans.

Lentils are an excellent added ingredient in the preparation of soups, placed on salads, mixed with stews, and even have been known to have been utilized to make lentil hamburgers, of course without the beef.


6. Hot Dogs

What would be a list of the best cheap foods to buy when in-between payday without an all-American food on the menu?

Making it on the list are hot dogs.

Although hot dogs, because of their processing, are not the healthiest of foods to eat, they certainly can provide protein as well as satisfying any hunger pains.

Often, for a pack of eight hot dogs, you can spend roughly $1.00.

As far as value is concerned this is great because it averages out to be about $.13 per hotdog.

Hot dogs are the perfect addition to any macaroni dishes or if you cut up hot dogs along with diced potatoes and onions and fry in a frying pan.

Hotdogs also is a satisfying meal if served alone and garnished with ketchup or mustard or both.

They can be placed in a hot dog bun, piece of bread, or tortilla to add the extra benefit of carbohydrates.

Also See: Frugal Living Tips (Benefits & Super Helpful Tips).


Don’t Starve when Looking for Cheap Foods

It is still a couple of days away till payday and your refrigerator and food pantry are like old Mother Hubbard’s.

However, do not despair, with those few dollars still remaining in your pocket along with a few loose coins there is no need for you to starve.

There are a number of nutritious food products that will not only satisfy your hunger, engage your taste buds but will also provide you the nutrition needed to survive those days of agony.

There is no need for you to go hungry as there are plenty of foods available to supplement what you may have in the house or to make a meal in itself.



The reality of life is that we need to eat to survive. In order to have food in the household, we can either grow it ourselves or purchase the food that we need.

Another hard-core reality is that sometimes we don’t have the money needed to eat the foods that we really crave or desire.

Therefore, we have to tighten our belts and make do with what we’ve got.

This is probably a temporary problem but in the interim, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Some of those desperate measures are to swallow our pride and swallow cheaper food.

When these times in our lives come, don’t feel bad but simply congratulate yourself on the fact that you are a survivor and have made ends meet until payday arrives.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

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Apart from being a seasoned Personal Finance expert who has written for top publications around the world, I bring significant personal financial experience. Long story short... through bad financial choices... I found myself $100,000 plus in debt. I was able to dissolve this indebtedness and regain financial solvency. This financial turn around was accomplished through reading, studying and implementing a financial plan. My financial plan included paying down my debt through budgeting, being cognizant of where my financial resources were being spent, changing my attitude about money and understanding the binding chains of the improper use of credit. Today, and for 10 years, I have been debt free and have invested wisely to enjoy my current retirement. This is allowing me to write to help others make, save and grow money wisely!