The best cheap foods to buy when you’re totally broke

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Cheap Food To Buy When Broke

Food is something we all need. Whether you eat a little or a lot, you must buy food! Did you know that some Americans can spend as much as $1000 per month on food alone? That’s a lot of dough (see what I did there!).


What is the cheapest food to survive on?


Surviving on cheap food is possible, but it should be done as healthy as possible. This means avoiding branded and pre-packaged food items, eating out, and overconsumption. The best place to start is with raw ingredient staples such as beans, rice, bread, and meats. Adding low-cost herbs and spices, as well as pepper and salt, will significantly enhance flavor whilst maintaining a healthy bank account.


What about when you’re broke? When you’re earning a low income, saving money any way you can is a priority.


You still need to eat, though!


This comprehensive guide will help you learn about the cheapest foods to buy when you’re broke.


As well as learning about cheap food to buy when broke, there will also be some meal ideas using these cheap food suggestions. For a further bonus, read to the end to find out more about meal planning and how that can save you money. Let’s get started!

Cheapest Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

Does eating cheap food mean you have to eat bland, tasteless meals? Definitely not! There are lots of delicious meal ideas that can be made using cheap foods.


Many cheaper foods are also healthier options than their processed counterparts. If you buy cheap food and it’s healthy and tasty, then I see that as an absolute win! Not only are you saving money, but you will also be healthier!


The 70 cheapest foods discussed in this guide will cover all the food groups. Fruits, vegetables, proteins, and more will be explained to help you become physically and financially healthier!

Why Should You Buy Cheap Food When You’re Broke?

When you’re broke, it’s important to save money where you can. Reducing the money you spend on food helps free up money in your budget for other expenses. That extra money could go towards debts, start a savings fund, or be used for other bills.


If you are living paycheck to paycheck, then every cent counts! Stretching your money to go further by spending less on food is a great way to make your money last longer.


Another benefit of buying cheap foods is it means you can start a stockpile. You never know what might happen from one day to the next. There could be an emergency, your hours at work may be reduced, or other hardships can strike at any time. Knowing you have plenty of food available for you and your family is one less thing to worry about!


Hopefully, in the future, your financial situation will improve. Once it does, you can carry on all your good money-saving habits including buying cheap food for sale. Sticking to these good habits means the extra money can now be used for more exciting things like investing, holidays, or buying a home!


For now, let’s help you figure out everything you need to know about cheap food to buy when broke.

Tips For Buying Cheap Food

Buying cheap food will help save you money!


The first thing you must do when you go to the grocery store is check the reduced or clearance section. Get into the habit of going there first and getting things from your shopping list. Huge savings can be made when stores need to clear stock. Some stores also reduce items at the same time every day. Ask your local store if they have a set time for reducing items, and shop at this time if you can.


Lots of foods are safe to store in the freezer until you are ready to eat them.


To buy the cheapest food, look for discount stores in your town or city. Discount stores like DollarTree are often great sources of healthy and cheap food. When shopping, consider switching to cheaper branded goods. Often the quality is similar, but you can make significant savings!


Buying in bulk can also be an excellent way of saving money on food. Look online to buy bulk canned goods, pasta, rice, and other dried foods. Provided you have plenty of room for storage; this can be a great money saver!


Another great way to reduce your food bill is to look for coupons, discounts, and cashback. There are lots of sites dedicated to helping shoppers save money. One such site is Ibotta which has discounts and cashback available from more than 500,000 in-store retailers. You can use the website or app to find relevant offers and earn cashback either in-store or online!


If your situation is desperate and you can’t afford to buy enough food, then there is help available. Contact local charities or food banks for assistance. They are there to help people in need, so use them when you need to. In the future, when you are more stable, you can always donate food to help others.

70 Cheapest Foods To Buy When You’re Broke

The next six sections will cover the 70 cheapest foods to buy when you’re broke. All the essentials are covered, which will help you eat healthy, tasty meals and save money!

Cheap Vegetables

Eating a variety of vegetables is essential as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Eating at least five portions a day is shown to help keep you healthy and reduce the risk of various diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Different vegetables have different benefits, which is why variety is important.


To make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients you need, try to include as many different vegetables in your diet as you can. Here are 18 of the best and cheapest veggies to get you started.

1. Potatoes

Potatoes are fantastic as they are cheap, healthy, and versatile. Potatoes can be baked in an oven or microwave, then topped with cheese, salad, or sauces to make a delicious cheap meal. Other ways to cook potatoes include boiling, mashing, or slicing and frying.


When eating potatoes, always leave the skin on when possible. This is because you get more nutritional value if you eat the skins as well.


Eating potatoes is good for your health as they help lower blood pressure, boost your digestive system, and contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.


As well as great health benefits, potatoes are also cheap to buy. Many brands cost just a couple of dollars for a large bag. You could even grow your own if you have the garden space!

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are very similar to potatoes. They are cheap, versatile, and taste great! Making a baked potato with a sweet potato can be a cheap meal, and no extra topping is needed as they are packed with flavor!


Like normal potatoes, sweet potatoes are packed with the necessary vitamins and minerals. Your immune system, organs, and eyes will enjoy a significant boost from the vitamins in a sweet potato.

3. Carrots

Carrots are an excellent cheap food as they are one of the cheapest to buy in bulk. They can be frozen as well, which means you will be able to have a big supply of carrots on hand at all times.


Thanks to being packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, there are many health benefits to eating carrots – cancer prevention, improved cardiovascular health, and boosting the immune system, to name but a few!

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not only delicious but are an excellent source of lots of important vitamins. A great way to have a constant supply of cheap tomatoes is to buy them in a can. Canned tomato is just as good as fresh but will last longer in your cupboard. Plus, you can buy canned tomatoes in bulk when available!

5. Squash

A versatile and cheap food to buy is squash. Squash can be roasted, put in a pie, or used to make soup. There are lots of great recipes that squash can be used in. They are also packed with great health benefits, including vitamin b6 which is known to reduce the risk of depression. During the fall, squash is often extremely cheap to buy as this is when it’s in season.

6. Zucchini

Zucchinis are in season in the fall, which makes that the cheapest time to buy them. High in nutrients and low in calories means, the humble zucchini is a fantastic part of many recipes. Zucchinis are packed with lots of vitamins and nutrients, including b6, which is believed to help prevent diabetes (which I have, and thankfully love, zucchini).

7. Onions

Onions are a healthy food that is available all year round. Plus, they are cheap to buy! Onions come in many varieties, with each type offering different flavors and textures. This makes onions an integral part of many great recipes. They are also incredibly versatile. You can eat onions raw or cook them in any way the dish requires. Delicious!

8. Broccoli

A vegetable that is usually cheap to buy is broccoli. Broccoli is packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals which makes it a great food to eat. Health benefits are believed to include improved heart health, eye health, and bone health. Broccoli can also be eaten raw and cooked, which makes it an excellent part of any meal.

9. Salsa

Salsa is a great addition to any food cupboard. When you start running low on fresh vegetables, then you can turn to the jar in the cupboard to add to any meal. As it’s stored in a jar, salsa usually has a longer life span than most fresh produce.

10. Green Salad

A green salad is a cheap and easy way of getting lots of essential vitamins. Prepackaged green salads are often expensive, but it’s worth checking them as sometimes they may be available for a reduced price. Otherwise, making your own salad is extremely easy and cheap!


Simply get some lettuce or spinach, add tomatoes, grated carrot, and chopped broccoli, and you are good to go! Salad can be added to the side of any meal or eaten as a light lunch.

11. Spinach

Eating spinach is an excellent way to improve the nutritional value of any meals you are eating. Apart from being a source of vitamins, spinach is also packed with iron. Iron is essential for lots of reasons but can also help you have more energy. If you are often lethargic, then it could be that you need more iron in your diet. Adding spinach is a tasty way to get the boost you need!

12. Peppers

When in season, peppers are an excellent cheap food to buy. That’s because they are nutritious and low in calories. You can eat them raw as part of a salad or cooked. Spicy peppers can also add some great flavor to your meal!

13. Frozen Veg

Buying frozen vegetables is a great way to have a constant supply of veggies that aren’t at risk of going off. There is plenty of evidence that frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh. Plus, buying frozen vegetables means you can get veg that is out of season cheaply. Simply add a portion of frozen veg to any dish you are making and instantly make it healthier!

14. Garlic

A bulb of garlic may be small but is packed with flavor and health benefits. Garlic isn’t the cheapest item to buy, but as you only need to use it a little at a time, you can get your money’s worth by adding some garlic to multiple dishes. Eating garlic is thought to provide many health benefits including reduced blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and cancer prevention.

15. Canned Pumpkin

The great thing about buying any canned food is that it’s available all year round, can be stored for a long time, and it’s cheap! Canned pumpkin meets these criteria and can be a great addition to soups, stews, and more.

16. Kale

Kale is a leafy vegetable that is rich in nutrients. It is usually cheap to buy and can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes.


Kale is packed with vitamins, nutrients, and other essential minerals. This makes kale fantastic for lots of health benefits such as heart health, cancer prevention, and improved digestion.

17. Cabbage

Cabbage is a wonderfully versatile vegetable that is cheap and tasty. It can be used in lots of dishes and is especially great in a stew. You can even eat cabbage raw by adding it to a salad, or sandwich, or making it into a slaw.

18. Rutabaga

Rutabagas are a great source of lots of vitamins and other nutrients we need for a healthy lifestyle. They are also cheap to buy and can be used in most dishes. They can be boiled and mashed, grated into a salad, added to a soup, or turned into fries.

Cheap Fruits

Having a diet including a variety of fruits is an essential part of healthy living. The vitamins, nutrients, and minerals found in fruit can help improve digestion, heart health, and much more.


This section will cover 11 of the healthiest and cheapest fruits to eat.

19. Bananas

Bananas are a great choice as they are available all year round, and they are one of the cheapest fruits you can buy. Eating bananas is a great way to get lots of essential vitamins, and they are a rich source of potassium. In case you don’t know, potassium helps with many bodily functions, including heart function. Although you normally eat a banana raw, it can be added to smoothies, desserts, and other dishes.

20. Apples

Apples are one of the cheapest fruits to buy, and there is a huge range of varieties to choose from. You’ve probably heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and this is because apples are packed with health benefits. Better digestion, heart health, and brain health are just some of the benefits of regularly eating apples. Although most apple varieties are cheap to buy, some are cheaper than others. For example, red delicious and Gala apples tend to be the cheapest you can buy.

21. Oranges

A fruit that is generally cheap all year round is the orange. Oranges are packed with lots of good stuff but are especially known for their vitamin C content. Vitamin C is needed for things including healthy skin, bones, and blood vessels. One excellent use of oranges is to squeeze your own juice. This saves you money as you are not buying expensive juices and also is healthier as there are no added sugars!

22. Cantaloupe

Eating cantaloupe is an excellent and delicious way to get essential vitamins. You can add cantaloupe to a fruit salad or cut it up and eat it with yogurt.

23. Pears

Pears are juicy, sweet, and packed with lots of good stuff. They are usually cheap to buy and make a great snack or addition to many recipes. Try eating with yogurt for breakfast or poaching to make a healthy dessert. Eating pears is a good source of fiber and vitamins that improve your health. Bones, teeth, and your digestive system will all benefit from eating pears.

24. Kiwi

A cheap and tasty fruit to buy when in season is a kiwi. Kiwis can be eaten alone or as part of a fruit salad. Rich in vitamin C and other essential nutrients, kiwis are fantastic for heart health, digestive health, and boosting the immune system.

25. Watermelon

When in season, watermelons are extremely cheap to buy. They are a great source of vitamins, including vitamin C. One amazing way to eat watermelon is with halloumi cheese. As a Cypriot, I promise you that you will not be disappointed!

26. Grapes

Grapes are fantastic as you can eat them for a snack, add to a salad, or use them with a dessert. Packed with many health benefits, grapes are great for heart health, reducing blood pressure, and lowering the risk of a stroke. Grapes are also one of the cheapest fruits you can buy. You can freeze them as well, so you always have a constant supply!

27. Frozen Berries

One of the cheapest ways to buy food is to buy it frozen. You can buy it in bulk and store it for longer, making it a great way to save money on your grocery bill.


Buying frozen berries means you always have a supply of tasty and nutritious fruit to eat as a snack or add to any cheap meal idea.

28. Canned Fruit

Buying canned fruit is a great way to cheaply fill your food cupboard and have some healthy fruit available. Although not as healthy as fresh, eating fruit from a can is better than not eating fruit! Usually kept in syrup or juice, canned fruit can be great as a dessert or used as a side dish. Pineapples, pears, and peaches are commonly found in tins.

29. Home Grown

Growing your own fruit and veg is an excellent way to have a constant supply of cheap, healthy, and tasty food. You don’t even need a garden as you can buy specialist kits to grow your own food indoors!


The AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Garden lets you set up an indoor garden that grows herbs and veggies all year round! Having fresh veg to eat whenever you want is a great way to save money!

Cheap Proteins

Proteins are important for staying healthy. Eating foods containing protein helps your organs, your blood, and your immune system. This section will help you find cheap foods that are rich in proteins to stay healthy.

30. Beans

Beans are probably the cheapest staple food you can buy. They are easy to prepare, and if you make your own, then you pay just pennies for an ounce. To make your own, buy dried beans, soak them and prepare yourself, then cook them overnight in a slow cooker. Easy!


Beans go great with pretty much any dish and are a fantastic source of lots of essential nutrients. Canned beans are also cheap to buy and go great with most meals. For a little flavor, get black beans to add to many dishes.

31. Lentils

Lentils are great in soups, stir-fries, or lots of other dishes. You can buy lentils extremely cheaply, and they are packed with lots of beneficial things for health such as calcium, iron, and potassium.

32. Eggs

A cheap and versatile staple food to buy is eggs. Eggs can often be bought for as little as 10 cents each. You can eat them in a variety of ways, including poached, scrambled, or fried. Eating an egg with toast is a great meal for breakfast or a cheap dinner!

33. Chicken

Chicken is one of the cheapest meats you can buy. Packed with the necessary protein and great flavor, there are lots of fantastic dishes you can make with chicken. Buying chicken thighs is usually cheaper than the breast. Plus, the thigh has a sweeter taste as well!

34. Pork

The most popular eaten meat in the world is pork. Pork is usually cheap and can be used in many delicious recipes. Simply add sauce or spices, and it will taste amazing!

35. Ground Turkey

Ground turkey makes the list. Although it’s a little more expensive than chicken, It can be used for more meals. Mix it up with lentils or beans to make lots of tasty meals for the week ahead. Although you can get ground pork and beef as well, turkey is the healthiest choice, so buy that when you can.

36. Cold Cuts

When you go to the grocery store, always look out for cold cuts. Cold cuts are often on sale, which makes them a great buy as they are cheap! You can make lots of great cheap meals using cold cuts. Plus, most can be frozen to be used when needed.

37. Peanut Butter

One cheap food that is high in protein is peanut butter. You can get roughly 40 servings from a standard-size jar of peanut butter. That’s 40 lunches or snacks for just a few dollars! Add cheap jam to make a PB&J for a cheap sandwich that is amazingly healthy. Eat a piece of fruit with it, and you have a fab lunch!


Apart from the protein, peanut butter is also full of lots of other essential vitamins and nutrients including magnesium, B6, and manganese.

38. Tuna Fish – Canned

Buying canned tuna is a great way to have a source of protein on hand. Tuna can be mixed into a salad or a sandwich to make a delicious and healthy lunch. Canned tuna is often cheaper to buy than cold meats or cheese, which makes it ideal to use for lunches. Tuna is also known to include omega-3 fatty acids that can boost heart health.

39. Sardines – Canned

Canned sardines are a cheap and tasty source of protein to stock up on. You can eat them on toast for a light lunch or snack. Add onions or peppers for an even tastier cheap meal. An excellent source of protein, sardines also help with heart health, nerve function, and bone health.

40. Mackerel – Canned

Mackerel is a delicious and nutritious fish that everyone can eat. Buying canned mackerel is cheap and means it can be stored for longer periods of time. Mackerel is full of protein and other essential nutrients that are good for the body.

41. Frozen Meat

The cheapest meats to buy are always found in the frozen section. To save money, always buy some of your meat from the frozen department and use it to make lots of frugal meals. Frozen meat can be stored for long periods of time, which means when you can’t afford fresh meat, you will always have a supply of frozen to use.


Do exercise caution when buying frozen meat, as some are better than others. Make sure to read the labeling to ensure you buy meat that is tasty, healthy, and nutritious.

42. Sausages

Sausages are usually cheap to buy and provide great sources of protein. They can be frozen, which means you can buy in bulk and have a supply of sausages available all the time.

43. Hot Dogs – Canned

Buying canned hot dogs is a cheap way to fill your food cupboard. You can eat them in a bun with some sauce for a quick and tasty cheap meal. Canned hot dogs are also a great source of protein.

44. Garbanzo Beans

Garbazo beans (sometimes called chickpeas) are high in nutritional value. They are rich in protein, iron, fiber, and many other vital nutrients. You can buy them cheaply, either in a can or by buying dry beans. If you buy dry beans, they are easy to cook yourself overnight in a slow cooker.


A great benefit of buying garbanzo beans is their versatility, as they can be used in lots of dishes. Salads, soups, and stews all commonly include garbanzo beans. Alternatively, they can be used as an ingredient in tasty spreads, pastes, or as seasoning.

45. Almonds

Almonds are super nutritious and cheap to buy. They are great sources of protein plus other nutrients, including zinc, calcium, and magnesium. You could eat a handful of almonds for a tasty snack or include them in lots of great recipes. Salads, curries, and other dishes can all be enhanced by adding almonds.

Cheap Starchy Carbohydrates

Eating starchy carbohydrates is a good source of energy and lots of other nutrients, including fiber, iron, and calcium. These cheap starchy carbohydrates will all be great for maintaining a healthy diet on a tight budget.

46. Rice

Rice is fantastic as it’s cheap and can be used with nearly any meal. Brown rice is the healthier option and doesn’t cost much more than other rice. Add a handful of rice with any meal to get much-needed starchy carbohydrates. Fried rice and boiled rice are great on the side of any dish.

47. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a staple that should be in every cupboard. It’s cheap and easy to make. You can cook it in a microwave or on the stove. Mix it up with yogurt and banana for a delicious and healthy breakfast!

48. Cream Of Wheat

Buying cream of wheat in a box is an inexpensive way of having starchy carbohydrates for breakfast. Add sweetener or condensed milk for a delicious breakfast.

49. Grits

A portion of traditionally cheap and easy-to-make food is grits. You can boil, bake, and fry these carbohydrate-rich foods for a filling meal.

50. Bread

Bread is something many of us eat a lot of. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and a side of bread for dinner mean going through several loaves a week is easy. Especially if you have a large family!


Buying store-branded bread is often the cheapest option. Plus, if you buy discounted bread near its end date, you could freeze it until you need it. Doing this can help save even more money!

51. Pasta

Every cheap grocery list should include pasta. That’s because it can be stored for a long time and used for lots of different dishes. When you are broke a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce means you can eat a healthy and affordable meal.

52. Cereal

Breakfast cereals can be expensive, especially if you buy branded versions. To get cheap cereal, look for cereals on sale or buy cheaper brands. Many of the cheap brands taste just as good!

53. Noodles

Noodles are amazingly cheap, and you can buy repacked noodles for pennies. Buying plain noodles and adding spices or sauces makes a great cheap meal. Plus, they are easy and quick to cook!





54. Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizza is often extremely cheap to buy. Sometimes costing less than a dollar! All you need to do is add a portion of frozen veg for extra vitamins, and you’ve got a great cheap meal.

55. Tortillas

A versatile and cheap source of starchy carbohydrates is tortillas. You can use them to make pizza, burritos, sandwiches, tacos, and quesadillas. You can even break them up to use as chips for dips!

56. Popcorn

A fun and tasty snack that can be bought cheaply is popcorn! Buying ready-made popcorn can be expensive, but if you buy popcorn kernels, you can save money. Plus, you get the fun of popping it yourself!

57. Flour

Having a supply of flour in the cupboard is recommended as it’s needed for lots of recipes. One great thing you can make with flour is bread. Invest in a bread machine and have delicious homemade bread every week. Not only is it tasty, but it’s cheap, and your home will smell amazing!

58. Saltine Crackers

Saltine crackers are cheap and a great source of starchy carbohydrates. They can be eaten as a snack with things like cheese or peanut butter. You can also crumble them into meals to pad out the meal and make it more filling. Salads, soups, and stews can all be enhanced by adding saltine crackers.

59. Boxed Mac & Cheese

Boxed mac & cheese is cheap to buy and makes a great lunch or dinner when you’re broke. Add spices, sauce, or more cheese to make it even tastier!

60. Pancake Mix

Pancakes are versatile, and buying pancake mix is a cheap way to make them. Eat them with fruit, plain, or savory things like eggs to have a filling breakfast.

61. Canned Soups

The great thing about canned food is that it can be stored for a long time. Canned soups are great things to have in the cupboard as you know you always have a meal when other foods are running out. Tomato soup is great to have in as you can eat it by itself or use it as a sauce with pasta when times are tough.

Cheap Dairy

Dairy is a great source of energy, protein, and calcium. When you’re broke, having some dairy in your diet is helpful. Here are some cheap dairy ideas for you.

62. Milk

Milk is the cheapest dairy product you can buy. Fresh or powdered milk are both cheap and great to have. You can drink milk or use it to make lots of tasty meals, including pancakes, mashed potatoes, or waffles.

63. Yogurt

Yogurt is another dairy product that is cheap to buy and can be used for lots of things. Buy large tubs of yogurt to get more for your money. Yogurt is great to eat as a snack. You can add fruit to make a healthy breakfast or use it in a variety of other dishes.

64. Cottage Cheese

If you buy cottage cheese in large containers, then it’s a cheap option to buy when you’re broke. The great thing about cottage cheese is its versatility. Eat it on toast or crackers for a snack. Use it in a salad for a light lunch, or simply use it as a side on an evening meal. You can even add fruit if you want to make it even more nutritious!

65. Cheese

Cheese is wonderful due to its versatility and the wide variety of types available. If you avoid exotic cheeses, then it’s cheap enough to buy. You can make sandwiches, grilled cheese, or a wonderful cheese salad for some tasty lunch ideas.

If you have kids avoid the expensive prepacked cheese strings or slices. Instead, buy a cheap block of cheese and cut your own. They won’t know the difference!


66. Chocolate

Most of us love a bit of tasty chocolate. To save money, buy cheaper brands instead of more expensive options. Try to ration it out to make a bar last longer. You can also add chocolate to lots of dishes for some extra flavor and nutrition. Try grating some on your morning cereal to liven it up!

67. Sour Cream

A cheap and tasty condiment you should always have is sour cream. It can be used as a topping for salads or baked potatoes. You can also use sour cream to make dips, sauces, and other recipes. A great staple to have in at all times

Cheap Fats

Using the right fats and oils is important for a healthy diet. They help reduce things like the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol. Here are some great tips on cheap fats and oils to use when cooking.

68. Oil And Spreads

Many oils and spreads are cheap to buy if you look for cheaper branded versions. Look for oils or spreads that are made using rapeseed, vegetable, or olive oils. These are the ones that are rich in unsaturated fats, which help fight heart disease and high cholesterol.

69. Peanut Oil

When shopping, look for peanut oil. Peanut oil is cheap, popular, and used for cooking in many dishes. Peanut oil is also great for many things, including heart health and controlling diabetes.

70. Canola Oil

Canola oil is popular because it’s cheap and has a neutral flavor. In case you don’t know, canola oil is a form of vegetable oil. Using canola oil when cooking can help heart health and cholesterol and provide many other health benefits.

Cheap Food Meal Suggestions

Now that you know about the best and cheapest foods to buy. What should you do with it all? Don’t worry; I’ve got some great suggestions for you to get you started.


An easy and nutritious dish to make is this one:


A simple dish of spaghetti with garlic, oil, and chili. Delicious! Another simple and nutritious dish to make is rutabaga gnocchi. This recipe is easy to follow, and with some veggies on the side, it’s tasty.


Pizza is a favorite of most families. They can be made cheaply and use lots of different toppings. Bases can be made from scratch using flour, or you can just use tortillas as a base. Have a look through this list of 40 easy homemade pizzas for inspiration. Add a side salad, and you are good to go!

Save Money Meal Planning

A great way to save money is by meal planning. Knowing exactly what you need for the week and only buying that saves money and waste!

To get help with this, you can try the 5dollarmealplan. For only $5 a month, they will send you a weekly meal plan packed with great ideas. Each meal should cost no more than $2 per person. This is a great help for many people as it saves the time and stress of planning meals yourself. All you need to do is buy the ingredients and cook delicious meals!


Should I buy all these foods?

If you can afford to, yes, but when you are broke, you probably won’t have the money to buy everything. The important thing is to buy at least a couple of things from each group. This way, you are eating a diverse diet rich in nutrients. Try rotating your list to get different things each week.

Is buying in bulk best?

Usually, yes! Bulk buying is often the cheapest way to stock up. Make sure you have the room to store it all safely before you buy in bulk.

How can I make things taste better?

Provided you have some spices or sauces; then you can always make things taster better. When you are extremely broke and only have noodles to eat, add some flavor to make it more palatable.

What are the best ways to save money when shopping?

There are lots of ways to save money on shopping. Use apps and websites like Ibotta for discounts and cashback. Try to buy stores’ own brands and check the discounted section for bargains. Another great tip is to make a shopping list and stick to it. Services like 5dollarmealplan make this easy as they tell you exactly what to buy.

I’m really broke, what’s the cheapest thing to eat?

Beans, rice, and pasta are usually the cheapest. If you are in serious trouble, ask for help from local charities or food banks. If you at least have beans, rice, or pasta, then you can eat some food that is still healthy. Add sauce if you have it for some flavor.

Could I live on less than $10 a week?

If you are single, living on $10 a week is possible. Buy just what you need using as many coupons, discounts, and cashback offers as you can to maximize your spending. Stock up on rice, pasta, and a few cans of beans to make meals for the week. If you have some spices or sauces, this can help make it tastier!

Is everything on this list good for me?

All the foods listed have various health benefits. They all contain varying degrees of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential for good health. Improved heart health, lower risk of cancer, and a better immune system are some benefits of these foods. Eating a varied and balanced diet is the best way to get all the benefits possible. Try to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg every day. When you are broke, this may be difficult. In that case, just do your best to eat as much as you can be based on what you can afford.

Final Thoughts On Cheap Food

These 70 cheapest foods to buy cover all the major food groups. You will be able to eat healthily and cheaper.

Building good shopping habits now means when you are in a better financial situation, you can keep doing it. That way, the extra money you will have can be used for other things like building savings, investing, or buying your dream home!


Recommended: 11+ Incredible Cheapest Ways To Live


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Inflation skyrocketing your food costs? Score free food by doing this


Do you like free food, but it’s nowhere near your birthday? If you have a smartphone and are willing to download some apps, you can still score some free food.

Fast food is a guilty pleasure for many of us, especially when life is crazy and you need food fast or when you need a pick-me-up at the end of a rough week. Your guilty pleasure just became a little less guilty because these 24 food apps will reward you with free food and meal deals when you sign up.

Want a quicker way to sign up for these food apps? Just log in using your Facebook account, which most apps have enabled as an option. For those who don’t want their personal accounts connected to their food apps, just connect a separate Facebook account for deal apps and coupons. Having a separate email account for sign-up offers will also keep your main account from filling up with spam.

Here are the apps that will give you free food when you sign up:


Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash


The 7-11 app hooks you up with 800 free points, which can be redeemed for one of the following – Big Gulp, medium coffee or hot beverage, donut, fudge brownie or 2-pack cookies, Taquito, chips, medium Slurpee, or medium CHILLERS iced coffee. Through this app, you will also earn points for every dollar spent and bonus points for designated menu items.


Download their myAuntiAnne’s Pretzel Perks and get a free pretzel after your first purchase. Kinda free food, since it’s really tied to their reward program, but if you go there at all you can get yourself a free pretzel!


The AMPM Power Scratch app gives you three free scratchers upon sign-up and three free scratches daily if you check in at an ampm. You don’t need to visit the store to check in, just be within a mile or two of the store. You can win anything from free hot dogs, coffee, hamburger and even free gas and gift cards.


Download the Baja Fresh app and get a free taco (Chicken or Carnitas Baja or Americano Taco) with any purchase.


New BJ’s appusers will earn a free mini pizookie once they register for a premier rewards account. The app also allows members to earn points for every dollar they spend and to redeem deals.


You can earn 10 points every time you check in at Buffalo Wild Wings and 100 points for $10 spent. These points can then be redeemed for free food, such as a loaded ice cream for 250 points.


The Burger King app sounds the most promising since they offer $30 worth of food coupons after signing up through the app. However, once I signed up, I only saw a BOGO Whopper coupon. The rest were slightly discounted meal deals – no free food.


Chick-fil-A– While Chick-fil-Adoes not give you a free perk upon downloading the app, you will earn free food periodically. Many times, a free menu item will appear on your app just because. You can also earn free food by purchasing food through their app, and if you haven’t connected your cow calendar card to your app, you are missing out. If your restaurant is out of calendars, you can buy one on eBay! With the cow calendar, you will receive a free food item each month.


Signing up for the Chili’s app was by far the most time consuming. You will receive free chips and salsa and 60 points within 48 hours of signing up for the app, and you can earn one point for every two dollars you spend, which can then be redeemed for free food items.


As soon as you verify your account, Chronic Taco will reward you with 50 points. With these points, you can receive an order of free churro bites for 25 points or a free taco for 50 points. You will then earn one point for every dollar you spend at Chronic Taco.


When you sign up for the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf app, enter a friend’s code into the promo code field and you get a free drink after your first purchase. Don’t have a friend, then consider me your bestie and pretend we are meeting for coffee. My code is: AshleyEne8068. Once you download the app, make sure to get your unique referral code and force-ask your friends nicely to sign up so that you earn even more free drinks! Through the app, you will also earn a free birthday drink and a reward point for every dollar you spend. You will earn a free drink or pastry for every 50 points you collect until you reach Platinum level at 300 points. Once at Platinum level, you can then earn a free drink or pastry for every 40 points you earn. Sound complicated for a reward system? We were thinking the same thing, but we won’t turn our noses at free drinks.


Through the Denny’s app, you can earn a free Grand Slam meal on your next online order.


Earn a free medium two-topping Dominos pizza after six orders of $10 or more.


You can receive a free beverage upon signing up for Dunkin’ Donuts’ reward program. The only catch is that you need to sign up with a gift card or load one for at least $2. You will also earn a DD perk on your birthday and for every 200 points you earn.


Jamba Juicewill give you $3 off your order once you activate your account. This $3 can score you a free pastry, but all of their smoothies are over $3 (the kid smoothie is $3.19), so expect to pay a little out of pocket. You can then earn more discounts once you earn 35 points.


Krispy Kreme rewards new sign-ups with a free doughnut, and you will also receive a free doughnut on your birthday. For true Krispy Kreme fans, you can earn free boxes of doughnuts and beverages after so many purchases.


Once you sign up for the McDonald’s app, you will have access to free food and coupon offers. For example, on Fridays, you can receive a free medium-sized fry with any purchase. Additionally, McDonald’s also offers separate McCafe rewards which allows you to earn a free drink after purchasing five.


MyPanera Rewards gives free rewards to members for spending and just because. For example, in December, I was able to redeem a free bagel every day of the month. Similarly, I had a month where I could redeem a free coffee every day of the month. Members will also earn a free treat when they sign up for the app and for their birthday. After so many visits, you will also receive a free meal or food item.


For every $5 you spend, you can earn a point for the Papa Rewards program. Once you reach 25 points, you can redeem your points for a large three-topping pizza. You can also redeem lower levels of points for other food items. Check out these seven Papa John hacks for even more pizza savings.


Earn a free small sub or Gyro Flatbread with any purchase after downloading the app. You will also earn a free sub once your account reaches 70 points. You can earn 10 points by connecting through Facebook and one point for every dollar spent.


Red Lobster has a My Red Lobster Rewards app that is a loyalty program. You earn points for every dollar spent and start getting rewards at 125 points. When you sign up, you get 75 points, so it’s a start, though not technically a freebie (yet).


Starbucks’ reward program is nothing to write home about, but you can earn a free beverage or meal item for every 125 stars you earn. You will also earn a free birthday drink. Earn bonus stars with periodic challenges, such as buying a certain drink five times within a week.


Immediately after verifying your account, you will receive three offers on the app – a free medium slushie, a coupon for a half-off blast, and an offer for a $1.99 Wacky Pack, which is their kid’s meal.


At TCBY, earn a $3 reward for every $30 you spend or for every friend you refer. Once your friend spends $5, you will receive your $3 reward.


Earn a free appetizer or dessert after signing up on the TGIFriday app. My free coupon was emailed within minutes of signing up on their app and can be redeemed through email, but the coupon does not actually show up in my app. You can also earn points for every dollar spent, which will then earn you free rewards like a free dessert for 50 points or a free sandwich or burger for 80 points.


Right out the gate, Wendy’s will set you up with BOGO food offers and dollar-off discounts for their food.


Whataburger’s special – Earn a free food item after five visits.


Sadly, not every restaurant that offers an app will give you a freebie just for downloading.

Don’t see your favorite restaurant on the previous list? They may have a freebie. When we did research for this article, we ran into quite a few restaurants that didn’t give away anything for installing their app.

They still might have an app and reward program, though. It won’t come with free food right off the bat, but I wanted to share a shorter list just so you don’t go wasting your time searching.

  • Applebees
  • Baskin Robbins (discounts offered but no free offers)
  • Chipotle (sign up for their text notifications for food offers)
  • iHop
  • Jimmy John’s
  • Olive Garden
  • Panda Express
  • Red Robin (adding Red Robin here because their app is no longer listed for download, but you might still get free food through joining their online Royalty program)
  • Taco Bell (there is an offers page, but I never received an offer)
  • Wing Stop


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Featured Image Credit: gorodenkoff / istockphoto.