Woman looking at a receipt in the grocery store

25 Inexpensive Foods That Will Keep Your Grocery Budget Intact

I make money on some of the products and services I mention on Thinking Frugal through affiliate relationships. I never endorse a product or service unless I believe it will benefit my readers.

For many people, grocery shopping is a simple matter of picking up whatever looks good. However, it can be a much more complicated task for those on a budget.

There are a number of reasons why someone might need to stick to a budget when grocery shopping. Perhaps they are trying to save money for a specific goal, such as a vacation or a new car. Or maybe they are on a fixed income and need to make their money stretch as far as possible.

Whatever the reason, budget-conscious shoppers need to be strategic in order to get the most bang for their buck. This often means planning meals in advance, comparing prices between different stores, and looking for sales and discounts.

If you’re on the lookout for ways to save money on your food budget, look no further. I’ve put together a list of 25 inexpensive foods that will keep your wallet happy. These foods are versatile and can be used to make a variety of dishes, so you won’t be eating the same thing every week.

Cheapest Places to Shop

Food shopping on a tight budget can be a challenge, but there are a few stores that are known for their low prices. One of the most popular is Aldi, which offers a wide variety of items at low prices. 

Another budget-friendly option is Walmart. Walmart is a popular place to shop for groceries because it offers low prices on a wide variety of items. One reason for Walmart’s low prices is its large volume of sales. 

Finally, Costco and Sam’s Club are membership warehouse clubs that offer deeply discounted prices on everything from groceries to electronics. 

Tips for Saving the Most Money

If you’re looking for a few easy ways to save on your grocery bill, there are several simple things you can do:

  • Meal planning can help you avoid wasting food and money.
  • Making and sticking to a shopping list will help you avoid impulse buys.
  • Using cash-back apps can help you save money on your favorite items.
  • Avoiding brand names can help you save money without sacrificing quality.
  • Using coupons can help you get the best deals on the items you need.

By following these simple tips, you can easily save money on your grocery bill. 

Make an Extra $100+ Per Month for Free:

Earnably: Earn gift cards or PayPal cash to watch videos, complete surveys, and more.
GrabPoints: Earn money watching videos, completing surveys, downloading apps, and more.
Ibotta: Get paid to shop.
InboxDollars: Get paid to watch videos, shop, complete surveys, and more.
InstaGC: Earn gift cards, or PayPal cash by watching videos, taking surveys, shopping, and more.
Swagbucks: Earn gift cards, or PayPal cash by watching videos, taking surveys, shopping, and more. 

Woman looking at a receipt in the grocery store

Cheapest Grocery Items

1) Pasta

Most people think of pasta as an expensive dish, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of different ways to make a delicious and filling meal with pasta without breaking the bank. One of the simplest is tossing some pasta with olive oil and your favorite herbs. Add a little grated cheese on top, and you’ve got a tasty and easy meal. 

If you’re looking for something a little more hearty, you can add some sausage or ground beef to your pasta. Just brown the meat in a pan, then add it to your pasta along with some tomato sauce. Once again, a little grated cheese on top will take this dish from good to great. 

And finally, one of the most popular pasta dishes around is macaroni and cheese. It’s simple to make and can be made with just a few simple ingredients. 

2) Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is a versatile and inexpensive option for weeknight dinners. Turkey burgers are a great way to switch up your usual hamburger routine, and they can be easily spiced up with add-ins like BBQ sauce, avocado, or crispy onions. 

Another quick and easy dinner is turkey taco lettuce wraps – all you need is some ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce leaves, and your favorite toppings. 

And for a healthier take on spaghetti and meatballs, try substituting ground turkey for the beef in your favorite recipe. Ground turkey is also a great way to stretch leftovers – try adding it to soups, stews, or pasta dishes for an extra protein boost. 

3) Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most versatile and inexpensive ingredients you can buy. Whether you prefer them mashed, roasted, or fried, there’s a potato dish to suit every taste. 

For a quick and easy meal, try oven-roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic. Another great option is to try a pot of hearty potato soup. 

And for a real treat, try homemade twice-baked potatoes stuffed with cheese and bacon. No matter how you prepare them, potatoes are a delicious and budget-friendly way to feed your family.

4) Dried Beans

Dried beans are an inexpensive, versatile pantry staple. Beans can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and rice bowls. In addition, beans are also a good source of protein, making them an ideal meat alternative for vegetarian and vegan dishes. Here are a few budget-friendly recipes that make use of dried beans:

  • Hearty Black Bean Soup: This comforting soup is made with black beans, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. It can be spiced up with chili powder or cumin and topped with sour cream or shredded cheese.
  • Chickpea Curry: This flavorful curry features chickpeas, tomatoes, and a variety of Indian spices. It can be served over rice or naan bread and is also delicious on its own.
  • Bean and Rice Burritos: These hearty burritos are filled with refried beans, rice, salsa, and shredded cheese. They can be wrapped in foil and frozen for future meals.
  • Three Bean Salad: This simple salad combines cooked black beans, kidney beans, and green beans with diced red onion and a vinegar-based dressing. It’s perfect for bringing to potlucks or picnics.

5) Eggs

Eggs are one of the most versatile and inexpensive ingredients you can keep in your kitchen. They can be used for everything from a quick snack to a hearty dinner. Here are just a few of the delicious and budget-friendly meals you can make with eggs:

  • Egg salad is a classic lunchtime favorite that is easy to make and can be served on bread, crackers, or even celery sticks. For a heartier meal, add some chopped ham or bacon to the mix.
  • Scrambled eggs make a great breakfast or light supper. You can keep them simple, or add in some shredded cheese, chopped vegetables, or even crumbled bacon or sausage. Serve them with toast or tortillas, and you have a complete meal.
  • For a more substantial dish, try making an omelet. Add in whatever fillings you like – ham and cheese, veggies, even leftover pasta or rice. An omelet makes a great breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Frittatas are similar to omelets, but they’re baked in the oven instead of being cooked on the stovetop. They’re perfect for feeding a crowd, and leftovers reheat well. Just add your favorite fillings – ham and cheese, spinach and mushrooms, onions and peppers – and bake until golden brown. Serve hot or cold – it’s up to you.

Eggs are an affordable way to feed yourself or your family. With a little creativity, they can be turned into endless delicious meals. So don’t be afraid to experiment – you might be surprised at what you come up with. 

6) Rice

Rice is an excellent inexpensive staple that can be used in a variety of dishes. For a quick and easy meal, try stir-frying rice with vegetables and soy sauce. If you’re looking for something heartier, try adding some cooked chicken or beef. 

Lastly, for a sweet treat, try making rice pudding. Simply cook the rice in milk until it’s soft, then stir in some sugar and vanilla extract. Top with cinnamon or nutmeg, and you’ll have a delicious dessert that’s sure to please the whole family.

7) Chicken

Chicken is a must-have affordable staple. Whether you’re in the mood for something hearty or light, there’s a chicken dish that’s sure to fit the bill. One of my personal favorites is chicken cordon bleu. It’s a relatively simple dish to prepare, and it always tastes impressive. 

Another great option is chicken alfredo. This classic Italian dish is surprisingly easy to make, and it’s always a hit with family and friends. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for something a bit lighter, try grilled chicken with a Mediterranean salad. This healthy meal is full of flavor and sure to leave you satisfied. 

8) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables On Sale

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great food staple for those on a budget. For one, they are typically very affordable, especially when they are on sale. 

Additionally, they are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, carrots can be used in a soup or stew, while apples can be made into a pie or crisp. 

Lastly, fresh fruits and vegetables are generally very healthy, making them an ideal choice for those who are trying to eat healthy on a budget. 

9) Canned Tuna

There are a variety of ways to use canned tuna, so you can mix up your meals and not get bored. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Tuna pasta is a classic for a reason – it’s simple but delicious. Just add some canned tuna, pasta sauce, and your favorite seasonings to cooked pasta. 

If you want something a little more robust, try tuna casserole. Just mix together tuna, frozen vegetables, and cream of mushroom soup, and top with shredded cheese and breadcrumbs before baking. 

For something lighter, try a tuna salad: mix canned tuna, diced celery, onion, mayo, or Greek yogurt, and your favorite seasonings. Serve on whole wheat bread or crackers, or enjoy as is. 

Canned tuna is a versatile and affordable option that can help you stretch your food budget while still eating well. 

10) Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a classic dish that can be made with a variety of different cheeses. You can also experiment with different types of pasta – elbow noodles are traditional, but shells, spirals, or even whole wheat pasta would work well.

Another great way to use cheese is in quesadillas. Flour tortillas are filled with cheese and then grilled until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy. Add some chopped tomatoes, onions, and peppers for a complete meal. Quesadillas can also be made in the microwave, which makes them a quick and easy option for busy weeknights.

Finally, grilled cheese sandwiches are always a hit. Choose your favorite bread – sourdough, rye, whole wheat – and then add plenty of cheese. A few slices of ham or bacon make a nice addition. Grill the sandwiches until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted and gooey. Serve with soup or a salad for a complete meal.

11) Ground Beef

Ground beef is a versatile and affordable ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. One of the simplest meals you can make with ground beef is a classic hamburger. All you need is a pound of ground beef, some bread crumbs, an egg, and your favorite seasonings. Just mix everything together, form it into patties, and grill or cook on the stove until the meat is cooked through. 

Another quick and easy meal you can make with ground beef is taco salad. Just brown a pound of ground beef with some taco seasoning, then add it to a salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and black beans. 

For a more wholehearted meal, try making shepherd’s pie. This traditional dish features ground beef simmered with vegetables like carrots, peas, and corn, then topped with mashed potatoes and baked until golden brown. 

No matter what you’re what your budget is, there’s sure to be a ground beef recipe that fits the bill. 

12) Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables are a budget-friendly and convenient option for busy cooks. While they may not be as fresh as their counterparts, they can still be used to create delicious and healthy meals. 

One easy way to use frozen veggies is to make a stir-fry. Simply sautee the veggies in a bit of oil until they are heated through, then add your favorite sauce. 

Another option is to turn them into soup. Simply simmer the veggies in some broth until they are soft, then puree the soup until it reaches the desired consistency. 

You can also add frozen vegetables to pasta dishes or casseroles for an extra boost of nutrition. 

13) Flour

Anyone who’s ever made their own bread knows that flour is a versatile and affordable ingredient. But there’s a lot more you can do with flour than just bake bread. Here are a few ideas for simple, inexpensive meals that start with flour as the base.

One of the simplest things you can make with flour is pancakes. All you need is some flour, milk, an egg, and a little baking powder, and you’re good to go. You can top them with fruit, syrup, or whatever you like. They’re perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.

Another easy option is fried chicken. Season some chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like, then coat them in flour. Fry them in oil until they’re golden brown and cooked through, then serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Another great affordable option is chicken and dumplings. You can use canned chicken broth as the base, and the dumplings are simply made with flour, water, salt, and baking powder. Just drop them into the hot liquid and wait until they float to the surface to know they’re done.

These are just a few of the many delicious things you can make with flour. So don’t be afraid to experiment and see what else you can come up with.

14) Chuck Roast

Chuck roast is one of the most versatile cuts of beef and it’s relatively inexpensive. With a little creativity, it can be transformed into a variety of delicious meals. 

One simple way to prepare a chuck roast is to rub it with spices and slow-cook it in the oven. This method yields a tender, flavorful roast that can be served with gravy and mashed potatoes. 

Another option is to slice the roast thinly and use it in sandwiches or wraps. Chuck roast can also be diced and used in stews or chili. 

Another option is to cube chuck roast and roast it with vegetables. No matter how you prepare it, chuck roast is a great affordable meal option.

15) Canned Fruit

Canned fruit is typically less expensive than fresh fruit, and it has a longer shelf life. This makes canned fruit a great option for budget-conscious shoppers who want to enjoy the health benefits of fruit without having to worry about spoilage. 

Canned fruit is also highly versatile. It can be enjoyed as a healthy snack, added to cereal or yogurt, used as an ingredient in baking, or even eaten straight from the can. 

No matter how it is consumed, canned fruit is a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy the fruits of nature without breaking the bank.

16) Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are a versatile and affordable ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, they can be used as the base for a simple quesadilla by being filled with cheese and grilled until the cheese is melted. 

They can also be used to make tacos by being filled with meat, vegetables, and salsa. In addition, they can be cut into strips and fried to make chips that can be served with guacamole or salsa. 

Additionally, they can be made into enchiladas by being rolled up with a filling of your choice and covered in sauce. Lastly, they can be cut into wedges and baked to make delicious tortilla soup. 

As you can see, there are many different ways to utilize corn tortillas to create tasty and affordable meals.

17) Bulk Grains

There are plenty of delicious and healthy meals you can make with bulk grains other than rice. For example, quinoa is a nutrient-rich grain that pairs well with vegetables, making it an ideal option for a light lunch or dinner. 

Another great option is farro, which can be used in salads or as a base for a hearty soup. And if you’re looking for something truly unique, try cooking with amaranth. This ancient grain has a nutty flavor and can be used in everything from granola to pancakes. 

So the next time you’re looking for an alternative to rice, don’t hesitate to experiment with these delicious and affordable bulk grains.

18) Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great food staple for those on a budget for a few reasons:

  • It’s relatively inexpensive. A single serving of oatmeal usually costs less than a dollar, and a large bag of oats can last for weeks.
  • Oatmeal is very versatile. It can be eaten plain or with a variety of toppings and cooked in many different ways.
  • Oatmeal is packed with nutrients. It’s high in fiber and protein and contains essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Oatmeal is filling and satisfying.

A bowl of oatmeal will stick with you until lunchtime, making it an ideal breakfast for busy mornings. 

19) Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a kitchen staple that can be used in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. For a quick and easy meal, try whipped peanut butter on toast with bananas or honey. Peanut butter also makes a great protein-packed alternative to mayo in sandwiches and wraps. 

20) Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a great food staple for those on a budget for a few reasons:

  • They’re relatively affordable. A can of tomatoes usually costs less than $2, which makes them a budget-friendly option for those looking to save money on groceries.
  • Canned tomatoes have a long shelf life. Once opened, they can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks, which means you don’t have to worry about them going bad if you don’t use them right away.
  • Canned tomatoes are versatile.

They can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta sauce to soup to chili. So whether you’re looking for a quick and easy meal or something more elaborate, canned tomatoes can likely be incorporated into your dish.

21) Plain Yogurt

For many people, yogurt is a delicious and nutritious snack or breakfast food. However, yogurt can also be a budget-friendly food staple. Unlike some other dairy products, yogurt is relatively inexpensive to produce and has a long shelf life. 

Additionally, yogurt is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. For example, it can be used as a base for dips or sauces, mixed into smoothies or oatmeal, or simply enjoyed on its own. 

Whether you’re looking for an affordable way to add more protein to your diet or simply want to save money on groceries, yogurt is a great option.

22) Cabbage

Cabbage is an excellent food for those on a budget. Not only is it affordable, but it is also highly nutritious. Cabbage is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It is also low in calories and fat. 

In addition, cabbage can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups to salads to stir-fries. As a result, cabbage is a versatile and affordable food staple that can help to stretch your food budget.

23) Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables can be used in a variety of recipes or simply eaten as is. They are also a convenient way to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, as they are often already pre-cut and ready to eat. 

In addition, canned vegetables have a long shelf life, so you can stock up on them when they are on sale and have them on hand for when you need them. 

24) Pork

Pork is often an overlooked protein source, but it’s actually a very affordable option for those on a budget. For starters, pork is one of the most versatile meats out there – it can be used in everything from stir-fries to tacos to soups. 

Additionally, pork is very affordable – in fact, it’s often cheaper than chicken or beef. And finally, pork is packed with nutrients that are essential for a healthy diet, making it a great choice for those looking to eat well on a budget. 

25) Bread

Whether you’re eating a sandwich for lunch or making toast for breakfast, bread is a quick and easy way to get your carbs. And let’s not forget about all the delicious (and often cheap) things you can make with bread, like grilled cheese, french toast, and panini. Best of all, bread is pretty much available everywhere, so you’re never too far from a loaf. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what your dietary needs or preferences may be, there is a cheap food out there that will fit the bill. So, next time you’re looking for an affordable and tasty meal, take a look at this list of 25 cheap foods that won’t break your grocery budget. You’re sure to find something to love, and with a little effort, you can learn to cook tasty, budget-friendly meals at home. 

Similar Posts