50 Dirt Cheap Foods to Buy When Broke

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Cheap Grocery List

Are you having a hard time finding cheap food to buy when broke? We all go through rough times at some time or another.

I will show you how to create a cheap grocery list, cheap food, and cheap meals to make when you have no money or are on a low budget.

Easy Dirt cheap meals to make when you’re broke or on a tight budget!

It doesn’t matter if you are a student or a single mom.

These times call for you to make a budget to save money.

It happens to most of us.

I have created a list of cheap foods to buy when broke to make it easy for you if you are looking for ways to cut your food budget.

I have to confess I LOVE AND ENJOY food! But with a tight budget, I have to think outside the box to save money and buy food on a budget.

The good news is that cheap meals or budget meals don’t have to be boring or break the bank.

Start by creating a cheap grocery list before you head out to the store.

Cheap food to buy when broke

Save Money by Sticking to a Food Budget

When money is super tight you should do all is possible to lower your expenses.

You can try and slash your grocery bill in half with my simple ways to save money on groceries.

I also have some simple ways to reduce your electric bill by implementing these tips you will be able to lower your expenses and increase your savings.

I have to say I have a few frugal foods that I keep in my cupboards all the time.

I also keep a few in my office at work.

These foods are inexpensive and yet healthy.

If your goal is to make easy healthy frugal meals for your family at the lowest price point just keep reading and take a look at my cheapest grocery list.

There is always a way to budget for groceries and buy frugally.

Even if you are in a diet.

For example, it is known that low carb and keto diets are expensive.

But that does not have to be the case look at my Best Frugal Keto Dinners – Fast and Easy to Make, where I share keto recipes on a budget.

Cheap Food to Buy when Broke and on a Budget

Here is a list of cheap foods to buy when broke.

You don’t have to sacrifice taste while on a budget.

If you are feeding a large family on a tight budget I have a list of cheap foods that won’t break the bank.

I also include recipes for cooking frugal meals.

I want to show you how to create healthy family meals and stay on budget.

I have broken down my cheap grocery list or like my hubby calls it the broke grocery list, into food by categories for easier browsing.

Below are some of my favorite cheap foods to buy when broke in the grocery store:

Cheap Grocery List when You’re Broke

food to eat when broke


Chicken: The most versatile of all the meats. It is inexpensive and you can freeze it for long.

It can be cooked in so many different ways: Stir-fry, pan-fry, grilled, BBQ, roasted, baked, stews and soups.

Turkey: Is the close cousin of the chicken except is much leaner. This is the meat of choice for people eating healthier or in low fat diets.

It can be prepared like this: Stir-fry, pan-fry, grilled, BBQ, roasted, baked, stews and soups.

Sausages: Full of flavors and spices. They come in many varieties. Chicken sausage, turkey sausage, pork sausage and veggie sausage to name a few.

Sausages can be grilled, baked, pan fried and use in soups and stews.

Dry beans: They are very inexpensive when bought dry. Very high is protein and fiber.

It is a healthy alternative when you want to eat less meat or just simply save money.

Pre-soak dry beans in lots of water (this will soften them up) and it will cook faster.

Things you can make with beans: Chili, soup, stews or simply add as fillers such as burritos, and salads.

Eggs: A super food for all the nutrition this little guy packs. Eggs are my first choice besides meats for a source of protein.

Very easy to prepare, delicious, healthy and cost effective.

These little guys can be prepared in almost infinite ways. Boiled, scrambled, fried, baked, omelets.

Lentils: While small in size, these guys are a nutritional powerhouse. High in protein and fiber and many other minerals essential to our health.

You can prepare lentils: Soups, stews, salads, and spreads.

Peanut butter: Rich in healthy fats and a good source of protein.

Things you can make with peanut butter: Peanut butter sandwich, PB&J, Apple dipped in peanut butter, Oats topped with PB, and added to stir fry.

Pork: Pork is the most consumed meat worldwide. It can be cooked in many ways.

For example, grilled, stew, soups, BBQ, and make sandwiches.

Sardines: They are nutrient-rich, full of healthy omega fats that are really good for you. Easy food to store. They come packed in oil, water, mustard sauce or tomato sauce.

You can eat them straight out of the can sprinkle with a dash of fresh-squeezed lemon. Also, make a sandwich, or add to salad.

Tuna: Similar to the cousin sardines, tuna is delicious. This is a great option for those looking for a low-fat solution.

A very popular and delicious way to prepare canned tuna is to make tuna salad.

Yogurt: Hight in protein and calcium yogurt offer many health benefits. It is delicious and very affordable.

Prepare meals and snack with this versatile food. Simply add fresh cut fruits or dry fruits and you have a great breakfast or snack.

Cold cuts: They are very convenient. Widely available and always on sales in supermarkets.

Use them to make sandwich, add them to omelets, make a cold cut salad or bake a quiche.

Almonds: The Queen of the nuts. Consider a super food for all the health benefits, such as healthy fats, fiber, protein and magnesium to name a few.

Eat raw or toasted. Cut up and serve with yogurt or oats for a nice crunch.

Milk: “GOT MILK???” An excellent source of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D and Vitamin K.

You can use it in so many ways: Added to cold or hot cereals, hot chocolate, added to mash potatoes for a creamier consistency.

Cheese: Just like milk cheese is a healthy choice you can add to your diet.

You can use it in sandwiches ,or egg dishes. You can make snack over crackers with a drizzle of honey.


Oats: Incredibly nutritious, helps lower cholesterol and very inexpensive. Easy to prepare. Such as overnight oats, or the more conventional cooked oats.

Let’s not forget one of my favorites oatmeal cookies.

Potatoes: This you can find fresh, frozen or dehydrated at very low prices.

There are so many ways you can cook potatoes. Baked, boiled, fried, mashed. You can also make potato pancakes, dumplings, soups, salads, or gratin.

legume assortment on a white background.

Rice: One of the most popular side dishes worldwide besides the potato. Very inexpensive and also very filling.

Rice can be prepared steamed or cooked. Used plain or added to stir-fries, soups, burritos and desserts.

Pasta: Just like his rice counterpart, pasta is widely used and known. Another inexpensive food that can be made in a large variety of ways.

Quick pasta dishes you can make are: Spaghetti, mac and cheese, soups, lasagna to name a few.

Pasta assortment on a white background.

Tortillas: With tortillas you can make a pizza, burritos, tacos, sandwiches and quesadillas.

You can also cut them into pieces and bake to make tortilla chips for dips.

Bread: With bread you can make a very nice and delicious meal. from sandwiches such as philly cheese steaks, turkey clubs to pizza and bread pudding desserts.

Bananas: This fruit is nutritious, cheap and delicious. Have it as a snack or make dessert. Whichever way you want.

Apples: Another fruit that is rich in flavor and health benefits. Easy to carry.

Like the saying say “One apple a day will keep the doctor away”

Fruit assortment on a white background.


Pancake mix


Mac and cheese

Ramen noodles

Canned soups






Frozen Broccoli


Frozen Stir Fry Veggies

Frozen corn




Canned tomato

Tomato sauce






Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving ideas and frugal tips!

frugal foods to buy when broke

How to Get Food When You Have no Money

I have been in situations where I had no money to buy food.

I will share what I did and what you can do if you want to know how to get food when you have no money.

There are a number of options available to you for finding free food resources. 

If you have no money for food, food banks are a great resource for finding food. They are not open every day.

Usually, the operate about two times a week.

You can find your local food bank here, by doing this you can see and locate where your closest food bank is.

You’re also given other great information such as when they are open and what zip codes they cover as well as what pieces of information you may need to bring.

Food banks do have a few requirements.

Usually, they require 2 letters addressed to you at your mailing address for proof that you live within their zones.

Most food banks don’t require any proof of income and only ask that you run on the honor system.

What to Make When You Have no Food and Are Broke And Hungry

Feeding a large family on a tight budget can be challenging.

It does not matter what your goals are.

It could be you are saving money to pay off Debt or simply you are too broke.

If you are anything like me, that needs to stretch money but still eat delicious food then just keep reading to see these amazing frugal meals that I will be showing you just ahead from the cheap grocery list of cheap food to buy when broke.

I’m always on the lookout for cheap and easy meals that I can make on a budget.

For those of you that are vegetarian, I have included a few vegetarian options.

Also for those of you that eat meat, it is a great hack to cut back on the number of meat meals you cook a week.

By cutting back on meat you will be saving more money.

Low Carb and Keto Meal Ideas on a Budget

If you are doing a low carb diet or a ketogenic diet take a look at these 21 Best Frugal Keto Dinners to Lose Weight – Fast and Easy to Make.

They are delicious, fast to make.

Especially on busy weekday nights and low cost, good for your budget.

Now without further ado lets present you with recipes for delicious frugal foods.

Keto Beef and Broccoli

A perfectly cooked keto beef and broccoli stir-fry.

Zucchini Casserole

Closeup Zucchini Casserole with Ground Beef in a baking dish with a spoon.

Cheap Dinner Ideas and Best Frugal Recipes

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Colorful assortment of freshly oven roasted root vegetables including yams, red potatoes, beets, carrots, and parsnips, seasoned with herbs and ready to be served as a nutritious and flavorful side dish.

Parmesan Garlic Roasted Potatoes

A side view of the roasted potatoes, highlighting the crispy parmesan crust.

Creamed Corn Au Gratin

A golden-brown Creamed Corn Au Gratin in a baking dish, showing creamy corn kernels topped with melted parmesan cheese.

Sweet Potatoes and Apples Maple Cinnamon

Platter of Sweet Potatoes and Apples Maple Cinnamon, showcasing diced sweet potatoes and apples glazed with maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, presented on a rustic serving dish.

Scalloped Potatoes

Layered Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes in a baking dish in a white countertop.

Sweet Potato Casserole

A deliciously baked sweet potato casserole with a creamy interior and a crispy, caramelized topping, served in a ceramic dish.

Classic Mac and Cheese

Creamy mac and cheese in a white plate on a white background.

Marry Me Chicken

A delicious pan of

Baked Paprika Chicken

Overhead shot of Paprika Baked Chicken Thighs in a white baking dish, showcasing the rich color and seasoning.

Twice Baked Potatoes

A golden-brown Twice Baked Potato overflowing with a creamy, cheesy filling and topped with vibrant green chives and crumbled bacon on a white plate.

Crispy Fried Chicken

Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

Freshly cooked Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry in a hot wok, showcasing the rich colors and textures of the dish

Chicken Baked in Garlic Butter Sauce

golden-brown chicken breast smothered in a creamy garlic butter sauce, garnished with fresh herbs.

Southern Potato Salad

A creamy Southern Potato Salad garnished with fresh herbs, perfect as a comforting side dish.

Honey Fried Chicken

A plate of crispy, golden Honey Fried Chicken, perfectly cooked and glistening with a light honey glaze.

Cheap Dinners

Bump and Bake MeatBall Casserole

Overhead shot of Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole in a white dish, ready to be served, placed on a white countertop.

Our Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole is a comfort food classic, reimagined for the busy home cook.

No boiling pasta or complicated steps—just dump, bake, and enjoy a hearty meal!

Skillet Sausage with Onions and Peppers

Skillet Sausage with Onions and Peppers - 20 Minute

If you are looking for a healthy and delicious meal in just minutes you will love this perfectly seasoned Skillet sausage with Onions & Peppers

A mixture of Italian sausage, onions, and peppers.

Whole30 compliant, gluten-free and dairy-free, keto friendly and Low carb approved.

Find it here

Baked Mac and Cheese

Close-up of creamy, cheesy layers in a freshly baked Mac and Cheese casserole.

Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Closeup Steaming bowl of Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta, garnished with fresh parsley, inspired by Buffalo Wild Wings' sauce.

Discover our Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta, a fan favorite inspired by Buffalo Wild Wings!

An easy crockpot dish perfect for busy weeknights, this kid-friendly recipe combines creamy pasta with a hearty buffalo creamy sauce.

Ideal for family dinner, potluck, or a meal prep idea.

Baked Spaghetti

Baking dish of spaghetti, pre-oven, showing layers of pasta, meat, and cheese.

Luscious baked spaghetti, a perfect fusion of classic spaghetti, rich meat sauce, and layers of melt-in-your-mouth cheese.

Ideal for busy weeknights, family dinners or a potluck.

The best past? ready in under one hour.

Hamburger Mac and Cheese

Creamy Hamburger Mac and Cheese served in a white casserole dish.

My Home-Made Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese with Ham Recipe


  • 4 slices of white bread or sourdough bread
  • 1 tbsp Mayo
  • 4 oz of cheddar cheese or American cheese


Add ham to make it a more complete meal.


  1. Preheat pan or skillet on low heat.
  2. Take each slice of bread and spread mayo on one side of each and add to hot skillet with mayo side down.
  3. Add cheddar cheese or American cheese and top with remaining bread slices, mayo side up.
  4. Grilled for about 5 minutes or until you see its getting nicely brown.
  5. Flip to the other side and grilled until golden brown.

Cheap Breakfast

Blueberry Overnight Oats

Source and image credit: organizeyourselfskinny.com

Blueberry overnight oats made with fresh blueberries and sweeten with ripe bananas for an easy wholesome make-ahead breakfast recipe.

Coconut Mango Chia Pudding

Source and image credit: eatingbirdfood.com

Thick and creamy mango chia pudding with layers of coconut milk chia pudding and mango puree.

You’ll love the fresh, tropical flavor!

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Source and image credit: simplyhomecooked.com

You can enjoy this berry parfait any time of day.

Whether it for breakfast or as an after-dinner dessert. 

This Greek yogurt parfait is loaded with honey vanilla Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and crunchy almond-flavored granola.

Blueberry Pancakes

Source and image credit: Deliciouslittlebites.com

Let’s be honest here. Who doesn’t like pancakes? I mean…look at that picture… I am in love….with pancakes lol.

These pancakes are so fluffy, scrumptious and yummy.

They are a great way to start your weekend. Perfect for brunch.

Marry Me Chicken

A pan filled with golden-brown

Try this delicious easy recipe for “Marry Me Chicken”! Perfect for weeknight dinners, date night dinner or special occasions.

Plus, it’s keto-friendly, low-carb, and gluten-free!

The best creamy chicken recipe ever!

Southern Fried Chicken

This Southern fried chicken recipe is the best you’ll ever make!

Southern fried chicken is one of the main staples of southern cuisine.

Think about fried chicken that is moist in the inside and yet super crispy on the outside.

Find fried chicken recipe here

Pepperoni Pizza Crescent Rolls

These pepperoni pizza crescent rolls are the perfect appetizer or main dish.

Ready in 30 minutes and the perfect kid-friendly snack.

Pepperoni Pizza Crescent Rolls Recipe

Crescent Hot Dogs

Crescent rolls envelop hot dogs in a savory, flaky crust.

This easy 3 ingredient recipe is a family favorite, ready in under 30 minutes

Crescent Dogs Recipe

Chili Mac

Chili mac and cheese in a bowl.

This chili mac recipe is the ultimate one-pot comfort food.

The perfect weeknight dinner for busy nights, this dish only requires one pot and comes together in less than 30 minutes.

With easy preparation, minimal ingredients and delicious taste, Chili Macaroni and cheese is sure to become a favorite for the entire family.

The Best Chili (Classic Homemade Chili Recipe)

The best classic chili recipe in a white with one red stripe bowl topped with cheese and scallions.

This traditional recipe for chili is the best classic chili ever! Perfect for weeknight meals, this chili is packed with ground beef, beans and a homemade blend of spices.

This easy to make chili will quickly become a family favorite!

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits

A single slice of crescent roll chicken pot pie in a white plate set on a wooded table with biscuits.

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits! Sautéed shallots and thyme, a splash of white wine, creamy chicken, peas, and carrots all baked under a homemade biscuit topping.

Honey Butter Garlic Chicken

Source and image credit: Butteryourbiscuit

This delicious dish is super easy to make and requires very few ingredients.

I pair it with white rice and my family LOVES IT!!

Quick tip: I start cooking the rice first.

While the rice cooks I start working on cooking the chicken and by the time the rice is cooked the chicken is done too.

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Source and image credit: gimmesomeoven.com

100% obsessed with this creamy buttermilk ranch mashed potatoes recipe! 

They’re easy to make, perfectly fluffy and creamy, and made with the tastiest fresh herb ranch seasoning.

Creamy Tomato and Spinach Salad

Source and image credit: budgetbytes

This is a staple on my home it is always in repeat.

Very fast and simple to make but bursting with flavors.

I always make extra to reheat for another dinner or to take to work for lunch.

Vegetarian Chili

Source and image credit: foodwithfeeling.com

This is one of those comfort foods that warm your soul.

Your kitchen smells fantastic when you cooking this meal. It heats up even better.

Quick Tip:

Make a big amount of this as this meal freezes wonderfully. You can have leftovers for lunch or another dinner meal.

How Can You Pay Less for Groceries Every Single Month?

There are a few strategies that I use to lower my grocery bill every month.

Start by creating a cheap grocery list of foods you and your family like.

I always follow these 22 simple ways to save money on groceries.

Stick to your cheap grocery list and the cheap food.

It really is possible to eat healthy even if you are short of money, all you need to do is a little bit of frugal meal planning and meal budgeting.

Start saving money now and build your savings up.

Just saving a small amount will add up. This is how I started saving $200 a month and created my emergency savings fund.

More Cheap Recipes

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Easy and Frugal Recipes

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Cheap foods to buy when broke

I hope you’re inspired by this list to keep your meals simple and save some money in the process.

What meal ideas would you add? Do you have a cheap recipe that you would like to share?

What would you plan on your budget grocery list? Please let me know in the comments!

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