50 Frugal Foods to Buy When You’re Broke

When your money is tight you need to buy the cheapest foods while still feeding your family healthy meals. This list of frugal foods will help you do just that.

Buying frugal foods and cooking frugal meals doesn’t mean you eating tasteless unhealthy meals. You’ll find it’s exactly the opposite.

You’ll eat a healthier meal with $4 if you buy these frugal foods from the grocery store then if you decided to settle for a $4 meal at a fast-food restaurant.

Your grocery budget is an area where you can really cut costs when the need arises. Let’s look at 50 frugal foods to buy when you’re broke.

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Broke Grocery List

Broke Grocery List

When figuring out what to eat when you’re broke, you need a list of foods that are the cheapest foods you can buy to create dirt cheap meals. This is when you need to create your broke grocery list.

This list of frugal foods can be found at any grocery store.  Buying in bulk from stores like Costco can help you save even more.  With these low budget foods and these healthy pantry staples in stock, your family will eat well on a very tight budget.

Don’t believe me?

Check out the recipes using these items at the end of this post.

Frugal Food Tips

Download your free copy of our 25 Frugal Food Tips to help you stay on budget below.

25 Frugal Food Tips
Whole Grains/ Dry Goods

Whole Grains/ Dry Goods

1 – Brown/White Rice

2 – Oats

3 – Whole Grain Pasta

4 – Quinoa

5 – Whole Wheat Flour

6 – Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

7 – Popcorn

8 – Grits

9 – Box Mac & Cheese

10 – Saltine crackers

11 – Cornmeal

Frugal Tip:  Utilize cashback apps like Ibotta to save even more on your grocery bill.  You’ll earn cashback on many of the frugal foods on your list.

frugal foods proteins eggs


12 – Ground Turkey

13 – Pinto Beans

14 – Black Beans

15 – Lentils

16 – Garbanzo Beans

17 – Eggs

18 – Almonds

19 – Chicken Thighs

20 – Chicken Legs

21 – Whole Chicken

22 – Canned Tuna

23 – Canned Salmon

24 – Canned Chicken

25 – Peanut Butter

26 – Ground Beef

Related Post:  Healthy Air Fryer Recipes – Mega List

frugal foods milk

Milk & Dairy

27 – Powdered Milk

28 – Whole Milk

29 – Yogurt

30 – Cottage Cheese

31 – Cheese

Frugal Tip – Take advantage of mobile coupons.  Use this list of frugal foods to plan your grocery list and add mobile coupons prior to your trip to the store.

frugal foods bananas

Fruits & Vegetables

32 – Apples

33 – Bananas

34 – Pears

35 – Carrots

36 – Lettuce

37 – Cabbage

38 – Potatoes

39 – Onions

40 – Garlic

41 – Kale

42 – Spinach

43 – Broccoli

44 – Canned Tomatoes

45 – Canned Vegetables

Frugal Tip:  Don’t forget to look for specials.  Check the sales papers for your local stores.  Also, take advantage of weekly specials like Double Ad Wednesdays at Sprouts.


46 – Sugar

47 – Baking Soda

48 – Vinegar

49 – Salt/Pepper

50 – Other Seasonings (garlic salt, onion powder, etc.)

frugal foods recipes to try

Frugal Recipes to Try

Now that you have the items on your Frugal Foods Shopping list, what the heck can you make?  Here are a few Frugal Recipes to get you started.  You’ll quickly see that you can save money and eat well.

And don’t forget to pull out that Air Fryer!

Leave a comment and share some of the frugal foods on your shopping list.  Or share some of your favorite frugal recipes.

Frugal Living Tips | There are key food items you should be buying if your money is tight. Buy these cheap foods and maximize your food budget. Learn the 50 frugal foods should be buying if you are broke. Also get frugal recipes you can make with the cheap healthy food from your frugal shopping list. #frugalliving #frugaltips #savingmoney #foodbudget #personalfinance #ifyourebroke #healthywealthyskinny #HWS #moneysavingtips #cheapfood

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36 thoughts on “50 Frugal Foods to Buy When You’re Broke”

  1. I am definitely going to try some of these recipes however I like frozen veggies over canned! You can get them for 10 for $10 at Kroger or 4 bags inside 1 large one at Sam’s club.

  2. Great list! When I’m focused on budget, I definitely do my best to focus on sales and buy in bulk! It’s amazing that you can get like 2lbs of rice for a few bucks in bulk, but like half a pound of pre-packaged rice is like $6-$8! It’s ridiculous!

  3. Loved these tips! When I first moved out and was hit with how expensive living is I would sometimes skip meals and eat a lot of fruits and veggies because they were pretty cheap. You have some wonderful ideas in here!

    1. Thanks Danielle! When I was younger it was noodles and canned ravioli… lol. I wish I had this list back then.

    2. I enjoy a can of black beans served over riced cauliflower from Aldi freezer section. Add seasoning and maybe some Tajin from Walmart. Very filling, lots of fiber and very reasonably priced. ❤️

  4. I absolutely love this! Going to check out that fugal recipe post too. Most of that food is in my cabinet now. Great for college students trying to figure out too! I’m pinning this to refer back to.

  5. Cheese singles?! are you kidding me? There is nothing more expensive that already sliced cheese
    plus the crap that they wrap individually! Slice your own- thats the way to save money!

    1. Judy, I would have to agree. A cheaper way to buy cheese would be to buy in a brick and slice it yourself. Thanks for the tip!

  6. I have found that making your own mac n cheese can be alot cheaper than buying boxed And tastes so much better!
    Bag of elbow noodles
    Mac n cheese seasoning from McCormick
    Cream Cheese

    1. Thanks for the tip Carmen. I love to make my own Mac n Cheese. But I didn’t know McCormick had a Mac n cheese seasoning. I have to try it.

  7. Yes! I love bananas and it’s awesome that they’re priced so low. Also, I switched from Shoprite to Walmart for groceries. It’s awesome. A can of tuna for $.66 and canned vegetables for $.38! Can’t beat that!

  8. I chop up cabbage, onions and carrots and dump in a crockpot. After it is cooked I add a can of diced tomatoes. This is nutrient dense and waistline friendly.
    I put frozen chicken breasts in my Instant Pot and shred them when they are done.
    These items are versatile and can be mixed with other foods.

  9. When I was broke with two growing boys, I followed the directions on powdered milk and added it to whole milk. If you have a gallon of whole milk, add 1-2 quarts of the powdered milk. They couldn’t tell the difference and neither could I. I had to do this when the kids weren’t around, or they refused to drink it. Plain powdered milk tastes awful.

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