Grocery Budget list for the Cheapest Foods

Grocery list and Recipes you can create on a tight budget

I know how you feel. You start staring at your grocery list and wonder if I have enough money? There were many days when I didn’t have enough money for groceries and had to buy cheap to make my budget stretch.

Trust me, I know it’s hard! I understand what it’s like to eat chicken for a week straight because that was the meat on sale. You do what you have to so your family can eat. What I tell my son, as always, is that “others might have it worst” and that “we should always be grateful.”

The Financial situation you’re in doesn’t count the fact that you also have to feed your family or even just yourself. Depending on your income decides what amount should be allocated to groceries. According to Dave Ramsey’s budgeting model with “EveryDollar,” Groceries should generally be around 10-15%. 10% of your income can still seem like a small amount. That reason alone is why you have to know what groceries you should buy on a tight budget.

Recommended percentage budget catergories

Get your Grocery list ready!

This article will be listing all the cheapest food to buy when you’re on a tight budget. We will go through each type of grocery and list the foods that would be the best alternative for saving money. Along with the list comes additional recipes and meal ideas.

Not only do you get the list of foods but what to cook with it. There are a  ton of resources in this article that you will benefit from. Saving money on groceries gives you more room to save,  pay back debt, or catch up on bills.  All the tips I will be sharing can possibly cut your grocery bill in half.  

Where do I find recipes for the Cheapest foods?

All of My Recipe Ideas come from my favorite recipe site “Allrecipes” Type in your search engine Allrecipes and another search bar will appear for you to search for a particular recipe. Scroll on their website for millions of recipes.

allrecipes a website I used for most of the food listed in this article

Another way I find tons of great recipes is on Pinterest. You can create a board dedicated to recipes. I made mines, and it’s called “Snack!” you can follow my Pinterest account by going to Pinterest and searching “Shekeepsthechange” or clicking HERE.

I’m always adding great fun, quick meals. I love using Pinterest because I can organize the type of meals and have the ones I like all in one place. Plus, who doesn’t like seeing a collage of photos versus just plain text? Unless you delete the pin yourself, you don’t have to worry about it disappearing.

Follow my Pinterest board called snack for more recipes

So you want to know the cheapest food to buy when you’re on a tight budget or, let’s say broke because I’ve been there too many times.  Starting with little to no money means you have to make everything stretch. 

I know tight budgets are challenging, but it makes you more creative, humble, and wiser. So when you do get out of this cycle that you’re running on and finally breakthrough. After your experience, you know how to manage your budget when it’s much bigger.

Related Articles on Grocery Budgets


One of my favorite things to buy when grocery shopping is chicken


One of my favorite things to buy when grocery shopping is chicken. You can get a whole chicken and make it into many meals, starting with the roast and turning it into chicken soup the next day. It’s better to buy the whole chicken most times, but different parts of chicken sell less than others, for example, like the legs or thighs. Anything boneless will sell for a little bit more. So if you are looking to save, buy chicken with the bone and choose parts on sale. 

Ground Turkey

Ground turkey is a healthier and cheaper alternative than ground beef. When ground beef is not on sale, I will grab a package of ground turkey. They are generally less per pound than beef.  When cooking ground turkey, you will notice less fat than beef, so it’s less of a hassle to drain the excess fat. For most of the meals I would make, like spaghetti or lasagna, I would use ground turkey. You will notice a little difference in taste, but it’s still just as good. 

Chuck Roast

I can most of the time buy a Chuck roast for 10-12 for a decent size. It’s pretty inexpensive if you think in terms of meals. I can stretch a Chuck roast for about two meals; that’s $5 a day. You can make a ton of recipes with chuck roast like beef stew or pot roast. Many times when I cook these recipes, I like to use my crockpot. I set it and forget it. Leaving it to cook on low for a long period of time softens the meat, and the results are delicious.  


Beans are healthy and budget-friendly


Beans are healthy and budget-friendly. You can add them to many dishes like tacos or burritos, rice, soups, and chilis. Cans will cost you less than a dollar, or you can save more by buying a bag of dry beans. They do take a while to cook, but if you’re on a budget, it’s worth it.  Store the cooked beans in airtight containers and save for later.

Green salad

When you want to add some green to your meal for a fraction of the price, try opting for a green salad. It’s a quick way to a three-part meal, the meat, the side, and some salad. I normally do some romaine lettuce, with parmesan and croton add some ranch dressing. You can add so much to green salad, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, deli meat, nuts, fruits, or berries. Tons of varieties. Add in some dressing for flavor, or make your own dressing with olive oil and vinegar.


If I want to spend less than five bucks to put some fruit on my counter, I grab some bananas


If I want to spend less than five bucks to put some fruit on my counter, I grab some bananas. Bananas are usually less than 50 cents per pound and are quick to introduce a healthy snack. I know you want to hear about all the benefits. Besides being a cheaper fruit option, bananas, as you know, is a great source of potassium. Potassium is good for heart health and blood pressure. Need an energy boost? Bananas are good for energy as well. Pop some in a smoothie mix, add some other berries, and bust through that to-do list. 

Click here for some Banana Recipes


You can’t go wrong with a bag of apples. They might be cheaper during the holiday season, like fall and winter, but they are reasonably priced all year long. I can always find a bag of apples for about 5 dollars or less at my local grocer. At certain times some types of apples are cheaper than others, so sometimes you might have to settle for macintosh versus red delicious for the time. 

It’s time for Apple Recipes, Click here for some Inspiration

Go to the Frozen food Aisle to Save on Your Grocery Budget

Go to the Frozen food Aisle to Save on Your Grocery Budget

Some fruits and vegetables that are frozen are cheaper than getting fresh. You might not have considered buying frozen because of the thought of it being less nutritious. On the contrary, frozen fruits and vegetables are still nutritious and healthy, like buying fresh. So don’t fret; you are not losing out on anything.  The second benefit of buying frozen is that you can save it for longer. One of the most money-saving attributes is the ability to preserve frozen produce longer than you would fresh produce.

Stretch your tight budget by grabbing produce that is not in season frozen. The price of berries can vary throughout the year, so I buy frozen when I need some strawberries or raspberries. A great smoothie might just hit the spot for some fruit intake and the day. If you don’t have ice cream, ice and milk do the trick.

Most grocery stores carry a large variety of frozen vegetables. And I can tell you; frozen vegetables can be almost as cheap as grabbing canned. When I go grocery shopping for frozen foods, I tend to go for the store brand, ranging from 1 to 1.50. During the Thanksgiving season, canned and frozen vegetables are at their lowest. So I stockpile this to have more for the remainder of the year.


Oatmeal is one of the cheapest items to have in your pantry.


Oatmeal is one of the cheapest items to have in your pantry. It’s also healthy and can easily be very versatile in making a variety of foods. I like eating oatmeal for breakfast, I add in sliced bananas, some honey, and it’s so delicious. You can also make cookies, breakfast bars, and much more. The best thing for me personally is that Oatmeal makes me feel fuller longer. As since we are on a tight budget, the heaviness of oatmeal saves money on meals.


Eggs is one of the best sources of protein to add in any diet. You can grab a carton of eggs for $3 or less. In my case I can find sales for $1.50 plus use a coupon to lower it more. Eggs go on sale around holidays because of baking needs but they are always cheap at discount grocery stores like Aldis. I’m sure you can probably think of 20 meal ideas that include eggs right now but I’ll like a few below


I’m a true believer in the fact that cereal companies want us to buy their stuff. So much, there are always coupons and deals on cereal. The wall of cereal options in the grocery store can have a ton of options. Don’t let the retail tag fool you. There are always deals every week. I will always go for a name brand if you want to use coupons. Prices have been known to be a dollar or less, even free! When you can’t find a deal for the store brand, they are generally $2 or less to compare to their competitors.

Other Staple Grocery items

Other Staple Grocery items


Who doesn’t need bread? Bread is always good to have, and you can make breakfast, lunch, or add it to a dinner meal. Store brand bread will run you less than $2 for just plain white. Venturing out to other types of bread will cost a little more but still under $5. Your best bet is to shop at a discount grocery store like Aldis. You will probably hear me mention this a few times. Aldis is a good store to shop at for good prices, and they carry a variety of bread. Check out to see if there is one near you.


Rice is a great filling food item to add to meals. Like Oatmeal, it’s one of those foods that you eat high in fiber and makes you feel fuller for a longer time. You can buy a large bag of rice for less than $10, enough to last you for a whole month. I’m sure you heard the saying about a rice and bean budget because that’s living on the essentials. As I’m sure you can save and live on all the items I’m mentioning, it’s always good to have rice in your pantry. If you’re at the grocery store looking for rice, I will try a brown rice instead of white rice. It’s a little more in price than white rice but still inexpensive. Brown rice has more nutrients and is better for cholesterol. 


There are tons of meals you can make with pasta. The best part about pasta is that it is fairly cheap.  You can grab a box for a dollar or less! Depending on the type of pasta or if it’s whole grain or not they are generally all around the same price. 


Potatoes may be one of my cheapest staples. Grab a bag of potatoes for less than 85 cents per pound, especially around the holidays. I know you are already thinking of a million things you can make with potatoes. That is what’s so great about it, there are so many sides to make, potato salad, herb sliced potatoes, and the classic mashed potatoes. After looking at some of the ideas below you might consider picking up a bag on your next shopping trip. 

Peanut Butter

Are your kids excited about peanut butter? Some are and some not. It might take some convincing, but peanut butter can be masked into a lot of recipes. If a pb&j sandwich doesn’t do the trick, try some peanut butter cookies or granola bars. Those might require a couple more steps but still easy to make. Peanut butter is very cheap to buy. I wouldn’t doubt you can find a store brand for less than two dollars. The one jar can be preserved for a long time versus other pantry items. Also, I know you probably already know that eating peanut butter is like getting an iron boost. So if you are low on iron, a peanut butter spoon licking session won’t hurt.

Cheapest foods in the Grocery Store are sometimes Canned

Cheapest foods in the Grocery Store are sometimes Canned

Canned food to buy on a tight budget

Tuna fish

I love buying a couple of tuna fish every grocery shopping trip. Some people like tuna, and some don’t, but tuna fish sandwiches are my favorite for a quick lunch snack. That has to be a quick, run and go staple because all the recipes I can think of takes 5 minutes or less. 

Canned Tomatoes

When you are in a pinch of grabbing some fresh tomatoes, you can’t go wrong with getting canned. I have my quick mom meals when I’m in a rush to make dinner, and canned tomatoes save me a ton of time. 

Canned Vegetables

Yes, I’m one of those that will dump a can of corn or green bean to add to dinner. It’s quick, it’s fast and if anything it’s cheap. Think about how long a can of vegetables can be stored in the pantry, the expiration date probably says next year. So when Thanksgiving comes around canned vegetables are super low in price and its stocking time. I recommend grabbing them and piling them up in your pantry. You never know when you might need it.

Canned Fruit

Well, of course, we stumble on canned fruit as well. Like canned vegetables, getting fruit canned is a cheaper option. Remember those fruit cocktail cans with the random red cherries? Ok, there are alot of more options than fruit cocktails now. Who doesn’t love canned pineapple? Only because you don’t have to cut them, and they are just right. Not too bitter or too hard to chew. If you want to go the healthier route, grab some canned fruit that is low in sugar or natural fruit juice, none of that syrup stuff. 

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