cheap food

Cheap Food every household should have, even on a tight budget

Buying cheap food because you are on a budget does not mean that you have to eat unhealthy.

 As a matter of fact, there are lots of ways to go about using a small budget to get the most healthy food ingredients to cook for yourself and your family.

I come from an average earning family and I remember my mom sending me to the open market to buy food every Saturday.

She will make a list and write next to it how much I should pay for every ingredient.

I loved bargaining with the market women. I always looked forward to going to the market.

In this blog post, I will talk about some cheap food options you can buy, and how you can use them to make delicious meals.

Spagetti/Macaroni

spagetti is cheap food

This is one of the cheapest food ingredient available today. No matter where in the world you live, it is cheap.

 You can get it for as cheap as €0.25 for 400g. It’s vegan-friendly.

 If you want gluten-free options too, they are readily available.

What makes spaghetti/macaroni /pasta cheap food is that, it’s easy to cook, it’s easy to store, does not go bad easily. It can be served as a main dish or a side dish.

It can also be used for a variety of recipes
Examples include

Macaroni and cheese
Pasta with pasta sauce
Boiled macaroni with a variety of different sauces
Macaroni with milk and sugar.

Potatoes

cheap ingredient potato

Another cheap food which can be cooked in a variety of ways is potatoes. It can be fried, boiled, baked, and grilled.

Potatoes can be eaten on their own without extra sauce if it is coated well in spices.

 It´s a good source of vitamin c and potassium when cooked with the skin. You can buy a kilogram of potatoes for as little as €1.00 per kilogram.

Depending on the season of the year, it can even be cheaper.

Potato preservation is also very easy, store them in the vegetable compartment of your fridge and it will last you for weeks. 

If you buy however the unwashed potatoes that come in a paper bag, that can last you months without them going bad.

Chicken thighs

Chicken can be cheap food depending on the cut you buy. Chicken breast for example is not cheap meat.

On the other hand, chicken thighs and chicken drum sticks which still have the skin on them is cheap food.

 Most people don’t like to buy that, because it is “bulky and not very healthy”.

 But what if I told you, you can make it healthy. All you have to do is remove the skin and tendons and bones after you have cooked it. 

You will have for yourself good chicken to enjoy. By the way, did you know that cooking with the bones and skin adds flavor to your food? 

For as little as €0.99, you can buy ½ a kilo.

Oats

This is one cheap food that can be prepared in several ways. It costs as little as €0.85 for 500g.

Oat is rich in fiber, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.

The various ways in which oats can be prepared include, porridge, added to smoothies, overnight oats, used as African swallow, used to make granola bars and used to eat yogurt.

Is very versatile and you should consider adding this to your menu if you are not eating oats yet.

Frozen Vegetables

As much as we will all love to eat fresh vegetables all the time, because they are healthy, it is not always possible.

 Thank goodness there is the frozen alternative. 

They are easy to access all year round, they are inexpensive, they are easy to cook and most still have their nutritional value

You can prepare frozen vegetables as sauteed and you can eat it with other cheap foods such as rice or potatoes.

They can also be boiled, steamed, or used for fried rice. It’s easy to cook because it’s been peeled and washed and ready to use.

Flour

Every household should have flour in its pantry. This is cheap food that you can use for many different recipes.

Add water and yeast and you can make bread. You can use it for pancakes, for waffles, for cakes, for pies, for doughnuts, for biscuits, for porridge the list is endless.

Because of how extremely versatile it is, you need to have it in your kitchen at all times. Store in an airtight container and it will remain good for months

Yeast

If you want to get the most of some of the things you bake, you definitely should have yeast on your grocery list.

For as little as €0.50, you can have this stable in your kitchen to help with your bread and pizza doughs.

Eggs

eggs

 It’s a source of protein, contains good cholesterol, vitamin D, and it’s cheap food. Most dozen eggs can be sold for as little as €0.50.

Some ways to enjoy your eggs are scrambled, boiled, fried. It is a good option if you can’t afford any other source of protein.

Oninons

You might know this already. The biggest secret to making delicious finger-licking food is to add flavorful components to it.

The onion is one vegetable that adds flavor to food. It can be eaten raw in salads or with grilled meat.

It can also be added to soups or stews either fried, sauteed, or boiled. 

If you are not a fan of seeing slices of onions in your food, consider blending before adding to your food.

For as little as €1.70, you can buy a kilo of onions. If you are into growing vegetables, you can plant onions in the summertime.

 They are easy to care for and it takes between 3-4 months from planting to harvest time. After harvesting, onions can be air-dried and this will increase their shelf life.

Baking Soda and Powder

Not only can baking soda be used for cooking, but it can also be used for several purposes in the home.

Baking soda is a cheap food that can be used for baking cakes, muffins, and many others.

canned tomatoes

They are a great source of vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium. When tomatoes are not in season, they can get very expensive.

You can get it for cheap if you opt for canned tomatoes. They come either as whole tomatoes in a can, crushed tomatoes in a can, or as smooth paste.

You can even find some tomatoes mixed with a variety of spices. Tomatoes can be used for lots of dishes, such as pasta sauce, tomato soup, salsa, and bruschetta.

Popcorn

This is not cheap food, it is a cheap snack. If you want to have an inexpensive snack, popcorn is definitely something you should add to your grocery list.

 You can buy the corn pops and with a little oil and a hot pan and lid, you can pop them and enjoy. 

You can even add a sprinkle of sugar or salt. Add honey or chocolate chips to the popcorns so it’s just not plain old fashion popcorn.

Rice Cake

The rice cake is another inexpensive snack that can be eaten in several ways. 

Rice cakes can be served with several toppings such as peanut butter, jam, butter cheese and ham and vegetables.

 They are also very filling. You basically eat it just as you would eat bread.

Tea

cheap tea

Beverages do get expensive when you buy them ready to drink. If you however want the frugal option you will have to buy the tea bags and prepare them yourself.

 Remember you can remake tea with the same bag until the teabag stops coloring your hot water.

Another way to get this cheap food is to pick up leaves of berries for example. They can be dried and used for tea. 

Because tea is basically a boil of herbs, you could use herbs such as mint or thyme if you have and use it in your kitchen. 

Add hot water to the herbs and you have yourself some tea.

Canned soup

This is one cheap food eaten a lot in my household. Canned soup such as pea soup is sold for about €0.99 for 500g. 

It’s quick to prepare and all you have to do is add some water and allow it to boil. You could add some minced meat too.

Rice

Every household should have rice in its pantry. 

Rice can be boiled and served with sauce, It can also be prepared as fried rice, and Jollof (which is a West African dish). You can also make rice pudding with it.

Pizza

Pizza can be cheap food if it is made from scratch at home.

Check out how to make the dough at home with flour which is another cheap food ingredient.

For toppings, you can use any ingredient of your choice. It could be leftover protein and vegetables.

Chili

This is one cheap meal that is made from beans and minced meat. 

You can decide to use any beans you prefer. Add a can of tomatoes and your peppers and spices and you have a meal ready to be enjoyed

Tomato soup

The ingredients you will need for this soup are tomatoes, onions, pepper species, and some protein. 

Boil the ingredients till soft, blend all. You have soup to enjoy on a cold night.

Burgers

Making this at home from scratch is cheaper than buying it ready to eat. You need some bread, minced meat, cheese, and lettuce.

 Fry the meat with your choice of spice. Warm the bread spread mustard and ketchup on the beard. Add your meat and lettuce. Your burger is ready.

Berry Soup

The berry soup is a cheap dessert. In Finland, it is called Kiiseli. All you have to do is boil your berry of choice, it could be strawberry, blueberry, or cloudberry. If you want a recipe check it out here.

Crash the berry if you want and strain it if you want a smooth soup texture. 

Once it starts to boil, prepare your thickener with potato flour and water. Add to the boiling berry soup. 

Once it thickens it is ready to eat. Berry soup can be served hot, at room temperature or cold.

Potato soup

Another cheap food is potato soup. Peel your potatoes and put them in a cooking pot, add frozen vegetables, some protein, and salt and allow to boil till everything is soft.

Potato Casserole

500g of chopped potatoes with onions cost about €1,00. Add that to an oven-safe bowl. Add some cream and spices, and put a foil over it and place it in the oven.

Pancakes

Easy to make once you have these cheap food ingredients, flour, milk, and eggs. Usually served with jam and ice cream. Check out this recipe for Finnish pancakes.

Tortilla

They come in different sizes and cost less than €1.00 for 400g. You can warm them up in the microwave or in a hot pan and add your fillings.

Examples of fillings commonly used include, any protein of choice, some beans, cheese, and lettuce. 

The good part about this meal is that you are free to put whatever fillings you want into it.

 You could also have it for breakfast if you put fillings such as fried egg and cheese into it.

Cabbage

This is a cheap food that can be cooked in a variety of ways. It is also very filling. For less than €0.80 per kilogram, you can get yourself one.

I found that the easiest way to cook this cheap food is to cut it into thin slices and sautee it in oil with shredded carrots. 

Add a little salt for taste. It’s delicious. You could eat this with rice if you wanted to.

Dried Lentils

This is also another good one. This is inexpensive and the shelf life is also long.

You could boil it and add it as a side for your rice dishes or then you could use them for soups. You could even put them in your salads.

Apples

apples

This fruit is very affordable, and to be honest, it’s one of the main fruits I grab whenever I go grocery shopping. 

No matter the time of the year, they are always in the shop and priced moderately. 

Apples can be enjoyed just like that as a snack or you could bake them in the oven with oats and margarine and you have dessert.

Bottled Water

In some parts of the world, it’s safe to drink water from the tap. Find out if it’s safe to drink water from the tap where you live. 

If it’s not, invest in a filtering water pitcher. You can enjoy the water from your tap which you are already paying for once you filter it.

Minced meat

This inexpensive protein source is something that should be on your grocery list.

Depending on where you live and the grocery shop you purchase from as well as the amount of fat in the meat, the prices could differ.

When you want to use it as burger meat, it’s better to buy minced meat with a high-fat percentage. 

If you will be using it for stew or soup, for instance, it is better to buy one that has a low-fat percentage.

I buy this a lot because my toddlers prefer to eat meatballs than a piece of beef. It is softer and easy to chew.

Yogurt

 It is always advisable to buy them in large containers than individual small containers.

Where I live, 1kg of yogurt from Lidl costs €1,99. That’s a lot of yogurt in a container.

This can be enjoyed with fruits, granola, nuts, muesli, jam, berry soup, and sweeteners. 

The good thing about yogurts is that they can be eaten as breakfast, dinner, and as a snack.

Peppers

This is a good buy especially when they are in season. The cheapest Red paprika peppers cost €2,98 per kilogram where I live.

Sometimes they are not so cheap, depending on the country they were imported from, the store that is selling them, and if they are in season.

Peppers can be enjoyed stuffed with rice and cheese and minced meat and baked in the oven.

They can also be enjoyed as thin slices on bread with ham and lettuce and butter

Peanut Butter

The cheapest option I can find where I live is €2,08 for 350g. Peanut butter can be used in a variety of ways.

It can be spread on bread and enjoyed like that. It can also be used in baking. It can also be used for peanut soup and in curry dishes.

Beans

 A good source of protein that can be used as a side dish. It can also be the main dish and can be enjoyed with boiled rice or fried plantains. 

It can also be mashed and used to enjoy tortillas with salsa.

Cereal

The generic brands taste exactly like the branded named cereals. 

Store generic cereals are usually inexpensive compared to brand-name cereals. 

Enjoy them as breakfast with milk.

Milk

 A must-have in every household. It is a good source of fat, sodium, calcium, proteins, and fat.

 It can be used on its own or it can be used in baking, preparing pancakes. It can also be used with cereals.

Bread

homemade bread

Bread is a cheap staple in every home. You could either make it yourself or then you can buy it from the shop. 

Making it at home with your flour and yeast and oil will be cheaper. Here is a recipe to make easy bread at home.

Banana

Although it travels so far to get to the grocery stores near me, it is very cheap. A kilo is less than €1. 

It can be used in smoothies, eaten as a snack with peanut butter. It can also be eaten with yogurt or with pancakes.

Noodles

Another cheap food which is also easy to prepare. €0.60 for 60g. 

To prepare noodles, boil them in water and add spices of your choice. 

You can also add vegetables and some protein.

Sausages

Another cheap food to enjoy with anything of your choice. You can use sausages for stews to enjoy with rice. 

It can also be grilled or fried and enjoyed with potatoes.

Chips

Frozen potatoes chips are also an inexpensive food that can be prepared in the oven or fried. It can be paired with a protein source and some vegetables.

Carrots

 A kilo costs €0.99 in my area. It is rich in vitamins A, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and water. 

It can be enjoyed alone or you could use it in salads, sauteed with cabbage or use it in fried rice.

Planing before taking action

The first rule in getting cheap food is to go grocery shopping with a grocery list.

If you have a grocery list, it will also mean that you properly have planned the meals you will be cooking for the week or month.

Because you are prepared, the chances of overspending or buying random stuff are highly reduced.

Sales

Grocery shops most of the time have sales. It could be 50% off some ingredients in the shop. This is your chance to buy the food items you use often at home. 

Take advantage of such sales.

Join shop club membership programs

This comes with lots of benefits. Some shops would regularly organize sales for only their club members. 

It is usually free to join such programs. You will be issued a card or digital membership with which you can claim your discount once you are at checkout.

Take advantage of the cheaper grocery shops

There usually is a difference in price in food items in different grocery shops.

 If you want to eat cheap and healthy, pay attention to the different foods you buy from different grocery shops. 

After a while, you will notice which shop sells what at a cheaper price.

Conclusion

There are a lot of recipes out there on the internet that you can use to make delicious meals with these cheap foods. 

Depending on where in the world you live, some of these foods might not be cheap.

The aim of eating well on a tight budget is to find and purchase foods that are reasonably priced where you live. It might take a lot of planning to get it right.

Buying the ingredients might be the less difficult task, finding the recipes and loving the outcome of the food you have prepared is however where the challenge lies.

 So do well to adjust and modify recipes to suit your taste.

Other Articles you might like

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.