Cheap Grocery List 150+ Items: 17 Tips to Save More Money

Last updated on March 25th, 2024 at 04:49 pm

In this article, you’ll learn about making a cheap grocery list and why you should have it.

Inside your monthly household budget, one of the major expenses is food and groceries.

And as your family size increases, your food budget also climbs.

If you implement the right tips and strategies from meal planning, price comparison, and making a budget grocery list, you can save a lot of money.

The reason is that you not only avoid impulse purchases but also know how to wisely spend money on food and groceries. You get to know the insider tips and tricks to beat supermarkets in your favor.

So without further ado, let’s dive deeper into more details.


Why do you buy the cheapest foods and groceries?

If you’re thinking about why you create a cheap grocery list on a budget, then I’m going to share with you some common benefits, or, say, reasons. Here are 10 important reasons for it, and let’s understand each one:

1. Staying within budget constraints

Many individuals and families have limited financial resources and need to make their money stretch as far as possible. So if you’ve got a tight budget, then buying cheaper groceries can help you stay within your budget.

2. Economic Uncertainty

The ups and downs in an economy can create uncertainty about future income. For example, higher inflation or job losses During such times, you may opt for cheaper options to save more for potential financial challenges.

3. Cost of Living

The cost of living is different depending on the location or region. If you’re living in high-cost areas, you may opt for a cheap grocery list to satisfy other expenses like housing or transportation.

4. Fixed Income

People on fixed incomes, such as retirees, may have a strict budget. Choosing cheaper groceries can help them maintain their standard of living.

5. Student Budgets

Students often have limited funds due to tuition and other educational expenses. Buying cheaper groceries allows them to allocate more money toward their education.

6. Temporary financial hardships

During times of temporary financial downturn, like job loss or unexpected medical bills, you may temporarily cut costs with the help of buying cheap groceries.

7. Frugality

If you’ve chosen a frugal lifestyle as a personal choice, you may prioritize savings and financial discipline. Sometimes you’ve got enough money, but you choose to spend it wisely.

8. Environmental Concerns

A desire to reduce your environmental footprint can lead you to buy cheaper plant-based foods. They are often more sustainable and affordable than animal products.

9. Health Constraints

Dietary restrictions or health conditions may limit food choices. Cheaper options can help individuals adhere to their dietary needs without straining their budget.

10. Meal Planning and Cooking Skills

If you’ve got good meal planning and cooking skills, you can make cheaper ingredients go a long way. They can create nutritious and tasty meals using cost-effective staples.

Here in this post, the main focus is on helping you save more money while getting the right dose of nutrition.

Where can you buy cheap groceries?

So you’ve made a cheap grocery list but how do you find these budget groceries?

If finding cheap groceries is a priority for you to save money on food expenses, then you should know where to buy cheap groceries. Here is a list of the best places to buy cheap groceries:

1. Discount Supermarkets

Discount supermarkets like Aldi, Lidl, and Save-A-Lot are known for their lower prices. The reason is their limited selection of brands, smaller store footprints, and minimal frills. They often source their products directly from manufacturers, cutting down on wholesale costs.

Wholesale Clubs

Stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club require memberships but offer bulk products at discounted prices. This can be cost-effective for families or individuals who use items frequently and have space for storage.

2. Local Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets can provide fresh, locally grown produce at competitive prices. Since there are fewer middlemen between the farmer and the consumer, prices are reduced in comparison to some supermarket chains.

3. Online grocery retailers

Many online grocery retailers offer competitive prices and deals. Some, like Amazon Fresh or Walmart Grocery, offer delivery options that can save you time and transportation costs. You can keep an eye out for online promotions and discounts.

4. Warehouse Stores

Stores like Walmart and Target offer a wide range of products, including groceries, at competitive prices. They often run sales and promotions, and their house brands (e.g., Great Value or Up & Up) are typically more affordable than name brands.

5. Local Discount Stores

Discount stores such as Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree sell a variety of groceries at low prices. While their selections may be smaller than supermarkets, they can be an excellent source for affordable pantry staples.

6. Cooperative Grocery Stores

Some communities have cooperative grocery stores where members jointly own and operate the store. These stores often prioritize affordable and sustainable options and may offer discounts to members.

7. Outlet Stores

Some food manufacturers have outlet stores where they sell products at low prices, especially items near their expiration dates or with damaged packaging. They are the best places to find bargains on non-perishables.

8. Couponing and Discount Apps

Utilizing coupons and discount apps like Ibotta,, or Rakuten can make a big cut to your grocery bills. These tools offer cashback and discounts on various grocery-related items.

9. Local ethnic or specialty stores

Ethnic grocery stores, local bakeries, and specialty shops often offer unique and affordable ingredients. You can find spices, grains, and other staples at lower prices than in mainstream supermarkets.

10. Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Joining a CSA allows you to receive a regular supply of fresh, locally sourced produce at a set price. If you subscribe directly to farmers, you can often get seasonal produce at competitive rates.

11. Food banks and pantries

In times of financial challenges, food banks, and pantries can provide essential groceries and food items for free or at a deep discount to needy people. Check with local organizations to see if you qualify for that assistance.

When seeking cheap groceries, it’s important to compare prices, consider quality and nutritional value, and consider transportation costs. You can combine various shopping strategies, such as buying in bulk, using coupons, and shopping at discount stores. These tricks help you maximize your savings and build a balance between frugality and nutritional value.


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How do I buy groceries on a budget?

Now let’s understand how you can buy food items listed on your cheap grocery list on a budget.

Shopping for healthy groceries on a budget is challenging. If you follow some careful planning and tips, you can make nutritious food choices without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you shop for healthy groceries on a budget:

1. Plan your meals

Start by planning your meals for the week. Using meal planning, you can make a shopping list and avoid impulse buying. Plan meals based on ingredients on your shopping list to avoid food waste.

2. Create a budget

Set a budget for your groceries and stick to it. The budget helps you prioritize important spending over wants and avoid unnecessary ones.

3. Make a shopping list

Considering your meal plan, make a detailed shopping list. Organize it using major categories like fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy to make your trip more efficient.

4. Shop Seasonal Produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often more affordable and taste better. They are also likely to be fresher because they haven’t traveled as far.

5. Buy in bulk

Purchase non-perishable items in bulk when possible, such as rice, pasta, beans, and canned goods. This helps you save money in the long run.

6. Use coupons and discounts

Find discounts and coupons in newspapers, in-store circulars, online, or through loyalty programs. Use apps and websites that offer digital coupons or cashback on groceries.

7. Compare Prices

Compare prices per unit or ounce (unit pricing) to determine which brand or size has more value. Store brands or generic products are often more affordable and can be just as good as name brands.

8. Limit processed foods

Processed and convenience foods come with additional costs, including labor, fixed costs, and factory overhead. That’s why these items are more expensive and have less nutrition. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods like grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.

9. Reduce meat consumption

Meat is often an expensive item on your grocery list. The solution is to incorporate more plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, or tempeh into your diet.

10. Minimize Waste

Be mindful of food waste. Use leftovers creatively, and try to use up perishable items before they go bad. Freeze extra portions of meals to avoid waste.

11. Shop Online

Some online retailers offer competitive prices and discounts on groceries. You can often avoid impulse purchases by shopping online. It’s best to keep your cheap grocery list to yourself to avoid going overboard.

12. Avoid shopping hungry

It’s one of my favorite tips because I have made this mistake a lot of times. Shopping when you’re hungry can lead to impulse buying and unhealthy choices. The best tip is to eat a snack or anything else before going to the grocery store.

13. Stick to the perimeter

The perimeter of the grocery store typically contains fresh produce, meat, dairy, and other whole foods. Focus your shopping there to avoid processed foods.

14. Limit drinks and beverages

Beverages like soda, sugary drinks, and excessive juice can add up quickly. Opt for water and limit your intake of these expensive options. These juices and drinks are unhealthy if your intake is high or you have an addiction.

15. Cook at home

Eating out or ordering takeout is more expensive than cooking at home. The reason is that all labor and cooking costs are included. You can learn some basic cooking skills on YouTube to prepare affordable and healthy meals.

16. Consider frozen and canned options

Frozen and canned items are often more affordable than fresh and are just as nutritious. Just make sure to choose options without added salt or sugar.

17. Track your spending

Keep a record of your grocery expenses to help you stay within your budget and identify areas where you can save.

Remember that shopping for healthy groceries on a budget requires planning, discipline, and some creativity in the kitchen. With regular practice, you get better and better without ignoring your financial dreams.

A cheap grocery list of 150 food items

Here is your budget grocery list consisting of 150 items you can include in your meal plans:

Groceries ItemsGroceries ItemsGroceries Items
Ground BeefPotatoesApples
BananasCanned TunaPeanut Butter
CerealCanned SoupTomatoes (Canned)
OnionsCarrotsBell Peppers
Ground TurkeyCanned CornGreen Beans (Canned)
Peanut ButterFlourSugar
CoffeeTea BagsSpaghetti Sauce
Tortilla ChipsSalsaOlive Oil
Hot DogsHamburger BunsChicken Thighs
Pork ChopsFrozen VegetablesIce Cream
Frozen PizzaApplesauceSpaghetti
Macaroni and CheeseCanned BeansGround Pork
TofuBrown RiceQuinoa
HoneyVinegarSalad Dressing
Romaine LettuceSpinachGreen Grapes
Red GrapesPeachesPineapple
Sunflower SeedsPopcornRaisins
ThymeCinnamonVanilla Extract
Baking PowderBaking SodaChicken Wings
Pork SausageGround ChickenGround Lamb
Canned PeasAsparagusBrussels Sprouts
PistachiosCashewsMacadamia Nuts
PecansGround BisonCanned Salmon
Canned PineappleCanned PeachesMangoes
Butternut SquashCoconutSpaghetti Squash
Ground VealGround ElkGround Rabbit
Ground QuailGround OstrichGround Kangaroo
Ground Wild BoarCanned Cranberry SauceKiwi
Black BeansRed BeansGreen Lentils
Orange JuiceApple JuiceGrape Juice
Cranberry JuiceLemonadeIced Tea
Canned Black OlivesCanned Green OlivesCanned Pickles
Canned JalapeñosCanned Artichoke HeartsCanned Baby Corn
Canned Water ChestnutsCanned Bamboo ShootsCanned Pinto Beans
Canned Kidney BeansCanned White BeansCanned Chickpeas
Canned Lima BeansCanned Mixed VegetablesCanned Mushrooms

So you have a cheap grocery list of 150 plus items you can purchase to save more money. In the future, I’ll add more items to this list so that you’ve more choices for buying nutritious food.

How Do You Plan Meals on a Tight Budget?

You can use the above cheap grocery list to plan your meals. Meal planning is a smart way to stretch your food dollars and make the most of what you have. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Assess your budget

Determining how much you can realistically spend on food for the week or month. It’s the foundation of your meal planning.

2. Inventory Your Kitchen

Review your current stock of pantry items, fridges, and freezers to see what is remaining. Use up items that are close to their expiration dates to minimize waste.

3. Plan your meals

Take a piece of paper and sit down to plan meals for the next week. Consider what you have on hand and what ingredients you need to buy. Focus on simple recipes with affordable ingredients.

4. Create a cheap grocery list

Considering your meal plan, make a detailed grocery shopping list. Stick to it while shopping to avoid impulse purchases that shorten your budget.

5. Embrace staple foods

Build your meals around affordable staples like rice, pasta, beans, lentils, and oats. These items are versatile and budget-friendly.

6. Buy in bulk

Purchase non-perishable items like grains, canned goods, and spices in bulk. This often comes with cost savings over time.

7. Opt for frozen and canned produce

Fresh produce is great, but frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious and cost-effective. Their shelf life is longer as compared to perishable goods.

8. Choose seasonal and local produce

Seasonal and locally grown produce tends to be cheaper and fresher. Find local farmers’ markets for better prices and deals.

9. Cook meal in advance

Cook in batches and prepare meals in advance. This helps you have portion control and reduces the temptation to eat out or order takeout.

10. Use leftovers creatively.

Don’t let leftovers go to waste. Incorporate them into the next day’s meals or repurpose them into new dishes.

11. Limit Convenience Foods

Pre-packaged and convenience foods are often more expensive. Cooking from scratch can save you money.

12. Avoid eating out

Dining out or ordering takeout can quickly drain your budget. Reserve these occasions for special treats.

13. Snack Wisely

Snacks can add up. Opt for budget-friendly, healthy options like fruit, yogurt, or homemade snacks like popcorn.

14. Cook in bulk

Cook meals in larger quantities and freeze some portions for eating later. This is especially helpful for busy days when cooking from scratch isn’t the right decision.

15. Use coupons and discounts

Keep an eye out for coupons, digital deals, and discounts on items you regularly buy.

16. Stay Flexible

Stay open to adjusting your meal plan based on what’s on sale or any unexpected bargains you find at the store.

17. Track your spending

Keep a record of your food expenses to ensure you stay within your budget. Adjust your meal planning if necessary.

18. Seek out community resources

If available, consider food assistance programs, community gardens, or food banks to supplement your groceries.

If you follow these tips, you can make the most of your tight budget while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals. Planning and being mindful of your spending is key to successful budget meal planning.


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How to Make a List of Frugal Meals?

Creating a list of frugal meals is a practical way to save money on food while still enjoying tasty and satisfying dishes. Here’s how you can make your list of budget-friendly meals:

1. Review your budget

First, assess your budget to determine how much you can allocate for groceries and meals. This will help you set money-spending constraints.

2. Compile a List of Ingredients

Make a list of affordable ingredients you commonly use or that are readily available at your local stores. These should include staples like rice, pasta, beans, and vegetables.

3. Research Recipes

Look for recipes that use these budget-friendly ingredients. Focus on dishes that require minimal specialty items and can be made with what you have on hand.

4. Plan balanced meals

Ensure your list includes a variety of meal options, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Balance your list with proteins, vegetables, grains, and fruits.

5. Prioritize one-pot meals

Meals that can be cooked in a single pot or pan are not only budget-friendly but also reduce cleanup. Think of dishes like stir-fries, soups, stews, and casseroles.

6. Embrace vegetarian options

Plant-based meals are often more affordable than meat-based ones. Consider vegetarian or vegan recipes that incorporate legumes and grains.

7. Reuse Ingredients

Look for recipes that share common ingredients. This helps reduce waste and save money by using up items before they go bad.

8. Utilize Leftovers

Plan meals that can use leftovers from previous dishes. For example, roast a whole chicken one night and use the leftovers for sandwiches or soup the next day.

9. Explore ethnic cuisines

Many international cuisines have budget-friendly dishes. Explore Mexican, Indian, Thai, or Mediterranean recipes that use affordable ingredients in creative ways.

10. DIY convenience foods

Instead of buying pre-packaged convenience foods, make your own. For example, prepare your granola, salad dressings, or frozen burritos.

11. Buy in bulk

Purchase ingredients in bulk when possible to take advantage of cost savings. Just ensure that you’ve got a proper place to store them so they stay fresh for longer.

12. Reduce meat consumption

Incorporate more meatless meals into your cheap grocery list. Beans, lentils, tofu, and eggs are excellent sources of protein that are more affordable than meat.

13. Minimize takeout and dining out

Avoid eating out or ordering takeout as much as possible. Allocate a portion of your budget for occasional treats rather than making it a regular expense.

14. Use coupons and discounts

Keep an eye out for coupons, digital deals, and store discounts to save even more on your grocery bill.

15. Rotate Meals

Plan a weekly or monthly rotation of frugal meals to keep your menu fresh and prevent meal fatigue.

16. Stay Flexible

Be open to substitutions and adjustments based on what’s on sale or in-season. Flexibility in your meal planning can lead to additional savings.

17. Track your savings

Keep a record of how much you’re saving by following your list of frugal meals. When you see your progress, you get motivated to stick to your budget.

Creating a list of frugal meals tailored to your preferences and budget can help you eat well while saving money. Remember that with a little creativity and planning, you can enjoy a variety of delicious and budget-friendly dishes.

Cheap Grocery List for Pantry Items

Creating a cheap grocery list for pantry items is a smart way to stock your kitchen with essentials while staying within your budget. Here’s a list of affordable pantry staples to consider:

1. Grains and cereals

  • Rice (white or brown)
  • Pasta (various shapes)
  • Oats (rolled or quick oats)
  • Quinoa
  • Cornmeal
  • Ramen noodles
  • Flour (all-purpose)
  • Bread (stored in the freezer for a longer shelf life)
  • Cereal (choose generic or store brands)
  • Instant rice or pasta side dishes

2. Legumes

  • Canned beans (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas)
  • Dried beans (lentils, split peas)
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned or dried peas
  • Canned or dried lentils

3. Canned Goods

  • Canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, sauce)
  • Canned vegetables (corn, green beans, peas)
  • Canned tuna or canned chicken
  • Canned fruit (in water or juice)
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Canned soups (look for sales and discounts)
  • Evaporated milk (for cooking)
  • Condensed soup (for casseroles)

4. Cooking Oils and Conditions

  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil (if affordable)
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar (white and apple cider)
  • Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise (generic brands)
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper

5. Baking Supplies

  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Sugar (granulated and brown)
  • Honey or maple syrup (inexpensive brands)
  • Vanilla extract (small bottle)
  • Cake or brownie mix (when on sale)

6. Herbs and spices

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves (small quantity)
  • Red pepper flakes

7. Nuts and seeds (in moderation)

  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanut butter

8. Miscellaneous Pantry Items

  • Canned or powdered milk (for cooking)
  • Pancake mix
  • Canned pumpkin (for soups and baking)
  • Jellies or jams (generic brands)
  • Instant coffee or tea bags
  • Popcorn kernels (for a low-cost snack)
  • Instant pudding or gelatin mix
  • Bouillon cubes or granules

Cheap Grocery List for Produce

Creating a cheap grocery list for produce can help you maintain a healthy diet while stretching your budget. Here’s a list of affordable fruits and vegetables to include in your diet:

9. Fresh Fruits

  • Bananas
  • Apples (choose affordable varieties)
  • Oranges
  • Canned fruit (in water or juice)
  • Grapes (when on sale)
  • Lemons or limes (for flavoring and cooking)
  • Watermelon (in season)
  • Pears (when in season)
  • Plums (when in season)
  • Kiwi (when on sale)

10. Fresh Vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Potatoes (white or sweet)
  • Onions
  • Cabbage (affordable and versatile)
  • Canned vegetables (corn, green beans, peas)
  • Cucumbers (when in season)
  • Bell peppers (choose affordable colors)
  • Zucchini or summer squash (in season)
  • Tomatoes (when in season)
  • Spinach or kale (check for deals)
  • Canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
  • Frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, mixed vegetables)

11. Dried Fruits

  • Raisins
  • Dates (for snacking and baking)
  • Prunes or dried plums

12. Frozen Fruits

  • Frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • mixed frozen fruits
  • Frozen fruit medley (for smoothies)

13. Herbs and seasonings (to enhance flavor)

  • Garlic (fresh or minced in a jar)
  • Ginger (fresh or ground)
  • Parsley (dried or fresh)
  • Basil (dried or fresh)
  • Oregano (dried or fresh)
  • Cilantro (if affordable)

14. Cooking Staples

  • Garlic powder (for convenience)
  • Onion powder (for convenience)
  • Lemon or lime juice (bottled)
  • Salt and pepper (for seasoning)

15. Miscellaneous Produce

  • Avocado (when on sale)
  • Mushrooms (choose affordable varieties)
  • Celery (for soups and snacks)
  • Broccoli (when on sale)
  • Cauliflower (when on sale)
  • Green beans (fresh or frozen)
  • Squash (seasonal varieties)
  • Beets (when in season)

When shopping for produce on a budget, consider seasonal items, as they are often more affordable and fresher. Additionally, look for sales, discounts, and bulk options. Buying loose produce instead of pre-packaged items is more cost-effective. Lastly, check out local farmers’ markets for deals on fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables when available.


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Cheap Grocery List for Dairy Items

Creating a budget-friendly grocery list for dairy items is another important part. Here’s a list of affordable dairy items you can consider:

16. Milk and Milk Alternatives

  • Regular cow’s milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
  • Long-life or powdered milk (for extended shelf life)
  • Shelf-stable almond milk or soy milk (check for sales)

17. Eggs

  • Eggs (look for deals on larger quantities)

18. Cheeses

  • Block cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or Swiss)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese (generic brands)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)

19. Yogurt

  • Plain yogurt (buy in larger containers to save)
  • Greek yogurt (store brands or larger containers)
  • Flavored yogurt (opt for budget-friendly options)

20. Butter and margarine

  • Butter (store brands or generic)
  • Margarine (if preferred)

21. Sour cream and creamer

  • Sour cream (store brands)
  • Coffee creamer (powdered or liquid)

22. Dairy Alternatives

  • Generic or store-brand dairy-free milk alternatives (almond, soy, oat, etc.)
  • Vegan cheeses (when on sale)
  • Non-dairy yogurt (budget-friendly options)

23. Frozen dairy items

  • Frozen yogurt (store brands or sales)
  • Ice cream (generic or budget-friendly brands)

24. Pudding and Jello Mixes

  • Pudding mix (generic brands)
  • Jello or gelatin mix (budget options)

25. Canned dairy items

  • Evaporated milk (for cooking)
  • Condensed milk (for baking)
  • Canned whipped cream (for desserts)

Cheap Grocery List for Meat and Freezed Items

Here’s a list of frugal options for your freezer:

26. Meat

  • Chicken thighs or drumsticks (often cheaper than breasts)
  • Whole chicken (for roasting and using leftovers)
  • Ground beef (lean or regular, depending on your preference)
  • Ground turkey (for a leaner option)
  • Pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
  • Pork shoulder or butt (for slow cooking)
  • Chicken wings (great for appetizers or snacks)
  • Chicken quarters (often budget-friendly)
  • Frozen meatballs (store brands or sales)
  • Canned tuna or salmon (for salads and sandwiches)

27. Frozen Seafood

  • Frozen fish fillets (economical options)
  • Frozen shrimp (when on sale)
  • Frozen fish sticks or fish portions (budget-friendly seafood)
  • Canned sardines or mackerel (inexpensive and nutritious)

28. Processed meats (in moderation)

  • Bacon (look for sales or store brands)
  • Sausages (generic brands or when on sale)
  • Hot dogs (budget-friendly options)

29. Frozen Vegetables

  • Frozen mixed vegetables (great for stir-fries)
  • Spinach or kale frozen (for smoothies or sides)
  • Frozen broccoli, cauliflower, or peas (when on sale)

30. Fruits (frozen)

  • Frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.)
  • Frozen fruit medley (for smoothies)

31. Frozen Breakfast Items

  • Frozen waffles or pancakes (budget-friendly brands)
  • Frozen breakfast burritos (store brands or when on sale)
  • Frozen hash browns (generic or discounted)

32. Frozen prepared meals (in moderation)

  • Frozen pizza (budget-friendly options)
  • Frozen lasagna (store brands or sales)
  • Frozen entrees (look for discounts)

33. Bread and baked goods

  • Bread (store brands or, when on sale, store in the freezer)
  • Bagels (look for budget-friendly packs)
  • English muffins (generic brands or discounts)

34. Desserts and treats

  • Frozen dessert novelties (generic brands)
  • Frozen pies (store brands or when discounted)
  • Frozen cookie dough (for homemade cookies)

You can also buy meat and frozen items in bulk to take advantage of sales and discounts. Frozen items can be especially cost-effective when purchased in larger quantities. Additionally, check unit prices to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

10 Best Meals to Make on a Tight Budget

Here are some meal ideas that you can make on a tight budget. These recipes are not only cost-effective but also delicious and nutritious.

1. Spaghetti, Aglio, and Olio

  • Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.
  • In a pan, sauté minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant.
  • Toss cooked pasta in the garlic-infused oil, add red pepper flakes for some heat, and garnish with chopped parsley. Optionally, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

2. Rice and beans

  • Cook rice and set it aside.
  • In a separate pot, sauté onions and garlic in oil until softened.
  • Add canned black or pinto beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and spices like cumin and chili powder.
  • Boil until heated through, and serve by adding rice.

3. Vegetable Stir-Fry

  • Sauté mixed frozen vegetables in a pan with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.
  • Serve over cooked rice or noodles. Add a scrambled egg or tofu for extra protein.

4. Potato Soup

  • Boil peeled and diced potatoes until tender.
  • Sauté onions in a pot, add the cooked potatoes and cover with water.
  • Simmer and blend until smooth, adding salt, pepper, and a touch of milk for creaminess.

5. Tuna Salad Sandwiches

  • Mix canned tuna with mayonnaise, diced pickles, and a bit of mustard.
  • Spread the mixture on bread slices, add lettuce or spinach, and make sandwiches.

6. Vegetable Omelette

  • Whisk the eggs and pour them into a heated, oiled pan.
  • Add sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes) and cheese.
  • Now turn the omelet in half and cook until set.

7. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain bread.
  • Add banana slices and honey for extra flavor.

8. Tomato and lentil soup

  • Put sautéd onions and garlic in a pot with cooking oil.
  • Add canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth, and spices (such as cumin and paprika).
  • Simmer until lentils are tender, and blend for a creamy soup.

9. Baked potatoes with toppings

  • Bake the potatoes until tender.
  • Top with budget-friendly options like butter, sour cream, grated cheese, and canned chili.

10. Veggie Quesadillas

Spread refried beans on tortillas, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and add sautéed onions, bell peppers, and corn. Fold in half and cook in a skillet until crispy and the cheese is melted.

A cheap grocery list for a month (13 Items)

Creating a budget grocery list for a month can help you save money while ensuring you have enough food to sustain yourself. Here’s a list of affordable items to consider, tailored for a month:

1. Proteins

  • Ground beef or turkey (buy in bulk and freeze)
  • Whole chicken (used for multiple meals)
  • Canned tuna or salmon
  • Eggs (buy in larger quantities for cost savings)

2. Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

  • Milk (choose the largest size for value)
  • Cheese (block or shredded for versatility)
  • Yogurt (larger containers or multipacks)
  • Non-dairy milk (store brands or larger containers)

3. Grains and cereals

  • Rice (white or brown)
  • Pasta (various shapes)
  • Oats (rolled or quick oats)
  • Bread (stored in the freezer to extend shelf life)
  • Cereal (generic or store brands)

4. Legumes

  • Canned beans (black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas)
  • Dried beans (lentils, split peas)
  • Peanut butter

5. Canned Goods

  • Canned tomatoes (diced, crushed, sauce)
  • Canned vegetables (corn, green beans, peas)
  • Canned fruit (in water or juice)
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Canned soups (budget-friendly options)
  • Condensed milk (for cooking)

6. Fresh Produce     

  • Potatoes (white or sweet)
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Apples (choose affordable varieties)
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Cabbage (versatile and budget-friendly)
  • Bell peppers (choose affordable colors)

7. Frozen Items

  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Frozen spinach or kale
  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies)
  • Frozen chicken or fish (buy in bulk when on sale)

8. Herbs and seasonings

  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cumin

9. Cooking Oils and Conditions

  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil (affordable options)
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar (white and apple cider)
  • Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise (store brands)
  • Hot sauce

10. Snacks and extras

  • Popcorn kernels (for a low-cost snack)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly or jam (generic or store brands)
  • Instant coffee or tea bags

11. Baking Supplies

  • Flour (all-purpose)
  • Sugar (granulated and brown)
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cake or brownie mix (when on sale)

12. Nuts and seeds

  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds

13. Desserts and treats

  • Frozen dessert novelties (generic brands)
  • Chocolate or candy (budget-friendly options)
  • Instant pudding or gelatin mix

List of 15 Cheap Breakfast Ideas

Here’s a list of budget-friendly breakfast ideas that are both delicious and economical:

1. Oatmeal

  • Old-fashioned oats or quick oats cooked with water or milk
  • Add toppings like sliced bananas, raisins, honey, or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

2. Yogurt Parfait

  • Layer yogurt with granola and fresh or frozen berries.
  • Use store-brand yogurt and granola to save money.

3. Peanut Butter Toast

  • Spread peanut butter on whole-grain toast.
  • For extra flavor, you can add sliced bananas or a drizzle of honey.

4. Scrambled Eggs

  • Whisk eggs, cook in a pan, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Optional: Add diced vegetables or cheese.

5. Breakfast Burrito

  • Scramble eggs with sautéed onions, bell peppers, and cheese.
  • Wrap it in a tortilla for a filling breakfast.

6. Homemade Pancakes

  • Make your pancake batter from scratch using flour, milk, eggs, and a touch of sugar.
  • Top with syrup or affordable fruit preserves.

7. Cereal and milk

  • Choose budget-friendly cereal options and pair them with milk.
  • Look for larger cereal boxes for better value.

8. Rice Pudding

  • Cook rice with milk, sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon until creamy.
  • Enjoy a warm or cold breakfast.

9. Breakfast Smoothie

  • Blend frozen fruit, yogurt, and a bit of milk or juice.
  • Add a spoonful of peanut butter for extra protein.

10. Bagel with Cream Cheese

  • Toast a plain bagel and spread cream cheese on top.
  • You can also add sliced cucumber and tomatoes.

11. English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

  • Top a toasted English muffin with a fried egg, cheese, and a slice of ham or bacon.

12. Cereal Bars

  • Make your cereal bars using oats, honey, peanut butter, and dried fruit.

13. Leftovers

  • Don’t hesitate to eat leftover dinner as a budget-friendly breakfast option.

14. Banana Bread

  • Bake a loaf of banana bread using ripe bananas, flour, sugar, and eggs.
  • Slice and enjoy for breakfast throughout the week.

15. Breakfast Tacos

  • Fill tortillas with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, and cheese.

These breakfast ideas are easy to prepare and won’t break the bank. With a little creativity and planning, you can enjoy a variety of delicious and frugal morning meals.

List of 17 Cheap Lunch Ideas

Here’s a list of budget-friendly lunch ideas that are not only economical but also tasty and satisfying:

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

  • Spread peanut butter and jelly between two slices of bread.
  • Opt for store-brand ingredients to save money.

2. Rice and beans

  • Combine cooked rice with canned black beans or pinto beans.
  • Season with spices like chili powder and cumin.

3. Pasta Salad

  • Cook pasta and mix it with diced vegetables, Italian dressing, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  • Add canned tuna or chicken for extra protein.

4. Grilled Cheese Sandwich

  • Make a classic grilled cheese sandwich with affordable bread and cheese.
  • Pair with a side of tomato soup if desired.

5. Leftovers

  • Repurpose last night’s dinner as a quick and cost-effective lunch option.

6. Ramen Noodles with Vegetables

  • Cook ramen noodles and add frozen mixed vegetables.
  • To reduce sodium, you can use half of the seasoning packet.

7. Tuna Salad Sandwich

  • Mix canned tuna with mayonnaise, diced pickles, and a bit of mustard.
  • Spread on bread with lettuce or spinach.

8. Homemade Quesadillas

  • Fill tortillas with shredded cheese, sautéed onions, and bell peppers.
  • Cook to the point where the cheese melts down and the tortillas turn a golden brown color.

9. Egg Salad Sandwich

  • Make egg salad by mixing chopped hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise and mustard.
  • Serve on bread or in a wrap.

10. Veggie Wrap

  • Fill a tortilla with hummus, sliced cucumbers, carrots, and bell peppers.
  • Roll it up and enjoy a healthy and affordable lunch.

11. Canned Soup

  • Choose budget-friendly canned soups and heat them for a quick lunch.
  • Pair with crackers or bread.

12. Baked Potato

  • Bake potatoes and top them with budget-friendly toppings like butter, sour cream, and grated cheese.

13. Tofu Stir-Fry

  • Sauté tofu and mix frozen vegetables with soy sauce and ginger.
  • Serve over cooked rice or noodles.

14. BLT Sandwich

  • Make a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with affordable ingredients.
  • Use store-brand bacon to save.

15. Chickpea Salad

  • Combine canned chickpeas with diced vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings.
  • Serve as a salad or in a pita.

16. Pizza Bagels

  • Top halved bagels with tomato sauce and shredded cheese.
  • Add the toppings you love and broil until it becomes bubbly.

17. Budget-Friendly Salad

  • Create a salad with affordable greens like iceberg lettuce or romaine.
  • Add canned beans, diced tomatoes, and a simple vinaigrette dressing.

These lunch ideas are not only easy on the wallet but also allow for variety and flexibility in your daily meals. Tweak them to your preferences and enjoy a satisfying lunch without extra expense.

List of 17 Cheap Dinner Ideas

Here’s a list of budget-friendly dinner ideas that are cheap and delicious:

1. Spaghetti, Aglio, and Olio

Cook spaghetti and toss with sautéed garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

2. Baked chicken thighs

Season chicken thighs with pepper, paprika, and salt.

Bake until golden brown, and serve with steamed vegetables and rice or potatoes.

3. Vegetarian Chili

Make a hearty chili with canned beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, and vegetables.

Top with shredded cheese and serve with cornbread.

4. Vegetable Stir-Fry

Sauté mixed vegetables with soy sauce and ginger.

Serve over rice or noodles for a quick and budget-friendly dinner.

5. Tuna Casserole

Mix canned tuna with cooked pasta, canned peas, and a creamy sauce.

Top with crushed crackers and bake until golden.

6. Budget-Friendly Tacos

Make tacos with ground beef or turkey, taco seasoning, and budget-friendly toppings like lettuce, cheese, and salsa.

7. Homemade Pizza

Create homemade pizza using store-bought pizza dough or pita bread.

On top, sprinkle cheese, tomato sauce, and your favorite toppings.

8. Lentil Soup

Cook lentils with canned tomatoes, onions, and spices.

Serve with crusty bread for a filling and affordable dinner.

9. Veggie Omelette

Whisk eggs and cook with sautéed vegetables and cheese.

Fold into an omelet and serve with toast.

10. Baked potatoes with toppings

Bake potatoes and top with budget-friendly options like butter, sour cream, and canned chili.

11. Fried Rice

Sauté leftover rice with frozen mixed vegetables, soy sauce, and scrambled eggs.

12. BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow-cook chicken with barbecue sauce until tender.

Serve on budget-friendly buns with coleslaw.

13. Budget-Friendly Spaghetti Carbonara

Cook spaghetti and toss with a sauce made from eggs, grated cheese, and cooked bacon or pancetta.

14. Canned Soup and Grilled Cheese

budget-friendly canned soup served with grilled cheese sandwiches.

15. Mexican Rice and Beans

Cook rice with canned black beans, salsa, and spices.

Serve with tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream.

16. Budget-Friendly Stir-Fried Noodles

Sauté cooked noodles with mixed vegetables and a simple soy sauce and garlic sauce.

17. Stuffed bell peppers

Fill bell peppers with a mixture of cooked rice, ground beef or turkey, canned tomatoes, and spices.

Bake until the peppers are tender.

These dinner ideas are not only frugal but offer a variety of flavors and cuisines to enjoy without overspending. Adjust the recipes to fit your preferences and dietary needs while keeping your budget in mind.


59 Ways on How to Save Money Even If You Find it Difficult

18 Tips to Find Cheap Groceries

Finding cheap groceries can help you save more money while enjoying nutritious meals. Here are some amazing tips to find affordable groceries:

1. Create a shopping list

Plan your meals for the whole week and make a detailed grocery shopping list. Stick to it to avoid impulse purchases. You can pick items from the above cheap grocery list so that your job is easy.

2. Shop sales and discounts

Check store flyers, websites, and mobile apps for weekly sales and promotions. Buy items that are on sale or offered at a discount.

3. Use Coupons

Find store loyalty programs, discounts on coupon sites, and coupons in daily newspapers. They can save you more money at some stores.

Use digital coupons on store apps to save even more.

4. Buy generic or store brands.

Generic or store brands are often less expensive than name brands and are of comparable quality. Try them to check if you like those items.

5. Buy in bulk

You can buy non-perishable or pantry items in bulk to save money in the long run. You’ve got to be mindful of their expiration date and how much storage space you have.

6. Shop at discount stores

Consider shopping at discount grocery stores or warehouse clubs for lower prices on bulk items.

7. Purchase seasonal produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically cheaper and fresher. Check local farmers’ markets for budget-friendly produce.

8. Compare unit prices

Look at the unit price (price per ounce or pound) on shelf tags to compare different package sizes and brands.

9. Avoid convenience foods

Pre-packaged and convenience foods are often more expensive than cooking from scratch. Cook your food to save money.

10. Shop Online

Some online grocery retailers offer competitive prices and discounts. Consider online grocery shopping for convenience and savings.

11. Join rewards programs

Sign up for grocery store loyalty programs to earn discounts and rewards on your purchases.

12. Buy frozen and canned goods

Frozen fruits and vegetables can be cost-effective and have a longer shelf life. Canned goods, like beans and tomatoes, are also budget-friendly.

13. Limit impulse purchases

Avoid shopping when hungry or in a rush to reduce impulse buys. Stick to your list and budget.

14. Use cashback apps

Utilize cashback apps that offer rebates on grocery purchases. Scan your receipts to earn cash back on eligible items.

15. Shop at Discount Times

Some stores discount items nearing their expiration dates. Shop during these times to find reduced-priced items.

16. Reduce food waste

Plan meals to use up ingredients you already have to minimize food waste. Properly store your perishable groceries so their freshness lasts for longer.

17. Price Match

Some stores offer price-matching policies where they match competitors’ prices on the same items.

18. Take advantage of bulk bins

Buy items like grains, nuts, and spices from bulk bins to save money on packaging.

16 Tips: How can you cut back on your grocery expenses?

Cutting down on your grocery expenses is easy if you follow a few strategic steps. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Plan your meals

Plan your meals before going shopping for the week. This will help you buy only what you need and avoid food waste.

2. Create a shopping list

Write down a full cheap grocery list for shopping according to your meal plan. Stick to the list while purchasing items to prevent impulse buying.

3. Set a budget

Determine a budget for your groceries and try your best to stick to it. This helps you mindfully choose grocery items.

4. Buy generic brands

Consider buying store brands or generic labels for non-perishable items. They are often less expensive and of similar quality to name brands.

5. Shop sales and discounts

Keep an eye on store flyers, websites, and apps for weekly sales and promotions. Use these deals to your benefit when possible.

6. Use coupons and rewards programs

Try to find coupons on online coupon sites, newspapers, and store loyalty programs. These can lead to significant savings.

7. Buy in bulk

Purchase non-perishable items in bulk to reduce the cost per unit. Just be sure to check expiration dates and have adequate storage.

8. Choose seasonal produce

Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season, as they are usually more affordable and fresher.

9. Limit convenience foods

Pre-packaged and convenience foods are often more expensive. Try cooking from scratch to save money.

10. Shop Online

Explore online grocery retailers, which may offer competitive prices and discounts.

11. Compare unit prices

Pay attention to the unit price (price per ounce or pound) on shelf tags to select the most cost-effective options.

12. Avoid impulse purchases

Refrain from shopping when hungry or in a hurry to minimize impulse buys. Stick to your list and budget.

13. Reduce food waste

Plan meals that use ingredients you already have in your pantry and refrigerator. Store perishable groceries properly to extend their shelf life.

14. Price Match

Some stores have price-matching policies. Take advantage of this to get the best prices on your items.

15. Use cashback apps

Utilize cashback apps that offer rebates on grocery purchases. Scan your receipts to earn cash back on eligible items.

16. Shop Discount Times

Some stores discount items nearing their expiration dates. Shop during these times to find reduced-priced items.

Final Thoughts

So you have a cheap grocery list of 150 food items along with meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You can use this on-budget grocery list and other tips discussed above to save more money and minimize your food budget.

All of the above discussion is helpful for you whether your budget is tight or you want to save more money.

So now it’s your turn to use these tips for your benefit.

Ahmad Ali