11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

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I have 11 foods to buy on a cheap budget today. Mark and I went to Costco yesterday and nearly choked over the price of steaks. We went there for some other items, but people were grabbing those packaged ribeye steaks like no tomorrow.

Yes, they were probably going to barbecue them for the weekend, I get it. But the price for 3 steaks was $91.00. They were beautiful and marbled throughout. I just couldn’t believe the price was over $21.00 per pound.

I could almost feel my cholesterol going up just looking at those beauties! There is nothing better than a juicy tender barbecued steak.

Unless it costs $30.00 or less per package and I get to cook it myself. Nope, it’s not going to happen. So, today, let’s get real, my friends. Unless we have a cow, or a pig, or some chickens in our yard, we may need to cut back on meat.

Those of you who raise your own meat, I applaud you. I would love to do that, but it’s not realistic in my stage of life at this time and at my location.

There are still options to properly feed our family, slash our grocery bill, and eat healthy at the same time. A bonus is having a garden, of course. Then we can supplement our grocery budget with fresh vegetables from right out our back door.

I love my Aerogarden, I’m saving to purchase a second one. In case you missed this post, Growing Fresh Lettuce Indoors Year-Round. I still have lettuce growing in the unit and we eat a salad almost every single night with tomatoes from our garden.

My Favorite Pans for these Items

11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

1. Rice

Do you love a bowl of sticky rice? Mark and I eat rice almost every night because we love it. It’s easy to make a big batch ahead of time and bag the leftovers into a few meals for the week. We make fried rice, rice bowls with vegetables, and top them off with teriyaki sauce.

Open a can of mandarin oranges and that rice is now even better with those small oranges on top.

Read More of My Articles  9 Sweet Shelf-Stable Sweeteners to Prep

You can make burritos with rice and beans for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. That’s why I always stock salsa, lots of it. Tacos are great with some rice added to the beans. It will stretch your budget, and your family will enjoy a different flavor to boot.

2. Beans/Lentils

I love beans, they can be dry or in cans. My favorite beans are pinto beans, followed by black beans, and lentils taste great in soups. We can make lentil tacos, bean tacos, or a combination of beans and lentils in tostadas. In case you missed this post, Lentils: Everything You Need to Know.

3. Oats

We can use oats for a bowl of hot oatmeal and add some of our dehydrated fruits to it and our bellies are full! I used to add oatmeal to my hamburgers to stretch the patties a bit further. And who doesn’t love oatmeal muffins, right?

4. Pasta

When I had kids at home we had spaghetti once a week, a pasta salad another night, and casseroles with pasta. My homemade soup always had pasta in it. Back in the day, it would have been elbow macaroni, spaghetti noodles, or lasagna. Life was good with pasta, spaghetti sauce, and grated cheese.

5. Bananas

If there was ever a great deal on fruits, it’s bananas, right? Mark and I pile them high every week when we pick up milk at the grocery store for his cold cereal. I’m sure people wonder why we buy so many, but I also like them in smoothies and on ice cream. Life is good with a bowl of ice cream and bananas.

6. Spinach

The great thing about spinach is you can get a HUGE container of organic baby spinach for about $3.00 – $4.00 and it goes really far. We like it in soups, quiches, salads, and smoothies. Just think of all the nutrients in that spinach!

I understand some people who are on blood thinners can’t have spinach, at least that’s my understanding. This is my very favorite spinach salad, The Best Spinach Bowtie Pasta Salad

7. Eggs

Mark and I grew up eating bacon and eggs for breakfast. Not a lot of bacon, more eggs, but still our breakfasts were awesome. I’m not sure when it changed, but now it’s scrambled eggs or quiches with a little bit of leftover ham or bacon. Or it may be no meat at all, just homemade bread with butter works with scrambled eggs, right?

8. Peanut Butter

What’s better than a peanut butter and jam sandwich? Did you notice I didn’t say peanut butter and jelly? I like the jams with chunks of fruit, that’s how I roll. We started buying smaller jars of peanut butter and jam because our family is now down to two people and we want the jams to stay as fresh as possible once the container is opened.

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I remember raising our girls and we bought #10 cans of peanut butter, I actually miss those days.

9. Canned Meat

Do you love tuna or chicken salad sandwiches? We add mayo or Miracle Whip to the can of drained meat and mix it up. If you have bread and butter pickles it’s the best meal ever. We usually add some of our favorite chips too. Mark loves those with a BBQ flavor!

10. Frozen Vegetables

It’s really awesome when I see the mid-week ads in the mailbox show frozen vegetables for $1.00 a bag. You can keep them in the freezer or dehydrate them if you have a dehydrator.

They are great as side dishes or add the dehydrated veggies to a pot of soup. One of my favorite frozen vegetables is chopped onions. When I want to make tacos, sloppy joes, or soup, the chopped onions are ready to go. No slicing, chopping, or watery eyes.

11. Flour

Today, I want to really ask people to teach their kids and grandkids how to make bread, biscuits, tortillas, pancakes, and even sourdough bread or pizza. Life is good when you can make your own bread and related food items, I promise.

All of my recipes are no-fail. If you have fresh ingredients YOU CAN MAKE bread! In case you missed this post, How To Make My No-Fail Homemade Bread

11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

Final Word

I really hope you enjoyed the 11 foods to buy on a cheap budget today. If you have some ideas, let me know and I’ll add them to this post. It’s crazy how much food prices have gone up and we need to help each other save money whenever we can.

Is it the weather, is it because the farmers don’t have people who can pick the produce? Is it a water shortage (drought), or the truckers who are unable to deliver the goods? I’m still not sure why we are seeing prices spike right now.

It’s all about teamwork. If we have a broken link the food chain becomes ineffective and so does everything else. Please keep stocking up and teaching your kids and grandkids to cook from scratch. It’s a much-needed skill. May God Bless this world, Linda

20 thoughts on “11 Foods To Buy On A Cheap Budget

  • July 4, 2021 at 8:55 am

    I’ve spoken to several retailers and I believe the biggest issue right now are there are not enough truckers. During the pandemic all (or nearly all) the places where truckers would train closed down. I saw an article a few days ago that the gas prices are because they do not have enough trained truckers to deliver the gas to stations. Also, not all the refineries are back in operation from the cold that hit Texas this past winter. I need to buy some vinyl lattice for my yard and it’s out of stock and they don’t know when it will be back in stock. I forgot that vinyl products are produced from the petroleum industry, duh!!! So far, here, although prices at the gro. store have gone up, they are not that bad on the items I purchase on a regular basis. We do have a bunch of ranchers here that do sell their beef, chicken, hogs, etc. at a fairly reasonable price. Unfortunately, I don’t see things getting better any time soon. Those who can, and do, grown their own gardens are truly blessed. Happy 4th to you and your family.

    • July 4, 2021 at 9:41 am

      Hi Pam, great comment, it makes total sense, thank you. I have heard that the wood mills are back up and running not sure how many but wood prices have been out of sight. The price of homes here in Utah has doubled in one year. It’s crazy, it’s the old supply and demand. No one is selling because you may not be able to bid on another home and get it. I was in real estate and owned my own mortgage company for 15 years. I have never seen anything like this. Realtors can sell your home with multiple offers 25% over the asking price but then you can’t purchase a home. It’s insane. We are decluttering because we want to be ready to sell soon or at least while the market is high. Crazy times. Happy 4th to you and your family. Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Great list (as always!). Regarding number 9 Canned Meat: I don’t know if anyone has previously shared but I recently learned that if you open your canned meat, drain off the liquid and replace it with boiling water then let it sit for about five minutes, it reduces the sodium (and fat!) massively. If your canned meat is in a block (such as SPAM) just cube it or slice it and soak it. I’ve been delighted with the results!! Thank you for the work and thoughtfulness you put into what you share!

    • July 4, 2021 at 10:43 am

      Hi Sarah, oh my gosh, why didn’t I think about this??!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this comment! I will for sure be delighted with the results, less salt, and less fat. I love it! Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Solid list,Linda. You help so many people, thank you
    I’d add wheat to the list, here’s what we do with it (my family has used wheat for over 45 years now…very heathy!! It took about 3 years to get used to the fiber and taste, so we added a new recipe every month or so…we started with the wheat blender pancakes)
    Cracked wheat cereal
    Creamy wheat
    Blender wheat pancakes
    Whole wheat waffles
    Whole wheat crepes
    Whole wheat French toast
    Steamed wheat with maple syrup
    Wheat ‘sausage’
    Golden wheat patties
    Big Sky burgers
    Chuck wagon chili
    Italian lentil wheat stew
    Whole wheat dinner crepes
    Pizza and pantry pizza
    Peanut butter and honey sandwiches
    Any sandwich we make is on whole wheat bread
    Gluten ‘steaks’
    Wheat muffins
    Whole wheat bread
    Whole wheat quick bread
    Wheat sprouts
    Popped wheat
    Peanut butter honey wheat balls
    Graham crackers
    Cinnamon wheat crusties
    Chocolate chip cookies
    Whole wheat brownies
    I use one part cooked cracked wheat with 2 parts ground beef to add fiber and not change the taste much
    Some things we don’t like full whole wheat use, but like it to have part wheat

    • July 4, 2021 at 10:50 am

      Hi Janet, oh my gosh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE your reminder about wheat. You and I buy wheat, some people don’t know what to do with it. A few years ago, I live in Utah, just giving everyone the heads up here. The Mormon Church came out with a directive that they would no longer be selling wheat berries, about a few years ago as I remember. Why? Because their members did not have a wheat grinder and did not know how to use it. After this last year, I’m sure they are selling it again. I quote, “The Church has announced plans to supply families and community agencies with “finished good” such as pasta, pancake mix, and flour—rather than raw wheat, which can be difficult to process at home.” Here is the link: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/church-announces-updates-to-food-storage-emergency-preparedness?lang=eng

      Great list, Janet, you know I love this stuff!! I need to write a post on storing wheat for preparedness people. I’m on it. Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Great list, Linda! I’m so bored with making meals that this gave me renewed energy to cook again. It’s so blasted hot here that I have zero energy to do most anything. I did read a book yesterday afternoon – The Orphan Train – it was amazing! Might be why I read it completely in one afternoon.

    I totally agree with you on the price of meat. We love to shop at Costco but it’s just the three of us and we always have to repackage everything. It’s a pain but necessary. Have you seen the price of cheese, too? It’s going sky-high AND it’s on “the list” to be in short supply. Darn…I use cheese in almost everything. I never shop for meat most anywhere but Costco but I did find some smaller pkgs of petite filets at Walmart- not very big but just fine for us and they were around $12 a pkg. They were decent; not as good as Costco but for being smaller pieces, broiled or bbq’d, they were quite tasty. My son has a rancher who sells (and locks in prices, which my son did before all this hoopla started) direct to the public so that’s definitely the way to go anymore. I usually cook a prime rib for holidays and have paid around $60 for a huge prime rib, enough to feed 10-12 people. Now, the prime rib I saw was so incredibly small, maybe 3-4lbs? enough to feed 2-3 people and it was over $131!!! Yikes! This is crazy times.

    I wanted to comment on your jam vs. jelly. I totally agree with you, we never use jelly. I found a jam out there, Bonne Maman (sp?) – it’s from France or Belgium, can’t remember. It’s got a red and white checkered lid. The FIRST ingredient is the fruit you’ve chosen, i.e., raspberry, blueberry, strawberry. It has no high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup but naturally sugar. It tastes amazing, like REAL fruit! It costs around $4.57 a jar at Walmart or Winco. I stopped buying everyone elses jam and only buy this one. You need to try it. I’d skip the marmalade tho, it’s kinda bitter tasting.

    Time to figure out my design for my next quilt. Have a wonderful 4th Linda! And God Bless AMERICA!!!!! She really needs it.

    • July 4, 2021 at 5:46 pm

      Hi Robbie, oh you have to send me pictures of your quilts when you finish them!! I will check into that “jam”!! I need to look at that book! I’m pretty sure Mark and I will not be buying meat going forward. I refuse to pay those prices. But if I have salsa, rice and beans are my best friends! Happy 4th!! Yes, God Bless America!!! Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    I only buy meats on sale. No way I’m paying over $6 a pound for steak. We found baby back ribs and boneless beef ribs on sale, that’s what we’re having today. I also bought an Aerogarden, (Per your suggestion). I could only afford the Sprout model for right now. I have dill, basil and parsley growing. I will be planting lettuce soon. I also bought some cherry tomato seeds to start. I have seen the price of ground beef go up as of late. Not to mention various other foods. And gasoline prices ? Don’t get me started. LOL I filled up last week and it cost me $10. more than usual. I live off my SSI, which is less than $1000 a month, so I must be careful with my spending. I am so thankful for the food I have stored so I don’t have to buy a lot of groceries. I can’t imagine going to the store every few days like some people do. I do have 2 manual wheat grinders and wheat berries. Wishing everyone a safe and happy fourth of July. God Bless and keep you.

    • July 4, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Judy, I choked when I saw the price of gas the other day. I am saving to buy another AeroGarden. Oh my gosh, the lettuce is so delicious. I can’t imagine having to go to a store every few days. I detest shopping. LOL! My lettuce is now on 42 days and going strong. It’s like magic, it keeps growing super fast. Best thing I have ever bought!! I have so many tomatoes to go with that lettuce!! Happy 4th! Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    I can’t speak for Costco, because we don’t shop there, but I do know that I can take a family pack of meat to the butcher and they will repackaged it while giving me the discounted price….. and bonus….I don’t have to do the work!!

    • July 4, 2021 at 5:55 pm

      Hi Chris, this is awesome, thank goodness for good butchers! Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Linda, we’ve had company and I’m just getting to read this, but . . . You’ve posted a great and much needed list. I can also live on beans and rice and other veggies. I’ve cut down on my meat portion. Not because of the prices, but for my own good. We’ve been eating meatless meals a lot. Today, I didn’t cook anything. Big difference. We ate sandwiches, and things like that. In fact, that’s what we’ve been eating since the 1st. We had a house full today. I like to add rice or pasta to stretch my meals. We do like potatoes and sometimes have a loaded baked potato for dinner. We do use cheese on it, and bacon bits. Oh and either sour cream or ranch dressing. We Cook a lot in the crockpot or InstaPot. Or, I do. Hubby does the stove cooking. I like the easy way. I’m so bad! I do like to cook pinto beans, add a bit of cooked ground beef, add some cooked rice, with your spices of choice. I use Taco seasoning or chili seasoning. And make a meal of it. I also make a dish that uses cube steak cut in small bite sized pieces, brown in a little oil, add a Can of diced tomatoes with green chili peppers, some chopped onion, a diced tomato can of rice and some kind of Mexican seasoning. Simmer until rice is done. You can eat this in a flour tortilla with sour cream, cheese, and salsa. Or in a bowl with the same added and use corn chips with it. Good and filling. We love it. It has no name, but we call it Rice Stuff. You can use chicken if desired. Or ground beef or whatever. I like eating it as a burrito.

    Sorry for so long a post.

    • July 5, 2021 at 5:26 am

      Hi Deborah, I love long posts. These are great ideas to stretch our grocery budget. I love hearing you had company, it’s so awesome to see faces again, give some hugs, and laugh together. My grandson and his girlfriend stopped by on their way to Boise. I could eat burritos or tacos every single day. Great comment and tips to help all of us. Linda

  • July 4, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Love the list and can honestly say that most of the items are a constant here in my home. I have cut WAY back on meat of all kinds. When the pandemic/lockdowns occurred, I started seeing meat prices go up significantly. On a fixed income, I had to really weigh my options. So, I studied a bit on plant based eating – not vegetarianism or veganism but going mostly plant based. Unfortunately, I also need to lose weight and have in the past gone very low carb! Plant based is not especially low carb friendly so I do eat a lot of eggs for a protein. I have also discovered (at Costco but probably available other places) Protein2O – 20 grams of protein in a flavored water. It is not too bad as long as it is icy cold! So a hearty salad and a protein water is filling and pretty satisfying. The water is about $1.00 per bottle.

    I have also discovered (again) – Tostadas – I lightly oil a couple of corn tortillas and “fry” until they are browning (I’ve done this in the oven on 350F as well as on my tortilla griddle); smear some refried beans on the tortillas, add some grated cheese, lettuce and homemade pico de gallo (chopped tomato, chopped onion, chopped jalapeno, chopped roasted green chiles and chopped cilantro, salt & pepper to taste and a squirt or two of lime juice. Very satisfying! If you have some Spanish rice that would be great on the tostadas as well.

    Like Deborah, I also do loaded baked potatoes quite a bit. I love them with ranch dressing as well!

    • July 5, 2021 at 5:30 am

      Hi Leanne, I need to check on that drink you are talking about. I love tostadas, I need to make some of those, a great reminder. I’ve been harvesting potatoes, and I will bake some today, that sounds so good! Linda

  • July 5, 2021 at 9:11 am

    I’ve found the 25lb bags of flour are a much better deal than 10lb bags. As long as you transfer the flour to containers and if you bake a lot, the turn over is good and you save money on other things like crackers, bread, pasta and other baked goods. We are very thankful to have a garden, it helps. Even just a potted plant or some herbs help.

    Gardening is one of the most signficantly rebellious things a person can do.

    • July 5, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Hi Jeilea, I buy my flour in 25-pound bags as well. I remember going to Flagstaff to help my daughter for graduation or something and I could only find flour in 5-pound bags. I was actually shocked! LOL! I agree a garden is a blessing to all. Linda

  • July 5, 2021 at 1:09 pm


    Either this article was written some time ago or you get your eggs straight from the farmer I can’t call buying eggs cheep. The last time we bought eggs they were close to $5.00. I am trying to find someone who raises their own to buy from because they are less expensive that way but the last time we bought them it almost blew my mind away to have to pay $4.99 for a dozen. I have to buy organic because of allergies. My husbands eggs were $2.99 a dozen. Occasionally we can find his on sale for a 18 count carten for $3.99. We still eat eggs but a lot less than we used to.

    • July 5, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Hi Jackie, no it was written Saturday. Hmmm. We just bought 3 dozen eggs and they were $2.99 a dozen about a week ago. Wow, that would be a shock to pay $5.00 for a dozen. Thanks for the heads up, I will check it out next week. Nothing would surprise me about prices these days. Yikes!! Linda


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