Frugal Foods

by Andy Hough on February 19, 2007

If you are eating on a tight budget here are some of the foods that I think give you the best value for your money. I’ve divided them into healthy and not-so-healthy but some of them could have gone in either category.

Healthy(ish) Foods

Protein:
– Whole chicken (as low as $0.39-0.69 / lb on sale)
– Eggs
Protein/Carb combo:
– Dried beans
– Frozen peas

Carb:
– 5 – 10 lb bags of potatoes
– rice
– oatmeal (the big tubes, not the individual flavored packets.)

Fruit:
– Apples
– Bananas
Veggies:
– iceberg lettuce
– Romaine lettuce
– Frozen mixes like the $0.98 Asian veggie mixes at Wal-Mart (I get Peking or Mandarin)each bag is around 4-5 servings
– Check farmers markets and Asian markets for good deals on unusual veggies. Basically, if it is cheap, leafy and green and not a lettuce, you can stir fry it.
– Carrots
– Celery

Misc. Useful Stuff:
– 1 can of non-stick cooking spray (Wal-mart store brand is only $1)
– 1 can multipurpose Creole seasoning (Tony Lachere brand I think only $1.50 or so)
– Sam’s Choice brand salsas (Wal-mart, $1.50)

Credit for the healthy foods goes to Maggie Wang who provided this list to me.

Not-So-Healthy Foods

Bread-This is really cheap if you get it at a bakery outlet store.

Tortillas-also very cheap. The corn ones are cheapest but I only like the flour tortillas.
Peanut butter-a little peanut butter spread on a tortilla makes a tasty and filling snack. And a PB&J is the classic cheap lunch.

Pasta-you can get a large box of pasta and a can of sauce for less than a dollar each making for many cheap meals.

Ramen-It might not be very healthy but you can’t get a much cheaper meal.

Mac and Cheese-This is probably my favorite cheap food. I’d eat it even if it weren’t cheap.

Soup-Many varieties of soup are very cheap and it is very filling.

Hot Dogs-You might not know what is in them but if you want meat this is one of your few frugal choices.

I’m sure there are a lot more frugal foods I didn’t list. If you have any suggestions to add you can leave a comment about them.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Michael February 29, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Just a quick tip for those Ramen lovers out there. After you cook your noodles open an egg into your pot before you take it off the heat and stir it for a few seconds to let the eggs cook. It adds some protein and makes it a bit more filling, but only adds a few cents to your cheap meal.

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