Eating on the cheap is all about buying the lowest cost per calorie foods and buying them in bulk. With a little thought, you should be able to put together a shopping list and menu that will cost you under $100 a month and is tasty enough to satisfy you.
Cheapest Foods To Buy
Here are the cheapest foods to get to satisfy your calorie requirements. A Sam’s Club membership will be required to take advantage of the cheapest prices but the cost of the membership is only a few dollars a day and it comes with other advantages.
Note: Prices per serving were accurate as of the date this article was published.
1. White Rice
There is a reason that white rice is a staple in so many diets, especially in the developing world. You can do anything with rice and make it quite tasty with just a few cheap spices.
A fifty pound bag of rice can be had at Sam’s Club for under 17$ and that bag will provide over five hundred servings. That is just over 3 cents per serving. If you want to save on groceries, rice is where you start.
You will need some fat in your diet and lard is a great way to get it in there. Use it to fry your foods and add calories. Fried rice comes to mind. Fat not only adds calories but it also makes your food more filling. It delays stomach emptying so that you feel full longer and fat is crucial for a healthy diet.
You can buy 8 pounds of lard for under $8 which will yield about 280 servings. That is under 3 cents per serving.
3. Pinto Beans
You have got to get some protein into your diet and if you want to keep your food budget under $100 a month, meat is not going to be in the mix. Beans are an incredible source of protein and are cheap to boot. You will need to buy them dry which will require a bit more prep work. On the plus side, it is not that hard, just time consuming and, they will taste better than canned beans.
Pick up a 41 pound pail of beans for just $41. That will give you about 430 servings packed with 9 grams of protein each. That is under 10 cents a serving.
You can jazz up bread pretty easily. Put a little margarine on it with some cinnamon and sugar, dip it in egg(further down the list) and make french toast or add a bit of peanut butter for an all around healthy meal.
Loaf bread is super cheap if you buy the store brand. About a dollar for a loaf which will yield 20 slices. This makes a 2 slice serving just 10 cents.
5. Peanut Butter
An all around great food filled with fat, carbs and some good protein. Combine 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with a couple of pieces of bread and you have a meal.
Pick up a huge 6 pound container of peanut butter at your warehouse store for about 9$. That will yield 85 2 tablespoon servings, breaking down to under 11 cents a serving.
Didn’t think you could fruit on a budget? You can if it is a banana. Super filling and good for you, the banana is one of the cheapest fruits you can indulge in.
Pick up 3 pounds of bananas for $1.24 at the warehouse store. An average banana is 4 ounces so that will give you about 12 bananas. This breaks down to under 11 cents a banana.
Just like rice, spaghetti is a good base for any meal. You do not even need a spaghetti sauce to make it a satisfying meal. A little fat or oil and seasoning and you are good to go.
You can get a 6 pack of 1 pound packages for under $6. Each pack will yield 8 servings, bringing your cost to under 13 cents per serving.
Baked potatoes are extremely filling and easy to make. Just throw them in the oven for an hour and you are ready to go.
To get the most of your potatoes, skip the foil and eat the skin. Clean your potatoes, coat them with a bit of lard and season them with salt. Then cook them at 400 degrees for an hour. The skin will be crispy and delicious.
Potatoes can be had for under $6 and that is for a 15 pound bag. An average potato is about 5 ounces so a 15 pound bag will yield about 48 potatoes. That breaks down to under 13 cents a potato or serving.
The egg is perhaps the most versatile food out there. Packed with nutrients and protein, you can boil them, fry them, scramble them, serve them sunny side up, etc, etc.
Buy them in bulk and save. You can get 15 dozen eggs for under $13. That breaks down to just over 7 cents an egg so a two egg serving would be just a little over 14 cents.
10. Ramen Noodles
You knew we were going to get there right? Ramen noodles are super cheap, easy to make and come with their own seasoning packs. Anyone can make them in just a matter of minutes. Throw a little lard in there to give them flavor and make them more filling.
Pick up a 48 count box of ramen for just $7.25. That breaks down to 15 cents per serving.
Healthy and simple to make either on the stove or microwave. You can really wake up the flavor with a little cinnamon.
Get a 20 pound bucket for about $36. This will yield 216 servings making the cost per serving just under 17 cents.
12. Pancake Mix
Who doesn’t like pancakes right? They are simple to make and never get old. Use the lard you purchased to fry them up and add some additional fat calories.
A 28 pound bucket of pancake mix is under $56 currently. That bucket will make about 280 servings. That breaks down to 20 cents a serving.