Everyone wants to include cheap groceries in their menu plan to help stretch their dollars a bit further. This list of cheap groceries include items everyone will eat that can be purchased inexpensively and used in multiple meals. The idea is to build on low-cost items to create budget friendly meals that are satisfying and simple to prepare.
Dry beans are one of my most used pantry items. They are very inexpensive and can be used in so many ways. In fact, dry beans are probably the most versatile, inexpensive and healthy item that can be stored in your pantry. They can easily be cooked in batches in a pressure cooker or slow cooker (or the Instant Pot!) to create easy to assemble meals and snacks. While you can season and prepare them to have a simple bowl of beans or bean soup, they are much more versatile than that. Beans can be mashed and mixed into ground meat to make enchiladas or tacos go further. They can be added to soups and chili, or mashed and seasoned for dips. Mix black beans with diced tomatoes, onion and jalapeño for a simple and hearty salsa.
Some beans to consider adding to your pantry:
Pinto (great by themselves, refried as dip or in burritos, mashed into ground meat for tacos or in chili)
Garbanzo beans (great for curry, hummus or roasting and snacking on)
Kidney beans (great by themselves, in soups and chili)
Black beans (great by themselves, in soups, chili, mashed for dip or in salsas)
Lentils (great in soups, salads, or as a base for a vegetarian burger)
Split Peas (great in soups)
Black eyed peas (great by themselves, in soups or salads)
Ground meat is the ultimate inexpensive meat cut that helps stretch your budget further. It can be added to soups and casseroles or in things like meatloaf, hamburgers or meat pies for a high protein meal. Ground turkey or ground chicken is slightly more expensive than ground beef, but still affordable.
Quite possibly one of the most versatile foods around, the potato can be a meal in itself, a carrier for other ingredients, the base for a casserole and a much needed filler when times are lean. Potatoes are not the most nutritious food, but when you pair them with other healthy options and leave off the bacon and cheese you will find them satisfying and fitting perfectly into your menu plan.
Since affordable fresh produce isn’t always available year round and it’s vital to have a healthy diet with nutrient-dense ingredients, frozen vegetables are particularly handy. There are many ways to invest in frozen vegetables that are low-cost. You can easily freeze fresh produce when it’s in season to use later, or purchase your store brand. Items I find best in the frozen vegetable arena are things like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas, corn and spinach. Chopped frozen spinach can go into soups and stews, mixed in with eggs or even added to a taco or spaghetti sauce to add some nutrients while not changing the flavor. Frozen vegetables are surprisingly affordable groceries that fit into almost any budget.
Much like the potato or dry bean, pasta is one of the most versatile foods you can keep in your pantry. It’s inexpensive, filling and easy to adapt to many flavors. It’s the base for many meals, and can provide you with a great way to stretch your budget. In fact, pasta with some frozen vegetables and herbs can be a fast, cheap and easy meal your entire family will enjoy.
These cheap groceries are just what you need to build amazing menu plans your entire family will enjoy. Use these items as a great base around your favorite herbs, sauces and cheese to build family friendly meals that fit into your budget with ease.
What are some cheap foods that you like to always have on hand?