When money is low and your budget is tight, one of the easiest places to cut back is often at the grocery store. Skip the takeout and,when cooking at home stay away from the expensive Whole Foods ingredients. Doing this, you will quickly find yourself saving money each week. There are plenty of foods you can add to your shopping list that are healthy, versatile and won’t break the bank—just be sure to swap out the pricier items when you add these!
Need some ideas? Here are the 10 best foods to buy when you’re watching your budget.
A pound of oats costs about $3, and they’re not just for breakfast. You can make savory oats for lunch and dinner, and since they’re filled with fiber, they’ll keep you full until your next meal.
One pound of lentils costs just under $2, making this protein-filled food a great option when you’re on a budget. Use them in salads and soups or prepare them with curry spices for extra flavor. In addition to their hefty protein content, lentils are packed with iron and fiber, among other nutrients.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice is only $1.99 a pound, and it provides much more nutritional bang for your buck than the white variety. Use it to bulk up meals, mix with veggies, or even combine with a bean chili. This whole grain is filled with fiber and can even help lower cholesterol.
Potatoes cost about $1 a pound, and they can be used in a variety of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although they get a bad rap, if they’re not drenched in cheese and butter, potatoes can actually be quite nutritious. They contain a number of vitamins and other nutrients, including antioxidants.
5. Frozen Vegetables
Just because you can’t spend a lot of money doesn’t mean your meals can’t include vegetables. Buying frozen veggies is your best bet, as they’re usually only a couple bucks, and since they’re frozen at peak ripeness, they are often more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Plus, you don’t have to deal with pressure to finish everything before it goes bad the way you do with fresh produce.
6. Chicken Thighs
If you’re not looking to spend a lot, switch from chicken breasts to chicken thighs. Coming in at only $2.50 a pound, chicken thighs are easier to cook and still contain the same nutrients as the chicken breast. They are a bit higher in fat, but the flip side is you get more iron.
7. Canned Tuna
A can of tuna can cost as little as $1, and you can use it in meals such as sandwiches and salads. This particular fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and protein and is low in calories.
You can buy dried, uncooked beans, which usually go for about $1.99 a pound, or you can opt for canned beans, which are perfect for throwing meals together last-minute and only cost about $1 a can. Whether you choose black beans, white beans, kidney beans or any other kind of bean, you’re getting a food high in fiber and protein that can be made into chili, tossed in salads, or even cooked with pasta.
9. Peanut Butter
This tasty source of protein is also rich in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can make a classic PB&J sandwich, eat it with celery or even add it to a smoothie. Just make sure you look for peanut butter that is made with just peanuts and doesn’t contain other additives or chemicals.
Eggs are a breakfast staple for many people, and for good reason: Not only are they tasty, but they’re a good source of inexpensive, high-quality protein. They’re also low in calories and have a ton of nutrients. Plus, the average cost of a dozen large eggs is $1.68—a bargain!