Kitchen Tips

10 Cheap Meals To Make When You're On A Tight Budget

Versatile, affordable ingredients that are key to a smart (and long-lasting) shopping list.

tomato sauce recipe on spaghetti with cheese

Pasta is a great option for a cheap meal—especially if you go one step further and make homemade tomato sauce. (Photo, Erik Putz.)

Grocery shopping in the midst of a pandemic is a much different experience—even if your budget hasn’t changed. Whether you are now shopping on a reduced budget, or simply struggling with long-term meal planning it’s important to know which ingredients will go the extra mile in the kitchen (and pantry).

First, think about legumes (like lentils and chickpeas), then there’s the canned goods (low-budget multi-taskers like beans and tomatoes), frozen vegetables, affordable grains like rice and oats and, of course, the versatile egg. Each of these ingredients has a range of applications, is easy to use, and adds more flexibility to your wallet—and gives breakfast for dinner (maybe the best use for eggs?) an excuse to stay in the dinner roster.

Here are 10 simple staples to add to your grocery list—and the cheap meals you can make with them.