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

Plus, the versatile, affordable ingredients that are key to a smart shopping list.

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

Sure, we all enjoy splashing out on dinner once in awhile, but trying to stick to a budget while creating a week’s worth of tasty and healthy meals can be a real challenge. Knowing which ingredients will go the extra mile in the kitchen can save a lot of time and money at the grocery store.

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