8 Cheap Foods to Buy Vs 7 Cheap Foods You Should Not Buy

There are cheap foods to buy that we should focus on purchasing at the grocery store. They are great for when we are trying to save money, pay off debt, or if we find ourselves in a financial pinch. So what are those foods that we need to focus on, and the foods should we avoid purchasing at the store?

Cheap foods to buy

Cheap foods to buy

1. Beans

Let's talk first about the foods we should focus on purchasing: beans. Beans are so good for you.

Beans are high in protein, as we all know, but they have so many beneficial nutrients and are pretty low in calories, so they have a lot to offer. They're also very high in fiber. Red lentil soup is just one delicious recipe using beans, and there are a plethora of them.

2. Grains

I know many are against all grains, but grains were created for us to eat because they are so filling. Grains have so much fiber; they keep everything moving in your system. They are also very cheap. My favorite grain to focus on is rice. Whether it's white rice or brown rice, eat rice. 

I also love oats. Oats are naturally gluten-free for anyone who has a gluten intolerance. I grind oats into flour and make muffins, pancakes, and cakes, and it's just so nice to have lots of oats in the house.

Cheap food to buy that's also healthy

3. Potatoes and cabbage

I'm going to group these because they are so cheap. Cabbage is fantastic for salads. It's a very bulky vegetable, making a great salad and delicious with potatoes. Potatoes, again, are a fantastic, cheap, bulky, fibrous, nutritious food. 

4. Carrots

Carrots should go in with the potatoes and cabbage category because carrots are so cheap per pound. At Costco, I can get a six-pound bag for less than $4. Instead of buying baby carrots, buy the big carrots, peel them, and cut them yourself. Shred carrots into muffins. Eat steamed carrots. 

5. Bananas, apples, oranges

Okay, let's talk about fruits. Bananas, apples, and oranges will probably be your cheapest fresh fruit options, especially going into the fall and winter seasons, where apples will be even cheaper than usual, as well as citrus fruit. Bananas are cheap year-round.

I know at Costco, you can get a bunch for $1.50. Often they're around the 30-cent mark per pound. Bananas are also a fantastic oil replacement or an egg replacement in a baking recipe.

You can also freeze the bananas, puree them in a food processor, and make ice cream. Bananas are a cheap alternative to a pricey frozen treat. 

Frozen berries

6. Frozen berries

If you want to purchase other fruits like strawberries or berries, I highly recommend sticking with frozen when trying to save money. Sometimes we can get them inexpensively when they're in season, but going into the winter months, let's focus on our frozen fruits.

I purchased them in bigger bags at Walmart. That tends to be one of the best prices I have found, and I like adding them to everything.

Instead of pouring maple syrup on pancakes, I like to make fruit syrup using frozen strawberries, mango, or frozen berries. I thicken it with a bit of cornstarch and add a little honey. 

7. Frozen vegetables

Along with frozen berries are frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are a great value. If you want to buy broccoli but it's expensive fresh, purchase it frozen. Same for green beans and spinach as well. Watch the prices and compare in the stores where you're shopping. 

8. Oyster crackers and pretzels

I don't have a lot of prepackaged snacks in my cabinet, but I frequently have two snacks: oyster crackers and pretzels. Oyster crackers like salty crackers, but they're in a small shape, and they are so cheap, only about a dollar a bag. 

Foods to avoid buying

Prepackaged frozen meals

1. Prepackaged frozen meals

What are those foods that we should not be focused on buying? Number one is prepackaged frozen meals. It's a waste of money. You will save the most money by making your food from scratch. 

2. Ice cream

Also, avoid purchasing ice cream. It's so expensive, and it's not necessary to eat regularly. Let ice cream be your occasional treat. Try the banana ice cream method with a little dollop of peanut butter, a little sprinkling of chocolate chips, or berry-like frozen strawberries.

3. Maple syrup

It's $12 at Costco for a jar of maple syrup, which is the best price I have ever seen. Make a simple syrup instead using coconut sugar and water. Simple syrup is equal parts sugar to water.

This is where I like to implement the fruit syrup, where you're getting more nutrients, and it's better for your health, and it's so good on pancakes. 

Baking mixes


I don't agree with this in every category, but any specialty baking mix is unnecessary. An inexpensive cake box mix is the exception, as they are typically about a dollar a box and save us some sanity sometimes when we need to just quickly bake a cake. 

5. Cereal

Be cautious because the prices can get out of control. Cereal can be so costly. If I purchase my kids a box of cereal, I typically only purchase cereal at Grocery Outlet because you can get a healthier cereal for around one to $2 a box. Cereal should be a treat, not a daily food. 

6. Chips

This is a hard one because my favorite food is chips and salsa. Be careful with this one as well. Chips can be expensive, mainly because it's not food filling you up. If you're going to buy chips, buy plain tortilla chips. 

Cheap foods you should not buy

7. Snacks

Avoid snacks if you're trying to save money. Snacks are budget busters; they are not necessary. Snacks are unnecessary if you are eating three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). 

Cheap foods to buy

You can eat well without going broke at the grocery store. I hope my list of cheap foods to buy helps you save money on your grocery budget. What is your favorite cheap food? Share in the comments below.

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2 of 59 comments
  • Mlk29580959 Mlk29580959 on Dec 31, 2023

    I would suggest googling Aldi locations United States.

  • Teejaie Teejaie on Jan 17, 2024

    The food items you referenced are so much cheaper than here in Canada! Ridiculous considering our borders!