This cheap grocery list for a month will have you staying on budget without feeling like you’re eating scraps every day!
With a little bit of planning, you can build a satisfying meal plan around some of the cheapest foods out there. Buying foods that are both low-cost and versatile is one of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill each month.
You’ll find that this cheap grocery list for a month will help you cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. And it will work well for both adults and children! You can elevate most of these ingredients into something spectacular, or just keep it simple yet satisfying.
Many of these items are incorporated into some of our 25+ Dirt Cheap Meal to Make Today roundup that you’ll definitely want to check out as well. And if you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck, check out our BEST tips for saving money at the grocery store.
Saving money on food really can taste amazing. Let’s get you started!
Eggs are a staple of frugal eating. Scramble them, fry them, or boil them. You can turn them into egg salad for sandwiches, use them to make frittatas, or use them as the base for a quiche. And don’t forget about incorporating them into some homemade desserts!
2. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be used in so many ways beyond the classic PB&J sandwich. Combine it with yogurt and make a fruit dip, spread it on a tortilla with banana slices and roll up into “sushi” form, or even add it into a sauce alongside a savory entree.
Honey can be added into homemade baked goods, savory Asian-style sauces for stir fry, or as a healthier sweetener for your oatmeal.
Bread is the perfect vehicle for most meals! Of course, you can make some delicious sandwiches out of bread. Or dip it in eggs, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to make French toast. Make some bread pudding for dessert. And before it gets moldy, turn it into croutons for soup & salad or make breadcrumbs that can be used as a binder in things like meatballs. Don’t forget that bread freezes very well, so it’s one of those things you should never be tossing into the trash before you’ve used it in every possible way.
Tuna is a versatile and cheap protein. You can make a tuna melt sandwich, tuna salad, or eat it straight out the packaging as a quick and healthy snack!
6. Ground Beef
The possibilities are endless for meal ideas with ground beef. Use it in soups, pasta, tacos, burgers, or casseroles! Often times if you shop near the end of the week or first thing in the morning, you may catch some discounted beef at the grocery store that is getting close to its expiration date. Snatch those clearance packs up and freeze them!
Chicken is the star of so many dishes! You can serve it over rice, alongside mashed potatoes, roast it, fry it, shred it, or grill it. If you opt for a whole chicken, you can break it apart and use every piece of it in some way.
8. Lunch Meat
Grab some bread or tortillas and make yourself a delicious sandwich or wrap for a meal! You can also slice up the lunch meat and use it as a protein on top of a fresh salad.
Tortillas are so versatile! Fill them with eggs and cheese for breakfast burritos. Make a simple cheese quesadilla. You can even coat them with cinnamon and sugar and toss in the air fryer for a lightly sweetened, crunchy snack alongside some fruit salsa!
Don’t forget the milk for your cheap grocery list for a month! Use it in cereal which can honestly be for any meal, right?! You can also soak your chicken in it before breading and frying or baking. And, remember those breadcrumbs we mentioned before? They work great as a breading for chicken.
You can really get creative with this cheap grocery item! Make hot oatmeal or overnight oats for a satisfying breakfast. Or make some homemade granola as a crunchy, sweet snack for later in the day! And, of course, you can always use them as the base for homemade cookies.
Flour is a pantry staple that only costs pennies per serving. You can make your own bread, use it as a thickener in sauces, make baked goods, and use it to coat meat for frying up some deliciousness.
You can really lower your grocery bill when you’re eating cheap foods such as pasta! The possibilities are endless: spaghetti, ravioli, stuffed shells, lasagna, Alfredo, and more! And you can really make it a dirt cheap meal if you forego the meat and do a vegetarian pasta with just a sauce or some healthy vegetables!
14. Pasta Sauce
Most stores have pre-made pasta sauce for less than a dollar per jar which makes for a quick and cheap meal. You could even grab the pasta seasoning kits and combine them with some canned tomato sauce for an easy homemade version as well.
Onions add a depth of flavor and sweetness to so many dishes. You can make your meat entree go a little farther when you add some onion as well (ie: taco meat and meat for pasta). You can add onions alongside some chicken for some tasty fajitas one night. Or amp up a breakfast burrito with some eggs, onions, and bell peppers.
16. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, especially the green variety, can be a little boring, but they can add a lot of texture and color to dishes. Sauté bell peppers with onions for fajitas, breakfast burritos, and taco bowls. Or, stuff them with beef and rice, then roast in the oven until tender!
Use lettuce for salads, wraps, or as a topping for hamburgers or tacos! There several different varieties of lettuce to choose from but popular favorites are iceberg, romaine, and green leaf lettuce. All choices are very inexpensive and will usually last about one week in the refrigerator.
Juicy tomatoes can be used for so many meals and even as a snack! Combine with lettuce and cumbers in a salad, top off tacos, make a tomato & cucumber salad as a side dish, or eat them fresh for a healthy snack.
Cucumbers definitely make the cheap groceries for a month list! They’re inexpensive and healthy which is a win-win. This is another great ingredient to add to a salad or just enjoy raw for a healthy snack. If you want to get creative, you could even make your own homemade tzatziki sauce with some yogurt and a little bit of seasoning.
Apples are so versatile and have quite a long shelf life. Use them for snacks with peanut butter, thinly slice them and toss into a light salad, or even roast them with cinnamon & sugar for dessert.
Bananas are a cheapskate’s best friend. Eat them for snacks, combine with peanut butter, or mash them up as a base for slow oats. And, when they turn brown and soft, they’re perfect for banana bread or muffins!
Mash them, bake them, or turn them into fries! You can’t create the ultimate cheap grocery list without potatoes. Cube them up and toss them into a chicken pot pie to make it heartier, bake them and smother with chili, or fry them up with peppers and onions for breakfast hash.
Rice is a very cheap pantry item that practically never expires. You can serve it alongside almost any meat for a satisfying side dish with a little bit of seasoning. You can serve it in a casserole, add it to a soup, use it as a base for a stir fry, or even make it the star of the show as fried rice!
Beans are a very filling ingredient that can be added to almost any meal to make you feel fuller, longer! You can choose to grab dried beans and hydrate them yourself. Or grab some canned beans and whip up something amazing to eat. A few ideas: add them to almost any Mexican dish, make a soup, use garbanzo beans to make hummus, make a vegetarian style burger, or even get adventurous by making some brownies!
Depending on how fancy you like your cereal, most cereals are very inexpensive! Don’t forget to pick up some for your cheap grocery list for a month. Buying the large, family-size bags will get you the best value. Just make sure you properly seal the cereal and use it up before it starts to go stale!
Carrots are a healthy root vegetable that are cheap and versatile. And they usually last quite a long time when stored in the refrigerator. You can boil them, roast them, sauté them, or add them alongside almost any main entree!
Summer squash and zucchini are excellent items to add to your cheap grocery list for a month. Season them well and roast them for a tasty side dish. You can make a delicious stir fry with squash as an alternative to more pricy ingredients. And if you have never made zucchini bread…you’re missing out. Get a tasty recipe here from I Am Baker.
28. Ground Turkey
Eating on a budget does not mean you have to forego healthier ingredients! Ground turkey is a budget-friendly item that is a healthier alternative to fattier meats. And the great thing is that it’s quite inexpensive. You can swap ground turkey out for almost any recipe that calls for ground beef! Just be aware that it’s leaner and is often a little dry.
29. Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
You won’t waste any fresh produce if you opt to grab frozen vegetables instead! You can find just about any fruit or vegetable in the freezer aisle these days. And the possibilities are endless: add to soups, toss into a stir fry, steam them in the microwave, add to a casserole, etc. And of course, frozen fruit is perfect for making smoothies or homemade popsicles!
Spinach can be added to almost any dish for extra color and nutrients! Add it to amp up a soup, salad, casserole, or side dish! And you can’t even taste it in a smoothie which means it’s a great way to sneak in some extra vitamins without feeling like you’re eating “health food.”
31. Sweet Potatoes
Another wonderful root vegetable that is cheap and lasts a long time is the sweet potato! This tasty vegetable has risen in popularity over the years! Mash it up, roast it, cube it up and add to a side dish, or fry it up for some homemade sweet potato fries. Are you getting hungry yet?!
Everyone knows that cheddar makes everything better. That means, you can’t forget the cheese for your cheap grocery list for a month! Cheese is a staple ingredient in so many dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Combine it with some of the other ingredients on this list, and you’ll have quesadillas, homemade macaroni & cheese, enchiladas, soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, and so much more.
Yogurt is a tasty addition for breakfast, but that’s not the only way you can use it! You can use greek yogurt as a healthier alternative to most recipes that call for sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese!
Lentils are a fantastic ingredient to make almost any dish a bit heartier. And you guessed it: lentils are cheap! Make some chili, add to quesadillas, toss with a few other vegetables as a healthy side dish, or even add them to a sauce.
35. Canned Tomatoes
Grab some canned tomatoes as part of your budget friendly grocery list to create some tasty homemade dishes! Here are a few ideas to get you started. Use canned tomatoes in homemade pasta sauce, soup, homemade salsa, and homemade pizza sauce!
When you’ve got the munchies, having tasty snacks at home will help you fight the urge to go grab takeout. Keep some popcorn on hand for a cheap snack idea. You can choose to grab popcorn bags or buy the kernels and pop up some the old-fashioned way!
Pretzels are an inexpensive, salty snack that is easy to take with you on the go. Get a little fancy and make miniature pretzel kabobs with lunch meat and cubes of cheese for a quick lunch! Or you can even get creative by crushing up the pretzels and using them to coat chicken for a tasty twist.
Celery can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Add it to a soup or casserole as a healthy filler item. Or enjoy it raw alongside some peanut butter or dipped into a savory buffalo dip. You have quite a few options with this cheap ingredient!
Don’t forget to bring all of these cheap grocery items together with some condiments such as mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Condiments can elevate simple, not-so-exciting ingredients, to something far more appealing!
40. Ramen Noodles
Ramen isn’t just for college students! Almost anyone on a tight budget can incorporate ramen noodles into their meal rotation to help eat on the cheap. Check out all of these creative ways to enjoy ramen from The Daily Meal!
If you don’t season your food well, it’s going to taste boring! Be sure you add some delicious seasonings to your grocery list this month such as minced garlic, salt/pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, etc. And if you want to try a seasoning that’s good on just about EVERYTHING, you have GOT to try Tony Chacheres Seasoning (seriously…it’s good on just about every savory dish you will make).
Don’t want to forget anything from the list? We’ve got you covered! Grab our free printable below.
Now that you have your monthly grocery list, head over to get the best money saving tips on how to create The Ultimate Monthly Meal Plan on a Budget (includes a free printable template too)!
Also, while eating all of your meals at home saves a ton of money, we know it’s not always easy. And, let’s face it, sometimes you just want to treat yourself, and that’s okay! You’ll want to know these go-to tricks when you need to Break ALL the Rules and Save Money Eating Out!
Simple food does not have to be boring. Have you transformed any of these basic ingredients into something amazing? We’d love to hear below!