14 Meals Broke People Will Start Eating Once They Are Low On Cash

Steve Cummings

Broke and hungry

 Let's face it: we've all been there – that moment when you check your bank account, the numbers seem to mock you more than usual.

It's that time of the month, or perhaps an unexpected expense has thrown your budget off track, and suddenly, dining out feels like a distant dream. But fear not! Being low on cash doesn't mean you have to sacrifice enjoyable meals.

In this article, we're diving into 14 genius meal ideas that are wallet-friendly and delicious. Trust us, these meals will make you feel like a gourmet chef on a ramen noodle budget.

1. Rice and Beans

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Rice and beans are like the dynamic duo of budget-friendly meals. They're cheap and filling, and you can find them in almost any store.

Plus, they pack a nutritional punch with protein and fiber. The best part is that you can spice them up in countless ways. Add some veggies, throw in spices you love or top with cheese – it's a simple meal that keeps your stomach and wallet full.

2. Pasta With Garlic and Oil

Pasta with garlic and oil
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Pasta with garlic and oil, or “Aglio e Olio,” is a classic, inexpensive dish. You only need pasta, a few garlic cloves, and olive oil. Boil the pasta, sauté the garlic in oil until golden, and then mix them.

It's deliciously simple and incredibly cheap – plus, you can jazz it up with chili flakes or herbs if you're feeling fancy.

3. Vegetable Stir-Fry

Stir Fry
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Vegetable stir-fry is perfect when you're low on cash but want something tasty and nutritious.

Grab whatever veggies are in the fridge or on sale at the store, chop them up, and toss them in a hot pan with oil. Season with soy sauce, garlic, or ginger for an extra flavor kick. It's quick and easy, and you can serve it over rice or noodles for a complete meal.

4. Baked Potatoes With Toppings

Baked Potatoes
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Baked potatoes with toppings are like a blank canvas for your culinary creativity, especially when you're watching your wallet. Start by baking a potato until it's fluffy inside – then, the fun part – top it with whatever you have on hand.

Think cheese, leftover chili, sour cream, or even some veggies. It's an affordable way to make a meal that's both filling and customizable to your taste.

5. Homemade Pizza With Dough from Scratch

Pizza dough
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Who doesn't love a slice of pizza? Instead of ordering takeout, save some dough (literally) by making your own at home.

You only need flour, yeast, water, and patience to let the dough rise. Then, top it with whatever ingredients you have – cheese, veggies, leftover meats – and bake until bubbly and delicious. It's cheap, healthy, and a fun activity to do with friends or family.

6. Lentil Soup

lentil soup
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Lentil soup is a real treasure when money's tight. It is cheap and packed with protein and fiber, making it incredibly filling.

To make the soup, simmer lentils in water or broth with onions, garlic, and any spices you like. It's hearty and nutritious and can be made in big batches to last several meals – plus, it tastes even better the next day!

7. Egg Fried Rice

Egg Fried Rice
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Are you looking for protein-rich meals on a budget? Look no further than egg-fried rice.

Simply cook some rice, scramble some eggs, and mix them in a pan with soy sauce, veggies, or whatever else you have.

You can always go above and beyond by adding some chicken or shrimp, but this dish is satisfying and budget-friendly even without it. Plus, leftover rice from other meals can easily be repurposed for this dish.

8. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
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Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a classic combo that's comforting and budget-friendly. Making grilled cheese is as easy as buttering some bread—just add your favorite cheese and cook it in a pan until it's crispy and melty.

Pair it with a warm bowl of tomato soup, which you can make or buy cheaply canned – a simple, satisfying meal that feels like a hug in food form.

9. Pancakes or Waffles

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Pancakes or waffles are the ultimate comfort breakfast that won't break the bank. To make them, you need basic ingredients like flour, milk, and eggs to whip up the batter.

Pour it into a hot pan for pancakes or a waffle iron for waffles. Top them with whatever you have—syrup, fruit, or peanut butter. It's a delicious, easy way to start your day without spending much.

10. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
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It might sound exotic, but this simple pasta dish is spaghetti with garlic and oil. It's a staple in Italian cuisine that can be made quickly and cheaply – all you need is some pasta, olive oil, garlic, and salt.

If you have red pepper flakes on hand, add them for some heat. This dish is budget-friendly and a great way to use leftover pasta in your kitchen.

11. Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Tuna Salad Sandwiches
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This one is a pretty typical budget-friendly meal, but for good reason. Tuna salad sandwiches are easy to make and can be customized to your liking. All you need is canned tuna, mayo, and some veggies like celery or onion if you have them.

Spread it on some bread with lettuce and tomato for a quick and satisfying sandwich – plus, tuna is high in protein and healthy fats, making it a nutritious option as well.

12. Quesadillas With Leftover Veggies

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Next up, we have quesadillas. While traditional recipes call for cheese and meat, you can easily make a budget-friendly version using leftover vegetables.

Simply chop up whatever veggies you have on hand, sauté them in a pan with some spices, and add them to a tortilla with cheese before folding it over and cooking until crispy. It's a delicious way to use any leftover produce and create a satisfying meal on a budget.

13. Chickpea Curry

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Did you know that a can of chickpeas costs around $1? That makes them an excellent pantry staple for budget-friendly meals – chickpea curry is a delicious filling option packed with protein and flavor.

Simply cook onion, garlic, and spices like turmeric, cumin, and coriander in a pot before adding chickpeas and coconut milk.

Let everything simmer together for a few minutes, and have a tasty curry. Serve it over rice or with some naan bread for a complete meal.

14. Ramen Noodle Upgrade

instant noodles
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And last but not least, we have a budget-friendly twist on the classic ramen noodles.

Instead of using just the seasoning packet and water, add veggies like carrots, peas, and corn for extra nutrition. You can also crack an egg into the pot for added protein.

Not only does this upgrade make your ramen more flavorful and filling, but it also makes it a healthier choice.

Budget-friendly Foods To Save You Money

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It's okay to have a tight budget for food. With these budget-friendly ideas, you can still eat delicious and nutritious meals while saving money. Get creative with your ingredients, make the most of leftovers, and don't be afraid to try new flavor combinations to keep things interesting. The more creative and resourceful you are, the more meals you can make on a budget.

20 Meal Hacks to Help Fight Inflation on Food

Meal Hacks
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Inflation is hitting wallets hard, but we're feeling it in our gut too. Food is becoming exceptionally pricey. It seems as though prices climb every time we visit the grocery store. But don't worry, there's good news – you don't have to break the bank to keep your family fed. With smart strategies, you can stretch your food budget further than you ever thought possible.

13 Frugal Tips to Control Food Spending That Could Save Big!

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Saving on food is imperative to keeping a reasonable budget. Some simple actions are needed to ensure you are not overspending or even wasting money on food. These 13 frugal tips to control food spending should help you to create more savings and enjoy life a bit more. 

12 Fast Food Restaurants That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

Taco Bell
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Looking to satisfy your fast food cravings without breaking the bank – you've come to the right place! We've done the legwork and found 12 fast food joints that deliver on value. Whether you're after a juicy burger, crispy fries, or a fresh salad, these restaurants have covered you.

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