How to eat Cheap for a Week

For one reason or another you may not have a lot of money for food for a short time. If you need to know how to eat cheap for a week, or even how to eat cheap for a month, I’ve got some tips for you.

Anyone who knows my family and I well knows we LOVE food. We are serious foodies. Sometimes we splurge and get more expensive options like the parmesan cheese you grate yourself (that stuff is expensive!), or steak for a summer BBQ.

But other times the bank account is small and we have to STRETCH our food money. It might be for just a week, it might be for a month, or at times it’s been longer.

Thankfully I’ve discovered ways we can make really delicious food on an extremely low budget. And if you just need to eat cheap for a week it really won’t be that bad, I promise. You may find some really good recipes you’ll even want to keep after you have more money for food.

Or maybe you want to eat cheap for a week because you are interested in the frugal lifestyle, knowing it can benefit your life, but you feel overwhelmed at the process of changing your spending habits. Starting with just a week of cheap eating doesn’t seem so unattainable because you are taking baby steps instead of trying to do it all at once.

Whatever the reason, I’ve got ways you can lower your food bill for a week.

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Eat out of your pantry

Avoid the grocery store if you can. Decide to eat whatever is in your fridge and pantry. It might mean oatmeal for dinner. It might mean eating that can of beans you’ve pushed to the back and avoided eating for 6 months now. It might mean actually making those 7 boxes of Jell-O you’ve been hoarding for the past year which you still have no idea why you do that (or is that just me?)

This will be the biggest money saver if you need to eat cheap for a week because you can avoid spending any money or at least you can avoid spending too much money if you are eating what you already have.

Get creative. It’s amazing what you can do with a package of ramen noodle, some vegetables, and some sauces (and I can’t be the only one that has a door fridge full of condiments.)

Don’t stress about healthy eating too much

Okay, this one might get me some emails but hear me out. I am ALL about eating healthy. I start my day with green smoothies, and I snack daily on carrots and hummus.

However, if you are going through short-term financial difficulties, I think that a temporary diet that is less than optimal is okay. The key word there is TEMPORARY. And a week of unhealthy eating is not going to hurt you in the long run. You just want to make sure you can get back on track when the week is up and you have some cash again. Add those fruits and vegetables when the paycheck comes in. But for now, don’t worry about it for just one week.

Eat a little less

I think it’s safe to say that many of us in North America eat more than we should, and I promise I’m talking to myself here too. I am HORRIBLE at limiting my portions. And we get into this cycle where we actually believe our bodies NEED that much food. Of course, some people are excellent at portion control and eating exactly what their body needs, but if you are like me and have a hard time in that area, consider just eating less for the week you need a cheap diet.

Often our stomachs growl at bedtime because we’ve trained our bodies to believe it needs a bedtime snack. A few days of not eating as much and your body will adjust and you’ll most likely find you are actually satisfied with less food.

Do without certain foods

In every house there are some staples people tend to always have on hand. For instance, in our house we always have bread and milk. But if we need to eat super cheap for a week I may forego buying more milk when we run out. The kids use it for cereal mostly but I can make some baked oatmeal for breakfast if I have the ingredients on hand.

When you run out of a staple, see if you can find a way to live without it for the week.

Make some foods from scratch instead of buying them

Going along with the last point, if you run out of something can you make it instead of going to the store to buy it? What about baking your own bread when you run out? You may have the basic ingredients on hand already and can avoid spending money. Try this easy 4 ingredient bread that you can make very easily even if you’ve never made a loaf of bread in your life!

Make soup

You know what they say about stretching your soup? If company’s coming, just add some water to the soup to make it go further. 🙂

But in all honesty, soup is a great meal that can stretch sometimes for days. There’s also many meatless soups that are really hearty, but even cheaper to make. If you need to eat cheap for a week consider making a big pot of soup to get you through a few meals that week.

Buy super cheap groceries

If you DO need to go to the grocery store (which may be unavoidable depending on how empty your fridge and cupboard are) stick to buying only super cheap groceries. These can be things on sale (check the flyer) or foods that are insanely cheap regardless of sale like pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes.


What if you need to eat cheap for longer than a week? Much of the above will still apply. If it’s for an extended period of time like a month or even longer, going to the grocery store will be unavoidable so you will really want to focus on buying foods on sale and foods that are cheap. You can check out this post for ways to save at the grocery store.

You’ll also want to add a few more healthy options if you need to eat cheap for a month. That’s where frozen vegetables come in. A bag of frozen vegetables can be super cheap, especially if you buy a generic brand and will go further. As for fruit, things like apples can be really cheap, but also check what fruit is in season because that’s the fruit that is usually on sale and affordable.

And, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere that you can forage for things like wild blueberries, be sure to do that.


Try the following recipes when money is extremely tight:

It doesn’t have to be all beans and rice while eating cheap for a week (though, beans and rice are highly underrated and can be really delicious too!)

Some of the food I have listed in this post are our favorite foods. We love the homemade bread and loaded potato soup especially. We make that food no matter what our bank account says because it’s just as delicious to have when we have more money than when we have just a little money.

If you really want to save money consider eating cheap for longer than a week or a month. Why not make it a lifestyle? You’ll see your grocery bill decrease which means more money for other things and less stress about paying the bills.

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