People Share Their Top 'I'm Out Of Funds' Foods.

If you've even been broke, even a few days until your next paycheck, you could agree that 'being broke is a bad joke.' In order to commemorate our better days (when the broke joke ended), I would like to quote the late, great Notorious B.I.G:

 "Birthdays was the worst days - Now we sip champagne when we thirstaaay!" 

The following AskRedditors shared their responses to the question, "Reddit, what's your favorite poor man food?" 

For more responses take a look at the original thread at the end of the article. 

Rice as a substitute for the cereal we couldn't afford when I was a kid. So basically, hot rice with milk, butter, and sugar. It's amazing, I still eat it every once in a while.


I used to make this thing called a "rice-pizza". It was literally cold, cooked rice placed firmly in a pan with oil and cooked with ketchup/hot sauce/cheese/onions and meat if you like it. I used to try to add other things as well. It's actually really good and if you made a lot of rice and kept it in the fridge you could make them quickly and cheaply.


Ramen is the most versatile of poor man foods. It can be bought in bulk for cheap and just about any ingredient you have left over can be added to it.

Super poor? Just drop an egg in there for the added protein. Having a great week and can afford a little bit extra? A few scraps of meat..hell if you've got literally any kind of vegetable you can throw that in too.

I'm not even poor anymore and I still buy the stuff because you can make some really awesome dishes using it as a base.



Sometimes I just eat bread. Dirt cheap white bread, nothing on it. Yum.


Beans and rice are one of the best ways to go and bang for your buck. You get protein and you get carbs. You can go a long time on that, though you'll need some supplements if you can't afford to add other stuff.


Macaroni and cheese plus hotdogs or hotlinks.

Mac and cheese is like 70-99 cents a box. Buy the hot dogs or links in bulk and freeze the rest.


I go through this at least once a month when I'm counting down to payday. I try to always have olive oil, rice, and dry pasta noodles in my cupboards, then what I buy depends mainly on what's on sale. My grocery store also just got self-checkout machines so I gather all of my loose change and pay with that. (It's embarrassing when there's a lineup but I'm too poor to have pride.) Be mindful of your portion sizes too! I try to stretch everything I make out for 3-4 days.

Here are some ideas:


Toast and eggs. If you stick to one piece of toast and one egg per meal, you can stretch out a carton and a loaf for almost two weeks. I keep my bread in the fridge to prevent mold.

Oats and peanut butter. Buy a bag of quick oats. Make up 1/2 a cup of those and stir in some peanut butter while it's hot. Add fruit if you can afford it.


Brown rice, broccoli, potato. Make up a big batch of brown rice. I buy the broccoli and potato daily or every other day. I aim for sweet potato but whatever is one sale or cheapest works. Pick the small ones and pay with my loose change. It's around $1-$1.50 and is relatively healthy. Add whatever sauce you have in your fridge!


Pasta. Boil up whatever noodles you have, or you can buy a cheap bag for $1. Buy whatever sauce is cheapest or just use butter. I'll try to grab a single tomato or zucchini to add some nutrients.


ha, jokes.


When I was 19 living on a shoestring budget, I'd buy a jar of sauce and a box of pasta. This alone could feed me for a few days at a time.


Eggs. Cheap and can do so many things with them.


Water. Ice water if I feel like splurging. 


Rice, chicken, cream of mushroom soup.



You can mash them, chop them, slice & fry them in several different ways. You can also bake or microwave them, and they're extremely cheap.


The Payday Special: tortilla + cheese + beans. If it really is payday add some avocado to replenish all those nutrients you never get. Can be prepared as either a tostada (Toast the tortilla until golden-brown and crispy, 9 minutes exactly in my toaster oven but your mileage may vary, add toppings) or a quesadilla (put tortilla on your skillet/griddle/frying pan, set burner to medium-low, cut/shred and add the cheese to one side of the tortilla, put any other toppings on top of the cheese when it melts, fold the topping side over onto the empty side, eat).


Cinnamon toast.

On a cookie sheet, place however many slices of white bread that you want. Spread some margarine on each slice - not too thin, but not too thick either. Only butter one side. Next, sprinkle some sugar on it - give it a decent coating, but not too thick. Top with some shakes of cinnamon.

I always do this in my toaster oven set at 350 degrees, but you bake it until the sugar starts to bubble and then a little past that. You are waiting for the sugar to basically caramelize. Watch carefully so that you don't burn the edges of the toast.

It's really good and also a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth.


"Pasta al tonno"

Make some pasta and add canned tuna and olive oil to your heart's desire. If you're feeling fancy add some black pepper and sauted onions which also go along well.

This is Italian university students' official meal. Bonus points if you have your parents buy the tuna.


Jugs of lemon juice concentrate for $1.25, put some and a little sugar in a water bottle for what I call cheap-ade. You can have lemonade 2-3 times a day for $1.25 every two weeks.


Pizza toast. Just slap some sauce, cheese, and pepperonis on bread and put them in the toaster oven until they look cooked.


My time to shine. I call them "Crappy Sandwiches" and have actually grown to like them, I still make them from time to time.

I made them for a month when I had nothing else. 1 piece of bread (2 if you can afford it) a squirt of mustard, and a slice of cheap bologna. That's it.

99 cents for a loaf of bread. Couple dollars for some bologna, a dollar for dollar store mustard. One week's lunch.

Also, mustard can make a lot of things taste better.


A Fish Bowl. Just simple tuna salad (canned tuna, drained + mayo) in a bowl and add a handful of goldfish crackers. Super easy, super cheap, surprisingly tasty.


My mom makes me 2 eggs over medium, 3 slices of spam, refried beans and 3 slices of bread ripped up in small pieces covered in syrup. Best breakfast ever. Especially when you can get all 4 items on one fork load! My wife hates spam and doesn't understand how I eat it. For your information, I am a grown man and live in my own house. I go over to my mom's house on weekends to help her out with stuff and she loves making breakfast for me and my sons.


When I was a kid we were super poor and we used to split a can of Spaghetti-Os 5 ways by serving it on slices of untoasted buttered bread. I thought it was delicious back then.


Two slices of bread with butter on the bottom. Put buttered side down on a pan. Mix mayo and can of tuna. Put a layer of tuna on slices of bread. Lay cheese slices on top. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. And a can of Campbell's chicken soup or a few packs of ramen. Serves 2.




Keeping secrets from kids might seem like an easy thing, but they tend to see and hear (and understand) a lot more than what the adults in their lives think they do.

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