Redditors Are Sharing Their Favorite Broke-Til-Payday Meals and Now We're Hungry

Close up of man hands holding and empty wallet. financial crisis, bankruptcy, no money, bad economy Concept.

Suriyawut Suriya/istockphoto

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Close up of man hands holding and empty wallet. financial crisis, bankruptcy, no money, bad economy Concept.
Suriyawut Suriya/istockphoto

No Money, No Problem!

Mortgage? Paid. Electric bill? Paid. Gas in the tank? Taken care of. Groceries? Damn it. We knew we were forgetting something. If your budget is tighter than a Kardashian's face, you're probably not playing Gordon Ramsay in your home kitchen. You need not fret, though, because there are plenty of cheap meal ideas that actually sound delicious. Check out some of the best ones we found on Reddit  — we're dying to try them.

Bowl of Chili

Pantry Chili

There are seemingly infinite and imaginative chili recipes bouncing around the internet archives, dusty old cookbook pages, and trending TikTok videos. But you don't have to get fancy to get your fill of chili. If you're pinching pennies, shop your pantry and put together a quick and simple recipe. As one Redditor suggested, all you really need is a can of beans, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, chili, cumin, and green chiles (or some combination thereof). Throw it all together and badda bing badda boom, you've got yourself some chili. You can even add ground beef or turkey if you have some in the freezer.

Instant noodles

Peanut Noodles

Thai takeout not in your budget this week? Have no fear, Reddit is here. One commenter swears by peanut noodles while in between paydays. All you need is pasta, peanut butter, and soy sauce. 

Mujadara - lentils and rice pilaf with fried onion.
Viktoria Hodos/istockphoto


This classic Arabic recipe is also a cheap favorite on Reddit. Carmelized onions, rice, and lentils join forces to create a hearty and cost effective meal that one Redditor says is "so much more than it sounds."

Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce on Toast

Baked Beans on Toast

Not gonna lie, this is a no from me, but the people of Reddit have spoken, and this is a hit if you're both hungry and broke. All you need is some bread, a toaster, and a can of baked beans. Whether you're waiting for your bank account to be ressusitated or the end of the world has arrived, this one sounds like a reliable option.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Tuna Salad

Canned tuna is like the Arizona Tea of canned protein — the stuff just stays cheap no matter what kind of hell inflation puts shoppers through. Add some mayo and you can slather it between two pieces of bread, dip crackers in it, throw it on some cooked rice, or just grab a fork and dig in.

A blue bowl full of southern pinto beans on a wooden table
Robin Gentry /istockphoto

Pinto Beans and Cornbread

One Redditor commented that while pinto beans and cornbread was their "great grandmother's go-to during the Depression," it's also one of the best comfort foods around and it's cheap. Winner winner, 2023 Great Depression dinner.

Homemade Southwestern Mexican Quinoa Salad

Taco Beans and Rice

Grab some rice, frozen corn, canned beans, and taco seasoning. Mix it all together and throw on whatever toppings your heart desires and your budget allows.

melting butter

Buttered Noodles

Butter and noodles: Two staple ingredients that almost everyone has in the kitchen can join forces to make a cheap and filling dish. Pro tip: For some extra texture, sprinkle some crumbled crackers on top before diving in.