avocado toast with soft boiled eggs
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33 Cheap, Easy Breakfast Ideas to Start the Day Right

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avocado toast with soft boiled eggs
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Fuel Your Morning

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, but today's busy schedules leave many Americans too little time to eat before starting their work day. It needn't be that way. Despite all the unhealthy fast food breakfast options out there, many nutritious and cheap breakfast meals can be prepared easily the night before to get you going at top speed. Here is over a month's worth of budget-friendly breakfasts that can help you save money and feed everyone in your house. They're great for meal planning, easy to scale up for feeding youngsters, and many of the ingredients stretch over numerous preparations.


Related: 40 Breakfast Foods Ranked by Their Calorie Count

Hummus with English Muffin
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English Muffin With Hummus

Hummus may be popular as an appetizer or snack, but in many parts of the Middle East, it's a standard breakfast food. Take a cue from the Mediterranean diet and add hummus to an English muffin for a quick, healthy breakfast. Hummus can be prepared from scratch for about the same price as a prepackaged container.

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Rice Porridge
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Eggs, Peppers, & Onions Breakfast Burrito
Eggs, Peppers, & Onions Breakfast Burrito by Ron Dollete (CC BY-ND)

Breakfast Burrito

There are plenty of fillings that can be added to a breakfast burrito, but the base concept is the same: Take a tortilla, fill it with scrambled eggs, beans, sausage, cheese, and any other ingredients you care to incorporate, roll it up, then give it a quick bake in the oven so that the cheese melts. Not a bad way to start the day, right?  


Related: 26 Easy Breakfast Casseroles to Start Your Morning Right

Egg-in-a-Hole
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Egg-In-a-Hole

Sate your inner gourmet by toasting a slice of bread, cutting a hole in the center, laying the toast in a frying pan, and cooking an egg inside the hole. 

Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cook Eggs

Oatmeal
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Oatmeal

Doctoring up bowl of oatmeal is an easy and economical way to start the day. A 42-ounce canister of plain oats (around $6 at Target) can feed about 30 people. A spoonful of maple syrup or honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon adds a touch of sweetness — without all the sugar and sodium of instant oatmeal packets. Tip: Make a big batch of oatmeal in your slow-cooker to use the entire week. 

Quinoa and Lentil Bowl - Seasonal Vegetables, Kale, Six Minute Egg, Avocado, Gremolata, smoked salmon
Quinoa and Lentil Bowl - Seasonal Vegetables, Kale, Six Minute Egg, Avocado, Gremolata, smoked salmon by Lou Stejskal (CC BY)

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa isn't just for savory salads. You can also turn the affordable ingredients into the main focus of a protein-packed breakfast bowl. Top it with slices of avocado, an egg any way you like it, some greens, and a little bit of hot sauce. 

Soft-Boiled Eggs and Soldiers
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Soft-Boiled Eggs and Soldiers

If you have a hankering for protein but only 10 minutes to spare, opt for soft-boiled eggs and "soldiers." While the eggs simmer (about two minutes for the perfect consistency), toast and butter a slice or two of bread and cut into strips to mop up the yolk. 

Bagel
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Egg and Avocado on Toast
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Egg and Avocado on Toast

An interesting and easy twist on the morning meal is toast, fried egg, and sliced avocado. This green fruit may be pricey out of season (fall to spring), but during summer, avocados are plentiful, affordable, and brimming with healthy fat and nutrients. A touch of cayenne pepper adds a kick. 

Related: 40 Delicious Breakfasts from Around the World

Overnight oats in a jar
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Overnight Oats

Sure, it's another oatmeal recipe, but overnight oats allow for a creamier texture than your usual bowl of oats made that morning. It's also highly customizable: Just add rolled oats, milk or a dairy-alternative, yogurt, and a sweetener to a mason jar, then let it soak overnight. Add your favorite fruits, nuts, and other toppings in the morning, and you're ready to go.

Strawberry Waffle
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Strawberry Waffle

For a cheap and fast restaurant-quality breakfast, rehydrate dried strawberries, toast a waffle, and ladle on the fruit. Fresh berries are always an option but cost more — especially out of season. Tip: To achieve the fluffiest waffles, go Belgian style. This ceramic waffle maker comes highly rated and would make an excellent gift for any breakfast lover. 

chocolate oatmeal with banana
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Banana Nutella Oatmeal

For another take on oatmeal, stir in a spoonful of Nutella and top with sliced banana. The sweet hazelnut spread might seem pricey, but each jar holds about 20 servings. And a banana is one of the best cheap additions to an already hearty dish. Just half will suffice; the other half can be eaten with lunch or thrown in a smoothie. 

Scrambled Eggs
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Scrambled Eggs

Scramble an egg or two with a touch of green onion and garlic for a cheap and protein-rich breakfast. A single green onion should suffice for up to three servings, and a clove of garlic goes a long way. Mixing in a tablespoon of Greek yogurt adds fluffiness and five grams of protein. 

Related: 25 Betty Crocker-Era Holiday Recipes That We Secretly Love

Yogurt Parfait
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Yogurt Parfait

Plain yogurt is a healthy, filling, and budget-wise ingredient for multiple morning meals. Add a few slices of seasonal or dried fruit, a few spoonfuls of granola or muesli, and a bit of honey. 

Peanut Butter and Banana Toast
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Peanut Butter and Banana Toast

This easy grab-and-go meal requires just two slices of toast covered with a thin layer of peanut butter and sliced banana, sandwiched together. A small banana contains a whopping 12 percent of the fiber needed daily. Two tablespoons of nut butter should be plenty, so a $3 to $6 jar lasts a while. 

Almond Milk Oatmeal
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Coconut Milk Oatmeal

Prepare morning oatmeal with coconut milk instead of water for an invigorating taste of the tropics. Coconut milk is relatively inexpensive, starting at about $2 for a 32-ounce carton. When the oatmeal is ready, sprinkle dried coconut on top and fantasize about the next vacation.

Tropical Smoothie
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Tropical Smoothie

Continuing with the tropical theme, get out the blender and whip up a smoothie made from yogurt, frozen blueberries, and orange juice — in just minutes. 

sliced apples with peanut butter and nuts
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Apple With Peanut Butter and Granola

When there's absolutely no time to lose in the morning, an apple sliced into rings, smeared with peanut butter, and sprinkled with granola is a perfect perk-me-up breakfast. The combination of flavors, nutrients, and textures should keep you going until lunchtime. 

Egg Sandwich
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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Another tasty take on the bottomless bowl of oatmeal includes dried ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a chopped apple. Cook the oats in milk, add the spices, and stir in the apple when ready to serve. 

Strawberry-Yogurt Smoothie
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Strawberry-Yogurt Smoothie

A strawberry-yogurt smoothie can be whipped up in seconds for taking on the road or drinking in the kitchen and sparkles during berry season, when the fruit is reasonably priced, super sweet, and perhaps locally grown. It can even salvage berries that are getting a bit soft for eating. Add a touch of orange juice for extra zing. 

Hard-boiled Eggs and Toast
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cottage cheese with toast in the background
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Cottage Cheese and Peanut Butter Toast

A bowl of cottage cheese accompanied by pieces of fruit and a slice of toast with peanut butter is a healthy, inexpensive, and filling first meal of the day.

Grapefruit
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Grapefruit

What's the ultimate quick and cheap breakfast? Half a grapefruit. Sprinkle with some sugar to smooth out the tart and tangy citrus taste. The pink/red varieties are the sweetest.

yogurt with chocolate and granola
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Yogurt With Granola and Nutella

End the week with a sweet and cheap breakfast of yogurt blended with a swirl of Nutella and topped with granola for crunch and texture.

Peanut Butter Smoothie
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Peanut Butter Smoothie

Reverting to the smoothie theme, blend together peanut butter, a ripe banana, and dairy or almond milk or plain yogurt. Serve in a glass and drink, or pour into a bowl, add some granola, and eat with a spoon.

Related: Delicious Uses for Cereal Besides Breakfast

Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes
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Scrambled Eggs With Tomatoes

Try a tomato-egg scramble for a flavorful, frugal breakfast. Tomatoes are affordably priced throughout the year but especially cheap in the summer. Simply add diced tomato to scrambled eggs and continue cooking until the tomato is slightly soft (but not mushy). 

Apple Walnut Oatmeal
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Apple Walnut Oatmeal

An ideal fall breakfast combines oatmeal (yup, again), apple slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a handful of walnuts for added crunch and texture.

Tomato and Herb Omelet
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Tomato and Herb Omelet

Up the ante with parsley, cilantro, and basil to give eggs more flavor plus an abundance of nutrients. Whole bunches of herbs are usually about $2 and can last for a couple of weeks. Try your hand at an omelet with the herbs and fresh sliced or chopped tomatoes. 

Related: 50 Easy Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

Nutty Granola
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Greek Yogurt with Honey and Cinnamon
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Greek Yogurt With Honey and Cinnamon

While honey isn't exactly cheap, it doesn't take much to sweeten a morning meal. Cinnamon is a cheap spice that, when combined with the honey, helps to perk up plain, protein-packed Greek yogurt.

Cinnamon Bun Smoothie
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Cinnamon Bun Smoothie

Some rave that almond milk, cinnamon, and maple syrup taste like a cinnamon roll in liquid form. When blended with ice, they come together to make a cheap, creamy smoothie. Maple syrup is the priciest ingredient, and only a tablespoon is needed to add flavor. 

Cinnamon Cream of Wheat
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Cinnamon Cream of Wheat

For a large family, punch up Cream of Wheat with a pinch of cinnamon and sugar to taste. The prepackaged porridge usually comes in 28-ounce boxes for about $4, which makes up to 24 servings. The homemade variety requires milk and ground wheat. The latter isn't hard to find in the bulk bins for $1 to $2 a pound.


Discover more budget-friendly meals here.