avocado toast with soft boiled eggs
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30 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 rushing out the door. It needn't be that way. Cheap and fast meals are plentiful, including many that can be prepared quickly and easily the night before to get you going at top speed. Here is about a month's worth of morning meals that should appeal across all age groups. They're easy to scale up for feeding youngsters, and many of the ingredients stretch over numerous preparations.

Tahirah Blanding contributed to this story.

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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Rice Porridge

Make up rice porridge on Sunday night, set in the fridge, and warm up on Monday morning. One-quarter cup of rice is enough for one person. Serve with a fried egg and a dash of soy sauce for a savory and filling start. 

Related: Bland No More: 12 Ways to Use Rice

Egg-in-a-Hole
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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 ($4 at Target) can feed about 30 people for just over 13 cents a serving. 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.

Savings Tip: Make a big batch of oatmeal in your slow-cooker to use the entire week. Don't have a slow-cooker? Pick up one on sale from Amazon for only $32

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 2 minutes for the perfect consistency), toast and butter a slice or two of bread and cut into strips to mop up the yolk. 

Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cook Eggs

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

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.

Savings Tip: To achieve the fluffiest waffles, go Belgian style. This ceramic waffle maker comes very highly rated and is affordable. It would also make an excellent gift for the 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. 

Related: Banana Lovers Rejoice: 20 Cheap and Easy Recipes

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 5 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. 

Related: 25 Smoothies That Are Better Than Ice Cream

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. 

Related: 18 Things You Didn't Know About Peanut Butter and Jelly

Almond Milk Oatmeal
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Almond Milk Oatmeal

Prepare morning oatmeal with almond milk instead of water for an invigorating taste of the tropics. Almond 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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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. 

Related: 25 Creative Ways to Enjoy Apples This Season

Egg Sandwich
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Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
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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. 

Related: Eat Seasonal and Save: When to Buy Fresh Produce Year-Round

Hard-boiled Eggs and Toast
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Hard-Boiled Eggs and Toast

Hard-boiled eggs can be prepared the night before. Once cooked, they will keep in the fridge for the rest of the week. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy with a slice of toast. 

Related: 20 Restaurant-Worthy Twists on Boring Pantry Staples

cottage cheese with toast in the background
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Cottage Cheese and Peanut Butter Toast

A bowl of cottage cheese accompanied by piece 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). 

Related: 11 Dishes to Make From the Garden for Summer Savings

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 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 combines with the honey to help 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. 

Related: Beyond the Pancake: 15 Recipes to Try for Maple Syrup Season

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.