People Share Their Go-To “Poverty Meals” They Enjoy No Matter How Much Money They Have

Whether you have $5 in your bank account or $5,000, there are some meals that stick with you and that you still enjoy from when times were lean and you had to do everything in your life on the cheap.

I think my go-to cheap meal is just a plain cheese quesadilla. Cheese and flour tortillas, that’s all you need.

And they still taste great and I still make them to this day!

Let’s dig into some cheap meals with folks on AskReddit and see what they had to say.

1. Lessons from Mom.

“Grew up poor, but my mom sure knew how to stretch a dollar.

She would make steak fingers out of the cheapest cuts she could find. Tenderize, fry them up make gravy out of the drippings and serve with mashed potatoes.

The whole meal probably cost less than 5 bucks in ’70s dollars, and I’m telling you nothing tasted better. I made it for my kids when they were growing up and they still ask me for it sometimes.

She would be 94 today. Love you miss you mom.”

2. Potato time!

“Put some red skin potatoes, fresh green beans, chicken stock, and seasonings in a pot (or slow cooker) and simmer it for an hour or more.

Use a slotted spoon to put some in a bowl, then add a bit of stock and plenty of butter.

It’s heaven.”

3. Pretty simple.

“We used to eat squash and eggs growing up.

Grew the squash and eggs are cheap enough, or trade with the neighbors. You just cut the squash into thin round and cook in a pan with a little oil until they’re just soft. Scramble the eggs with the squash, add a bunch of pepper, some salt.

Sometimes we ate it over noodles or rice.”

4. Yummy.

“Oven-baked potatoes with salt and margarine. Cheap ingredients found in almost every home and easy to make.

Also, the starch in potatoes makes you feel full for pretty long.”

5. Here’s the deal.

“Steamed white rice, crack a raw egg in it while it’s scorching hot, stir aggressively and dash with soy sauce. I

f I have some, put roasted seaweed in. Super cheap breakfast but oh man is it filling/delicious.”

6. The best!

“Grilled cheese is great pretending to be bougie food too.

My brother and I used to go to the store together and splurge on fancy-ish cheese (i.e. still the precut stuff in plastic in the dairy section, not the high end stuff in the deli section or the fancy cheese cooler) and see who could come up with the best combination of cheeses and bread from the bakery section.

I think we settled on sourdough, smoked gouda, havarti, and cream cheese.”

7. So good!

“I had a PB&J recently and felt like a fool!

Why did I stop eating these when I became an adult? Society lead me to believe this was the way.

It is not! Been having PB&J a couple nights a week since. I refuse to let societies unenlightened views dictate my dinner choices!

PB&J is a top tier dish for any occasion.”

8. Mix it up.

“Make some pasta and add in whatever you can find in the fridge or cabinets.

Cheese, lunch meat, Spam, spices, etc.

No two meals were ever the same.”

9. Sounds good.

“Peanut butter and sliced banana on toast.

Now that I’m better off financially, I’ll add real honey and ground cinnamon because I’m fancy now.”

10. Struggle nachos.

“I still regularly eat my struggle nachos, tortilla chips with slices of American cheese on top and microwaved.

Now that I can afford it I’ll throw taco meat on top every now and again but still very much enjoy just the chips and cheese.”

11. Keep it simple.

“Quesadillas (with hot sauce if there is any)

I think a lot of people have different ideas of what a quesadilla is. My version is strictly a single tortilla with whatever cheese I have lying around (usually dollar packs of singles).

That means no meat, beans, lettuce, tomato, etc. And I definitely don’t use a Foreman to make mine”

12. Every day.

“Toast with a fried egg for breakfast.

Been eating that for probably 6 years now and still look forward to it every morning.”

13. There you go.


Cook a pound of ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning. Make a box of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. Mix together.

Also, that’s your salt quota for the week.”

Do you have some go-to cheap meals that you enjoy no matter where you’re at financially?

Tell us all about them in the comments!

We’d love to hear from you!