All the Best Foods Under $5 We’ve Tried

Grocery shopping on a budget ain’t easy. Prices are climbing so high, some of us are getting a little too serious about starting that vegetable garden in the backyard and even googling things like, “How much do chickens cost? Is it hard to keep your own chicken coop? Will my dog try to eat my chickens?” (Is that just me? Okay.) 

When you have to bend over backwards just to figure out how to grocery shop on a budget, your life can start to spiral. And, look, we here at Sporked may not be qualified to offer financial advice, but we can most certainly dig up all of the affordable products we’ve ever recommended and put them in a neat little budget grocery list, just for you. So stop asking your significant other if they want to quit their jobs to start a farm with you, and consider bookmarking this curated guide of groceries under $5 instead, okay? 

TL;DR: Do you love grocery lists and saving money? Keep reading.  

Best Pasta Sauce for Under $5

best cheap pasta sauce
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart / Target / Walmart

There are two types of people: Those cooking for a family who need multiple jars of pasta sauces to get through the week, and those cooking for one, who never make it through an entire jar before the sauce starts to smell funky. It doesn’t matter what type of person you are; we could all benefit from adding cheap pasta sauce to our budget grocery list. (We’ve even got a Rao’s marinara dupe on here, guys! Just sayin’.) 

Best Frozen Meals Under $5

frozen meals under $5
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart / Target / Trader Joe’s / Walmart

Frozen meals should, in theory, save you time and money—but like those pesky streaming subscriptions, they can really add up. Here are some genuinely yummy, taste-tester approved frozen meals under $5 worth adding to your cart when grocery shopping on a budget. 

Best Snacks Under $5

best snacks under $5
Credit: Merc

Should snacks ever cost more than $5? No. That’s just morally wrong. A $6 snack isn’t a snack! It’s a punishment for feeling snacky, gosh darn it. Sadly, I don’t make the rules. I’ve just learned how to skirt them…with the help of this list. 

Best Frozen Desserts Under $5

cheap ice cream and cheap frozen desserts
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart / Walmart

Don’t sacrifice your emotional support dessert to save a few bucks when we can offer you tubs—literal tubs—of delectable ice creams, Italian ices, ice cream sandwiches, and more for under $5. Buying groceries on a budget should always include sweet treats. 

Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s Under $5

Credit: Liv Averett / Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is a treasure trove of cheap groceries, even if some are hit and miss. That’s why we’re here to separate the duds from the affordable hidden gems. Also, make sure to check out this list of the best TJ’s salad dressings! Most of these are under $5 and ridiculously underrated.

Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s Under $2

Trader Joe's Haul Under $2
Credit: Liv Averett / Trader Joe’s

If you’re squinting your eyes right now, wondering if that “2” is a trick of the light or an editorial oopsie, I assure you we’re not messing around. Check out our favorite snacks and staples from TJ’s for under $2!

Best Things to Buy at Aldi Under $5

what to buy at aldi for under $5
Credit: Liv Averett / Aldi / Instacart

If you’re intent on properly grocery shopping on a budget, here’s some life advice you can take or leave: Consider changing your primary supermarket to Aldi. Yes, like TJ’s, their options are more limited (and you have to bring a quarter for a damn cart, which is really the hardest hurdle for my attention deficit brain to get over…but I digress). These are seven Aldi items we loved for under $5, but in general, their shelves are stocked with cheaper alternatives and popular product dupes marked down to great prices compared to other major grocery stores. 

Best Things To Buy At Aldi Under $2 

best things to buy at aldi under $2
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart

Why limit our budget grocery list to under $5, when Aldi has some real gems for less than $2, too? (Like Clancy’s pub pretzels…a 12 ounce bag of those wouldn’t last long at the Sporked office, let me tell you.)

Best Groceries Under $1

Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / DoorDash / Ralphs / Walmart

Don’t pinch yourself, this isn’t a dream. We really have done the impossible: Assemble a budget grocery list of products under $1. Loose change can come in handy after all, so put on a brave face and start sticking your hands in places you really don’t want to! No, not like that—I’m talking under couch cushions, your car’s center console, the dirty sidewalk. Get your mind (and your bank account) out of the gutter! 

About the Author

Ariana Losch

Ariana Losch is a Sporked contributor, webcomic writer, java junkie, and bad TV enthusiast. She only ever feels at peace laying out on a beach like a kebab, roasting in the sun; sadly, she can never move back to Florida, her home state, because there simply isn’t enough good Mediterranean food. You can find her overstaying her welcome at just about every LA coffee shop, working on a screenplay and avoiding all eye contact. (She is embarrassed to be there, please leave her alone.)

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