How to Save Money on Breakfast Every Single Day

Start your mornings off the right way with cheap, easy, delicious breakfasts. You’ll never go to a coffee shop again!

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day—and often, it’s one of the cheapest, too. Well, unless you’re headed out to your local coffee shop or café every morning! Here’s how to have a restaurant-quality breakfast at home for pennies on the dollar. Best of all, it doesn’t require too much daily effort.

The Surprising Benefits of Eating Breakfast

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Too many of us skip breakfast in the mornings. There’s just so much to do, especially if you have kids who need to get ready for school. Mornings tend to be hectic as we rush around to find everything we need to succeed that day. Eating anything, let alone a balanced breakfast is an afterthought at best.

A healthy breakfast has been proven to offer a ton of benefits, from improving heart health to lowering your risk of diabetes. It also helps you make smarter food choices for the rest of the day. Not only will you be more likely to resist the siren song of unhealthy foods, but you also won’t be spending as much money on vending machine snacks or fast food.

There’s another reason that breakfast is essential. As part of a morning self-care ritual, eating breakfast can give you a few minutes of calm before you start the day. Sit down—without your phone—and enjoy the simple pleasure of good, nourishing food.

Skip the Boxed Mixes

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If you’ve been relying on boxed mixes for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, or muffins… what are you even doing? The vast majority of those mixes are made from simple ingredients that are much cheaper to buy individually.

You can make your own pancake mix with flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Here’s a recipe—just measure the dry ingredients and sift them together, then store the dry mix in an airtight container. Then, you’ll need eggs, milk, and butter for delicious pancakes. Sure, it’s not quite as easy as the “just add water” pancake mix, but it tastes so much better.

Making your baked goods from scratch is cheaper and easier than you might imagine. Because many of recipes call for the same basic ingredients, such as flour and sugar, you can buy them in bulk to save even more money. If you want to get ambitious, start making your own bread at home. You can make several loaves at once and freeze the unbaked dough for later.

Make Granola and Baked Oatmeal

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Store-bought granola is expensive! Why pay $5 or more for a bag of granola when you can make your own at home? Homemade granola is ridiculously easy, simple, and inexpensive. A basic recipe requires just three ingredients: oats, a sweetener such as maple syrup or brown sugar, and oil. You can get creative with mix-ins and spices to create the perfect granola. Store it in an airtight container, which will last for up to a month in the pantry.

While you’re stocking up on oats, consider trying baked oatmeal. While overnight oats continue to be trendy, I think that making a pan of baked oatmeal is an even better use of time. Baked oatmeal is like a cross between traditional oatmeal and quick bread. You can flavor it pretty much any way you want! Budget Bytes has a great collection of recipes for baked oatmeal. You can cut it into single servings to store in the fridge for about five days or in the freezer for three months.

Eggs: The Perfect Breakfast Food

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There’s a reason that eggs are one of the most popular breakfast foods in the world. They’re so cheap, versatile, nutritious, and tasty! Think beyond basic scrambled eggs for breakfasts filling you up until lunchtime. Some out-of-the-shell breakfast ideas include:

  • Huevos rancheros
  • Breakfast burritos or tacos
  • Shakshuka
  •  Frittata
  • Quiche
  • Baked egg muffins
  • Spanish omelets

If you’re cooking breakfast for four or more people, skip the frying pan and make a sheet-pan breakfast. You can roast vegetables and potatoes, cook sausage and bacon, and then fry a few eggs all on the same pan. The flavors meld beautifully—and best of all, cleanup is easy.

Read More: Splurge or Save: Kitchen Essentials

Stock Up on Smoothie Ingredients

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A smoothie is a great breakfast choice if you’re not in the mood for something hot or savory. But making a smoothie can be time-consuming. That’s why creating your own smoothie packs is the way to go!

Buying individual smoothies is expensive and picking up pre-made freezer packs is almost as bad. However, creating your own packs is easy and much less expensive. According to Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, you can make an entire month’s worth of daily smoothies for less than $50.  Simply combine your favorite fruits and vegetables, sweeteners, nuts and seeds, and any other mix-ins you enjoy. If you like your smoothies with yogurt, portion a large container into a silicone ice cube tray to freeze before.

Portion your ingredients into plastic bags and store them in the freezer. Don’t forget to add a masking tape label with the date so that you know which packs to use up first. Prepping smoothie packs in advance allows you to shave time from your morning routine and pare down your budget since you can buy ingredients in bulk or take advantage of sales.

Pro Tip: If you don’t finish your blended smoothie, pour the leftovers into a popsicle mold and freeze for later!

Get Creative with Leftovers

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It’s easy to fall into a breakfast rut. Cold cereal, toast, scrambled eggs… it’s no wonder that breakfast feels like a chore some mornings. Many traditional breakfast offerings are either limited in scope and nutrition or time-consuming to prepare. One solution? Leftovers for breakfast!

There’s no reason why you can’t have leftovers in the morning if that’s what strikes your fancy. However, an even better use of leftovers is to use them as ingredients in a breakfast dish. Almost anything savory can taste good as filling in an omelet; for example, breakfast burritos are made using leftover Mexican food.

If you’re unsure about reheating last night’s dinner for breakfast, consider prepping extra vegetables the next time you cook. That way, you’ll have the fixings for a quick omelet, frittata, or other savory breakfast treat on hand without having to make everything from scratch.

Set Up a Barista Bar

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For many of us, coffee is essential to a productive day. Unfortunately, coffee shops often charge premium prices for their drinks. While the occasional treat is fine, your daily coffee (or tea) habit probably shouldn’t depend on a trip to your local café.

It’s possible to make your own coffee drinks at home that rival what you can get at a café. The trick is picking the right beans. If you have a local coffee roaster, check out what they have to offer. Their beans will almost certainly be fresher than anything you can buy at the grocery store. Prepare a pot of drip coffee instead of single-use coffee pods, and refrigerate anything you don’t drink in a sealed container. Black coffee should be good to use for 3-4 days, according to health experts, so you can pour yourself a cup of ambition, as Dolly Parton would say, anytime you want.

If you prefer cold brew coffee, it’s incredibly easy (and cheap) to make at home. You don’t even need to buy a fancy container. Mix coarse-ground coffee into the water in a 4-to-1 ratio and let it steep overnight in the fridge. You’ll end up with a concentrated cold brew that you can use to create your favorite drinks or enjoy plain. Cold brew tends to be more concentrated than drip coffee, so you may want to dilute yours before drinking it.

Batch Prep and Freeze

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Many breakfast baked goods freeze surprisingly well. If you’re making pancakes, French toast, or waffles, go ahead and prepare extras to freeze for mornings when you don’t have as much time. When you bake a loaf of quick bread, double the recipe, then cut the spare loaf into slices that go in the freezer.

One of my favorite hacks is to make a batch of breakfast burritos that are ready to go whenever I need a quick meal. They’re cheaper and healthier than the store-bought versions.

Of course, there are a few things that don’t freeze well. Egg whites can be iffy, as are soft cheeses, sour cream, and other dairy products. Before accidentally wasting a whole batch of food, try freezing a test meal to ensure that it still tastes good when reheated.

Bonus Tip for Traveling

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When you’re on the road, choose a hotel with free hot breakfast when possible. Not only can you enjoy a good meal first thing in the morning, but you can also stash a few extras for snacks later in the day. Most hotel breakfast bars include bagels, bread, muffins, and individual butter, jelly, and cream cheese containers. Keep an eye out for peanut butter packets (as long as you’re not allergic) to make free PB&J sandwiches!

Of course, you shouldn’t cram your pockets with as much food as possible or bring takeout containers to breakfast. However, there’s no shame in taking a few little extras to go. If nothing else, grab a piece of fruit and refill your drink on the way out!

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