Cheap Bulking Diet: Complete Guide To Gain Weight For 50$/Week

By Ire | Calories

Jul 10

In this article I will give you ideas of what foods to consume, so you can create your own cheap bulking diet.

“I want to get big, but I just don’t have money to spend on extra food… What do I do?”

Well first thing is do not worry. Being in caloric surplus doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. You can survive on less than 50 dollars per week and still be gaining weight. Remember not to trust anyone that makes you pay 30 dollars for organic, gluten-free honey that will clean your chakras.

“Why should I bother to cook my own meals when I can just go to McDonald’s and get 100 Chicken McNuggets for 15 dollars?”

Well you can do that; however, it will not lead you to you desired body appearance. In bodybuilding world, that would be considered “dirty bulk”, which is gaining weight without paying attention to anything, but the enormous number of calories consumed. Remember, we are not only aiming for weight gain. We are aiming for weight gain with as little extra fat as possible. In fitness industry, we call that “Clean Bulk”.

Muscular female getting ready to deadlift

Think Macros, not meals

THIS IS IMPORTANT! We must hit the correct percentage of carbs, protein and fat on a daily basis. Common sense tells us that we are not going to be successful if our diet consists 100% of only one thing. It is recommended to eat 50-60% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein and 15-25% of fat.

If you want to know more about how to make sure we hit those numbers, make sure to check THIS article.


1. Oatmeal

Cup of oatmeal for gaining muscles

Doesn’t taste like anything but great for your weight gaining goals. You can prepare it many ways to make it taste better. You can add frozen berries and honey, throw it in a microwave and here you go. Extremely cheap and caloric breakfast without much preparation and dish washing.

2. Brown Rice

Plate of rice to gain weight

BIf you ever heard of Ellinor Hulse, he swears by getting big through eating brown rice. Brown rice is whole grain and is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Brown rice also has more calories per 100g. Price is tiny bit more expensive than white, but not enough to make white rice more worth it.

3. Bananas

Bananas hanging. Caloric Snack on the go

BCheap, easy, on the go. Eat them with everything. Breakfast? Have a banana. Stuck in traffic? Have a banana. Smoothie? Throw two in there and make it nice and thick.
You can’t go wrong with buying more bananas. Period.

4. Whole Grain Bread

Wholegrain bread for increasing carbohydrate intake

It has more nutrients and calories. Buy old bread and just freeze it. For breakfast, take it out and directly in to a toaster. After two minutes you will have a perfectly toasted piece of bread on which you can throw some peanut butter and know for sure that you are eating the best food for your bucks.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate acts as a dessert on a Clean Bulk

This is not a must, however if you feel like you just can’t go without something sweet, dark chocolate is your answer.

6. Frozen Fruit

Glass of frozen fruit berries

FIf you want to get big without gaining too much fat, you might want to substitute snickers candy with nature’s candy. Berries and cherries would be the best option IMO. Buy them frozen and throw them in smoothie or put them on your oats. Make ice cream or jam. You can also get dry fruits for cheap. They are usually mixed with nuts, so another great thing to snack on.


1. Eggs

Eggs are a great source of protein for muscle growth

Ok, so if you do not want yolk, remove it yourself because it is cheaper. Since yolk is very nutritious, there is really no reason to remove it. You can find a dozen egg for about 1.20$, that means you are paying 10 cents for 80 calories of fantastic source of both protein and fats! By the way, you do not have to be concerned about high cholesterol. Eggs are actually high in healthy cholesterol, which is good for you!

2. Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is cheap way to gain muscles

Great for adding very much needed proteins in order to build muscles. It usually contains about 40g of protein per can. It is easy to prepare, and you can mix it with many different foods. However, do not go HAM in this one. There is a risk for mercury poisoning if you are consistently consuming more than 2 cans per day.

3. Chicken

Chicken wings are cheapest part of chicken

CDid you know that different chicken parts also differ in price. In our case, we might consider legs and wings, since they are cheaper. Chicken goes together with any dinner/lunch sides and it is very rich in protein. You can buy cheaper chicken which is just about to expire and put it in the freezer. Just make sure that you prepare it immediately after taking it out. My friend got up to 280lbs doing that. Buying almost expired chicken, put it in a freezer and then straight to crockpot. I spotted him in bench for 315×10 last week, so there must be something he is doing right.

4. Milk

Milk is a cheap protein source

Farmer boys have been doing it since they were young. And those guys are usually the ones who have been destroying everybody in arm wrestling since kindergarten. So whenever you feel thirsty, consider having a glass of milk. It contains healthy fats and proteins. You will be consuming about 150 calories and 10 grams of protein per glass. Drink about 3 of these a day and you are on a good way to building more muscles. If you are lactose intolerant, you might consider soy or almond milk. I understand that those can be more expensive, therefore if you are lactose intolerant and there is no cheap no-lactose milk in your store, just forget about that one. Many other cheap food if you are on a bulking diet.

5. Beans

Beans are great protein source

Usually cheaper source of protein than most meats or fish. They are full of fiber, magnesium, zinc, potassium… All this means that by only consuming beans, you daily vegetable requirements will almost be completely satisfied. There are many ways to prepare them and they go well with many meals. Since beans do not have a strong taste, you can even toss them in smoothies.

6. Protein Powders

If you know where to buy your proteins, then protein powder will be your cheapest source of protein. You can even buy unflavored powder, which is even cheaper. You can end up mixing it with your morning oats or your daily smoothie. If you are a savage, you can just mix it in milk and drink it the way it is. Just make sure to hold your nose doing it.

During my poor student days, I would always go with MyProtein brand. They offer quality protein powder for very affordable price. Since they have unflavored option, you can really be sure about getting most protein per buck.


1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a healthy fat source

My favorite. I often get judged since I mix it with everything. I even put it on my bacon egg and cheese. It tastes great, it has notable amounts of different vitamins, zinc, potassium, magnesium, proteins and fat. It is a big help, if we are trying to bulk with little money.

2. Cheese

Cheese cutting on a cutting board. Source of fat for weight gain

It adds flavor to various foods. Major source of fats and fatty acids like omega-3. It is also a great protein source for all my vegetarians. Enjoy it, but do not go HAM on it since it is usually in saturated fat. About 150g of serving will just about satisfy your daily recommended intake for saturated fats.

3. Olive Oil

Cheap Bulking Diet. Jar of olive oil

Great to balance your meal plan. It is a source of healthy mono saturated fats and omega 3. Olive oil contains substantial amounts of antioxidants. You should even recommend it to your grandma, since it is known to help fight Alzheimer’s. We learned that fats contain 9 calories per gram. However, eating fats does not make us full, even though we end up consuming way more calories. Therefore, do not go and drink a glass of olive oil a day. I would consume up to 2 table spoons a day. You can put it in your salad or just eat it off a spoon.

4. Nuts

Mixed nuts for snacking

“These nuts! Got em”!! Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, cashews are high in fat and therefore high in calories. Buy them in bulk and snack on them on the go. Put them in salad, whatever you prefer.


1. Buy food that is about to expire and freeze it

Just make sure that you google how long it can be kept in your freezer. When you take it out of freezer, prepare it right away.

2. Focus on starchy vegatables since they have more calories

Corn, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, beans..

3. Water

Drinking water moves nutrients around body. Drink out of big jug to psychologically trick yourself to drink more.

Male with big muscles drinking water out of a jug

4. Buy food in bulk

Save your trips to the store and usually gives you better discounts (3 for 2)

5. Know where to shop

Make sure that you know what kind of store you shop at. Wholefoods might not be the best choice if you are looking for a cheap bulking diet. If you are from The States, best options are Aldi, Costco, Trader Joe’s.

6. Meal Prep

That way you can calculate exactly how much food you need to eat per day, to fit your calories and macros. You can prepare it ahead and not worry about what you will be eating for the next few days. You will always hit your calories perfectly and will be on a wonderful way to bulking with little money. This will probably take a lot of time the first few times. Calculating calories and preparing meals is not the most fun activity. However, once you know what foods you usually buy in the store and how much you should prepare for each meal, it will become incredibly easier. You will be gaining weight and be stronger in no time.

7. Do not go crazy on protein

Protein is the most expensive macronutrient. Bodybuilders often want brag how much protein they consume daily. Firstly, you are not a professional bodybuilder, therefore you shouldn’t follow their numbers. Secondly, you are trying to gain weight, which means that carbohydrates are better friend than protein. You WILL NOT benefit if you consume more than 1.5g protein per your body weight (lbs). Let’s be realistic and keep our protein at around 25% which should be around 1.2g per BW.

Need help structuring your diet?

If you need help planning meals perfect for your body, check out of online coaching opportunities here!

Coach Ire will be able to help you to structure your workouts and diet for your own body type. Get an online coach to finally put some flesh on those bones.

If you need help planning meals perfect for your body, check out of online coaching opportunities here!

Coach Ire will be able to help you to structure your workouts and diet for your own body type. Get an online coach to finally put some flesh on those bones.

CONCLUSION: How do I gain weight with little to no money?

There are many foods that you can buy for cheap. This article does not give you all the options, however it does list the most common ones. Cheap bulking diet is more difficult, however it is extremely possible. No more excuses like: “I do not have money to buy enough food to get big”.

Remember that protein supplements are for the most part cheaper than real food. However, some brands are going to be more trustworthy than others. Read here about how to select your next protein powder product.

If you read this post you should now know exactly how to calculate your calories and how to shop cheap to bulk up. Hopefully, now you understand little more on how weight-gain works and you have now added some things on your shopping list. With this, you should be on a way to a healthier body and a self-confidence boost!

About the Author

Hey, my name is Ire.I am a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach based in Stockholm, Sweden.When you don't find me in the gym, I will most likely be on a Track and Field stadium throwing around a discus.

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