I’m a big fan of Sprouts Farmers Market—it’s like Whole Foods for cheap people! The neighborhood Sprouts has become our go-to place for most grocery shopping excursions. They have awesome weekly specials, cheap fresh produce, and a nice selection of organic, gluten-free and bulk foods.

Sprouts also has a surprisingly good cook-and-serve/ready-to-eat section—far better than the usual rotisserie chicken, sandwiches, and coleslaw fare you see in most grocery stores. My husband and I frequently enjoy the Sprouts cook-and-serve meatloaf. Just like mom used to make. (Better than my mom’s last attempt at meatloaf, actually.) It’s cheap, and all we have to do is throw it in the oven for an hour or so, scrape together a side or two, and it’s dinner time!

Sprouts Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes
Sprouts Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes. Let's pretend the ketchup drizzle is artfully done.

The Sprouts ready-to-eat food selection also includes (in addition to sandwiches, wraps and the like) a variety of pasta dishes, family-size meals with porkchops or chicken plus rolls and sides (feeds 4 people for about $12), single meals with a variety of meat and veggie options, and prepared vegetable dishes. For the most part it just needs to be microwaved, and you’ve got a decent approximation of home-cooked goodness. And, it’s usually cheaper than fast food.

So if you’re a lazy person who doesn’t always like to cook, and a cheap person who doesn’t always like to spend money going out to eat, I’d encourage you to give the Sprouts ready-to-eat meals a shot.