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Bulking on a Budget: The $100/Month Clean Bulk Meal Plan!


bulking diet plan

Finding a good bulking diet when you’re broke as a joke can be REALLY difficult. Bodybuilding foods can cost an arm and a leg.

I remember when I first made my bulking on a budget meal plan. I was a broke college student trying to save money.

Despite my lack of income, I was determined to get big—it wasn’t a “want,” it was a “must.” I wanted to bulk up… and I wanted to do it fast.

So, I decided to create the most calorie-efficient, cheapest, clean bulking diet possible—and I succeeded.

On just $100 a month, I was able to successfully bulk up for the winter, putting on a solid 20 pounds of muscle. Plus, all of my lifts went up.

So, if whether you’re a broke college student, an entrepreneur trying to put all your money into a business, or just a guy who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on food, here’s the best clean bulking diet for you.


Bulking on a Budget 101

First off, realize that this diet could be much cheaper. Like, it could literally be around $50 a month, or maybe even less.

Yep, that’s right—if you lived off of chicken breast for protein, and donuts for fat and carbs, you could easily cut the cost down by half.

This is what’s known as a “dirty bulk.” Doing a dirty bulk is by far the cheapest and easiest way to bulk up on a budget.

It’s when you throw caution to the wind, and just shovel down ice cream, donuts, pizza, and other foods to get a ton of calories in.

Dirty BulkingClean Bulking
Less ExpensiveMore Expensive
Easier CaloriesHarder to Prepare
Destroys Your HealthMuch More Sustainable

Although it’s certainly tastier than a clean bulking diet, it’s probably going to destroy your cholesterol levels and fuck your body up.

You don’t want to destroy your body and wreck your health by downing garbage food. It’s much better to do a clean bulk, where you eat healthy, but cheap foods to get jacked.


Supplements For Bulking Up

You may notice that there’s also no supplements in this bulking diet.

It’s not because they’re a scam or anything like that—SARMs, for example, are 100% legit, pure legal steroids.

But if you’re struggling to afford food, don’t bother with buying whey protein, pre workouts, or anything else.

That being said, if you think you can afford it, then definitely consider buying some muscle building supplements to bulk up faster.

It’s not necessary, though. If you’re broke as a joke, don’t worry about it. If you use my bulking on a budget meal plan, you’ll be jacked in no time.


Bulking Diet Carbohydrate Sources

bulking diet plan carbohydrate sources

An integral part of any bulking diet is the carbohydrates. Carbs get you big by boosting your insulin levels temporarily. This means that the more carbs you eat, the bigger you’ll get.

This is why a lot of bulking shakes, like Mutant Mass for example, are loaded with carbs. If you want to build muscle, you NEED carbohydrates to fuel that muscle growth.

Just because you’re on a bulking diet doesn’t mean you can go crazy, though—there’s an ideal number of carbohydrates for you to have each day.

For a specific bulking diet plan check out Scooby’s Calorie Calculator.

Anyways, the carbs we’re going to use in this diet are mainly brown rice and beans. They’re both very cheap, nutritious, and can be combined with a number of different foods.

You can get a 15lb bag of brown rice at your local Asian grocery market for like $20. This will last you around half a year.

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For the beans, go to Costco. You can get a 25lb bag of black beans for like $25. This will last you around half a year as well.

You’ll have to spend a lot of time cooking these things, because they won’t be pre-cooked, but you can minimize time by meal-prepping each week.


Other Carbohydrates For Bulking

If you want, you can mix it up with some other cheap carb sources like whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, or quinoa, but these will cost more.

In addition to this, you can also use oatmeal and oat bran. Oatmeal is one of the best bodybuilding foods when you’re on a bulking diet.

In fact, for many people on a bulking diet (or even on a cutting diet), oatmeal is a staple source of carbohydrates and fiber.

It’s also dirt cheap. Oatmeal will literally cost you maybe $3/week, so it’s definitely something that you want to incorporate into your bulking diet.

I used to have 2-3 cups of oatmeal just for breakfast, and sometimes even 1-2 cups before I went to bed.


Bulking Diet Protein Sources

bulking diet plan protein sources

Getting enough protein is absolutely crucial to any sort of bulking diet. You cannot build muscle without protein, period. 

You should aim to consume around one gram per pound of your GOAL body weight. So, for example, if you want to weigh 205, then you should consume 205 grams of protein a day.

Don’t fall for the typical scams, either. GNC whey protein for example, promises that it’ll help you get jacked by giving you a ton of protein, but in my opinion, it’s a complete ripoff.

For our clean bulking diet plan, we’re going to be using the classic protein choice of bodybuilders all around the world: chicken breast.

Chicken breast is incredibly cheap—you can get a 15lb bag at Walmart for like $25, and this will last you 2 weeks.

For a cheap bulking diet, you must rely heavily on chicken breast.

If you want some variety, however, you can also get some canned tuna. Canned tuna isn’t as cheap as chicken breast, but one 4oz container of the stuff runs you only 88 cents at Walmart.

If you want to spend more money, you can buy some pork chops or ground beef in bulk. They’ll cost you more, though, so buy sparingly.

Don’t even think about getting on the steak and eggs diet, either, because while it’s great for increasing testosterone, it’s a lot more expensive than what you’re probably looking for.


Bulking Diet Fat Sources

bulking diet plan fat sources

A lot of people think that fat isn’t very important when you’re on a bulking diet…this is not true at all.

Your body uses fat to create neurotransmitters, repair cell membranes, and to build new muscle cells. In fact, fat itself is one of the best nootropics out there.

You absolutely need fat, and there is no way around this.

However fats can get expensive; that’s why I recommend taking shots of olive oil on my bulking diet.

Yeah, I know—it takes some getting used to, because it’s kind of gross at first. But, if you’re willing to do what it takes, you’ll save a lot of money.

One giant container of olive oil will run you around $20 at Walmart, and it can be your fat source for nearly 2 months.

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Just 50ml of the stuff is around 450 calories! What a great, albeit gross way to add in some healthy fats to your diet.

In addition to this you can also get healthy fats from ground beef, grass fed butter, coconut oil, or peanut butter.

I’m personally allergic to peanut butter, but nut butters are a great way to get in some quick and easy calories, plus a ton of healthy fats.


3,000 Calorie Bulking Meal Plan

bulking diet 3000 calories plan

Here it is, boys. This is the holy grail of bulking diets… the meal plan that I used to gain a ton of muscle, and still shred fat, on a budget.

Keep in mind that you can adjust these amounts depending on your caloric needs. The ratios are what’s important, though.

Ideally, you want to get one gram of protein per pound of your goal lean bodyweight. This should be your guideline.

So, if you want to be shredded at 160 pounds, eat 160g of protein per day.

Aside from this, focus on getting enough carbohydrates, especially after your workout. Carbs help you bulk up fast.


Bulking Breakfast Meal Plan

Every morning have:

  • 3 cups of oatmeal (cooked)
  • 6oz chicken breast
  • 25ml olive oil

This meal amounts to roughly 925 calories with 50 grams of protein.

Considering the cost of this meal, which is something like $0.50, that’s pretty fucking good. In fact, that’s bulking on a budget for you.

If you want to use some cheap sauces for the chicken, you can as well. I used to dunk my chicken in BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and ranch.

This adds on an additional 100 calories or so, and one bottle will last you for ages. Sauces are a great way to bulk up on a budget.

You can also consider throwing some whey protein in there, but be careful—whey protein adds up fast, and can hurt your bottom line, if you’re trying to bulk on a budget.

Sometimes I also threw 1-2 cups of frozen berries and 2tbsp flax seed into my oatmeal, but this will obviously cost more.

Do things like this sparingly, to save money on your clean bulking diet.


Bulking Lunch Meal Plan

For lunch here is what I would eat:

  • 2 cups brown rice (cooked)
  • 1.5 cup black beans (cooked)
  • 9oz chicken breast

This is roughly 1100 calories, with about 75 grams of protein. It also costs you like $0.75 which is pretty damn amazing.

Again, you can dip the chicken breast in a different sauce if you want to retain your sanity, but this is optional.

The reason why I didn’t have very much fat with this meal, is because having fat increases the time it takes for protein to get to your muscles.

So, after my workout, I would focus mainly on getting a shit ton of carbs, and enough protein to ensure my body can recover fast enough.

I recommend consuming the bulk of your daily fat requirements in the morning and in the evening (assuming you’re bulking).

This will keep you full throughout the day, and well into the night.


Bulking Dinner Meal Plan

For dinner I was in for a treat:

  • 2 cups brown rice (cooked)
  • 1.5 cups pinto beans (cooked)
  • Tuna brisket

This adds up to about 1300 calories and 80 grams of protein, and barely even costs a dollar. How’s that for a cheap bulking plan?

To make my tuna brisket, throw the following into a bowl:

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 3-4tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise

Mix it all up and throw it in the microwave for 2 minutes—it’s delicious, and it tastes like brisket.

Doing little things like this every day was how I maintained my sanity.

It’s important to have a meal that you look forward to when you’re on a stringent diet. It helps you stick to it more easily.


Daily Caloric Intake for Bulking

This all amounts to roughly 3,325 calories a day and 205 grams of protein.

That’s pretty good for like $25 a week.

A lot of men won’t even need this many nutrients. In fact, some men will only need around 2200 calories to do a clean bulk!

If this is you, then you’re lucky—expect to only spend $75 a month on a clean bulking diet.

Don’t expect to get a lot of satisfaction out of this food, though—it isn’t supposed to taste that great, it’s supposed to be a lean and mean alternative to spending $400 a month to get big.

Repeat after me: food is fuel, food is fuel, food is FUEL!


Best Bulking Sauces/Spices

Sauces are probably the easiest way to add variety into a clean bulking diet. You can use BBQ sauce, ranch, Chipotle, hot sauce, and more.

You can dip chicken breast in pretty much any type of sauce, which helps remove some of the monotony of always eating the stuff.

In addition to this, you can put different things into your oatmeal to make it more favorable. Cinnamon is a good, cheap option.

Just be sure to get pure cinnamon, and if you want, you can put pure sugar in afterwards (it’s cheaper this way).

BBQ SauceCinnamon
Hot SauceOregano
Sriracha SauceTurmeric
Teriyaki SauceRosemary

Be careful, though. A lot of sauces are some of the worst testosterone killing foods out there, so I recommend you stick with spices in general.

Adding organic spices, sauces, and other condiments to your food will be more expensive, though—so be warned.

In addition to this, you can also put fruits like blueberries or blackberries into your oatmeal, but be sparing, though.

If you buy them in bulk, they’re not that expensive, but they’re definitely a hell of a lot more expensive than just plain oatmeal.

Become an expert at spices and herbs, as well. Rosemary goes well with pork, thyme with chicken, pepper with beef, and cilantro with rice.

Become a master at experimenting with different spices and seeing what tastes best. When in doubt, just search around online, too.


Bulking on a Budget Tips

bulking on a budget jon anthony

In addition to following this clean bulking diet, you can also change it up depending on your own needs and preferences.

Here are some additional cheap foods that you can add if you wish:

  • Eggs (buy the 2 dozen containers at Walmart/Costco)
  • Ground beef (2.99/lb when it’s on sale in bulk)
  • Ramen (literally dirt fucking cheap, like $1.99 for 3200 calories)
  • White Rice (it’s higher calories, but less nutrient dense)
  • Whole grain bread
  • Vegetable Pasta
  • Sweet potatoes (buy the big bags, of like 15lbs for $8.99)
  • Almond butter/peanut butter (for healthy fats)

Ultimately you’ll have to just decide what your goal is and go from there. If you can afford to spend more, consider spending more.

Buying some of the best pre workouts out there and taking them before your workout will help you blast past plateaus and bulk up faster.

…but, it’ll also cost you more money. In my opinion, supplements are a great investment, but if you’re broke, you may want to reconsider this.

If you’re truly too broke to get some supplements, then stick to the bare bones: brown rice, beans, chicken breast, and olive oil.

“But Jon! There’s no vegetables here – isn’t that bad?” Yeah, it’s fucking bad. But this isn’t health 101, this is get big as fuck on a budget 101.

This isn’t meant to be a sustainable diet, but rather something you do for 4-8 months when you’re tight on money and want to save up.

If you really want vegetables that bad, just buy broccoli in bulk once a week and chop it up and boil it.

You can also get frozen vegetables in microwaveable packages, but those will cost more (I think they’re around $2.99 per bag).


Bodybuilding Multivitamin

The one supplement I do recommend you buy, is a good multivitamin. This diet is pretty bare bones, so you’ll need more nutrition.

I’ve already written about the best bodybuilding multivitamins on the market, so I’d urge you to give that a read and purchase one for yourself.

Even though it’ll cost you an extra $25/month or so, the amount of muscle you’ll gain with a good multivitamin will be well worth the price.

Just be sure to avoid the one-a-day multivitamins, which are total scams. I talk about that in the article though, so definitely give it a read.


Want A Complete Bodybuilding Blueprint?

Eating the right diet is ESSENTIAL for building muscle… but it’s only one part of the equation, my friend.

If you want a full bodybuilding guide, that covers weightlifting, nutrition, and supplements, consider checking out Body of an Alpha.

It lays out EXACTLY what you need to do, if you want to get that lean, shredded physique, that turns heads at the beach.

In fact, here’s some of what you’ll get with Body of an Alpha:

  • The “Fast Track Method” to Get The V-Taper Look That Celebrities, Athletes, and Male Sex Symbols Have
  • My “Hybrid Training Protocol” That Helps You Shred Fat Off Like Butter, and Pack on Lean Muscle Mass in Record Time
  • My Full Nutrition Layout, Including Customizable Options For Your Specific Body Type and Needs
  • …and much, much more!

So, if you’re serious about bodybuilding, training, and getting the body that you’ve always dreamt of, consider checking out Body of an Alpha today.

Either way, I hope you guys follow my clean bulking diet plan. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave a comment down below—and, as always, I’ll see you next time.

Frequently Asked Questions
❓ What Are The Best Foods to Bulk Up Fast?

If you're trying to bulk on a budget, aim for a lot of chicken breast. Tons of carbohydrates will also help, so be sure to consume a lot of brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and whole grain foods.

❓ How Often Should You Eat When You're Bulking?

If you're bulking, it's best that you have a large meal every 4 hours. This allows your body time to digest each meal, but also ensures that you get a large number of calories in, which is critical for bulking.

❓ What Do Bodybuilders Eat When They're Bulking?

Most bodybuilders eat a ton of chicken breast, whole grain pasta, oatmeal, and brown rice when they're bulking. Chicken breast will be the majority of your protein on a clean bulking diet, so it's no wonder bodybuilders eat so much of it!

❓ What's The 3,000 Calorie Meal Plan?

The 3,000 calorie meal plan is a bulking diet that I put together, specifically made for people who have a low budget. If you want to eat 3,000 calories per day on a budget, aim for a lot of brown rice, chicken breast, and oatmeal.

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Henry Armenta
8 months ago

Amazing knowledge thank you much appreciated

1 year ago

This is perfect considering I just got off my cut and have been desperately needing better and cheaper bulking foods, thanks so much man!

2 years ago

Love how simple, clean, and cheap this is. However, and maybe it’s just me, but there’s no way I can eat the rest of this lunch in front of me right now. 2 cups of rice and 1.5 of beans?

I set a 5 minutes timer and downed the chicken, and maybe 1/4 or even just 1/5 of the carbs. The 3 cups of oatmeal for breakfast didn’t help.

Obviously those are the quantities I need to hit 3k, but does this get better? I almost threw up eating the oat meal. Are there any tricks?

I’m 6’1 and 21 if it matters

2 years ago

How does a 15lbs bag of rice last 6 months?

3 years ago

You’re a life saver man, thank you for everything

3 years ago

Hello jon
Kindly what will be an alternative option for the 2 tuna of the dinner as a quantity plz.
Thank u so much
If it can be a vegetable option to replace the beans and the tuna will be thankful

Brent Mordaunt
4 years ago

Hi Jon, man let me tell you I have never read an article this simple on all the internet, this is extremely helpful brother. Thanks

Elijah walker
4 years ago

Can you link me the tuna fish, the brown rice and the chicken breast that you buy?

4 years ago

I just bumped into this. It’s the best simple clean bulking plan I’ve found and affordable. I’m 118 pounds, female, and want to gain lean muscle but lose fight at the sane time. My only concern is gaining in my stomach from all this food? Lol. And, should I still be doing cardio? I would like to do a bikini competition maybe in a year. I was told that’s how much Time I needed to prepare. Great article, BTW.

Eddie Coronado
4 years ago

I know this article is really old now but I can basically follow all this no problem. One question is do macros matter? Because except for the tuna I typed everything into Myfitnesspal and I got way over the amount of calories that it says I should be getting and the macros are all fucked up as well more carbs than anything and the fat and protein levels look almost identical but I guess that’s the point.

4 years ago

is there anything i could change the chicken breast for because doing this diet means i almost hav to eat a pond of chicken every day I did the math and this means that i would have to buy chicken breast twice a money making the diet expand to 120$ per month.

Joshua Rogers
4 years ago

Can i substitute oatmeal with grits or cereal and is there a meal i could eat besides the brisket cause i dont like tuna

Paul Q
4 years ago

Sorry for asking such a basic question. I’m a beginner with working out/bulking. I do want to get bigger. I have started working out more and become dedicated because I’m tired of being skinny fat. I am 5’6″ and 135lbs, will these 3k cal diet be good for me if I want to get bigger?

Also how do you cook your chicken, beans, and oatmeal? Just all baked. Once again, I’m sorry these questions are probabaly super basic, but thanks in advance for answers.

Matt G
4 years ago

Hi I know this article is old but was just curious about the dinner. Is it safe to eat 2 cans of tuna a day like that? I’m just wondering because I know there’s a lot of talk about mercury from canned tuna.

Bailey Acee
4 years ago

Am I reading the breakfast correct? 60 oz of chicken? As in 3.75 lbs? That’s definitely more than 50 grams of protein and more than 900 calories right?

Sorry I know this is an old article

6 years ago

For the dinner, you eat 450 grams of cooked rice ? Thanks !

Sanjula Weerawardhena
6 years ago

Cups here are US? 8 0Z?

Jon Anthony
6 years ago


OxoL Primax
6 years ago

I live in Australia… and NOTHING here is cheap. Chicken breast sure as hell is not cheap. Beef and lamb are even more expensive.
But chicken wings and drumsticks are relatively cheap.
Will these provide a viable protein alternative..? Or is it only the breast that contains any worthwhile protein…?

Jon Anthony
6 years ago
Reply to  OxoL Primax

Chicken wings and drumsticks have a good amount of protein, but are higher in fat. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but consider seeking out other high-protein sources like tuna for example. Canned tuna is great.

Owen Gilmore
6 years ago

Good article! The olive oil would probably taste better mixed in with the rice or potatoes, than drinking it. When i was in my last studly phase, i’d get bulk spinach from Costco, saute it (shrinks a lot) and drizzle with olive oil, a little salt, then eat w Brown rice. Kinda boring but it tastes OK. More of a slimming than a bulking diet. I was biking like crazy at the time.

Shubham Swapnil
6 years ago

So as long as you’re getting your caloric intake right, you don’t need to worry about how many times you eat in a day?
Just need to eat 3 times a day and it’ll work right?

Jon Anthony
6 years ago

There’s a lot of disagreement about this in the health community, but for bulking up it’s generally accepted that you should eat at least 3x a day spread out.

7 years ago

Glad I found your article man. I want to start bulking and put on weight for next summer. I’m married and have 3 kids… so money is definitely tight… Good info!

7 years ago

How do you cook the oatmeal? With just plain water?

7 years ago

Just started college and my allowance isn’t so great. As a begging gymer (not a word) GREATLY appreciate this and it will become my bible


What's Up, I'm Jon Anthony

Women. Fitness. Money. I’ll help you achieve it.

After dropping out of college to pursue my dreams, I started this blog as a way to help other men do the same.

What started off as a fun hobby, grew into a full-scale 6-figure business that’s changing the lives of men worldwide.

Important Notice:

Jon Anthony, my friend and the author of Masculine Development has unfortunately passed away. 

This is a backup of the website managed by me LifeMathMoney.

I intend to keep this website live as long as I can to preserve my friend’s legacy and memory.

Rest in Power my friend. 

You will be missed.

P.S. If someone wants to get in touch, you can do so here.


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