Many of the threads on /ck/ are about cooking cheap. Why not conglomerate all that info here?
This is intended to be a guide that will help you independantly cook cheap and very healthy dishes, while using the most out of everything that you cook buy.
I'll make the following assumptions for this:
Think like the peasant you are. Since we figured out cooking we've been having to scrounge around for things to slide down our throats so we don't die. When beginning your journey as a penny-pinching poorfag, think about how the poorest of the poor throughout history ate.
In terms of recipe and instructions, you can cook food horribly and it will still be eatable. Good cooking skill comes from practice and listening to advice. It's better to try than worry about the details too much, or not cook at all!
Getting food in season makes sense economically. See seasonalfoodguide.org if you can't figure it out yourself.
Also, it's healthiest and usually cheapest to buy unprocessed food. Instead of rice-a-roni, buy actual rice. Instead of instant oatmeal, buy rolled oats. There's utility in some processed food like frozen veggies or crackers and such, but this is a general guideline.
Like point 1 said, you can make disgusting food and it should still be somewhat eatable. After cooking for a month or so regularaly, you should be able to understand how not to royally fuck up a dish. Then start experimenting with whatever veggies are available.
This is important because you never know what food you will or will not have on hand at any time unless you inventory your food stock.
If you own property, get paid at a job, or buy anything with sales tax, you're paying the government to run food assistance programs. There's no reason not to see if you are elligable or sign up for it. Go here if you live in the US.
This is the trifecta of cheap food, and should provide most nutrients at a great price.
Rice may be the cheapest thing to eat. There's a reason chinese peasants are have been eating this stuff for so long. It's smart to cook more rice than you think you need, since you can make leftovers into fried rice or congee.
This process was mostly taken from Wikibooks:Cookbook:Boiling Rice. You need to experiment to get the amounts and time correct. Here's the technique that works for Basmati rice:
It's in my opinion that buying a rice cooker is worth the money for convenience. I'd recommend something that can handle 5 cups of uncooked rice, 8+ if you have more people eating rice on the regular. I've had good experience with Aroma cookers. If you're going to spend the money on one, make sure it has a steam tray and digital display.
Making fried rice is typically taking leftover rice, refrigerating it overnight, and frying it with leftover veggies and maybe some meat. If you can't wait for leftover rice, cook some and leave it spread out on a pan by a window for 15 minutes to dry it out.
This is the traditional rice breakfast. You just need to boil some leftover rice.
I don't have much of a method personally for it, just getting a pot of water at a hot simmer and throwing leftover rice in it until it becomes more like a porridge. I'll typically add cinnamon, sugar, and a bit of salt for something savory.
The key for the chicken is to use every bit of it that you can. At one end of the chicken meta is the chicken tendie, which has no bones and is simply breaded meat. On the other end is buying a raw, whole chicken. Buying an entire chicken is the most cost-effective by many orders of magnitude.
As for cooking it, follow this procedure. I'll assume the chicken is already eviscerated.
Save all those bones and organs! Whatever's left of the chicken can be used to make stock. In basic terms, you're putting chickenstuff into a pot of boiling water with spices and veggies, then simmering for 4+ hours, then straining and saving the liquid. This stock can be used for making more tasty rice, chicken-flavored soups, and much more.