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25+ Poor Man Meals and Frugal Recipes

You don't have to sacrifice flavor with these tasty frugal recipes.

By: Editors of
Updated October 13, 2017
Poor Man Meals and Frugal Recipes

Planning meals on a budget can be a stressful task during the work week for many reasons. Budget friendly meals require planning ahead, which we don't always have the time for, and they also require a little more thought when you're at the store. Budget meals aren't difficult to make, and they can be truly delicious, but it takes a little time and effort on your part to make them the best they can be. For this reason, we took on half the work for you and listed some of our favorite recipes for budget meals below. These frugal recipes will be a hit with the whole family.

Check out this video for a budget-friendly casserole that your family will look forward to!


Budget Meals for Your Whole Family

Old Fashioned Salisbury Steak Recipe

It can be a challenge to come up with frugal meals for large families, to say the least! That's why we've come up with this list of delicious recipes that won't break the bank when you cook for your family. These easy cheap recipes use a lot of ingredients that you probably already have on hand, so they're easy to pull together for a weeknight win. You'll get to spend a little more time with your family, and you can rest easy knowing that these meals were affordable. Plus, everyone will love how delicious the finished meal is!

We've included some of our favorite poor man meals here, as well. It's fun to make these, because whipping up one of these recipes will make you feel anything but poor. Dig in, and enjoy these hearty and affordable meals!

Budget Friendly Recipes: Casserole Dishes

Hubby's Favorite Hobo Casserole

If you're looking for some great frugal recipes, casseroles are undoubtedly the best place to start. It's easy to make a delicious casserole while spending only a few dollars. Ingredients like egg noodles, hamburger, onions, cabbage, and more are all very affordable and easy to find. Once you combine them with a little Cheddar cheese, you'll be well on your way to a fabulous dinner recipe!

We have some of our favorite hobo casseroles below, as well as some tasty poor man meals. You might chuckle at the names of these recipes, but you can enjoy how good they taste and how cheap they are to make.

Our Favorite Frugal Recipes

Easy Pantry Tuna Penne

There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying every bite of a meal that's saving you money! Here are a few more easy cheap recipes -- some of our favorites -- for the frugal cook inside all of us. 

Budget Saving Tips You Totally Need

Follow a few of these money saving tips next time you're at the grocery store, and you're sure to save some monthly moolah. If you're smart with your savings during the week, you can treat yourself to a more extravagant meal when the weekend or a special occasion rolls around. And who doesn't love to treat themselves?

1. Minimize your meat. You can get protein from so many other (cheaper) sources! Eggs, peanut butter, beans, and tofu are just a few!

2. Don't chuck that chicken! Buy a rotisserie chicken and use every last bit. You can eat the meat and then soak the bones for homemade chicken stock

3. Slow cook and save. You can cook a lot of food at once and save it to eat throughout the week.

4. Freeze for later. If you're okay with eating the same meal over the course of the month, you can prep and freeze portioned meals and thaw them when you're ready. This is a good lunch idea for families with kids. You should also consider freezing food instead of throwing it away! 

5. Plan ahead. Make a list before you head to the store and stick to it once you get there. You might also try planning your meals using a meal-planning app.

>>> Pro Tip: Don't go to the store hungry! The empty stomach blues can get the better of you and lead to unnecessary snack shopping. Don't fall victim to those hangry impulse buys! Sale or no sale, you don't need 5 boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups and 4 jars of nacho cheese sauce. You just don't.

5. Did someone say discounts? Almost every store out there has a rewards card these days. Sign up and start saving! At the very least, you'll get emails (and probably coupons) when the store is having sales on what items. 

6. Buy in bulk. Stock your pantry with non-perishables for cheap! Spices, pasta, rice, baking goods, etc. Cha-ching! (This is where stores like Sams' Club and Costco are gonna come in real handy, just saying).

7. Don't throw away leftovers! Use those leftover bits of meat and rice in a stew, use leftover veggies in an omelette, and leftover fruit can be frozen and tossed in a smoothie for a mid-morning snack. You can even freeze your leftover coffee in an ice cube tray for iced coffee ice cubes on a hot afternoon. So many options!

8. Learn how to properly store foods to get the most bang for your buck. Did you know that if you empty a plastic box of salad greens into a zip-top bag with a couple paper towels, they'll keep their freshness for at least a month? You're welcome.


Healthy Frugal Meals for 2

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry

Eat on the cheap when it's just you plus one! The easy cheap meals below will help you out when you need to eat, but you don't want a bunch of leftovers. From chicken stir fry to veggie gnocchi and baked lemon salmon, the recipes below are cheaper than going out to eat. Plus, they're way healthier! These healthy frugal recipes are filled with vegetables and lean protein to keep you full and feeling great. Try any of these cheap meals for 2 below.

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These are some great tips because I definitely struggle with grocery shopping. It's just one of those things I would rather put off... or just not do and order take out instead. Hopefully by putting a few of these into practice, I can get better at it!

Thank you so much for this post. I have a family of fussy eaters, and they can run up a pretty high weekly food bill or financial emergencies that you can solve following tips -https// == -with-financial-anxiety-when-you-are-short-of-fund == s/ . I cant wait to try some of these recipes. Im hoping to try out these recipes this week, and hopefully, Ill save some money as well as getting them eating healthier. Im going to try the other tips as well. I havent been batch cooking and freezing, and Im going to try that. It should save me some time during the week. Im also going to try bulk buying ingredients, and planning our weekly meals ahead of time.

I tried the tip about making salad greens last up to a month. "Up to" is a very elastic term. They went bad in under a week, which is a shorter time than when I store them in the bag the store put them in.

This is such a great collection. I love that this takes into account that budget doesn't just mean cheap ingredients, but everyday ingredients that you have around the house! I made the skillet beef hashbrowns, and it was so good! I had lots of leftovers, too.

I?m No Longer Certain Where You Are Getting Your Information, But Great Topic. I Needs To Spend Some Time Studying More Or Working Out More. Thanks For Excellent Information I Was Looking For This Info For My Mission. http//


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Classic Salisbury Steak Recipevideocam

This Classic Salisbury Steak Recipe is an old fashioned comfort food recipe you're surely familiar with. A favorite among many Moms… See more

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