25+ Budget Meals and Frugal Recipes
Keep this collection close when you need cheap easy meals on a budget!
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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!
Table of Contents
Budget Meals for Your Whole Family
These easy cheap recipes were carefully selected for the budget conscious cook. We know that with your busy schedule, it can be impossible to make it to the grocery store for your family meals. All of these recipes are here because we believe that they can be made out of whatever is in your pantry, cabinets, or freezer. Show your family that meals on a budget can be great again with these delicious finds below.
For even more cheap meals, check out our free eCookbook: 27 Cheap and Easy Chicken Recipes eCookbook
Budget Friendly Recipes: Casserole Dishes
Some of the most appetizing cheap meals are the always-rewarding, casserole recipes. There are a number of different varieties and flavors that can be jam packed into easy family meals. Another perk? Most casseroles are already budget friendly in nature, so finding the recipes below was a piece of cake! Enjoy the budget friendly dishes below.
Our Favorite Frugal Recipes
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.
Cheap Meals for 2
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 and no food will go to waste when you're only cooking for you and one other person! Try any of these cheap meals for 2 below.
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