Dirt Cheap Meals For A ShoeString Budget (And a Few Tips!)

Many of us know how much time and effort it can take to prepare at least two meals a day, which is why we so often head to our nearest Wendy’s to grab a quick bite. While $5 here and there may not seem like a big deal at the time, it can certainly add up over the course of a year, and when you’re trying to stay on a budget it can make it an even bigger deal.  So, here we’ve compiled not only a list of some great meal suggestions but also a list of some great cooking-on-a-budget tips! If you are trying to stay on any sort of a budget at all for food, or even just need a few ideas for next week’s meals, stick around! Tips For Cooking On A Budget: Plan out your meals, so that you can shop once a week and not waste time or gas driving to the store whenever you need a block of butter or can of beans. Keep stock of what you have in your pantry. This way, you won't only save money by not buying extra of what you already have, but you'll also be able to figure out what ingredients you need to purchase to make two or three meals. No more randomly searching the cupboards for that missing box of noodles, only to find it's not really there! Similar to the tip above, keep a well-stocked pantry. Keep the basic ingredients on hand and always have an eye on the store flyers for sales and coupons. Don't go shopping when you're hungry! It's a simple idea, but really, a very profound one. Eat before you shop and you won't come home feeling guilty for going $50 over budget. Likewise, the same goes for shopping alone. Try to go on your own to the local grocery store whenever possible. You might be surprised at how much easier it is to stick to the list when you don't have extra help putting things in the cart! Cook for your audience. In other words, cook only what you know will get eaten and learn to scale down recipes if there's only two or three of you eating. Skip making huge batches only to have them go to waste in the fridge or get freezer-burn in the freezer. Try eating less meat. For some people (and especially in the community I live in!), this might be a rather difficult thing to do. Some just can't imagine the idea of a meal without beef or at least chicken, but if you're trying to save pennies, consider going with a few less expensive yet-filling options. Beans, eggs, pasta, grains, and potatoes are all great ways to go! Use coupons. I know, this is a bit of a no-brainer, but seriously though. Clip coupons for your local grocery stores, favorite brands, Walmart, etc. They're out there! Learn to keep a binder full of them and use them as often as possible. If shopping online, check out sites such as RetailMeNot for promo codes and other money-saving avenues. Connect with other people using budgets. There are entire communities out there devoted to saving money. Join some and connect with other thrifty, like-minded people to find not only encouragement but also some great deals and steals out there! Now that we've gone over some tips to help us stick to those budgets, let's check out some simple, easy to make recipes that should fit right in your supper plans for later this week:

25 Cheap and Easy Meals


A meal that’s 70 cents a serving? Yes, please! Especially if it tastes as good as it sounds. Everything from the simple sticky rice with veggies and soy sauce, to ham with white beans, or a sausage dish with peppers and onions. There’s a

whole list of easy meal ideas to be found here.

(Photo from Jamie Cooks It Up website.)


Crispy Cheddar Chicken

(Photo from Cravings of a Lunatic)


Sloppy Joe Casserole

(Photo from Delish.)


Easy Slow-Cooker Chicken Thighs

(Photo from Delish.)


Totsagna

(Photo from Delish.)


Loaded Potatoes Stuffed with Bacon and Cheddar

(Photo from Delish.)


Barbecue Pulled Pork Shepherds Pie

(Photo from Delish.)


Cheesey Alfredo Chicken Soup

(Photo from Uncommon Designs.)


Slow-Cooker Honey Barbecue Sandwiches

(Photo from Cooking Classy)


Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

(Photo from The Girl Who Ate Everything.)


Taco Lasagna (7 ingredients!)


(Photo from Delish.)


Best Chicken Pot Pie Homemade "Hot Pockets" 

Hopefully, you've found some new ideas and inspiration for cooking on a budget! Drop us a comment below telling us about your favorite meals! Written by Ashleigh Hett