Ideas For Cheap Meals

Ideas For Cheap Meals: 2022 Budget Meals For The Healthy & Frugal

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Ideas For Cheap Meals

Groceries and eating out can be extremely expensive. We all know the dreaded words “we have food at home”, but when you grow up you finally realize what your parents were talking about.

Covid-19 has affected everyone around the world in terms of health and finances. If you are facing financial hardship, taking efforts to save money to use in times of emergency is always a smart move.

If you want to be more frugal with your spending keep reading to find out some of the best cheap easy meal ideas.

Ideas For Cheap Meals

Ideas For Cheap Family Meals 

Here are some of the best cheap meal ideas for families. Feeding a whole family is expensive, but there are smart ways you can cut back on grocery spending without sacrificing health and wellness. Cheap meal ideas for family of four could also be applied for cheap meal ideas for 2 if you halve the recipes. 

If you are struggling with meal planning, we have some really simple and cheap meal ideas for you. Read on!

Related content: How to save money on groceries

Ideas For Cheap Healthy Meals 

Let’s look at some of the best cheap mealtime ideas below.


Soups are a great way to make affordable meals that will feed the whole family. They can be made with affordable ingredients like potatoes, peas, beans, and rice.

Tips for Cheap Healthy Soups

  • Add carbs like rice and pasta. You can buy boxes of pasta for as little as one dollar. Rice is also one of the cheapest foods that you can buy. You can get the most for your money by buying in bulk and because rice and pasta last in the pantry for almost forever, and you can buy more at one time and use these carbs as bases for lots of different recipes. 
  • Bean soup is very hearty and protein-rich. When you are feeding yourself or a family on a tight budget one important thing to consider is getting in enough fats and proteins. Beans and legumes are the best way to get protein into your diet on a budget. Instead of buying cans of beans, opt for dry beans. Dry beans take longer to prepare, but they come at a much cheaper price, and just like rice and pasta you can buy in bulk and store them in your pantry for a long time. 
  • Use frozen vegetables instead of fresh. Fresh vegetables cost more than frozen vegetables at a grocery store. You may also be able to find great deals from local farmer’s markets and buy in bulk to freeze your own vegetables. Lima beans, green peas, and broccoli are examples of nutrient-rich frozen vegetables to add to your soups and other recipes. Combine all your leftover vegetables into a hearty vegetable soup so that you don’t waste anything. 
  • Potatoes are a filling (and cheap) starch that everyone seems to love. Potato soup is delicious and affordable. Potatoes are fairly cheap and they keep for a long time if stored correctly in a cool and dry place. Try adding potatoes to your soups to make them more filling and tasty. 

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Cheap Healthy Breakfast Ideas

If you are figuring out cheap meal ideas for the week, don’t forget to think about breakfast. Here are the healthy breakfast focused best cheap meal ideas. 

  • Eggs – these sources of protein are actually very affordable. You can get a dozen eggs for as little as a dollar. There is a lot that you can do with eggs. Scramble them up with veggies, add them to an egg drop soup, or coat bread with them for a quick french toast. Eggs are a great source of protein, which is important when you are on a budget, so consider adding eggs to your shopping list for an affordable breakfast option. 
  • Oatmeal – perhaps the most affordable and versatile breakfast food is oatmeal. It can be prepared in a variety of different ways. It is extremely cheap and you can buy it in bulk. Stored correctly, dry oatmeal will last for a long time, which makes it easy to get the most for your money. Adding sugar, cinnamon, or fruit will make the oatmeal taste better, but it is a good source of fiber all on its own. Try adding bananas, the cheapest fruit, to make it tastier. 
  • Peanut butter and bananas – one of the struggles of eating on an extremely tight budget is feeling full and satisfied. Peanut butter isn’t the cheapest of foods, but it is affordable enough that a lot of budget shoppers feel comfortable incorporating it into their shopping list. Bananas are a cheap fruit and they taste great with peanut butter. You can add peanut butter and/or bananas to oatmeal for added flavor. 

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Very Cheap Dinner Ideas

Here is a list of some of the cheapest dinner ideas:

  • Pasta – pasta is super cheap and you can buy in bulk. It stores for a long time too. To make pasta more affordable opt for canned tomatoes instead of jarred tomato sauce made for pasta. You can add vegetables to the pasta dish to make it more healthy and hearty. 
  • Rice – rice is another staple for eating cheaply. You can stir fry it with vegetables, scrambled eggs, and other ingredients or just eat it plain. It is cheap and very filling. There is also a lot you can do with it in different recipes. 
  • Frozen vegetables – buying frozen vegetables is cheaper than buying them fresh. Buying bags of mixed vegetables is a good way to get in your daily nutrients while saving the most money. 

We hope that you have enjoyed these very cheap dinner ideas. It comes down to selecting the cheapest but healthiest ingredients. Add in things like butter and salt to make bland recipes more tasty and flavorful.

While you try to cut back on spending, make sure to be mindful of your health as well. Frozen vegetables and fruits are more affordable and you can get deals at local farmer’s markets. 

Related content: How to live on the cheap

Cheap Meals With Eggs

Ideas For Cheap Meals

Check out easy and cheap meal ideas below.

Add Some Eggs – Cheap Meals With Eggs

Everyone knows that meat and seafood are more costly than other types of proteins. When it comes to cheap meal ideas, you definitely need to add some eggs to your list. Eggs are an affordable rich source of protein, which means you can buy them in bulk and incorporate them into your weekly meals to save some money. 

Cheap Recipes With Eggs:

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Ideas For Meals With Ground Beef

Ground beef is one of those ingredients that you can do so much with. You can’t go past a cheap and easy spaghetti bolognese or a homemade hamburger. All you need to do is season to your taste.

Ideas for meals with mince:

  • Spaghetti bolognese
  • Homemade hamburgers
  • Tacos
  • Asain lettuce wraps
  • Beef and vegetable soup

Cheap Ground Beef Recipes:

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Cheap Meals With Potatoes

Pick Up Some Potatoes – Cheap Meals With Potatoes

When you go shopping, don’t forget to buy potatoes. They are one of the best vegetables to add to your list of cheap food items. Not only are they a good source of essential vitamins, but you can buy them in bulk because they are cheap as chips (pun intended!).

Cooking potatoes with onion, garlic, olive oil, and broccoli is one of the best cheap meal prep ideas around. You can eat a great meal without having to buy a lot of ingredients. 

Another cheap potato meal is to make your own french fries under the grill or in the oven. Just cut your potatoes up into chip-sized pieces, throw them into a bowl with some olive oil, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder, then mix it all around and throw it in the oven.

Cheap Recipes With Potatoes:

Chicken Thigh Recipes

Stock Up On Chicken Thighs – Chicken Thigh Recipes

A whole chicken is more expensive than boneless chicken thighs, and buying them in bulk will save you some money. Chicken thighs taste amazing, and the best thing about them is that you can cook them quickly. We recommend throwing some chicken thighs and a can of beans into a pot to make a soup with spices and vegetables to create a delicious cheap meal.

Check out our list of cheap meal ideas with chicken below.

Cheap Chicken Thigh Recipes: 

Cheap Lentil Recipes

Buy More Lentils – Cheap Lentil Recipes

Cooking lentils in a variety of ways allows you to avoid expensive animal proteins. You can make a great dish with lentils, carrots, onions, and celery – called Lentil Bolognese, and turn the leftover Bolognese into a ragu and eat with bread and fresh herbs.

Cheap Lentil Recipes: 

Recipes With White Beans

Buy White Beans – Recipes With White Beans

When you go shopping and pick up lentils, don’t forget to buy white beans! You can use white beans with herbs, white wine, and garlic to boost the taste of this cheap ingredient. Most people serve white beans with fresh greens dressed in a flavorful vinaigrette – making it one of the best cheap meal ideas. You can also turn white beans (or any other type of beans you like the taste of) into a delicious toast-topper with herbs and spices.

Cheap Recipes With White Beans:

Ideas For Oatmeal

Don’t Forget Oats – Ideas For Oatmeal

Are you looking for cheap meal ideas that are healthy? Then, how can you ignore oats? Instead of buying expensive pastries and muffins with coffee for your breakfast, we suggest adding oats to your meals to save some extra cash. You can make a mouthwatering breakfast with oats in 15-20 minutes. 

Oats contain soluble fiber and will keep your stomach full until lunchtime so, you won’t need to buy a meal at the office. You can also add yogurt, jam, nuts, or fruit to add to the flavor.

Cheap Oatmeal Recipes: 

Cheap Meal Ideas For Two

Cooking for two and looking for super cheap meal ideas? Here is a list of budget meal recipes for couples.

Cheap Meals For Two:

The Skinny: Ideas For Cheap Meals & Food Prep

There are hundreds of meal ideas online, however, not all of them are that cheap. We have given you cheap meal prep ideas that are healthy and extremely affordable. 

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