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These super cheap dinner meals will not only save you money but will also be your family’s next favorites.
Food is one of those things that you can’t cut out of the budget, all you can do is eat cheaper meals. The average American household spends about $550 per month on food.
The trend shows that lower-income households spend less on food per month because they eat at home more often. Many of these families are living paycheck to paycheck, but even those who make less than $500 a month still usually spend more than half of that on food.
There are plenty of cheap dinner meals on a budget that can take you through the end of the month for far less than $550.
So today, I will share with you 31 of the cheapest dinners that you can do even if you are on a tight budget.
Many of these meals are not only inexpensive, they’re also easy to make, and delicious. Add a few of the following to your recipes and your family will be thanking you!
31+ Cheap Easy Meals On A Budget
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1) Grilled Cheese Sandwich And Tomato Soup
Grilled cheeses are always a favorite; they’re simple and great for lunch and dinner. All you have to do is butter some slices of bread, lay them on a hot pan, add a few slices of cheese and you’re done.
If you’re a fan of pairing grilled cheese with tomato soup, simply heat up the can of soup and serve alongside.
This is one of the cheapest meals for large families. Spaghetti can get as fancy or as basic as you want, all you need is a box of noodles and some store-bought marinara sauce. Serve with garlic bread.
3) Bean burritos
Beans are a staple for cheap dinner meals, not only are they easy to make, but they’re also very cheap. All you need for a bean burrito are some beans, flour tortillas, and cheese. Many people like to add sour cream, salsa, or even rice to the burrito.
4) Egg Omelettes
Switch things up with a cheap dinner idea for 2 and have breakfast for dinner. Basic omelets are just eggs and cheese, but there’s plenty you can add like ham, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Omelets can get as creative or basic as you want, not to mention they’re easy and quick.
5) Fried rice
Fried rice is typically a side dish, but if you add the right things to it, it can easily turn into an entree. You can add things like mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, or ham to bulk it up. Don’t forget to add soy sauce for extra flavoring.
6) French Bread Pizzas
Nobody can resist a good pizza, let alone mini pizzas. French bread pizzas are very easy to make and come out tasting amazing.
Buy a loaf of french bread, slice it up, put some pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperonis (or any pizza topping), and pop them in the oven until the pepperonis curl up.
7) Tuna Sandwiches
Canned tuna is very inexpensive and always great to keep in your pantry. Mix up your tuna with mayonnaise, spread it between two slices of toast, add cheese or condiments, and your tuna sandwich is complete.
8) Sausage with peppers and onions
A flavorful, cheap dinner meal is sausage (pork or chicken), sweet onion, bell peppers, and garlic in a pan. Saute them with some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and serve on a bed of rice or pasta.
The kitchen will smell good, but the sausage will taste even better. The kitchen will smell good, but the sausage will taste even better.
Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches are a classic meal at home. Cook some bacon, slice the tomatoes, spread mayo on slices of toast, add lettuce, and you’ve got a delicious, homemade BLT.
10) Mac n Cheese
Kids LOVE mac n cheese, which makes this meal perfect for a large family. There are many store-bought and frozen mac n cheese meals, or you can take the time to make the cheese sauce and noodles yourself.
Either way, top it with some breadcrumbs and stick it in the oven for a delightful, creamy meal.
11) Hot Dogs
You don’t have to wait until the 4th of July to grill up some hot dogs. They’re cheap, easy to make almost anywhere, and can be served with toppings like onions, sauerkraut, peppers, BBQ sauce, or plain.
12) Tortellini Alfredo
This is the perfect cheap dinner idea for 2. Get some pre-packaged tortellini, veggies, and a jar of alfredo sauce and combine for a great meal.
Ramen is sold in bulk for cheap. It’s the classic cheap dinner meal, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be spruced up. Add an egg, green onions, and sriracha to your ramen to take it to the next level.
Nachos are easy to make and loved by everyone. Line a baking sheet with tortilla chips, topped with beans, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. Pop in the oven until the cheese melts. Most people like to top with jalapenos, sour cream, and guacamole.
15) Broccoli bowtie pasta
All you need for this easy cheap meal are broccoli florets, bowtie pasta, and some butter and parmesan. Cook them up and combine, seasoning to your taste.
16) BBQ Chicken Sliders
This meal might take a little longer since it’s made in a slow cooker, but it’s a perfect cheap meal for large families. Add chicken and barbecue sauce to the slow-cooker and the meal makes itself. Serve on a hamburger bun.
17) Chicken Noodle Soup
Whether it’s from a can or homemade, chicken noodle soup warms the soul. All it takes to make is chicken stock, chicken, noodles, and your favorite veggies.
Quesadillas are super easy to make, and you can add almost anything to them. Melt cheese, chicken, beans, or anything else you’d like, and they’re ready to eat.
19) Meatball Subs
Marinara meatball subs are delicious and very filling. All you need are some frozen meatballs, a jar of marinara sauce, cheese, and sub or hot dog buns.
Heat the meatballs up in a pan with the marinara sauce, and they’re ready in less than 20 minutes.
20) Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes taste amazing, and they’re good for you too! Bake them for about 45 minutes, and make shredded chicken during that time.
Once the potatoes are done, stuff them with chicken, ranch, green onions, or whatever toppings you like.
21) Chicken Ranch Casserole
If you’ve got some leftover chicken, this casserole is perfect for a cheap meal. All you need is chicken, ranch seasoning, shredded cheddar cheese, and rotini or bowtie pasta.
Season the chicken with ranch seasoning, prepare the pasta, then combine and bake until the cheese melts.
22) Pigs in a Blanket
Hot dogs are good, but pigs in a blanket are even better! Get some hot dogs and crescent rolls, bake in the oven, and they’re ready to eat. Dip them in ketchup, mustard, or even marinara sauce.
23) Chicken burrito bowls
Burrito bowls are a tasty, cheap meal. The best ingredients for burrito bowls are rice, black beans, fajita chicken, peppers, and topped with sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole.
24) Loaded Baked Potatoes
A cheap comfort meal is loaded baked potatoes. Bake the potatoes for about 45 minutes until tender, then top with cheese, bacon bits, chili, sour cream, onions, coleslaw, or anything else you can think of!
25) Penne Alla Vodka
One of the best cheap dinner ideas for 2 is penne pasta with vodka sauce. It sounds much fancier than it really is, but it’s always delicious. All you need is some penne pasta, a jar of vodka sauce, and parmesan, then voila!
26) Baked Chicken Nuggets
Kids love chicken nuggets, and baking them is much healthier. All you need is chicken, bread crumbs, and butter.
Bake the coated chicken nuggets for about 20 minutes, then serve with dipping sauce. Chicken nuggets are a great cheap meal for large families.
If you’re in a time crunch, hamburgers are easy to make. You need beef patties, or turkey, and hamburger buns. Top with anything from cheese, condiments, lettuce, tomatoes, to bacon.
28) Chicken Parmesan
Coated chicken breast halves or chicken patties, topped with marinara sauce and cheese makes an easy chicken parm. Add on a bed of pasta for an even more filling dinner.
29) Chicken and Mushroom Pasta
Combine penne pasta, pieces of chicken breasts, peas, and mushrooms with a jar of alfredo sauce–or just parmesan and butter– for a delicious, cheap pasta dinner.
30) Turkey Club
Sandwiches don’t have to be boring; add tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, cheese, condiments, and whatever else you’d like. Toast the bread or make it a double-decker for an inexpensive, full meal.
31) Baked Ham
Ham isn’t just good around the holidays, and it’s one of those things that can be eaten for several meals. Buying a larger ham is cheaper than buying one pack of deli meat at a time. Make your ham with some instant mashed potatoes and you’ve got a great, cheap meal for a large family.
32) Egg Salad Sandwiches
One of my favorite sandwiches is the egg salad sandwich. Not only are they good but also easy to make. You just have to boil some eggs, peel, and chop. Then you add mayonnaise, dill, chives, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Make sure you mix well then you can spread on bread.
Bonus Tips On How To Make The Cheapest Dinners
A great way to plan cheap, easy meals on a budget is to stock up on the basics at the grocery store. Many families on a budget turn to couponing, specifically rebate apps.
And a lot of grocery stores have switched their paper coupons into apps like these rebate apps. By knowing what to look for and buying in bulk, you can end up saving lots of money in the long run.
Meal planning on a budget is also another way and it is easier than you might think. Yes, you might have to give up going out to eat or ordering takeout often, but it’ll end up saving you tons of cash.
Final Thoughts On Cheap Dinner Meals
Though it is unavoidable that food will take a huge chunk of your monthly budget, it does not have to break your budget.
By choosing to stick to your budget and create cheap meals from these cheap meal ideas, you will not only save money but you will also be on track with your financial goals.
Which one of the cheapest dinners will be your go-to meal?
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