Eating on a budget? You can save big on your grocery bill by following a simple meal plan with easy, yet delicious recipes. I’m sharing a sample meal plan with five cheap dinner ideas for our family of five. With leftover night, this is a full week of meals for us. Watch the video below for all these money saving tips.
When meal planning on the cheap, we pair each dish with frozen or canned vegetables. Fresh vegetables are great, but if you let them them turn into science experiments before using, all that does is drain your budget. By choosing shelf or freezer-stable vegetables, you don’t have to worry about unintentional food waste and that saves money on your grocery bill. Plus, you reap the benefits of a healthy, balanced meal without going broke.
Five Cheap Meal Ideas:
- Whole chicken with potatoes and vegetable side dish
- Chicken Alfredo Veggie Bake (using leftover chicken)
- Oven Baked Quesadillas with vegetable side dish
- Omelets (your choice of cheese, meat, or veggies)
- Pasta and Sauce (meat optional) with vegetable side dish
All these meals can be prepped quickly and all, except the whole chicken, can be cooked in under 30 minutes. The whole chicken I would recommend cooking in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. It is still a very easy meal with only a few minutes of prep work. If you want to use the leftover bones you can cook a simple chicken bone broth. This is a flavorful broth that is great in soups and recipes that use broth.
These meals are just a few ideas for eating on the cheap. Check out our list of over 30 easy, budget-friendly recipes. You CAN serve your family delicious (and simple) meals on a budget!
How to Save on Spices
Spices and seasonings are essential for flavorful, delicious meals, but can cost $5 or more a bottle. I save money on basic spices by shopping at the Dollar Tree. The spices are full-sized and cost only a dollar each. When stocking your pantry, this is a huge savings on your grocery bill.
I also recommend the jars of diced garlic in oil that you can find at many dollar stores. These last months in the fridge and can be used in any recipe that calls for diced garlic. Bonus, it’s already diced and ready to be used – a money AND time saving purchase.
These meal ideas and tips will help you save on your next weekly meal plan. Discover more ways to save money on grocery bill in our 8-part series: Building Blocks for a Better Grocery Budget and check out my book ‘The Extraordinary Art of Meal Planning‘ to meal plan like a pro.
What are your favorite budget-friendly meals?