Tired of thinking of what meal to cook? In this article, we bring you some dirt-cheap meals to try if you are on a budget. Let’s check them out!
Food is one of the biggest monthly expenses in any household, after housing and probably your monthly utilities. That’s why I’m a lover of weekly meal planning! Meal planning is a big part of how I keep my monthly groceries under $70 and still eat whatever my appetite wants.
Sometimes we eat the same recipes on repeat, and we get bored with the food we seem to eat all the damn time. If you’re looking for some budget meal ideas to change up your food routine, you’ve come to the right place.
It can be hard to look for recipes that are cheap, easy to cook, and still taste amazing. It is possible, you just need to take a good look around the internet to find those little gems. The recipes that are included here are affordable, easy to make, and without those strange ingredients that you’re never using again anyways.
Quick side note: If you’re looking for budget recipes weekly delivered to your email box, I recommend you check out the $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that will send you a meal planning plus shopping list weekly for $5 per month!
Cookbooks featured in this post:
- Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day
- Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half: A Cookbook
Why Eat Dirt Cheap Meals?
If you are following a strict budget or you are in a financial situation that needs saving up, preparing dirt-cheap meals may be the way to go. This can be the x-factor to your financial progress moving forward.
If you are in a situation where money is tight, lowering your expenses will be a great help. One example is cutting your grocery budget to save more money. Then going for cheap, easy meal recipes comes hand in hand with this. You may also include this in your no spend challenge if you are into saving more money.
Having dirt cheap meals doesn’t mean that you are broke now and broke forever, sometimes you just need to save for some important things as part of your future financial goals. Living stingy may not be a bad thing because you can save more and add to your bank accounts.
How To Save More With Dirt Cheap Meals
As mentioned above, dirt-cheap meals may cut your grocery spending and have the spending aspect of this monthly expense under control. But how can you save more? How can this really be a plus to your goals?
You may try a money-saving app for your groceries. Try Ibotta and earn cash rewards on your grocery purchases. In addition, the company has partnered up with more than 1,500 brands and retailers like Sephora, Walmart, and Gap.
What is great about Ibotta is that you can shop not only for groceries but also for apparel, liquors, or even electronics. What a great way to earn cash rewards and save more on your everyday shopping. Sign-up now and get a $20 bonus!
Check our full Ibotta review learn more about the services of the platform, and start earning!
Speaking of cashback rewards, here are a few suggested platforms that you can try now to start earning extra bucks:
- Rakuten – earn cashback rewards every time you make a purchase using the Rakuten app. Get $10 for signing up now. Check our full Rakuten review for more details.
- InboxDollars – earn cash rewards by completing different online activities like filling out surveys, playing games, watching videos, or shopping online. Sign-up now and get your free $5. Here is our full InboxDollars review to learn more about the services of the platform.
Now that we learned more about earning and saving money through dirt-cheap meals, let’s dig into the 11 easy recipes and try these mouthwatering and healthy cheap meals.
11 Dirt Cheap Meals To Try
If you are on a budget and looking for cheap meal ideas, here’s a list of quick and easy recipes that you can try now. From pasta and veggies to delicious recipes that are flavorful yet healthy.
A very healthy dinner that consists of vegetables and pasta. The secret to this recipe is the roasting of vegetables that give more flavor to the meal. If you are not into pasta, you may opt for other whole grains of your choice.
Nachos is a family favorite, may it be for lunch or just even a snack while watching your favorite movie on Netflix. The only thing different here is the grilled corn that gives a different twist to your nachos. You may also create your own nachos with whatever is available in your pantry. Then, you can serve it with your favorite salsa.
Spring fried rice and egg is a go-to recipe, especially if you are on a budget. If you have leftover rice, you may use it the following day and turn it into a delicious hearty meal. Adding eggs will add up to this nutritious meal. If you also have leftover food, you may add it to your fried rice for a more flavorful treat.
This kind of dish is best served for busy individuals. You can prepare this dish ahead of time and reheat it for breakfast. You may store this in the refrigerator for about 4 days and still eat it heartily after! Great choice!
Who doesn’t like pancakes? This is one of the easiest food items that you can make. Aside from the commonly added banana, you may also add your favorite fruit or whatever is available as your fillings. A healthy breakfast for everyone. That’s a resounding Yes for me!
This is a chili con carne meatless version. If you are on a strict budget, this dish is best to serve, especially if you have a large family, since the ingredients are very cheap and, at the same time, nutritious. Cooking for multiple tummies won’t hurt your budget that much. Wise choice!
7. Pizza Bagels
How about for Pizza lovers? Well, you can have your own pizza without ordering from your favorite pizza parlors. Get some bagels, mozzarella cheese, and pizza sauce, and you are good to go! You can add your favorite toppings like pepperoni, pineapple bits, bell pepper, or whatever is available you can add.
This is an excellent recipe not only for those on a budget but also for a diet. A very healthy and nutritious dish for everyone. You wouldn’t think that you are eating cheap because of its colorful and appetizing look. You can meal prep and have this light meal for lunch or dinner throughout the week. Call that awesome!
Another healthy and cheap dish on the list. Again, this kind of recipe is great as you can play with the ingredients. Kids and young at heart will surely love this, especially if you are in a hurry, as this can be done for only 20 mins. Eat and run it is!
If you want a dish that is easy and fast to prepare, I will suggest vegan Mexican rice. Lots of proteins that are very beneficial to our health. Also, if you want to make your lunch or dinner a little special, you may try serving it in a bowl topped with guacamole or your favorite salsa. Andale! Andale!
11. Burrito Bowls
If you want a complete meal, then try burrito bowls. It comes complete from rice to black beans, corn, red onion, capsicum, and avocado slices. You may or may not add chicken slices if you want to. So the choices are there for you.
If you are not in the mood with rice, change it to wraps for a more Mexican vibe. Talk about originality!
To Wrap Up 11 Dirt Cheap Meals To Try On A Budget
These 11 dirty cheap meal ideas are the only suggestions that you can try. You can experiment and try different variations of cheap and healthy recipes that you think will best suit your taste. Mix and match all you want so long as you achieve the level of frugality without forsaking your health in these kinds of recipes. The choice is really yours.
Be more creative. You can turn leftovers into an amazing meal like chicken salad, stir-fry broccoli, meatballs, or anything that is available in your pantry. Make your meals fun yet comforting to your body and, more importantly, to your wallet.
Meal planning helps you save time and money. Check out the $5 Meal Plan. It is a meal planning service that sends out meal plans every week for just $5 a month. You may also try it out for 14 days free and see if it’s a good fit.
It consists of six dinner options, one lunch meal, one breakfast meal, one dessert, and a beverage or a snack.
Sign-up now and save money, time, and stress.
Do you have any favorite easy-budget recipes? Share them below!
Other related content you might find interesting:
- Frugal Vs. Cheap – Where Are You At?
- How I Live On Half My Income – And You Can Too!
- Can You Save Money By Bringing Lunch To Work?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.