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Friday, July 12, 2024

30 Frugal Meal Ideas (for when you’re broke)

30 Frugal Meal Ideas (for when you’re broke)

30 Frugal Meal Ideas
30 Frugal Meal Ideas /shutterstock

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I think we have all been broke a few times in our lives. I know we have, in fact still are. We are not living paycheck to paycheck but not far off it. Eating sensibly helps your budget more than you know.

I found a collection of meals that you can make when you are tight on cash or just want to save money on your grocery bill. My wife has made some of these and even made them into tasty meals by adding even more food we had in our fridge. Check them out and let me know what you think.

When money is tight, eating well on a budget can be challenging but not impossible. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can create delicious and nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Here are 30 frugal meal ideas that will help you stretch your dollars while keeping your stomach full and satisfied.

1. Rice and Beans

A classic combination that’s cheap, nutritious, and versatile. Season with spices and add vegetables or a bit of meat for variety. Rice and Beans Recipe



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2. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce

Pasta is inexpensive and filling. Make a simple tomato sauce with canned tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce Recipe

3. Veggie Stir-Fry

Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, add a simple sauce of soy sauce and garlic, and serve over rice or noodles. Veggie Stir-Fry Recipe

4. Lentil Soup

Lentils are cheap and packed with protein. Cook with carrots, celery, and onions for a hearty soup. Lentil Soup Recipe

5. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

A childhood favorite that’s budget-friendly and quick to make. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Recipe

6. Oatmeal

Great for breakfast or even a simple dinner. Add fruit, nuts, or a bit of honey for flavor. Recipe 

7. Bean Burritos

Fill tortillas with beans, rice, and any vegetables you have. Top with salsa. bean burritos recipe



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8. Baked Potatoes

Top with whatever you have on hand—cheese, beans, vegetables, or a bit of leftover meat. Baked potato Recipe

9. Tuna Casserole

Combine canned tuna, pasta, and a creamy sauce made from scratch or a can of soup. Tuna Casserole Recipe

10. Egg Fried Rice

Use leftover rice, add scrambled eggs, and mix in any vegetables or meat. Egg Fried Rice Recipe

11. Homemade Pizza

Make your own dough or use a store-bought crust. Top with tomato sauce, cheese, and whatever toppings you have. Homemade Pizza Recipe

12. Chicken and Rice

Cook rice with chicken broth and add cooked chicken pieces and vegetables. Chicken and Rice Recipe

13. Vegetable Soup

Use a mix of fresh or frozen vegetables and a vegetable or chicken broth. Vegetable Soup Recipe

14. Mac and Cheese

Make from scratch with pasta, cheese, and a simple roux, or use a boxed version. Mac and Cheese Recipe



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15. Pancakes

Great for any meal, pancakes are cheap and can be topped with fruit, syrup, or even savory ingredients. Pancake Recipes

16. Ramen Noodles

Boost the nutritional value by adding vegetables, an egg, or leftover meat.  Ramen Noodles Recipe

17. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Pair with tomato soup for a comforting meal. Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

18. Chickpea Curry

Cook chickpeas in a simple curry sauce made with coconut milk and spices, and serve with rice. Chickpea Curry Recipe

19. Meatloaf

Use ground meat, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. Serve with mashed potatoes or vegetables. Meatloaf Recipe

20. Quiche

Use eggs, milk, and any leftover vegetables or meat in a pie crust. Quiche Recipe

21. Shepherd’s Pie

Use ground meat, vegetables, and mashed potatoes for a hearty meal. Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

22. Chili

Combine beans, ground meat, and tomatoes. Season with chili powder and other spices. Chili recipe

23. Stuffed Peppers

Fill bell peppers with a mixture of rice, beans, and vegetables. Stuffed Peppers Recipe 

Healthy Grilled Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers
By Anna Shepulova/shutterstock

24. Frittata

Similar to a quiche but without the crust, use eggs and any leftover vegetables or meat. Frittata Recipe

25. Sloppy Joes

Make a sauce with ground meat, tomatoes, and seasonings. Serve on buns. Sloppy Joes Recipe

26. Black Bean Tacos

Fill taco shells with black beans, vegetables, and cheese. Black Bean Tacos Recipe

27. Cabbage and Sausage Skillet

Cook cabbage with slices of sausage for a simple, one-pan meal. Cabbage and Sausage Skillet Recipe

28. Cornbread and Beans

Serve homemade cornbread with a side of beans for a Southern-inspired meal. Cornbread and Beans Recipe

29. Potato Soup

Use potatoes, onions, and a bit of cream or milk for a comforting soup. Potato Soup Recipe

30. Vegetable Pasta Salad

Combine cooked pasta with whatever vegetables you have, add a simple vinaigrette. Vegetable Pasta Salad Recipe



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By planning your meals around these frugal and flexible ideas, you can save money without sacrificing taste or nutrition. Happy cooking!

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