Frugal meals are a crucial way for families who are struggling financially to stay on top of their budget. Spending money on food is a huge expense for many families, but it is also an area where a lot of money can be SAVED!
Check out these ideas for the best frugal meal ideas for families. If you put a little planning into your family meal time you will be amazed at how little you actually have to spend!
5 of The Best Frugal Meal Ideas for Families
If you have been reading my blog for very long you know that I am a huge believer in meal planning. In order to create frugal meals for your family, meal planning is critical!
Match Frugal Meals With Sales
My first step in cooking frugal meals is to scour the weekly grocery store sales ad looking for those BIG deals! You know the deals I am talking about…the really good ones!
I take those items and decide how I can use those cheap food items in a meal for my family. Then that meal goes right onto my meal planner for the following week!
This is a very easy step that can be done every Sunday when new sales ads come out in the newspaper or online.
Base Your Meals in Frugal Ingredients
If I am planning dinner every night and the main dishes are steak, shrimp and pork loin….it is going to be hard to call those frugal meals, LOL.
Frugal meal planning means to start planning meals with FRUGAL ingredients!
If you don't know what frugal ingredients are here are some examples.
Frugal ingredients are inexpensive ALL the time not just when they are on sale. Ingredients that are frugal are usually able to be bought in larger quantities and that brings the price down even more. Frugal ingredients are typically not “prepackaged” food items.
Some of my favorite frugal ingredients are:
- dry beans
- peanut butter
These items can be used as the base for many, many meals!
Make Frugal Meals Simple
The more complicated a recipe is the more expensive it will be. It is just that simple. Easy recipes with few ingredients are going to be cheaper.
Stick to simple recipes when you are trying to feed your family frugal meals. It isn't how complicated a recipe is that determines the tastiness! It is easy to season simple foods and make them delicious.
- The Benefits of Meal Planning
- 10 Frugal Living Tips for Large Families (We All Need To Practice)
- The Thrifty Lady’s Guide to Easy Meal Prepping
Plan Frugal Meals Ahead of Time
What is that saying about the best-laid plans well if you don't have a plan then it definitely won't be followed.
I know I have already touched on the importance of meal planning, but listen…I just can't stress it enough! Meal planning can equal frugal meals for your family.
The easiest way to spend a lot of money on food is to not have a plan in place! Last minute trips to the grocery store will kill your food budget!
Easy Frugal Meal Ideas
Now for some PRACTICAL ideas for frugal meals!
- Ham and Beans
I love serving simple meals like ham and beans. It is easy to make this in the crockpot so it is less work for me. I can pair it with some cornbread and we have a filling and healthy meal. When I see ham hocks on sale I will buy extra because they keep very well in the freezer! It is also a great way to use up leftover ham after holidays.
One way to change-up ham and beans is to make Cajun Ham and Beans in the crock pot! This is very flavorful!
- Breakfast for Dinner
When I find great deals on eggs at Aldi I buy up as many as I can. We love to have breakfast for dinner and it is a very frugal meal. We may have a simple eggs and toast dinner with some veggies.
Another way to change-up breakfast for dinner is to do a simple omelet bar for the family and let them choose some ingredients to go into their omelet. I am able to use up leftovers in omelets easily.
I can also make homemade pancakes using the frugal staples I keep in the pantry!
Don't forget how easy breakfast casseroles can be….this is a great way to used ground sausage when you find it on sale.
Soup is a very easy meal idea and can be done very frugally. Broth is something I always keep on hand and sometimes I even make my own. I add in some protein, veggies and maybe some pasta. Add the seasonings my family likes and we have dinner in no time.
I will pair some bread with our soup for a filling meal. Don't forget to use your leftover veggies in the soup too! Sometimes I make soup at the end of the week as a way to use up as many leftovers as I can!
- Rice Recipes
There are lots of ways to eat rice. It is simple to make it into a main dish meal by adding some protein. My family enjoys eating Spanish Rice with Chicken and it is very simple to make without a lot of fancy ingredients.
You can make easy red beans and rice as a main dish. It is also possible to use the rice to fill out your Mexican dinners like burritos! There are so many easy Spanish Rice recipes…you can change it up every week!
Rice can be used as a side dish for basically any meat. You can season it with broth or seasonings for added flavor. It is easy to add corn or peas to rice for some extra filler. Plus I have found that most kids like rice.
What Frugal Meal Does Your Family Love?
I hope these ideas for frugal meals will get you excited to start meal planning today. Frugal meals don't have to be boring or flavorless! It just takes a little planning and creativity to serve your family delicious, but inexpensive meals so you keep your budget in line!
What is your family's favorite frugal meal?