When you’re on a tight budget, planning your meals for the month can be quite tricky.
With over ninety meals a month to think about, it’s important to be price conscious to keep within your budget.
That doesn’t mean instant noodles or ramen all the time! You can still have tasty, nutritious food on a budget. You just need to choose budget-friendly ingredients and jazz them up.
Here are 50 dirt cheap meals that can help you eat well without breaking the bank.
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Dirt Cheap Meals for Breakfast
1. Peanut butter & banana toast
You can make this in a matter of minutes! Just toast a slice of bread, slather on some good ol’ peanut butter, and top with banana slices.
This is great for mornings when you don’t have a lot of time to prep breakfast.
2. Scrambled eggs and toast
Eggs are an excellent choice when you’re on a budget.
Make a scramble and enjoy over buttered toast. Drizzle a little sriracha or hot sauce over the top for an added kick!
You can make an omelet instead if you prefer.
Raid the fridge and throw in any vegetables you might have for some extra goodness. Onion, peppers, and tomatoes work really well here.
A warm bowl of oatmeal can be so comforting, especially on cold days!
Cook oats in water or milk as per the packet instructions. Sweeten your oatmeal with sugar or honey, and top with banana slices.
Smoothies are great to have on the go. Buy fruits that are in season or on sale, and freeze them to make smoothies.
Just put frozen fruits and milk in a blender and blitz! You can even add some greens to get your daily dose of veg.
6. French toast
French toast may sound decadent and expensive, but it’s essentially just bread, eggs, milk, and sugar.
Here’s a french toast recipe you can whip up in 10 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of honey or syrup on top.
7. Grilled cheese & tomato sandwich
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ grilled cheese sandwich?
Put cheese and tomato slices between bread, and grill on a hot pan with butter. The melty, gooey cheese and sweet tomato slices pair well together.
8. Egg muffins
If you prefer make-ahead breakfast ideas, this is a good one. Just beat your eggs with salt and pepper, and pour the egg mixture into a muffin tray.
Add your favorite toppings before baking in the oven. You can go for tomatoes, peppers, cheese, spinach, or ham. The options are endless!
You can even use a silicone muffin pan and cook this in the microwave if you prefer. Just refrigerate these egg muffins and reheat them for breakfast!
9. Banana muffins
If you have ripe bananas, make some banana muffins! Here’s a quick and easy banana muffin recipe.
If you have chocolate chips, add them in as well. Nothing beats chocolate in the morning!
10. Breakfast burrito
Here’s another make-ahead breakfast idea. You can make breakfast burritos with eggs, ham, cheese, and greens.
Freeze a big batch of these burritos and pop them in the microwave for a hassle-free breakfast.
Dirt Cheap Meals for Lunch/Dinner
11. Egg fried rice
When it comes to dirt cheap meals, nothing beats egg fried rice!
All you need to make this dish is leftover rice, eggs, and seasoning. You can also throw in any vegetables you have in the fridge.
12. Stir-fried noodles
This is a really versatile dish. You can use any noodles you like here.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain any excess water and stir fry the noodles with garlic, chili, soy sauce, and your favorite vegetables.
If you’re using ramen noodles, don’t forget to throw in the seasoning packet as well.
13. Chicken soup
Is there anything more comforting than a bowl of hot chicken soup? Here’s a recipe for basic chicken soup.
With a whole chicken and a handful of vegetables, you can create an affordable yet hearty meal for your whole family!
14. Chicken noodle soup
Have some leftover chicken soup in the fridge? Throw in some noodles!
This is a great way to jazz up your leftovers and give them an interesting twist.
You can also add some spicy chili peppers to amp up the heat.
If you’re on the hunt for frugal meal ideas, be creative with your leftovers! Be sure to use them before they go bad.
15. Chicken curry
Chicken curry over a bed of rice is heavenly! You can also enjoy it with bread or roti.
With just a few spices, you can add a lot of flavor to this dish.
Here’s a mouthwatering chicken curry recipe you can try.
16. Tuna sandwich
Canned tuna is an incredibly cheap source of protein. It’s the perfect ingredient for making dirt cheap meals when you’re on a budget.
Mix a can of tuna with some mayo, mustard, diced onion, salt, and black pepper before spreading over some bread for a quick and easy lunch.
17. Chicken fajitas
Served with warm tortillas, chicken fajitas are a delicious and healthy meal for you and your family.
Sauté some onions, peppers, and chicken in a skillet with cumin powder, chili flakes, salt, and black pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lime on top.
18. Burrito bowl
Use any leftover chicken fajitas to make a burrito bowl.
Top a bowl of rice with your chicken fajitas, black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with lime wedges.
19. Chicken & veggie stir fry
This is a great way to use up any vegetables in your fridge.
Sauté some aromatics like garlic, ginger, and chilies in a wok before adding in your chicken and vegetables.
Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt, and pepper. Serve with rice for a quick yet balanced meal.
20. Spaghetti & meatballs
Buy any ground meat that’s on sale and make homemade meatballs!
Here’s an easy meatball recipe that you can use as a guide.
Spaghetti and meatballs are budget-friendly and your kids will probably love them as well.
21. Meatball sub
Have leftover meatballs in the fridge? Great! Use it to make yourself a yummy meatball sub.
We’re all about jazzing up those leftovers so you don’t get bored!
22. Sweet potato chili
Make a vegan-friendly chili with sweet potato and canned beans using this recipe.
Enjoy with tortilla chips, or cut out the middle man and eat it right out of the bowl.
23. Tortilla wraps
Wraps are another versatile meal idea for when you’re on a budget. You can fill it with virtually anything you like!
Here’s a wrap idea you can try.
Cut a few hard-boiled eggs into small pieces and mix with mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper. Fill your wrap with this mixture and any vegetables you have like diced onions, tomato slices, or chopped cucumber.