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70 Frugal Meal Ideas For A Tight Budget

70 Frugal Meal Ideas For A Tight Budget

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70 cheap and Frugal Meal Ideas For A Tight Budget

Are you looking for frugal meal ideas for a big family?

Or are you looking for frugal meals ideas for when you are tight on money?

If so, perfect!

I was in the same boat as you a few months ago! 

I recently had a conversation with my husband and we decided that we only want to go to the grocery store once a week to save money. The only exception would be an emergency day to get items that we missed on our grocery day. For the past 4 weeks, our new weekly grocery plan has been working wonderfully for our savings. 

Since I come from a family that loves to eat a large variety of foods I would go to the store multiple times a week and I would normally spend over our budget.

So, my husband and I decided to set up a plan to only go to the store once per week and so far it’s working! What I realized was that a person can spend much more if they go to the store numerous times throughout the week rather than just going once per week. 

I also noticed how expensive food can be going almost every day to get items.  So my husband and I knew that we needed a new plan so I decided to search for the best frugal meal options to add to my list of food to get for each week.  

To my surprise, I came up with a list of over 70 different frugal meal ideas for Chicken lovers, Beef lovers, and Vegetarian lovers. I tend to eat a lot of meals that have chicken in them so I went on a hunt to find some new meal ideas I can try for my family and I absolutely love them. 

So in this post, I will share over 70 frugal meal ideas you can try out this week for fun.



 70 Frugal Meal Ideas For A Tight Budget

1. Frugal Chicken Meals

So, let’s start with my favorite type of meat, Chicken! Chicken is probably my favorite food ever! There are so many different dinner ideas that a person can try that the options are almost endless.

I normally have at least 3 to 4 chicken meals in my household for the week. Since I have a toddler and newborn they don’t get much of the chicken but my husband and I eat a great deal of it on a daily basis.

One of my favorite frugal chicken meals is Chicken Tacos. You can literally make chicken tacos for a family of 5 for under $20. When I go to the store I pick tortilla, lettuce, tomatoes, ground chicken, onion, taco seasoning, and sour cream for under $20! So, if you are looking for a quick and delicious chicken meal to try out first totally make it a taco night.

Since I was a big fan of chicken tacos I knew that I wanted to find other similar meals so when I started mapping out my chicken meal plan for the first week I came across 20 of the best chicken meals on the planet. Ok! Maybe not the whole planet but the best to me! =)

The best part is that most of the meals you can get the ingredients for under $20 bucks. If you are looking to save more money on your groceries check out places such as Walmart and ALDI. Whenever I shop at ALDI I always spend way less than I would at other stores. ALDI also has great fresh fruit and vegetable section now which is a huge plus in my book. 

If you are looking to save even more money you can also check out the app Ibotta!  You can earn money back from the groceries you buy with this app which is uber amazing to me!

With this app, you first add offers on great products by completing simple tasks. Then once you go shopping you can buy the products you selected on the app at any participating store. After that, you can redeem your offers by taking a photo of your receipt. 

The Ibotta team will match the items you brought to the offers you selected and give you the cash! To find out more about Ibotta click here!

Below is a list of over 20 Chicken meal ideas you can try in your home this week.

Frugal meal ideas on a budget


Crock Pot Chicken and Gravy by The Country Cook

Black Pepper Chicken by Rasa Malaysia

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps by The Best Blog Recipes

One-Pan Chicken Burrito Bowl by No. 2 Pencil

Easy Greek Roasted Chicken by Lauren Greutan

Baked Chicken Parmesan by Cakes Cottage

Homemade Chicken Tenders by Six Dollar Family

Creamy Chicken Piccata by Cooking Classy

Southwestern bean Chicken by The Gracious Pantry

Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala by Dinner at the zoo

Crockpot Sweet Hawaiian BBQ Chicken by The Frugal girls

Grilled Chicken Wraps by My Kitchen Escapades

Crockpot BBQ Ranch Chicken Drumsticks by The Frugal Girls

Chicken Cacciatore Slow Cooker by Freebie Finding Mom

Homemade chicken noodle soup by Simplistically Living

Easy Chicken Bake by Ann’s Entitled Life

Lemon Chicken by Hillbilly Housewife

White Chicken Chili Crockpot  by Gluten Free Daddy

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice by Family Fresh Meal

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2. Frugal Red Meat Meals

Beef is probably my husband favorite type of meat so I wanted to make sure to include it on this list.  Currently, I don’t eat much beef but I still found some amazing meal ideas to surprise my husband with each week. One meal that my husband absolutely loves that I listed below is called Pepper Steak and rice! This is also a very frugal and delicious meal that you can make for your family that won’t cost a lot of money.  

When I shop for Pepper Steak and Rice items I normally get small cube steaks ( the ones that are already cut), brown rice, red and green pepper, onion, beef broth, light soy sauce, and olive oil.  Every time that I cook this meal my family loves it so it’s definitely a total hit in my house. 

Below you will find some of the top red meat meal ideas I found and I am pretty sure you will be able to find some awesome meal ideas for your home too. A lot of the different meals below you find the food items for an on budget. If you make any of the meals below, let me know! I would love to see what you and your family thought about them. Frugal Meals

Penne Pasta With Beef by Simply recipes

Cheeseburger Casserole by Written Reality

Beef stroganoff by The Spirited Viole

One Pot Tortellini and Ground Beef Casserole by Foody Schmoody

Sloppy Joe Quinoa Pitas by Fabulessly Frugal

Doritos Taco Salad by Life in the Lofthouse

Cheese Steak Casserole by Who Needs A Cape

Korean Beef by The Girl Who Ate Everything

Crock Pot Beef Tacos by Frugal Foodie Mama

Taco Spaghetti by Plain Chicken

Beef Stuffed Zucchini Boats by Gimme Delicious Food

Old Fashioned Goulash by My Incredible Recipes

Pepper Steak and Rice by South Your Mouth

Mongolian Beef by Savory Tooth

One Pot Lasagna by Carl Bad Cravings

Classic Baked Ziti by Budget Savvy Diva

Pizza Casserole by Allrecipes

Beefy Cheesy Tortellini Bake by Five Hear Home

Baked Spaghetti Pie by Mom 4 Real

Easy Baked Ziti by The Country Cook

One- Pot Eggplant Pasta by  Buitioni



3. Frugal Vegetarian Meals

I have been eating more vegan and vegetarian meals lately so I am glad that I found 20 veggie meals that any vegetarian can try.

After having my last son I decided that I wanted to get back in the swing of things of eating better. So, my meal plans looked a lot like some of the meals ideas listed below. I normally get a ton of fruit and greens such as spinach and kale to mix in with my meals as well. 

I just recently started looking into more green and leafy meals and I absolutely love them.  I am actually thinking about trying a vegan diet starting next month and some of the meals listed below gave me some great ideas! If you are already vegan and make vegan dishes please feel free to share some tips below on how to transition. Since I really love chicken I am thinking it might be a little hard but I am up for the challenge. 

Another huge plus is that most of the ingredients for the vegetarian meals on this list you can find while on a budget. You can also find some of the food items at places such an ALDI! The ALDI by my house is legit one of the best I have seen. Their food is always fresh! 

Frugal Beef Meals

Vegetarian Chilli by Cookie and Kate

Broccoli Fettuccine by Budget Bytes

 Spinach Lasagna by Savor + Savvy

Vegan Chickpea and Rosemary Soup by The Blender Girl

10 Minute Pasta by Oh She Glows

Protein-packed twice baked potatoes by Pass the Plants

 Vegan Corn Fritters by The Stingy Vegan

Easy Veggie & Black Bean Enchiladas by Vegan Insanity

Vegan Fried Rice by One Ingredient Chef

Pizza Pockets by Hot for Food

Buffalo Chickpea Lettuce Wraps by Pass the plants

Veggie Chilli by Cookie + Kate

ChickPea Salad by Whole Living Lauren

White Mac & Cheese by The Savory Vegan

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas by Don’t Go Bacon My Heart

Cauliflower Buffalo Pizza by This Savory Vegan

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger by Happy Healthy mama

Vegan Lasagna by Vegetarian Gastronomy

Vegan Mashed Potatoes by Emile Eats

 Vegan Spinach Artichoke Quesadillas by This Savory Vegan

Hummus Vegetable Wrap by Emile Eats

Balsamic Roasted New Potatoes by Wallflower Kitchen

 Avocado and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta By Crazy Vegan Kitchen  

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Peas and Crayons

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites by Veggie Inspired

Sweet Potato and Kale Chilli by Wallflower Kitchen

Creamy Vegan Corn Chowder by  Crazy Vegan Kitchen

White Bean and Avocado Baked Burritos by Ceara’s Kitchen

 Vegan Black Bean and Veggie Enchiladas by Full of Beans

Loaded Cauliflower by Low Carb Maven

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Adrienne McGuire

Sunday 1st of December 2019

Thanks for this great article on cheap meal ideas. It's always nice to have new ideas for meals, especially since it seems like my family is always eating the same thing! Keep up the good work!

Latasha Peterson

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Hi Adrienne.

Thanks so much. :) I have two little boys and it seems like they eat all day, hahaha. :) and thanks a ton for stopping by.


Wednesday 10th of April 2019

If you Love chicken you can check out Mr. Dan and his family own the company that make the Soy Curls. I just found his site about a month ago. You can order directly from him and buy in bulk. He also answers any questions you may have about the products they make. The Stingy Vegan, Pasta Based and Minimalist Baker are all Vegan. Good luck and I am glad I found your site.

Gina Kuchar

Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Thank you for this great resource! I can't wait to test some of them out.


Wednesday 14th of March 2018

I'm so excited about this round-up! I'm always looking for ways to keep more money in our pockets, and reducing the grocery bill is always a good thing. I'm totally pinning this for later when I do my April meal plan. Thanks!!


Wednesday 14th of March 2018

Whatever that beef picture is of, it looks mouthwatering! Will def keep these meals in mind as I'm currently on a tight budget

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