Keep Your Stomach--and Your Wallet--Full with These Meals

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/20/2009 10:19 AM   :  41 comments

Times are tough. We're all tightening our belts, some of us proverbially and some us literally. (Did you know that one can beget the other? It's true!)

We've got plenty of ways to keep your stomach and your wallet filled.





  • SparkPeople's marketing team recently put together more than a dozen menus that will feed four or more people for less than $10!
    Check it out!

  • Make those meals even cheaper with these tips and steals.

  • Looking for even more cheap meal ideas? Check out these 19 meals from Fitness that cost less than $5 a serving.

    What is your favorite money-saving meal?


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    Comments

    • GRANDMO1
      41
      Good links. Thanks! - 10/29/2009   1:19:36 PM
    • GABAY29
      40
      Great links!!!! - 10/8/2009   2:13:57 PM
    • 39
      I had to live off $40 per month for a while and always made stews of rice, (dry, not canned) beans, canned tomatoes/sauce, and whatever seasonal veggies were available. - 6/15/2009   8:24:51 PM
    • LAYNEOPTION
      38
      I find cutting out my salty products (chips, pretzels, crackers, etc.) and buying fruit helps me a lot. It is actually quite a bit cheaper for me also. For some odd reason I eat less fruit than I did chips (not good, I know)...
      - 1/25/2009   9:07:11 PM
    • 37
      these recipes aren't as cheap as the wonderful ideas from everyone on this site. plus, my kids (and I too) are lactose-intolerant, so avoid cheese add-ons. My son and I make a couple dozen burritos regularly and freeze them - veryvery cheap and healthy - beans, chopped veggies, bit of tomato sauce (no salt, no sugar), bit of cooked drained meat, chopped greens on top, roll tightly. Chili and other lentils (lentils with curried veggies - great!) are my way to keep costs very low yet eat nutritiously. Lots of great ideas from everyone - thanks. - 1/25/2009   1:07:09 PM
    • 36
      THANKS! - 1/21/2009   11:19:04 PM
    • TIMMYO
      35
      Our other method for keeping costs down is to just watch the serving sizes. We keep cheap healthy snacks around (like homemade bread, cheese, bulk oatmeal, raisins, and nuts), - 1/21/2009   8:21:26 PM
    • 34
      Some of those recepies look fantastic - Thank you for the FYI!! - 1/21/2009   7:24:25 PM
    • ANNIEMARIE6
      33
      Thanks we love this for a Friday evening meal. - 1/21/2009   6:38:48 PM
    • CHAR0219
      32
      Thanks! We have picked out several of these recipes to help get us to the end of the month! - 1/21/2009   6:15:33 PM
    • 31
      thanks! - 1/21/2009   9:41:16 AM
    • WISEWIFE
      30
      Sadly out of all those 16 meals I can eat 1. Sure beans & rice can fill you up, but for me, my diabetes won't allow me to eat them and keep my glucose levels in non-diabetic ranges, which the way I eat does. - 1/21/2009   9:20:31 AM
    • 29
      thanks for the links
      - 1/21/2009   9:19:53 AM
    • 28
      thanks for all the helpful advice!!!!! - 1/21/2009   9:04:26 AM
    • 27
      slow cooker chicken taco stew! - 1/21/2009   7:48:11 AM
    • 26
      Thanks for the helpful links. - 1/21/2009   7:14:39 AM
    • 25
      A grocery executive was saying about the cost of food increasing and he said "Only 20% of the cost of the item is for the actual food." WOW, makes you realize how we pay for so much advertising, etc. - 1/21/2009   2:54:55 AM
    • 24
      I forgot to mention that even though the store is called a wholesale club you don't need a membership to shop there. There are no minimum purchases or anything like that either. - 1/21/2009   1:13:00 AM
    • 23
      All these suggestions are great. One thing overlooked is WHEREyou shop. I shop at The Real Canadian Wholesale Club. This is a big box store that offers really low prices on everything because they cut out all the frills. There are no fancy displays and half the time you have to wait in line for 5 minutes because they don't have a cashier at every available cash registered but the savings are amazing!

      I compared this store against Safeway, Country Grocers and Thrifty's and almost everything on my list was $1 to $2 cheaper FOR EXACTLY THE SAME ITEM.

      Examples:

      Head of Romaine lettuce
      Thrifty's $2.48 Wholesale Club $1.48

      Pace Salsa
      Safeway $6.27 Wholesale Club $4.27

      Delmonte Fruit Cocktail
      Country Grocer's $2.48 Wholesale Club $1.46

      I am able to buy a lot more groceries for the same price just by shopping at a store that doesn't have all the frills. If I am buying 10 items I can almost guarantee that I will save $10 to $20 over the other stores. It makes a big difference. - 1/21/2009   1:11:45 AM
    • SHERI1969
      22
      My biggest saving tip: for dessert, reply on yogurt or fresh fruit. For a dinner, eat a chili made of 7 bean medley, lentils, chick peas, pasta sauce and your choice of veggie. - 1/20/2009   7:52:51 PM
    • 21
      These all look great. I hope I can find them when I want to again. Thank you. - 1/20/2009   6:49:32 PM
    • REN20099
      20
      feed 4 or more peple for less then 10 bucks... I love it - 1/20/2009   6:45:34 PM
    • 19
      Thanks for the great links! - 1/20/2009   5:13:17 PM
    • 18
      My crockpot is my best friend! I cook large batches of dried beans and then put them in smaller containers in my freezer for quick dinners. I do the same with chicken breasts and pork roasts. I wait until they go on sale and then cook them in the crockpot. I then shred the meat and put them in one cup portions for my freezer (my freezer is also a wonderful friend to me). With these "convenience" foods I make super cheap meals: tacos, soups, enchiladas, pasta sauce, chili and bbq to name a few. We have adopted a meat as a condiment mentality instead of the main attraction. I started cutting down on the amount of meat we eat slowly and now we barely even notice that we eat so little. I made a SP chicken taco stew last night in my crockpot and I used my freezer beans and one small chicken breast and we ate it last night for dinner and again for lunch and have even more for lunch tomorrow. That meal probably cost $2 to make and will feed my family of four for 3 meals. It's all about planning! I get a chuckle out of those $10 a meal (for 4) claims. We could easily make 3 meals out of $10. :) - 1/20/2009   2:55:43 PM
    • 17
      ROFL! I thought that was $5 per *meal*, which was exciting, as that's my benchmark for meals for my family of 5 (roughly a dollar a person). Ah well - different perspectives, I guess. My two cents - veggies, beans, grains - these are very budget friendly. Also - check the flyers at your local grocery before you go - most have them online - I often use these as a starting point for my weekly food budget. Further - most groceries have in store specials on food they need to sell fast, as well as scratch and dent bins with bargains on products being discontinued, or with slightly damaged packaging, etc. These are a big help to us! - 1/20/2009   2:44:37 PM
    • CYNNANE
      16
      Good links! - 1/20/2009   2:43:13 PM
    • LOSE4HEALTH
      15
      During the holidays I load up on Turkeys. They were 45 cents a pound in December. Usually 3 will fit in my refrigerator freezers (I have 2 refrigerators--no separate big freezer). Today I am taking the last one out of the Freezer and cooking it up. I de-bone and skin the meat, then divide it up into 4 freezer bags and put it back in the freezer. We then have turkey salads or turkey sandwiches (on 45 cal bread) or I add it to my black bean chili recipe. I do not cook dressing or any of the "usual suspects", mashed potatoes, etc. . Just turkey. - 1/20/2009   1:29:58 PM
    • 14
      ummm, AKCASWELL, at $2/person, $10/meal for 5 people would be accurate...

      I cook once every two weeks for weeknight meals for my husband and I. I make a lot of stews, chilis, and soups! I buy ground beef, stew meat (or the whole chuck roast), and frozen chicken on sale as much as I can. I add beans and lentils to the meals, and cook at least one (mostly) vegetarian meal per week, like split pea soup flavored with a bit of sausage or ham, which turns half a pound of meat into 6 servings!

      Our other method for keeping costs down is to just watch the serving sizes. We keep cheap healthy snacks around (like homemade bread, cheese, bulk oatmeal, raisins, and nuts), so if my husband needs a bit more, he can make a quick sandwich or grab some nuts and raisins. - 1/20/2009   1:16:59 PM
    • 13
      Wow! $10/meal is too rich for my blood lol. We are a family of 5 and spend aprox $2/day/person on meals. - 1/20/2009   12:56:36 PM
    • 12
      We all love lentil soup. I season it with herbs and serve it with homemade bread (well, bread machine bread) and applesauce or a salad. A pound of lentils is less than $1 and fills up our family of 7 (4 teenage boys). - 1/20/2009   12:06:31 PM
    • 11
      I came from a family of 10 kids yes we are all brothers sisters .. we always had farm grown everything.. it was great.. Loved it.. we would planted a garden ever year
      farm fresh meat .. never had it so good .. I wish i could go back to that.. It was great to have the farm and all the animals.. the pet also.. We did have them..LOL
      We always had a pot of something on.. there were a lot of us so i learned from the start how to cook for a lot of people..I am not at all sure how my mom and dad did it.. I go to the store and get just a few things and it was over a hundred.. this made me sick this was just a quick trip.. to get bread milk.. I also when with my husband.. i will always spend a lot more with him with me.. he has a way of putting thing in the cart.. LOL - 1/20/2009   11:15:07 AM
    • DAWNB14
      10
      The meal suggestions are great. However, if you have growing teens, the serving sizes are going to change dramatically ;) - 1/20/2009   11:09:22 AM
    • 9
      Great links! Thanks!

      I have to say, though, the costs for the "Low-Cost Dinner Recipes: Serve 4 or More for $10 or Less" are incredibly high. Maybe I am just lucky? - 1/20/2009   11:02:36 AM
    • 8
      My husband and I love the "poverty foods" we grew up with, soups, cabbage rolls, runza, stuffed peppers. We also garden in the summer and garden vegetable lunches are common - 1/20/2009   10:56:44 AM
    • 7
      That should be 'either' not 'eighter'! haha!
      - 1/20/2009   10:56:39 AM
    • 6
      These all last a couple days for eighter two dinners or lunch and dinner (we go home for lunch):

      I love turkey sloppy joes (last 2 days)
      Turkey tacos
      Organic spaghetting sauce with angel hair pasta
      Crock pot chicken
      Salads! (cut all the lettuce keep in airtight bowl and use with every meal)
      BLT's


      - 1/20/2009   10:56:00 AM
    • 5
      Roast a whole chicken in the oven, I can usually get one from Walmart for under $10 and stretch it out for 5 meals for me and my husband. - 1/20/2009   9:44:52 AM
    • 4
      Chicken/Turkey Chili or Homemade Stew, which started life as a Pot Roast! & the all time Fav Spaghetti. - 1/20/2009   9:25:48 AM
    • 3
      Just about anything based on beans! And anything made from whole, close to the source ingredients is always cheaper than any recipe that calls for processed "food". - 1/20/2009   7:37:28 AM
    • 2
      My favorite money saving meal is vegetable beef soup! I make a large 20 qt stock pot full, using ground sirloin (a little goes a long way!), loads of fresh veggies then after the first meal I divide and freeze leftovers, we generally get 5 or 6 meals for about $25.00! - 1/20/2009   7:28:41 AM
    • 1
      Chili is probably one of my all time favorites. Beans are cheap (especially if you buy the dry ones and soak them). I make a crockpot full and we eat several meals from it during the week- plain chili, taco boats, baked potatoes with chili, etc. It cuts down on cooking during the week as well, and you can always freeze some for later. - 1/20/2009   5:19:52 AM

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