Living on a tight budget means cutting back on a lot of things and food is high up on the list. It’s hard to be creative when trying to eat on a few dollars per meal. Ramen noodles get tiring. I’m by no means a great cook, but I do all right. For me and my boyfriend, we have a budget of $300 for food each month, which averages out to about $5 a day for each of us. And because we eat really cheap food (Ramen noodles, that cup of soup stuff, etc.) for lunch, it helps average out when we want nicer meals. Our local H-E-B Plus grocery store is very helpful with coupons. It seems as if there’s a coupon on half the items you see, including what they call meal deals, where if you buy the main thing, usually the meat, you get all the extras free (ketchup, buns, pickles, etc. if it was for hot dogs) and those are great.
One of my suggestions is to always use coupons. Also, make a list before you go to the store of necessary items for the week and stick to it. This is our biggest problem. I have a list, but we definitely don’t stick to it. I’m also starting to make a list of meals for the week. We really only plan a meal for dinner because lunch is usually Ramen or a PB&J.
Cheap Dinner Ideas
- hot dogs/chili dogs
- baked fish (we live by the coast so seafood is way cheap)
- frozen pizza
- store brand TV dinners
- frozen stir-fry
- jambalaya or dirty rice (ground meat is cheap, we get sausage on sale)
- tacos (ground beef or chicken are cheaper than steak)
- grilled cheese
- if you find porkchops on sale, add mushroom soup
- macaroni and hot dog wieners
- frito pie
- Spaghetti-o’s or other Chef Boy-R-D canned foods
- homemade stroganoff (I will post my recipe at some point, but you can find them online)
I’m trying to come up with more ideas, but being creative on a budget is tough. I’ve been searching for other websites that have helpful tips, but I haven’t come across very many good ones. I’m currently working on some inexpensive recipes to better food than frito pie and hot dogs.