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Low Cost Dinner Ideas - Eating Well on Little Money

Updated on September 12, 2007

Experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But what about dinner? Isn't dinner the time that you sit down with your entire family and enjoy each other? Isn't dinner the largest meal of your day? It is typically the most expensive meal of people's day. However it doesn't have to be. Here are some great low cost dinner ideas that will definitely lower your grocery bill.

  1. Vegetable quesadillas are a favorite around my house. Everyone loves it and I get to clean out the leftover veggies in my produce drawer. The ingredients you need are simple. Tortillas, cheese, a pat of butter and whatever vegetables you like. Place a tortilla on a plate, sprinkle a little bit of grated cheese (whatever you have on hand) and add chopped vegetables. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and top with another tortilla. Melt the butter on a griddle and heat the quesadilla - turning once, until the cheese is melted. You could sauté items like squash, zucchini or onions first, since they won't really be cooked while heating the quesadilla.
  2. Breakfast for dinner is another hit here. We had homemade pancakes tonight with a side of canteloupe. Fast, easy and best of all cheap! This is great for those nights when you are walking in the door at dinnertime. Anytime you have breakfast for dinner it should be cheaper than an average dinner. So whatever you like for breakfast, have it for dinner. I always have sides of fruit or vegetables to round out the meal. Scrambled eggs and toast is another nutritious, filling and inexpensive meal.
  3. Buy a large whole chicken or roast and eat for the week. Yes, the initial price of this piece of meat will seem like a lot for a cheap meal; however you can stretch these meats to last 3 or even 4 meals. This will bring the cost per meal down considerably and make these meats much more affordable.
  4. Make a pot of soup. There is nothing like a steaming bowl of homemade soup with homemade bread for dinner on a cold winter night. Soup is very easy to make and there are thousands of recipes online. Whatever ingredients you have on hand - you could turn it into a soup. This is a great one to help clean out the produce drawer. Very healthy, filling and inexpensive. It typically makes a lot as well and you should have leftovers for a second dinner or at least some lunches.
  5. Baked potatoes! You can do so much with a baked potato. Whatever toppings you like will go well on a potato. Leftover diced ham or chili? A little bit of meat goes a long way on a potato. Veggies and cheese are always good too. Whenever we have baked potatoes I make corn muffins to go along. These are also cheap and filling. The entire meal usually costs under $2 for the 6 of us to eat. You really can't beat it.
  6. Pasta is a great filler. A box of pasta and some homemade sauce make for a delicious and filling dinner. Having trouble getting veggies into your kids? Steam and then puree some and add it to the spaghetti sauce. The kids will never know they are getting so many nutrients! Homemade macaroni and cheese is an inexpensive and kid friendly meal. A box of pasta, an 8 oz block of cheese, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1.5 cups of milk makes a great mac n cheese. Total cost is around $2.
  7. Vegetarian meals are usually less expensive than ones with meat. Beans and rice go a long way and there are many different ways to prepare this.

So if you are looking to reduce your grocery bill - this week or for good, trying some of these ideas is a great way to save. Try several for a week when you are in a budget crunch or try one or two a week - it is up to you. But if you want to lower your grocery bill - trying some of these ideas should definitely help.


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    • profile image

      Scarlett Kimberly 

      8 years ago

      With the second coming of the "Great Depression" and subsequent unemployment, these recipes come as a breath of fresh air as I struggle to feed a family of four on an impossibly low budget. WinCo Market and some creativity will make dinner fun again instead of another night of "ramen surprise".

    • norah73 profile image


      9 years ago from San Manuel, AZ

      Yummy hub! I love trying new recipes. I'm going to make the spicy chichen soup that I found on your link. My kid's and I thank you in advance.

    • kappa022 profile image


      9 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub, cheap, affordable, delecious meals at home! Always welcome, but especially during times like these!

    • Jennifer Bhala profile image

      Jennifer Bhala 

      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      We make burritos with organic beans, onions, lettuce, raw milk cheese and tacto sauce. We steam the round breads so they are soft and warm then fill them up. We also do the same ingredients in organic corn taco shells. Both are delicious.

    • Proud Mom profile image

      Proud Mom 

      9 years ago from USA

      Delicious and easy on the pocket book. Doesn't get much better.


    • oxi_z profile image


      9 years ago from Northern Cyprus

      Fantastic hub. I love your ideas. Recipes are really practical.

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      I find 8 oz blocks of cheese for under $2 all the time. Not much under - $1.88 to be exact. I can also buy cheese in bulk at Sams club for around $2 per pound. Explore all the stores in your area and try the store brands of cheese and I bet you will find something cheaper than $5 for 8 oz.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Mostly great ideas!! Thanks....On the mac and cheese price though you said 2 bucks and one of your ingredients was a 8 oz thing of cheese. I don't know when the last time was that you bought cheese but that alone would be five bucks!!!!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love the idea of veggies in a quesadilla...never thought of that...thanks good ideas here.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I think these are great ideas yet wish there was more of things that I can feed a hungry red meat and potato man as most of this is would not last a week for a hard working man appitite. Thanks and keep us up on new things please.

    • quiet tracer profile image

      quiet tracer 

      10 years ago from South-Asia

      great hub! very informative!


    • Decrescendo profile image


      10 years ago

      Some yummy food here.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      Great hub, I am writing some of these ideas on my grocery list!

    • Bug Mee profile image

      Bug Mee 

      10 years ago from Great Midwest

      Good stuff!!

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      Fabulous ideas here. If I could eat beans and rice everyday, I would.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Great recipes. Thank you. And I recycle practically everything aferwards... :) Low priced good food and a tiny carbon footprint. I'm almost invisible. heehee

    • Rapidwriter profile image


      10 years ago from UK

      These meals are real comfort food, aren't they. Kids love these things. I'm going to try the quesadillas, we don't usually have them in the UK - sound slike just the kind of thing kids would love. That's definitely on the menu for Monday.

    • mgwhite profile image

      Mary White 

      10 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Breakfast for dinner is a favorite in my house too. It is a great way to enjoy comfort food that is inexpensive, fun, and easy to prepare!

    • profile image

      Marye Audet 

      11 years ago

      Fabulous ideas! I do veggie enchiladas that are incredible, and as you say, a great way to use up those bits and pieces in the vegetable drawer. Soups are a great money stretcher too !


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