What to Eat on a Beans and Rice Budget (Besides Beans and Rice)

Every family needs at least one meal that they can eat for pennies.

Whether they want to stay on a frugal budget, or do a No Spend Month, or make more money available for expensive foods like organic vegetables and grass-fed beef, it helps to have one good meal that everyone likes and doesn’t cost much.

So, beans and rice, check.

What do you eat when you’re trying to keep your budget low and you get tired of beans and rice?

Eggs cost twenty cents each. (I’m using prices from Whole Foods in Dallas, TX, since I know food costs vary by region.) You can make scrambled eggs with homemade biscuits, and feed a family of four for less than three dollars.

Chicken stock is made from what would have been thrown away. When we have roast chicken, we eat all of the meat, and then I use the leftover carcass to make stock. I prepare this almost every week at our house, and then I add rice to make soup.

More ideas: baked potatoes, pasta, stir fry, hummus

We try to eat at least one cheap meal every week to balance the foods that cost more.

What are your favorite cheap meal ideas to save money?




I wanted to mention some people who are doing their own No Spend Month challenge this month so you can cheer for them. (If I missed yours or if you’re not blogging about it, share it with us in the comments.)

Kait from Your Morning Cup is trying to go for the month of July spending $150 or so on food and not buying any superfluous items. She says, “Last year when we did this we were able to save enough to make our $1,000 emergency fund. That sure came in handy when last winter we spent $800 on tires for my car! We were lucky to not have to go into debt then, and quickly built the savings back up. This year the goal is to kick most of the rest of our credit card debt.”

Jamie from SteadyMom has set a limit of $350 to spend on her family of five for the month and she’s thinking of ways to have fun with her kids for free.

Sharon from Musings of a Midlife Mom is doing her No Spend Month with a husband and 4 teenagers. If she can stick with her plan, she’ll save $900! She says, “My ultimate goal (besides saving some money) is to become more conscious of my spending. This challenge will force me to make every dollar count.”

Preeti from Heart and Mind has a $300 budget for a family of 4 for the month. She only spent $33 last week!

You can do it!

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Comments

  1. Thanks for mentioning me :) This has been a great thing to try for our family!

    Beth Young´s last post…Summer Tour of Homes ’10

  2. On our go-to inexpensive meals list:
    -Baked potatoes topped with whatever leftover veggies we have and other things in the fridge – maybe cheese or sour cream ususally.
    -Quesadillas with whole wheat tortillas, cheese and beans and whatever veggies we have that will work – tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms
    -Soups in general
    -A big pot of lentils and some bread
    -PB&J or cereal with fruit
    -Pita + hummus and veggies to dip
    -tuna salad
    -grilled cheese
    -homemade pizza

    I’m going to do a month of meal planning soon to try to save some extra money next month, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the other replies to this post:)

    Lillian´s last post…Books

    • Yes, grilled cheese! Especially on homemade whole wheat bread with real cheese slices (not American), this is still pretty nutritious. (Wouldn’t hurt to throw in some fruit or veggies, though.)

      DH and I actually calculated that grilled cheese was cheaper for us than beans and rice.

    • i’m very interested in your month meal planning. i want to try to do something similar, too, both to save a little money and try to plan nutritious (vegetarian) meals.

      francesca´s last post…Flat Irons – beginners guide

  3. Kathryn Fenner says:

    As someone who has serious weight control issues, I eschew meals made of cheap starches, but I can recommend the produce at Aldi—way cheaper than anything else except home-grown. Frozen vegetables are equally, if not more, nutritious as fresh, and can be had in bulk quantities fairly cheaply–maybe not beans and rice cheaply, but cheaply.

    My now 80-year-old dad says you can save at the grocery store or save at the doctor’s office, but not both. He never even considered buying expensive processed foods, so he’s saying “Buy vegetables and other decently nutritious whole foods (white rice doesn’t count!), or you’ll be sorry in the long run.”

  4. Thanks for the mention Rachel, and your encouraging comments! They’ve helped tremendously! :)!

    Sharon´s last post…Diary of a No Spend Month- Day 15 Halfway

  5. All these meals sound very familiar–tonight we’re eating from the freezer (stuff that’s been in there a LONG time!)

    Thanks for linking up, Rachel!

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last post…Sponsor Giveaway – ListPlanIt 3 Winners!

  6. Rachel,

    Thank you for the shout out and mention. I would not be doing this with out your lead on it and support of small notebook’s past few years No spend month articles.

    Thank you for being an inspiration.

    I cheer of all who have joined officially or unofficially as this conscious spending can be done but it is lot easier with help and support from people.

    Some of my food budget ideas to save money;
    1. Empty my pantry of Canned food and dry staple.
    2. Use up my freezer food
    3. Use more of garden’s food (whatever is available)
    4. Use leftover in new way to make part of another meal
    5. Stay away from malls, books store and un-necessary grocery trips.

  7. Some good ones this summer have been grilled pizzas (throw whatever’s left over from the week on top!) and salad with a fried egg: dress the salad with lemon juice & olive oil, then add the sunny side up egg on top – super good!

  8. Rachel,

    I wanted to mention Autumn from Pennnypinching Momma, who is also doing No spend month, she has 7 people in family, with 5 kids, and budget of $200 for whole month. She is doing an amazing job like many others. Just wanted other to know, I just got to know about her recently along with Sharon from Midlife Mom,.

    Here is her site July No spend month I hope it is okay to share here.

  9. I’d love to hear ideas! We are definitely not doing a no spend month but we do try to make a few cheap meals a week. A couple quick cheap from scratch meals we make for our family of 5:

    homemade pizza
    Salad topped with veggies & home roasted chicken
    chicken tortilla soup
    Pancakes & eggs
    spaghetti topped w/ marinara and stir fried veggies
    Veggie soup
    fish tacos (cajun spiced white fish, tomato, onion, sour cream, lettuce, beans)
    panini dinner w/ homemade bread, tomato & mozzarella & basil
    lentil tacos
    oven omelet w/ eggs, cheese and whatever veggies are in the fridge
    bean and quinoa chili

    I’d really love to try a no spend month sometime though. I know we need it just to refocus a bit. I think my commitment to stop buying fabric has been a big step for me =)

    Andrea´s last post…I did it again

  10. Maine Mum says:

    My family of 4 (40, 32, 2.5, 4 months plus 2 four-leggers with a total weight of 180 lbs) has a monthly grocery budget of $320. This budget has to cover diapers, wipes, baby wash, dog food, cleaning supplies plus everything we eat.

    We mostly follow a low-carb diet.. so we primarily eat veggies and protein.

    We put the meat/fish in our cart first… it accounts for the bulk of our budget. Then we add veggies (fresh, frozen and canned). Admittedly, we consume a lot of frozen and canned veggies. You can’t beat the price… we just bought veggies for 41 cents/pound. When coffee, toothpaste and diapers go on sale, we stock up. Recently Cafe Bustello Espresso was on sale for 50% off. We bought 30 pounds.

    We don’t buy lunch meat… we eat lean tuna, or will bake a turkey or ham and freeze the extra meat for sandwiches later.

    On January 1, 2010, we started paying CASH for all of our variable expenses (think grocery, gas, gifts, entertainment, pets, vacation savings, clothing and miscellaneous things like baby photos and lunch dates). At first it was hard and embarrassing when we got to the register and weren’t sure we had enough money to pay the bill. 7 months later, we’re pros. I use the calculator in my cellphone and keep track of how much each item costs as we put it in the cart.

    The cash-only budget has been a life saver for our relationship. We no longer fight about money! We’ve achieved every financial goal we set for ourselves.
    2009/2004 vehicles paid off. Check.
    9-month emergency fund. Check.
    Educational savings for both kids. Check.
    Maxed out 401(k) for my husband. Check.
    Roth IRA funding for me. Check.

    I think its important to note, we’re a one-income household. My husband is the bread winner. I earn a little spending money on ETSY and eBay (usually just enough so my husband doesn’t have pay for his own Christmas, Birthday or Anniversary presents).

    I’d encourage anyone who has tried No Spend Month to try the envelop or jar system for managing their money. It forces you prioritize and definitely reduces impulse purchases.

    Katherine-we love Aldi, too… but don’t have one here in Maine.

  11. My favorite cheap meals are:
    Spagetti
    Grilled Cheese and tomato soup
    Pancakes and scrambled eggs

    If I just ate more of what I had in the house, I could save quite a bit too probably.

    I’m a single gal who’s money is mostly taken up by rent and bills – I spend $225 a month on groceries, which includes all cleaning supplies, cosmetics (few), shampoo, medicine, etc also. I’m not sure I could no-spend very much more! :-)

  12. We are moving rather quickly to a completely restructured grocery budget. Little (or no) eating out and no more Diet Coke (sob), chips, fruit snacks, and other junk. We are trying to make way for grass-fed beef, raw milk, pastured chicken, pastured eggs, and organic fruits and veggies, as well as great quality flours for breads and baked goods.

    I’ve found one thing I can still make a lot of that we ALL love is all things Tex Mex. We eat a ton of quesadillas, different kinds of tacos, migas, etc. I get my pastured eggs for $2/dozen so I guess our eggs are $0.04 more expensive than yours ;) but they make for a GREAT go-to meal. We go through tons of eggs.

    We’ve cut our meals with meat down to once or twice a week (depending on what our local sources have available) and I can honestly say that we don’t miss it.

    And HOORAY for the other No Spenders! I’ve always loved your No Spend Challenge and it’s fun to see others taking up the cause.

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last post…How to Give Voice to Your Ezzo Concerns – Face-to-Face

  13. Tonight we are eating a cheap meal… sprouted garbanzo burgers. With 1 cup of dried beans sprouted, 4 eggs, a bit of almond meal plus some veggie fillings I think it’s $3 for the whole meal. and yummy!

    Shannon´s last post…Very Berry Breakfast Ice Cream

  14. My favorite quick and light meal is smushed black beans and sliced avocados on a whole wheat tortilla. You can add other tex-mex-y ingredients (sour cream, salsa, corn), but I like them simple.

    Lindsey´s last post…Make Yourself at Home

  15. God's Dancing Child says:

    Thank you for sharing all the sites here!!

    I greatly enjoy the ideas as well. I may try the no spend month next month, sans my business. If my business requires spending, I must. :)

    Continue loving your site!

  16. When trying to cut back on food costs how do you take special needs diets into concern? My son and I are insulin sensitive and must eat a lot of protein (expensive) and very few carbohydrates (inexpensive). Any ideas?

    Beth@Not a Bow in Sight´s last post…Reservations are not a guarantee

  17. Omelets…as you mentioned, eggs are cheap protein and then we throw in any other odds and ends in the fridge (cheese, veggies) make some toast and yum…breakfast for dinner!

    Robin´s last post…Sad News

  18. We are participating in No Spend Month! Thanks for the frugal food tips!
    http://tillerytimes.blogspot.com/2010/06/no-spend-month-challenge.html

  19. Perhaps one of the best ways to stretch our food dollar is to have rice porridge for two meals. At a 10:1 water to rice ratio, it really is a meal that only takes pennies to make! The great thing is that rice porridge (also called jook, chao, lugaw, okayu, depending on what part of Asia you are from), is among the most versatile comfort foods there ever was. We can easily top it with leftovers from a previous meal and not feel deprived.

    Michelle´s last post…Upcycle- “Work” Books

  20. Thanks for the mention! This post was just in time as I was looking at our 10 pounds of rice and wishing for something else to eat for cheap! I think I’ll scramble a few eggs in our stir fry tonight!

    Kait Palmer´s last post…What the Kale

  21. Our cheap meal:

    Slow cooked coarse cornmeal flavored with a little romano cheese, S+P and olive oil and topped with an over easy egg. Dinner for 4 costs like 4 dollars.

    juliet´s last post…Holy crap

  22. One of my favorite comfort foods that is inexpensive is macaroni and tomatoes. My mom grew up in a family of 7 kids, and her father, an enlisted Air Force Sergeant, was also a really good cook who knew how to throw things together. My mom adapted it for our family: she would sautee a chopped onion and 1 clove of garlic in 2 Tbsp. of butter until they were golden and tender, and then add a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, 2 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt and pepper, and simmer this until heated through. On top of that she would grate 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and let it melt into the tomatoes. Then she would stir in 8 oz. of cooked pasta. I’m pretty sure this would come in at $3-$4 for the whole meal, and you could add a side of frozen vegetables or spinach salad.

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…Summer resolutions

  23. Thank you for this… I am trying desperately to keep our grocery budget low, but with a family of picky eaters, I keep failing miserably. The pickiness isn’t so much about flavors – both of our kids have sensory integration disorders, though they are opposites on what bothers them, so meal time is a struggle – add in a hubby who is a meat-n-taters kind of guy, and I could easily spend $1k a month feeding the family (particularly if I buy all organic, grass fed, etc. etc. like I would like to do).

    Eggs are out – one kid won’t eat them. Beans are out – hubby and one kid doesn’t like them. One kid doesn’t like potatoes – mashed, baked, whatever – the texture is wrong. One kid doesn’t like mac n cheese, the other kid doesn’t like hot dogs – which is okay, hubby doesn’t either. One kid doesn’t like hummus or raw veggies. The only way I can cook these frugal foods is by cooking 2-3 separate meals each night, to please everyone.

    *sigh* now I’m off to plan a workable, reasonably priced grocery list – wish me luck!

    • I don’t envy you!!! I’m a single guy, so I definitely have no idea how you do it. If I were you I would just lie! haha. Make them try it before they say they don’t like it ;)
      (although I’m sure it’s harder than it sounds)

  24. Denise C. says:

    This is an awesome post! I am not on a no-spend month, but am really in need of cutting back on our grocery bill. What is weird is that I don’t know where to start. (We don’t buy soda, or lots of junk food. One bag of Kettle chips will last us.) I love Kettle chips! Amazingly I’ve never had beans and rice. It looks good, and is easy on my wallet. I’ll have to give it a try. In the mean time, I am on a mission to use up fridge, freezer and pantry goods. :)

  25. I’m married to a latino, and I have learned that food typical to his country is usually the cheapest. Rice and Chicken is our go-to for cheap and easy. Save all the chicken bits you have left over from other chicken meals – Roasted chicken, stir fry – whatever, add them with a cup of mixed veggies, some seasoning, and cook until super dry. Chinese fried rice is another – throw in all kinds of meat, veggies, scrambled eggs. You can pack it full of healthy and nutritious things for pennies. Yummy!

  26. Im doing the no spend month with you, with the concrete goal of a large deposit into savings, so mine has turned into the limited spend month.

  27. Spaghetti… Noodles, Sauce, (Meat Optional) and frozen spinach added.

  28. I definitely have this practice at home. We eat high-quality healthy foods all week and to make this more affordable, we try to balance meatless and inexpensive meals with those that contain meat. Here are a few of our favorites:

    1. Pasta with a simple sauce made from canned tomatoes, an onion, and butter (from SmittenKitchen). Or we go with chili mac (chili+cheese+pasta).

    2. Quesadillas with beans, cheese, and sometimes leftover veg from the fridge

    3. Breakfast for dinner–migas, scrambled eggs, omelets, shirred eggs, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, smoothies made from frozen fruit and yogurt, etc.

    4. Potatoes–baked with chili or vegetables from the fridge, shredded and made into latkes/potato pancakes, or breakfast burritos

    5. Stir-fry. Even if you buy a freezer blend, you’re talking just a few dollars for rice, vegetables, and teriyaki or soy sauce (which we usually have on hand)

    emily´s last post…long weekend

  29. For cheap eats eggs are always a great option. We like egg salad, egg tacos and burritos, and frittatas with eggs and whatever veggies we have on hand. We eat meatless all the time, but I also think going meatless for even a few meals per week saves a chunk of money.

    Great topic, by the way!

    Appetite for Conversation´s last post…Pizza Remix 2

  30. vermontmommy says:

    I think our go to meals have been mentioned.

    I have to tell you baking your own breads is a great way to save money. We are a family of 5 and we can go through 3 loaves a week. The bread we were buying was $4.39 a loaf. That was $13 a week just on bread. I can easily purchase flour and oatmeal for the $13 and get us through the month on it vs just the week.

    Making your own pizza dough, calzone dough, foccaci bread, yogurt, granola…all of those things is so much less than buying it. They might sound hard to make but truly are easy and do not require a lot of time. Promise. :)

    Making your own popsicles is a great way to save money in the summer. We are in Texas and those are great treats on these hot days.

  31. just to add – for low carb you can substitute spaghetti squash or other types of squash (I used zucchini and yellow squash sliced in strips with a vegetable peeler) for pasta.

    another meal I made quite a bit – similar to above but without pasta- canned tomatoes in a frying pan, add a can of mushrooms – sprinkle garlic salt on this, put some pepperoni on top -heat over medium heat -when the juices are almost gone put some cheese on. serve when its melted. like pizza without the crust. and this also reheats nicely for lunches for work.

    Nina´s last post…this moment

  32. Debbie M says:

    @Laura–I have an idea for dealing with all the different tastes. You could make something that only some people like and feed the other people leftovers. Since not everyone ate that thing you just made, you can use those leftovers on another day. You’d still only have to cook one new thing per meal, but you’d get a lot more variety. Obviously, this only works with things that save well, but lots of things save well like baked potatoes, casseroles, chile, pasta sauce.

  33. this is from frugal gourmet – actually making it tonight – not sure how cheap it is but its delicious – if the food ain’t good I don’t care how cheap it is…then its trash and that’s a big waste.
    any type of pasta – I usually use linguini (a box). cook it, saute several cloves of garlic in
    a 1/4 cup of olive oil (or so). drain the pasta, pour it in, pour in two eggs and 1/4 cup shredded parm cheese, stir and season with salt and pepper. so good. my mom always made pasta with eggs growing up but this is more flavorful. and its great re-heated.

    homemade pizza. I’m pretty happy with just alfredo sauce (cheap to make your own) and mozzorella cheese – maybe some mushrooms (my son likes pepperoni on his)

    homemade sourdough bread with soup.

    another thing I find – if I get things to add to my salad – so feta cheese – while it may seem expensive at the outset (3 bucks for a block) it really lasts quite a while (at least a week) and makes the salad so much more palatable. I get my mixed greens from sam’s club (4 bucks for a lb here in utah at sam’s club) and that is enough for a week of salads, then I add thigns like feta cheese, olives, sunflower seeds – I make my own dressing. change up maybe get a bottle of pickled beets or peppercinis etc.

    flour tortilla – heat up, put in cheese and salsa heat – if i ahve it sour cream. delicious. fast. some add black beans or chicken.

    I also get chicken when its cheap and cook – with a little olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper. cut up and put on top of a salad (low carb then). or put in a tortilla. my son just likes eating it plain. better for him than chicken nuggets.

    and cereal is a great summer time (no heat) food and cheap.

  34. Homemade mac and cheese with a can of pureed pumpkin stirred in. Curried lentils and rice. Chickpea curry and rice or naan. Homemade “pizzas” on bread toasted under the broiler (I add my own spices to tomato sauce for the pizza sauce). Hummus spread into a wrap with lettuce or sprouts. Spaghetti bolognese made with lentils instead of meat. And believe it or not, for lunch today we made a meal out of a dark chocolate peanut butter tofu pie that I make–it’s very filling and not very sweet like a regular dessert would be. A little piece goes a long way and we didn’t need anything else–it had protein and everything already in there.

    And thanks for your post on saving 100% by not buying stuff on sale–your words enter my head when I reach for something I realize I don’t need but it’s a good price (like the $6.99 Eddie Bauer skirt at a thrift store today–I tried it on but then put it back because I already have several skirts at home). I smiled when I thought of you putting those “little pants” back.

  35. Just made a frugal meal tonight. I made: masa tortillas, mexican rice, with just a little bit of chicken.

    Jena (Organizing Mommy)´s last post…Recipe for Blueberry Buffalo Remake

  36. I usually do 2 min noodles, adding in a bunch of frozen veggies and after I have drained them, add some oyster and chilli sauce…. cheap, fast, yummmm…

    angelvalerie´s last post…When is it a boundary and when it is just game-playing

  37. I love to make a large batch of spaghetti and meatballs when my son is home from college. I always dread the extra food expense that comes with him coming home but if I plan properly there are plenty of meatballs left over. They’re always good for a few days of meatball hoagies for lunch.

    Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last post…The Wonderworld Ride On Fire Engine For Toddlers

  38. Well when I first started reading this I had a lot of ideas but they have all been mentioned. However I learned a few new tricks so I just wanted to say thanks!

  39. We purposely cook too much rice so that we can have fried rice the next night. It’s much better made with drier day old rice. There isn’t an official recipe but it goes something like this. Whisk an egg per person and dump into a wok or frying pan. Let it cook in a big flat pancake. Slide it onto a cutting board and slice into strips like fettuccini. Dump left over rice into the wok – about a cup per person? Shake in soya sauce until it’s the color and strength of flavor you like. Mix in 1/4c peas per person. When it’s all hot add the cooked egg strips in and toss gently.

    The same process would work well with left over chicken instead of egg and other veggies instead of peas. We always do egg and peas because we always have them in the frige/freezer. If you have leftover fried rice it rewarms well in the microwave for lunch at work.

  40. Risotto: arborio rice, onions, chicken stock, cheese. I cook down bacon to saute the onions if I have it. The risotto makes a great pantry dinner because I almost always have onions and parmesan on hand!

    Pasta with pesto: In the past I have made basil pesto and frozen it. It isn’t quite the same as fresh but it’s still very good. I recently claimed an unused planting bed, created by our new driveway and eroding across my front walkway, for more basil, rosemary, and mint plants. They weren’t cheap, but I’m chalking them up to groceries and just not frivolous landscaping! It’s keeping my soil from washing away and it’s going to feed us, too!

  41. catastrophegirl says:

    random leftover stew. throughout the month or more save all leftovers in the freezer. that tiny bit of tomato sauce, two spoonfuls of veggies from dinner, the last bit of chicken, whatever isn’t enough for a reheated meal.
    ice trays or a big ziploc freezer bag, your choice.
    when you’re ready, whether it’s three days to payday and there’s nothing else or your baggie is full – dump it in the crockpot or simmer it on the stove.
    fill it out with some rice, potatoes, barley, noodles or the bag of frozen peas that was on sale [or all of the above if you only have a little left of each] and a can of tomato sauce – whatever you’ve got that might taste good.
    it’s never failed to taste good to me when cooked enough so that all the flavors meld.
    although i don’t recommend doing this with seafood unless all your meats are seafood and you plan to make it a chowder. chicken and pork go fine together, tilapia and pork… not so much. use common sense.

  42. irishbell says:

    @Laura-I have a few picky eaters myself, plus as the kids are getting older and eating dinner at separate times-due to sports/school/summer activity schedules, I took to making large quantities of meals and freezing the rest in one portion sizes. Surely it’s not something you’d want to do every night, but on those nights when nothing sounds good to anybody, you could defrost a single portion of everybody’s fav.

  43. Chickpea patties! So tasty and healthy…and they’re also very frugal especially if you buy the chickpeas dry. I like to serve them on lettuce, although you could put them on buns too (homemade or not). This gal puts hers in pitas (which can also be easily homemade): http://www.thedailyspud.com/2010/04/07/cheap-as-chickpeas/

    Fresh chard from my patio is about as cheap as it gets, too, and it can go in salads or sandwiches or be fried with rice, noodles and eggs. YUM.

    Nikki (Trexel) Moore´s last post…The Bulk Bins

  44. A baked potato and some cooked cabbage makes for a cheap meal. Just clean the potato, poke a fork in it a few times then put it in your microwave in a dish that comfortably holds the potato and enough water to come up about 1/3 of the way. Flip potato over halfway through cooking time. {For 1 potato, it takes 4-6 minutes per side, depending how large it is.} This is much cheaper than turning on the oven (and not as hot). By cooking the potatoes in water you miss out on that dried up potato problem usually found from microwaved potatoes.

  45. I like to make a big pot of something every week, we have different schedules and its always nice to have a casserole, pasta salad, rice dish, etc for lunch.

    A summer favorite (moderately healthy, very cheap, easy to make):

    Jambalaya
    In a big pot, saute a big kielbasa or other spicy sausage in olive oil or butter
    add 4 c or more precooked rice
    stir in big can crushed tomatoes, froz okra, S&P and tabasco to taste
    Last, add seafood, usually shrimp or crabmeat

    Leftover chicken or ham is great in this as well

  46. Rebecca says:

    I’m just wondering what you do for breakfast. We are gluten-free as well, and I’m running low on ideas. I want to give them protein, but eggs get tiring after awhile and sausage (the healthy kind) is expensive. GF bread with nut butter is also expensive. Any ideas?

    • We don’t eat typical breakfast foods, except for eggs and GF waffles as a treat. Sometimes my daughter eats yogurt. We skip to what would be considered lunch food and eat peanut butter, turkey, leftovers, or whatever else I can find in the fridge.

  47. Rebecca says:

    Oh, by the way, I can’t believe how cheap other people’s pastured eggs are!!! Ours cost $4.50 a dozen at our farmers markets! Raw milk (which I don’t buy anymore and you’ll see why) is $8 a gallon. Food is expensive here in NC, and we have TONS of farmers markets, so it’s not like we have a shortage of food.

    • I think that $4.50 for pastured eggs is a reasonable price though Megan was fortunate to find hers for less. Raw milk prices vary greatly. Some people pay $5 or $6 and I know others will pay $12 or even more per gallon depending on where they live.

  48. An answer to prayer today!! I’m sitting here, trying to plan out breakfast, lunch, supper and a snack each day for the week for my husband and the 7-9 kiddos (3years and under) that we care for in my child care program and I was at a complete loss! I felt like I was in such a rut!! Chicken or beef, chicken or beef and everything was mexican or casseroles! We do meats pretty cheaply because we stock up our freezer and cook up batches of ground beef and shredded chicken, then I portion them up 2 cups at a time for our freezer but…UGH! So over it! I needed inspiration, thank you!!

  49. We moved in July and had a great time only eating out of the pantry so we wouldn’t have to pack and move it.
    We make our own pizzas instead of ordering out…sometimes the kids want different toppings so we’ll do it small. If I don’t have the ingredients on hand for dough..we have a local pizza shop that sells their uncooked dough for $1.50 – totally worth it. It’s also a great way to clean out the veggies in the frig.
    Also soups and breakfast for dinner are on the cheap eats menu around here. I’m determined to start making my own bread regularly.

  50. Dominique says:

    I have to say, I love pasta & noodle dishes. But my husband has GERD/acid reflex, and so acidic tomato-based sauces are out.
    One of my favourite cheap meals is my version of Pasta Carbonara.

    Here’s my recipe:
    4-5 slices bacon, diced
    1/4c onion, diced
    1 large egg, beaten
    pasta (we use spaghetti, but any long noodle would work)
    freshly grated parmesan

    >Fry the bacon until almost crisp, drain off all but about a tbsp of fat, add the onion. Fry until the onions are just starting to become golden. Meanwhile, cook your pasta until it’s done the way you like it – we’re an al dente household. Drain the pasta & keep it warm. Take the hot bacon & onion & pour it over the pasta – add the beaten egg and stir everything together well. The heat from the noodles, bacon & onion will cook the egg, so it’s safe for young children & pregnant ladies, too.
    Serve it with a grating of fresh parmesan over top, and a side salad.

    - the fresh parmesan may sound expensive, but if you buy a piece when it’s on sale, it’s not too bad – the 5-oz piece in our cheese drawer was $4, or $.80/oz, and it’s so much more flavourful than the grated shaker jars, you’ll use less anyhow.
    - We buy bacon (and stock up!) when it’s on sale (less than $1.50 a package); when I get home, I split up the packages into 4-5 slice portions and pop them into the freezer. I can usually get about 4 portions of bacon from a package, so we average about $.37 for the meat.
    My cost estimate (I’m in Glendale, AZ):
    Bacon: $.37
    Onion: $.10
    Egg: $.09
    1/2lb pasta: $.44
    fresh parmesan (maybe 2 tsp grated?): $.26
    salad fixings (lettuce, shredded carrot, cucumber): .$50
    TOTAL ESTIMATED COST: $1.76 – or about $.88 for dear husband & I.

  51. We have a small gardern, so when I want to cook something that costs practically nothing. I chop up peppers , onions and tomatoes,(all from the garden) . I sometimes add,mushrooms (bought on sale) and a can of tomato paste and make a really fresh, great tasting sauce to go over whole wheat pasta. A little sprinkle of Parmesan and we’re good to go.
    Stir fry over rice is also economical. You can use some of the same veggies out of the garden and add five spice powder, if you don’t have fresh herbs.

  52. I always keep flour, and yeast . I sometimes even have a sour dough starter. I need to start one of them again. I can make dinner from flour and items gathered for a month. I never choose to only because I love to cook big meals with different courses. When we had money issue years ago I went more than a month not going to the store for anything other than Milk. (I am not a fan of powder milk)
    Angela´s last post…Gadgets and Toys Of a Cooking Mom

  53. I have started to coupon!! I am able to get my groceries from $85 down to $23 (or less). That has helped me a LOT! There are tons of free websites that teach you tips and techniques. My best secret to save is going to the grocery store on “Double Coupon Days” I’m loving the new lifestyle because my money is not disappearing out of my bank account!!

  54. I love the community you have built here. The way everyone interacts with each other. Would love it if you could include me.
    I am serving a family of 9 and trying to keep our budget at $120 per week. So far this year so good we will see. I have been cutting cost every year since 2006 I started spending about $700 per week. We have no less mouths to feed. We are still eating quite well. As I said so far so good.