How to Create Tasty Dollar General Meal Ideas For Just $8

I love being creative and creating easy broke meals, so I have decided to challenge myself. I am going to draw a random store and a random low-budget from a hat, and then build a tasty meal for my family based on these. This way, I will prove that it is possible to prepare delicious low-cost meals on any budget while shopping at any store.

Previously, I made a $9 Dollar Tree meal and a $6 IGA meal.

Today I drew Dollar General and a budget of $8. Dollar General is definitely not among my favorite stores: they are messy, there are boxes in every aisle, and their foods are not budget-friendly at all. However, this is what makes this challenge so exciting. Let’s see what easy Dollar General meal I can throw together on a budget of $8!

Shopping for ingredients

As I entered the store, I was shocked at the prices. There are some great deals on non-food items, and you might be able to find a good coupon deal on food. However, if you are looking to prepare cheap meals when you’re broke, Dollar General is probably not the best place to do your grocery shopping.

Still, of course, I managed to cook a great meal on my budget. First, I got a 16-ounce pack of elbow macaroni for $1.25. This is more expensive than other stores like Aldi. I got Velveeta cheese sauce, and it was cheaper at Dollar General than at my Walmart or at Dollar Tree, so I got packs of that.

Next, I purchased a 50-cent can of green beans and a can of chunk-like tuna. I wanted to get more of those two, but I wanted to get something else that would go well with this meal, and I would only have had $2 if I had taken two cans. Finally, I got garlic Texas toast.

I have to mention that I was shopping at a regular Dollar General store. There are also Dollar General Markets with fresh produce, and those might have better prices.

I am making a super cheap broke meal today. You could also add peas if you like the taste. Let’s start cooking!

1. Cook the pasta

First, I will cook the pasta. I have found that it does not matter if I boil the water beforehand or not, so being my impatient self I will throw the pasta right in.

2. Add cheese

Once it is ready, I will drain it and keep some water to help spread the creamy cheese sauce. I will leave it on the bottom, and add in the Velveeta cheese on top of the macaroni.

Adding tuna to the pan

3. Add tuna & season

Next, I will add a can of tuna. Now it is time for salt and pepper. I will let it slowly simmer for about 5-10 minutes to heat up that tuna and thicken up the cheese. I will also add my favorite seasoning, which is adobo.

Cheap and easy meals for when you're broke

4. Cook the green beans

I will now heat up the green beans and make the Texas toast. I will add salt, pepper, a bit of oil, and adobo to the beans, and boil the water out of it.

5. Make garlic bread

For the bread, I know that long term it would have been cheaper to make my own, but at this moment, I need to stick to my budget, and bread plus butter would not have been cheaper.

The reason it was important for me to have garlic bread for this meal is that I know that if I put garlic bread with anything, the kids will eat it. Garlic bread does make everything taste better.

Dollar General meal ideas

Let’s take a look at the results. I did manage to build up a delicious and filling dinner for my family for just $8. However, I am definitely not going to Dollar General for my food needs any time soon.

They do offer great coupon deals, and they tend to reach areas where there are not that many grocery store options. It helps the older community and the disabled community get food, so I appreciate it and see why some people would shop there. Personally, I choose to only shop for sales there.

Dollar General meal ideas

I really hope that this Dollar General meal idea and the challenge that I have set for myself. What would you go for if you had to make a cheap meal when you were broke? Share your favorite cheap meal ideas in the comments!

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2 of 4 comments
  • EmmaSurf EmmaSurf on May 29, 2023

    You are so right about the Dollar General box situation. There's a southern comic who had this in several of his shows.

  • Brenda Harmer Brenda Harmer on May 29, 2023

    Inspired? YES! wish this was shareable for my newly weds!