The Best Frugal Meal Ideas for Families (& Why You Need Them)

Frugal meals are a crucial way for families who are struggling financially to stay on top of their budget. Spending money on food is a huge expense for many families, but it is also an area where you can save a lot of money.

Check out these ideas for the best frugal meal ideas for families. If you put a little planning into your family meal time, you will be amazed at how little you have to spend!

5 of The Best Frugal Meal Ideas for Families

If you have been reading my blog for a very long, you know that I am a huge believer in meal planning. To create frugal meals for your family, meal planning is critical!

Match Frugal Meals With Sales

My first step in cooking frugal meals is to scour the weekly grocery store sales ad looking for those deals! You know the values I am talking about, the perfect ones!

I take those items and decide how I can use those cheap food items in a meal for my family. Then that meal goes right onto my meal planner for the following week!

This very easy step can be done every Sunday or when new sales ads come out in the newspaper or online.

Base Your Meals in Frugal Ingredients

If I am planning dinner every night and the main dishes are steak, shrimp, and pork loin, it is going to be hard to call those frugal meals.

Frugal meal planning means starting planning meals with FRUGAL ingredients!

If you don’t know what frugal ingredients are, here are some examples.

Frugal ingredients are inexpensive all the time, not just when they are on sale. Ingredients that are frugal are usually able to be bought in larger quantities, bringing the price down even more. Frugal ingredients are typically not “prepackaged” food items.

Some of my favorite frugal ingredients are:

  • dry beans
  • rice
  • flour
  • oats
  • pasta
  • peanut butter
  • eggs
  • potatoes
  • broth

These items can be used as the base for many, many meals!

Make Frugal Meals Simple

The more complicated a recipe is, the more expensive it will be. It is just that simple. Easy recipes with few ingredients are going to be cheaper.

Stick to simple recipes when you are trying to feed your family frugal meals. It isn’t how complicated a recipe is that determines the tastiness! It is easy to season simple foods and make them delicious.

Related posts:

Plan Frugal Meals Ahead of Time

What is that saying about the best-laid plans? Well, if you don’t have a plan, then it definitely won’t be followed.

I know I have already touched on the importance of meal planning, but listen, I just can’t stress it enough! Meal planning can equal frugal meals for your family.

The easiest way to spend a lot of money on food is to not have a plan in place! Last-minute trips to the grocery store will kill your food budget.

Easy Frugal Meal Ideas

Now for some PRACTICAL ideas for frugal meals!

I love serving simple meals like ham and beans. Making this in the crockpot is easy, so it is less work for me. I can pair it with some cornbread, and we have a filling and healthy meal. When I see ham hocks on sale, I will buy extra because they keep very well in the freezer! It is also great for using leftover ham after the holidays.

One way to change up ham and beans is to make Cajun Ham and Beans in the crock pot! This is very flavorful!

  • Breakfast for Dinner

When I find great deals on eggs at Aldi, I buy up as many as I can. We love having breakfast for dinner, which is a very frugal meal. We may have a simple egg and toast dinner with some veggies.

Another way to change up breakfast for dinner is to do a simple omelet bar for the family and let them choose some ingredients to go into their omelet. I am able to use up leftovers in omelets easily.

I can also make homemade pancakes using the frugal staples I keep in the pantry!

Don’t forget how easy breakfast casseroles can be. This is a great way to use ground sausage when you find it on sale.

  • Soup

Soup is a very easy meal idea and can be done very frugally. I always keep broth on hand, and sometimes I even make my own. I add in some protein, veggies, and maybe some pasta. Add the seasonings my family likes, and we have dinner in no time.

I will pair some bread with our soup for a filling meal. Don’t forget to use your leftover veggies in the soup too! Sometimes I make soup at the end of the week as a way to use up as many leftovers as I can!

  • Rice Recipes

There are lots of ways to eat rice. It is simple to make it into a main dish meal by adding some protein. For example, my family enjoys eating Spanish Rice with Chicken, which is very simple to make without many fancy ingredients.

You can make easy red beans and rice as a main dish. Using the rice to fill out your Mexican dinners like burritos is also possible! There are so many easy Spanish Rice recipes you can change it up every week!

Rice can be used as a side dish for basically any meat. You can season it with broth or seasonings for added flavor. It is easy to add corn or peas to rice for some extra filler. Plus, I have found that most kids like rice.

What Frugal Meal Does Your Family Love?

I hope these ideas for frugal meals will get you excited to start meal planning today. Frugal meals don’t have to be boring or flavorless! It just takes a little planning and creativity to serve your family delicious but inexpensive meals, so you keep your budget in line!

What is your family’s favorite frugal meal?

My Stay At Home Adventures
Want more details about this and other budgeting & minimalist living ideas? Check out more here!
Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Carolyn Burton Carolyn Burton on Aug 23, 2022

    I grew up in a Texas farm. Of course we ate from it. It was also along a large river. But our main food during the week was beans and cornbread. Sunday after church was our meal of other additions or meat

  • Carla Carla on Aug 31, 2022