One of the best ways I know of to save money each week is through Menu Planning & adding in a few Cheap Dinner Ideas each week! You can print off these Free Menu Plan Printable Worksheets and watch this Video on How to Make a Menu Plan for tips and tricks on how I plan my menu each week!
Each week I try to balance my menu plan with inexpensive meals in order to keep my weekly cost down. There are a few meals you can make for just a few dollars and by including one or 2 of these lower priced options each week you can lower your overall out of pocket cost on meals.
Here are 5 Meals you can Cook for UNDER $5 per week!
A Few Notes before we get started:
1. Prices shown below are my typical prices. I almost ALWAYS Buy on sale. These are meals we add into our menu plan each week, so I rarely go out and pay full price for any of these ingredients. I did include a Shopping list for you but it will cost you slightly more per meal to buy everything you need at full price. If you can stock up on these basics when they are on sale you’ll save so much more money!
2. Prices listed are per unit. So again if you don’t have these things on hand you’ll have to buy a larger item but you’ll have leftovers so you can make these recipes again in the future with a lower out of pocket. Things like flour are cheaper if you purchase a 5 lb. Bag but you only need about 3 cups out of 20 :) That leaves you 17 Cups to use on other things in the future! So the price per recipe is based on the amount of ingredients used not the purchase price of the item.
3. The shopping list contains the list of items you need to purchase with the lowest purchase prices in my area, This might vary based on your region. Also, I shop at Aldi’s and Walmart and buy store brand items if possible to reduce my out of pocket cost so that’s what you’ll see listed.
Meal #1 – Spaghetti, French Bread & Green Beans
I can FREQUENTLY get Spaghetti Sauce at Target for around $0.50 per jar, Pasta is also on sale for $1 or less and I always stock up when I can get a great deal for Less than $1. I can also add in a can of green beans and a loaf of French Bread all for under $5!
Here’s what you need:
1 Jar of Spaghetti Sauce – $0.50 (This was the price last week at Target)
1 Cup of Cooked Ground Beef added to sauce- $1.49 (I pre-cook this and freeze it, about 1/2 lb. of meat equals 1 Cup of Cooked Meat)
1 Box of Pasta – $0.66 (This was the price last week at Target)
1 Can of Green Beans – $0.59 at Aldi’s
1 Loaf of French Bread – $1 at Walmart
Combine Ground Beef & Spaghetti Sauce in a pan and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Boil Water for noodles, when boiling add in noodles and cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently
Slice French Bread and Heat according to Directions
Cook Green Beans in a covered dish in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. Drain liquid, Salt and Pepper to taste
Total: $4.24 for everything you need for a Full Meal!!!
Meal #2 – Chicken & Rice
Another one of my All Time Favorite meals is Chicken & Rice. This is also one of my favorites because I can make it ahead of time and it freezes well or you can put it in the oven to bake and dinner is ready a few hours later!
Here’s what you need:
1 1/2 Cups White Rice – $0.48 at Walmart
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup – $0.59 at Aldi’s
2 Cans of Water
4 – 4 oz. Chicken Breasts – $2 (I pay typically around $2 per lb.)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine Cream of Chicken Soup & Water in a 9×13 Baking Pan
Stir until well mixed
Slowly add in 1 1/2 Cups of White Rice
Place Chicken on Top of Rice Mixture
A little Salt & Pepper to taste (I normally sprinkle the top of the pan with both)
Bake at 350 Degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total: $3.07 – I almost always add in a bag of Baby Carrots and a Cucumber or some kind of fresh fruit to this meal. You can easily do that and still stay under $5! :)
Meal #3 – Taco Soup
I am not a fan of Soup in the Summer for the most part, but this is one meal I can eat just about any time. We love Taco Soup at our house, even my kids love it! It’s filling and so easy to make in the crockpot + You can grab everything you need for under $5!
Here’s what you need:
2/3 lb. Ground Beef Cooked – $1.99 (Check out this post for details on how to Pre-Cook Meat)
1 Can Chili Beans – $0.59 at Aldi or $0.68 at Walmart
1 Can Kidney Beans – $0.59 at Aldi
1 Can of Corn – $0.59 at Aldi
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – $0.59 at Aldi
1 Package of Taco Seasoning – $0.39 at Aldi
Combine all ingredients in a Crock Pot and cook on High for 3-4 Hours!
Total: $4.74 – You can also serve over Rice or Chips and with Cheese if you would like! It’s also fun to add in sour cream, salsa and other ingredients you might already have on hand.
Meal #4 – Chicken Fried Rice
This is a GREAT way to use up left over chicken. I always use leftover Grilled Chicken but you can also add another lb. of Chicken to the Chicken & Rice Recipe and save the extra chicken for this recipe! Or you can grill a lb. of chicken for this recipe. I just love being able to use leftovers in a new dish because my family never even realizes we are eating leftovers :)
Here’s what you need:
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
8 oz. Peeled & Thinly Sliced Carrots – $0.39 for 1/2 lb. of Fresh Carrots at Walmart
2 Cups Uncooked Rice, Cook with 4 Cups Water and allow to cool completely – $0.62 at Walmart
1 lb. Cooked Chicken – I typically pay around $2 per lb.
½ tsp. Garlic Powder
½ tsp. Onion Powder
¼ tsp. Pepper
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce – $0.37
2 Eggs – $0.32 (Based on a $1.97 per dozen price at Walmart)
Heat Vegetable Oil in a Skillet
Add Green Pepper and Carrots and Saute for 1 Minute
Add Rice and Chicken and Stir Until Everything is Heated
Add Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Pepper to Mixture
Make a Space in the Center of the Rice
Break Eggs into Empty Space in the Center of the Rice
Stir Slowly until eggs are fully cooked and completely mixed in to the rice
Slowly add in Soy Sauce and continue to Stir
Total: $3.70 – We don’t typically eat much with this but you could easily add in a frozen vegetable, salad or other side dish. You also can easily double this recipe without increasing the chicken which is the most expensive part and you’ll still come out really close to $5!
Meal #5 – Homemade Pizza
We love making homemade pizza around here! It’s so simple and you can make one big pizza for your entire family or break the dough up into smaller sections and let the kids each make their own! You can also keep this simple with just one topping to stay under $5 or you can Add in all the toppings you want :) It’s really a family favorite and a great way to let the kids get involved in cooking!
Here’s what you need:
1 Package Active Dry Yeast – $0.41
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
3 Cups Flour – $0.36
2 – 8 oz. Cans of Tomato Sauce – $0.33 each at Aldi
1 Tablespoon of Oragano
1 Tablespoon of Onion Flakes
2 teaspoons of Sugar
1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 teaspoon of Pepper
1 teaspoon of Basil
Note: If you don’t have all the spices on hand you can buy pre-made pizza sauce for around $1 at Walmart
1 – 8 oz. Bag of Mozzarella Cheese, $2.64
1 – Package of Hormel Pepperoni, $1 at Dollar Tree (Or you can use remaining ground beef in place of pepperoni)
For the Pizza Sauce:
Stir the ingredients together and you’re ready to go. Note: Technically you can cook this recipe first but I have found that it cooks great while it’s in the oven so I’ve never really cooked this before using it on the Pizza.
For the Pizza Crust:
- Dissolve Yeast in the 1 Cup Warm Water, Let Stand 5 Minutes
- Stir in Sugar and Salt into Yeast Mixture.
- Slowly Mix in 1½ Cups Flour
- Add the Rest of the Flour and stir until the dough forms a Ball
- Knead Dough for 5 Minutes and Let Rise 15 Minutes
- Divide in 2 Balls, Roll out Crusts and Top with Toppings and Cheese
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 Degrees
Total: $5.07 – OK so just a little bit over :) But close enough! If you can get your cheese on sale this frequently goes on sale for $2 per bag at my local grocery stores but since that’s the most expensive part of this dish I didn’t want to underestimate.
If you want to use Packaged Pizza Dough Mix Jiffy sells a great one for $0.57 at my Walmart, Also Hunt’s Pizza Sauce is around $0.97 at Walmart. Both of those items would make this meal a little easier and it’s still right around $5!
Now, obviously those aren’t the only recipes you can make for under $5 they are just some of my favorites! We also dont’ eat all of these meals in one week, I spread them out between more expensive meals like Grilled Chicken and Salad, etc. so that we have a more balanced diet. The goal of adding in these recipes into your weekly menu plan is to lower your overall cost of meals during the week, these meals that cost under $5 can help bring down your average meal price for your family and they are a great way to reduce your grocery budget!
Don’t forget to check out the FREE Menu Plan Worksheets you can download and use to create your own Menu Plan!
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