Jan 8, 2018

9 Budget-Friendly Dinner Ideas

budget-friendly dinner

Having a plan in the kitchen is one of the easiest ways to get a better handle on your budget. By mapping out what you're going to cook for dinner. you'll spend less time (and fewer trips) in the grocery store, be more likely to resist the temptation of unhealthy fast food and might even have leftovers to take with you to lunch the next day, saving you even more money.

Not sure where to start with a budget? Don't worry! Each month the USDA puts out guidelines for food budgeting that you can use as a starting reference for your own household budget. These monthly charts (click here to see the most recent) show budgets ranging within four different categories; thrifty, low-cost, moderate and liberal. Determine which category works for you then check out these 9 budget-friendly dinner ideas to help you cut costs in the kitchen without sacrificing flavor or nutrients! 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs | Marthastewart.com 
There's nothing like this classic dish! If you buy the ground beef for the meatballs in bulk and separate ahead of time, this recipe is not only affordable but quick too! Consider preparing the meatballs in the slow cooker with this recipe or check out this extreme money saving option.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka | Toriavey.com

Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please! One of the easiest ways to stick to a budget is by removing meat from one or more of your weeknight meals and with this savory dish, you won't even notice that it's completely vegetarian! 

BBQ Chicken and Potatoes 

One Skillet BBQ Chicken and Potatoes | Garnishandglaze.com

This recipe is the trifecta of weeknight dinners! It's inexpensive, quick and clean up is a breeze. You can get a great tasting bottle of BBQ sauce for around $2, no need for anything pricey. 

Penne with Sausage and Broccoli

Sweet Italian Sausage with Penne Pasta | Geniuskitchen.com 

If you have a pasta lover in your house this is the recipe for them!

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pair these with a simple side of coleslaw and anyone at your dinner table will be thoroughly impressed. Throw the leftovers on top of a salad next day with a little bleu cheese for the perfect lunch too! 

Chicken Fajitas

Easy Chicken Fajitas | Spendingwithpennies.com 
Toss together some chicken and peppers and you've basically got these easy fajitas! Wrap them in tortillas or a large leaf of romaine lettuce to complete the meal. 

5 Ingredient Chili

This chili only calls for 5 ingredients but if you're a meat lover,  add some browned ground beef into the mix and presto! Unfortunately, the avocado toppings aren't one of the listed ingredients but if you get them on sale, they'll be worth the splurge. 

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole | Campbells.com

According to Campbells.com, this recipe should cost you about $5 and there will be plenty to go around! If you aren't into tuna, simply switch it out for canned chicken. Easy-peasy. 

Sloppy Joe Bell Peppers

Sloppy Joe Stuffed Peppers | Delish.com
These peppers are a healthier option of a childhood favorite that everyone is sure to love! If you don't already have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce, keep an eye out for a store brand bottle to save you a couple of bucks.

Keep in mind that there are other ways to help maintain your food budget each month. Make a goal to use at least two coupons per week, exclude "topping ingredients" like sour cream or cheese from recipes, buy meat in bulk when on sale and when you do go out to eat, try cutting out expensive wine or cocktails. 

Whether you have a budget in place or not, Hughes wants to help our members live their best financial life possible which is why we offer a free credit score enhancement service. We'll arm you with the information you need to improve your score and help you get on track towards a better financial future! Make an appointment today to see a member service representative at any of our seven branches by calling 520-794-8341. We look forward to serving you.