How to Prepare Inexpensive, Frugal Meals

You can achieve cheap living much easier than you think. One way to change your habits straight away is to look at your food budget. It may be the case that you could spend half as much and still have enough food to comfortably get by without having any worries about going hungry. One vital aspect of attaining this goal is meal preparation. Many people head to their nearest supermarket without actually planning what they are going to buy beforehand. What is worse, many arrive at the doors on an empty stomach, which is always going to lead to poor choices because you are shopping whilst you are hungry. Before you go to the store sit down a write a list, not of items, but of meals. Once you have your meals, look at where ingredients cross over, meaning you only have to buy them once. Also look at buying them in bulk and cooking them all at once.
Frugal living enables you to eat healthier and more delicious meals!!

Many people who follow us already know the basics of how to live frugally. BudgetPronto is here to show you ways to increase your frugalness and save even more money. Being frugal is a lifestyle. It must extend to every corner of your life, even your meals. That’s why I am going to show you ways to create an inexpensive meal plan.

Bulk. You hear that word everywhere when it comes to creating meals on a budget for large families or even putting together a frugal meal-for-one. Bulk is the framework of cheap cooking. Without buying in bulk, every time that you go to the supermarket, you are just spending money that didn’t need to be spent.

Foods to buy in bulk:

  • Dried beans, pastas, and rice.
  • Snack foods and popcorn
  • Meat and chicken
  • Candy!

When you buy in bulk, you can easily cook cheap dinners for your family. We have posted before about buying in bulk, search around to find more information about that. So now you have your food, and lots of it. Great! It’s time to start cooking. Put on your apron, chef’s hat, and whatever else that you happen to use in the kitchen.


In this post, we are going to cover our favorite top inexpensive meals to make while staying within our budget. With grocery prices ever changing, sometimes it is hard to make elaborate meals. The truth is, any meal (even if it costs less than one dollar) can be great. It all depends who cooks it and just how much love went into the frugal cooking.

3 Frugal Breakfast Ideas

Our first idea for breakfast is Oatmeal with Raisins & Sugar. Oatmeal is one of those cheap food staples that ever person should have in their household. There are a million different ways to cook oatmeal, and we recommend cooking it with some raisins and a spoon of brown sugar.

You may for example buy a large pack of beef mince. From that large pack of mince, you could make several meals with good planning. You could make a Chilli Con Carne, Spaghetti Bolognese, Burritos and Lasagne, all from one purchase (of course there are other ingredients required but you get the picture). That’s five meals all made with the same base ingredients. Once you cook these large meals, you can always freeze the leftovers, creating more meals to eat at a later date. As you can see planning is vital in successful personal financial management. You could take the above food example and apply it to nearly everything. There may be other groceries that you often buy just on a whim, for example Shampoo. You may currently buy a mid-range brand name whenever you think you are close to running out, or whenever there is an offer or discount on that product.
Spend less money by making frugal meals!

A frugally prepared breakfast can still taste great!

Breakfast number two is a nice plate of homemade pancakes with a side of fruit. This is probably one of the most frugal meals, especially if you are willing to go on Craigslist and find free fruit. Seriously! Go to Craigslist and you’ll see that people with citrus trees are willing to give away free fruit. For the pancakes, you can just go on Amazon and get a 10-pound bag of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix for just under $20. You will be able to make about 135, 4” pancakes with that!

The third breakfast is really simple. It’s just a plain old banana and a bowl of yogurt. Sometimes a plain breakfast is good way to enjoy the simpler side of life. Preparation is fast, that is, if you know how to peel a banana and fill a bowl with yogurt. You can get creative and sprinkle some berries on top of your bowl of yogurt to introduce some variety into this super frugal meal.

Cheap Lunch Ideas

Ah leftovers. This is perhaps one of most frugal of all lunch ideas. You could even have leftovers for breakfast or dinner. In my house, we are only allowed to eat leftovers at lunch because we have a food system that we follow.

Another absolutely spectacular frugal lunch is cheese and crackers with fruit. Crackers are cheap and so is cheese. You can get a pound of cheese and in the right environment; it’ll stay good for a month or more in your fridge.

Is it possible to eat frugal meals every day? Heck yeah it is. All my meals are under $5 and I am living perfectly. I highly encourage you to look more into eating frugally. With the money you save, you can invest in your future or even other personal projects.

Need more inspiration? Here we go

8 Save Money Tips That Will Make You a Happy Person

Saving money is not just about frugal living, as many are tempted to think. It’s about being smart, too. After all, it makes no sense to torture yourself with restraints just for the sake of having some more money in the future. It is also about having the discernment to make the right choices.

save money tips

We have some save money tips for you and we promise that, if you apply these, you won’t be suffering. On the contrary, you could start living a better, perhaps healthier life, with a new and more satisfying outlook. Here’s what you should be doing to save money with as little trouble as possible.

  1. Shopping around

Take a few minutes to go online and look for the better offer, regardless of what you’re planning to buy. Shop around for a better TV cable, phone and broadband bundle deal, for home and car insurance, for your favorite brand of cosmetic products or home repair contractor. There is significant competition in all fields and you are sure to find companies or stores with better prices than others. If recurring expenses are concerned, you will then come back to the cheaper vendor.

  1. Have fun at home

how to save moneyAre you a fan of movies? Instead of going to the cinema every weekend, better gather a few friends and watch a movie at home. Inspire everyone to bring something to eat or drink. It will be cheaper than a trip to the city cinema. Do you and your close ones like to have a meal at a restaurant every now and then? Replace it with a home cooked meal, it’s fun and bonding.

  1. Understand what you do out of pride

Many expenses are out of pride or simply demonstrative. They’re like saying, “I can afford this, I am high on the social ladder!” In truth this is usually only a sign of conceit. You don’t need a piece of clothing with e certain label on it if you can find cheaper alternatives of the same quality. You don’t need to impress anyone by buying yourself three expensive cocktails whenever you go to the pub. These are all useless things we employ to create the illusion of status.

  1. Replace the car with a bike

Whether you are used to driving or taxing a taxi, consider replacing this with bike rides. It will help you save a lot (and also tone up your muscles) during the warm months.

  1. Think green

Going ‘green’ does not only mean caring about the environment. It is healthy for yourself, as well as economical. There are so many ways to accomplish this: limit the electricity and fuel consumption, use less paper, wrap, foil etc., less detergent, make your own soap, cream, lotion, hair oil, tinctures and so on. It’s more convenient to buy the things you need from the store, but it’s much cheaper (and rewarding, too) to look for nature’s alternative.

  1. Cater to your real needs – Start a journal

saving moneyWe spend too much on what we perceive as a need, but in fact it is only a caprice. Make a journal with all your expenses, day by day. After a few weeks, ponder over each item on the list. Did you really need it or was it the impulse of a moment? Was it truly for yourself or to impress someone? Did you buy something just because everyone had it? Make it a point to avoid buying such items or services in future. Journals like these will help you realize how much money you’re giving away for things you don’t really need.

  1. Research cheap meal recipes

It’s amazing how much money can go on food that goes into various recipes, such as an expensive sauce, oils, side dishes etc. If you research cheap meal recipes though, you discover endless ways to prepare delicious meals with fewer and cheaper ingredients: pasta, casseroles, rice dishes etc. You can enjoy nourishing and tasty meals for a lot less.

  1. Learn to say no

It’s great to have friends who take you to different places, but sometimes their budget may not match yours. They could be taking you to expensive venues and make you order some of the more sophisticated items on the menu. You spend the money either out of shame or because you just happen to go with the flow. Next time a friend wants you to join them in an expensive location, you can politely refuse or suggest a different place. It’s in your power to control these things. Your expenses don’t have to match the ones of your rich friends or relatives.

You don’t have to limit the fun you have or make a radical change of lifestyle. These tips should empower you and inspire you to see more choices out there. There are great, cheaper alternatives to almost anything you are used to.

Here is our best guide on how to save money