Cheap meal ideas to get you through the week

cheap-meal-ideas

For the last few weeks, I’ve been following strict meal plans. It’s been bloody brilliant. Not only has it meant that I’ve had to become super organised and P and I know exactly what we’re having to eat each night, but we’ve also saved a fortune. I’ve also been getting this strange pleasure from using up what’s in the freezer and bagging up and freezing meals to have at a later date. Have I become boring and old??? Who cares if it means my healthy bank balance of early 2016 is restored!

Anyhoo, where am I getting the cheap meal ideas from in order to build meal plans? How am I saving money on my food shop? Well, if you need an answer to my second question then you haven’t signed up for my financial e-course yet. That has a WHOLE DAY dedicated to saving on your food bills so sign up now. It’s free after all.

To answer the first question, I thought I’d share a few links I use which have helped me A LOT. You see, I don’t follow the prescribed meal plans you’ll find online on sites such as Tesco because they make assumptions about what you do and don’t like to eat and they assume that there will be 4 of you eating in every single night. That’s not a true reflection of every household is it?

As long as you follow some simple rules, meal planning can be so. much. easier.

How to build your own cheap meal ideas

  • Cut out expensive meats and seafood for a while. This means chicken breasts are a no-no (go for thighs or turkey instead) and prawns and scallops are also to be avoided.
  • Sausages are great provided you stick to the rule of two per portion, and if there’s two of you to feed, you freeze or refrigerate the remaining two for a future meal.
  • Mince is a great buy. If you add a whole lot of diced onion, carrot and celery to the mix when making a ragu, you can squeeze out a lot of portions and then it can be used as a base for a multitude of meal options. Check out my recipe here.
  • If you love fish, try frozen. You can buy bags of frozen cod, salmon, pollock and smoked haddock and all can be cooked really easily in a pot of sauce and served with rice and veg.
  • Don’t buy ready prepared fresh veg. Work out how many ‘portions’ of veg you need and buy only that, or buy frozen.
  • Don’t buy pasta sauce – instead buy a tin of tomatoes, season and cook slowly. Done.
  • Eat one of the following meals once a week. It won’t kill you and it’s so cheap (this is a post on cheap meal ideas, after all):
    • Scrambled egg on toast
    • Jacket potato and beans
    • Omelette
    • Soup
    • Homemade cheese scones (see recipe here) or homemade soda bread (Be Clever With Your Cash), ham and pickles
  • Embrace the wonder of chorizo. I think it is possibly the most wonderful and versatile ingredient there is and it can work in soups, pastas, omelettes and fish dishes and it will keep for weeks in the fridge too.
  • Finally invest in a cheap blender and some vegetable stock and when ever you have ANY leftover meat or veg, chop, bring together in a pot with the stock and seasoning, blend and freeze. And voila….homemade soup.

The above should give you a good few cheap meal ideas but if you want to get a little more creative (without spending a fortune), further help is at hand.

Cheap meal ideas in recipe form

So, without further ado, here are some meal options (and links) to help you plan weeks’ worth of interesting and tasty meals and save some money:

  • Sausage and bean casserole (BBC Good Food)
  • Sausages with mustard mash and red onion gravy (Good Housekeeping)
  • Vegetable Crumble, just 25p a portion! (Thrifty Lesley)
  • Pasta, chorizo, homemade pasta sauce, red peppers. (Chop up the peppers and chorizo and fry. Cook the tinned tomatoes slowly in a pan and season. Boil the pasta and mix altogether. Simple but delicious.)
  • Leftover roast dinner hash with poached eggs (Tesco Real Food)
  • Easy mac and cheese
  • Sausage/leftover roast chicken risotto (my recipe here on my old blog)
  • Leftover turkey and potato curry (Savings 4 Savvy Mums) and keema naan (Reduced Grub)
  • Creamy fish curry (a good recipe for the frozen fish) (BBC Good Food)
  • Sticky hoisin pork stir fry – you’ll never buy bottled hoisin sauce again! (Skint Dad)
  • Chorizo, chickpea and tomato flatbreads (Thrifty Lesley)

And for the sweet treats, you have to try my shortbread and Miss Thrifty’s FABULOUS Chocolate Orange cake which costs only £1.44 to make!!!

I really hope this helps you. Do you have any cheap meal ideas or recipes of your own you can share with me?

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39 Comments

  1. February 6, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    Love the sound of a veggie crumble and who doesn’t like beans on toast? Plus it is super cheap as well xx

  2. February 6, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    Jacket potato and beans, always a great cheap and quick meal. Sprinkle some vegan cheese – perfect. I tend to make curry but opt out meat just veg and potatoes.

  3. February 6, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    You’re so right about cutting out chicken breasts. I just bought 4lbs. of chicken drumsticks fro $4.58- it’s so cheap!

  4. February 6, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    There are some really good points here. I always have something simple like scrambled egg once a week x

  5. February 6, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    Thank you for these recipes. They all look delicious and easy to make as well as being cheap 🙂

  6. February 6, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    You have some really great tips and some great cheap meal ideas here. I need to get more organized and meal plan a bit more, saving more on shops would be fantastic for my bottom line.

  7. Lynne Harper
    February 6, 2017 / 6:58 pm

    The Turkey and potato Curry sounds amazing. I’m really going to try and use one of the options you listed above for a meal once a week. Great list and one I will enjoy trying to work through with my family x

  8. Tereza
    February 6, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    This is ever so useful! We are trying to save up a lot of money for a house and we are totally eating those dishes that you recommend eating once a week just about every other day maybe more haha. Beans on toast and tomato soup that is! We are having roasties and sausages today which is another great cheapo dish – and it’s SO delicious when you add lots of spices and red onion mmmm!

  9. February 6, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Some lovely ideas here. I really need to start being more creative in the kitchen 🙂

  10. February 6, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    I love jacket potatoes for a cheap and easy dinner, love the sound of some of these recipes, and agree on thinking about what meat you buy x

  11. February 6, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    Well done for being able to stick to a meal plan. I spend so much on food so I always intend to make a plan, but I just really hate following it haha! It’s good to have ideas for cheap meals though.

  12. February 6, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    Great tips – I always set up a meal plan and you can make some delicious meals on a budget!

  13. February 6, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    My biggest cheap meal is making meals on weekend to freeze and reheat later in week x

  14. hannah
    February 6, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    Some great tips here. When i think of a really cheap meal i just go get myself a bowl of cereal.

  15. February 7, 2017 / 12:33 am

    I’m trying to make my food shopping cheaper so your meal ideas are great for me, I’ll check out the recipes. I can’t give up chicken breasts though but I buy them in bulk from the butchers which saves money xxx

  16. February 7, 2017 / 5:03 am

    I think i’ll go first with the Vegetable crumble. These cheap meals are amazing, thanks for taking your time to share this. More bucks to save!

  17. February 7, 2017 / 6:29 am

    Some great ideas – I agree homemade soup goes a long way in cost saving and I basically live off it during the week!

  18. February 7, 2017 / 9:44 am

    Some great recipes. I find meat is the main thing which is expensive so going veggie does help with costs x

  19. February 7, 2017 / 10:39 am

    What a great idea! I find I can spend so much on food sometimes I really need cheaper food ideas x

  20. February 7, 2017 / 11:19 am

    I love cheap meals. My shopping bill is around £100 for 5 of us, for 2 weeks. I only by items that are on offer and stock up, this saves us load of money

  21. February 7, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    These are some great tips. I must admit, I do like to buy Chicken breasts though!

  22. February 7, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    I absolutely love scrambled eggs on toast and would eat it daily if I could x

  23. February 7, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    We meal plan and omg it’s made life so much easier. We love Jacket Potato with beans I normally have scrambled egg as a breakfast. Eggs are great for a cheap meal x

  24. February 7, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I wish I could plan better! And I constantly buy chicken breasts!

  25. February 7, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    These are great tips for someone like me on a budget!! Thank you

  26. Angela Key Milnes
    February 7, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    Such a good ideas! I need this tips. I want to save more money and I love cheap meals

  27. Keely's Nails
    February 7, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    Love a sausage and bean casserole (made with veggie sausages of course)!

  28. Charlotte
    February 8, 2017 / 6:20 pm

    I need to get more organised and more thrifty with my meal planning. I think it’s where we waste most money. Love the sound of hoisin pork. Off to check it out now.

  29. shannon ritchie
    February 8, 2017 / 6:36 pm

    As a student I always need tips on how to save money! These are some great suggestions!

  30. February 8, 2017 / 7:09 pm

    A really good resource page! Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks!

  31. February 8, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    I love saving money and eating good. This is a well curated list! Thank you

  32. February 8, 2017 / 8:51 pm

    I must admit I don’t consider cost most of the time I cook and the cost of meals I make does vary. I will take a look those meals, thanks.

  33. February 9, 2017 / 6:10 am

    I’ll have to leave this open for my OH to ‘accidentally’ stumble upon. He just buys random stuff on a Saturday and then I have to keep going out and doing top-up shops in the week to actually make a proper meal. It definitely costs us more money in the long run!

    Louise x

  34. February 9, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    I love an omelette. So much more filling than you expect them to be. Lots of good ideas here x

  35. February 9, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    I always look for great ideas to keep meals low in cost! Love this x

  36. February 10, 2017 / 8:37 am

    Omelette is a good one. It’s very healthy and so easy to make – and cheap too as you point out 🙂

  37. February 10, 2017 / 9:14 am

    I love eggs so scrambled egg on toast or omlette is my go to dish

  38. Lyndsey
    February 15, 2017 / 11:06 pm

    Fab post with such useful advice I need to save a bit of money somewhere!

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