27+ Family Friendly Frugal Meals Under $5

plate of spaghetti and graphic with kid friendly meals under $5

Looking for family friendly suppers on a budget? Here is a great list of over 27 frugal meals for under $5! These ideas will make meal planning easier and cheaper.

When I was calculating these meal prices, I made sure they’d feed a family of 4 for a total cost of $5 or less. None of that 5 dollars per serving business, that isn’t a frugal meal on my budget so I know it’s likely not in your either.

One of the tricks to making meals on a budget is to be sure to use ingredients more than once. If you need lettuce for one recipe, plan on using it for a second one. The same goes for the bag of carrots, salsa, or rice that you buy.

Let’s also think about seasonings. If you have to buy garlic powder, salt, dried oregano every time a recipe calls for it, it’s hard to make any frugal meals. Replacing a container of a seasoning or herb just here and there makes it a lot friendlier on your budget.

Tips: If you are starting with an empty pantry, select a few seasonings to purchase each week until you are fully stocked with the variety you need.

Want more tips? Read  10 Ways to Drastically Lower Your Grocery Budget

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Tricks to turn some of your favorite recipes into frugal meals under $5:

As you think about your kids’ favorite meals, there are several ways to cut costs. Please note that meals that do not use meat as the primary ingredient are easiest to do this on.

  • Use less cheese
  • Use less meat (possibly stretch with beans or vegetables)
  • Use a different meat that you found marked down
  • Replace the meat with beans or lentils
  • Sub the veggies for ones you already have
  • Omit an ingredient
  • Use dried herbs instead of fresh

Once you have your main dish figured out, you might still need a side to finish off the meal and make sure your family is full and has eaten a veggie. 😉

Side dishes can get complicated and expensive, but they don’t need to be. Keep things simple. Use what you already have or what is in the grocery ads that week to make sure you keep to your grocery budget.

Cheap Side Dish Ideas:

See this post for the cheapest, healthy groceries to buy!

bread, pasta, potato, orange, and jar of change on counter partially covered by a graphic that says meals under $5

27+ Frugal Meals Under $5

Now we get to what you can actually feed your family for supper! Several of these frugal meals are ones my kids request weekly. Don’t think things have to be complicated, when you find cheap recipes your family enjoys, keep a list and put them on rotation!

Homemade Pizza
The amounts below make 2 large pizzas

  • Pizza dough ($.75)
  • Pizza Sauce – make half of the recipe ($.40)
  • Cheese ($1.69-$2.50 depending on amount of cheese you use)
  • Toppings, price varies

Homemade Pizza Pockets

  • Same price as homemade pizza


  • Tortillas ($1 or homemade)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 1 Chicken breast ($2)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
This recipes serves 8. Cut the amounts in half for one meal or make is as for two easy, cheap suppers.

  • 4 cups stock, homemade is free ($2)
  • Beans – cook dried beans to be even cheaper ($1.50)
  • Corn ($.50)
  • Fire roasted tomatoes ($.75)
  • Green Chilis ($.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Rice ($.50)


  • Hot Dogs or Bratwursts ($2-$2.50)
  • Chicken Legs ($2)

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast Burritos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Eggs ($1)
  • Breakfast sausage ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • additional ingredients, optional

Baked Omelette 

  • Eggs, 8 ($.75)
  • Meat, 1/4-1/2 pound ($1)
  • Onion and Bell Pepper, or other veggies ($1)
  • Homemade Biscuits or toast ($1)


  • Pasta ($1)
  • Jar of sauce or homemade ($1-2)
  • Ground turkey, optional ($2)


  • 8 slices bread, homemade or purchased, ($.50)
  • 1 large tomato ($1)
  • 4 lettuce leaves ($.50)
  • 12 slices bacon ($2.50)

Baked Potatoes

  • 4 Potatoes ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese ($.85)
  • Sour cream ($1)
  • 4 slices bacon ($.75)


  • Flour tortillas ($1)
  • Cheese, 6 ounces ($1.27)
  • Chicken ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.25)
  • Salsa and sour cream ($.50)

Vegetarian Chili

  • Vegetables ($2)
  • Beans ($1 if you use dried, $2.10 for canned)
  • Seasonings ($1)
  • Toppings, optional – use what you have

Meatless Lentil Chili

  • Lentils ($.50)
  • Diced Tomatoes ($.75)
  • Veggies ($.75)
  • Broth, free if homemade ($2)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Tomato Soup

  • one onion ($.40)
  • fresh garlic ($.50)
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes ($1.60)
  • Chicken stock, free if homemade from scraps ($2)
  • Seasoning – use dried basil if you don’t have fresh growing ($.25)

Beans and Rice

  • 1 pound dried beans ($1)
  • 1 cup rice ($.50)
  • 1 onion ($.50)
  • Seasonings

Chicken Noodle Soup

Make half of the above recipe: Broth, onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, celery, green beans, chicken, and egg noodles.


  • Use ground turkey to save money – 1 pound ($2)
  • Rice or mashed potatoes ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Fried Rice

  • Rice ($1)
  • Ginger and garlic ($.50)
  • Veggies ($1.50)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Meat and eggs, optional

Vegetarian Taco Salad

  • Lettuce ($1.50)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • Beans ($.50 for dried)
  • Chips ($1)
  • Cheese, 4 ounces ($.85)
  • Additional toppings you have, free

Chicken Tacos

  • Tortillas ($1)
  • Chicken breast ($2)
  • 4 ounces cheese ($.85)
  • Salsa ($.75)
  • 2 lettuce leaves

Macaroni and Cheese
Check out these three super easy recipes!

  • Pasta ($1)
  • Cheese ($1.69)
  • Milk ($.50)

Chicken Baked Thighs

  • 4 chicken thighs or drumsticks ($2)
  • Seasoning from recipe ($.50)

Turkey Sloppy Joes

  • Buns – homemade or bought ($1)
  • 1 pound ground turkey ($2)
  • Tomato Sauce ($.25)
  • 1/2 onion ($.25)
  • Seasonings ($.50)

Lentil Soup

  • Lentils ($1)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Diced tomatoes ($.50)
  • Broth, free if homemade
  • Seasonings
  • You can always add meat if you have extra

Bean and Cheese Burritos
This recipe will give you extra for the freezer!

French Bread Pizza

  • Loaf of french bread ($1)
  • Pizza sauce ($.40 for half this recipe)
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese ($1.69)
  • Pepperoni or another topping ($1-2)

Grilled Cheese

  • 8 large slices of bread, homemade or bought ($1)
  • 8 ounces cheese ($1.69)
  • 2 tablespoons butter ($.20)

Eggroll in a Bowl

  • Ground meat ($2)
  • Cabbage ($1.50)
  • Veggies ($1)
  • Seasonings ($.50)
  • Rice or cauliflower rice, optional


  • You’ve already seen several soups on this list, but soup is something that’s so easy to throw together. See what’s in your fridge and freezer needing to be used and cook it up with broth and seasonings and you have supper for almost nothing!

One last suggestion. Don’t forget about leftovers! Leftovers are my favorite. They cost nothing and I don’t have to spend time cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

Cookbooks are also a great place to draw inspiration from! Below are some of my favorite to look at for cheap meals that are also easy! You can see if your library has them to look at before you purchase.

There is my long list of ideas for frugal meals to feed your family! What Are are your favorite cheap meals?

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