Choosing what to eat every single day for every single meal can be one heck of a task, especially when you are on a tight budget or simply do not want to spend a lot of money on food.

Fortunately, there are a lot of like-minded people when it comes to this mentality, so there are a lot of easy, quick, and frugal recipes that you can choose from to prepare your meal.

Although we understand that everyone has different dietary requirements and different preferences for food and ingredients, as well as allergies, the recipes that we list below can all be easily changed to adapt to your diet and preferences.

If there is something that you cannot eat or simply do not like then please feel free to substitute the item for another or to simply skip it altogether.

For example, if you are a vegetarian you can choose to replace any meat with a meat substitute, with a mixture of vegetables, or simply remove that part of the recipe altogether.

At the end of the day, it is your meal to enjoy, change the recipe to better suit you and your taste!

Meal 1: Breakfast Porridge

A typical and traditional choice for breakfast all over the world, porridge is a great source of nutrients. Not only is porridge healthy but it is also very filling and very easy to make.

If you are looking for a frugal meal then porridge can be bought for very little money and will keep you fuller for longer, meaning that you can be even more frugal throughout the day!

Another advantage of porridge is that you can add whatever toppings you want or that you have around the house. You can be as frugal as you want or just have the porridge plain. For example, you can choose to make the porridge with milk or just water.

Ingredients needed: porridge oats, milk or water, and the toppings of your choice.

Preparation: Boil the water or milk and slowly add to the porridge oats stirring continuously. Add toppings as desired.

Meal 2: Pasta with Meat Sauce

Pasta is another great frugal staple. Large packets of pasta are very cheap in almost all shops and supermarkets and you can add whatever toppings you like.

You can buy either premade sauce, such as a Bolognese sauce, or just a simple tomato sauce and add meat or vegetables as you desire.

Ingredients: pasta, sauce (meat or vegetable), any other vegetables that you desire.

Preparation: Boil the pasta for 8-10 minutes, drain, and then cover with the sauce. If extra vegetables are added make sure to saute these while the pasta is boiling and then add after the sauce. Mix well.

Meal 3: Vegetable or Meat Soup

Soups are a fantastic way to be frugal. You can either buy premade soup from a store or, to be extra frugal, you can make a soup using any ingredients that you already have at home.


Leftover vegetables make an excellent soup base and you can add meat and other non-pureed vegetables as you desire.

Soups are a great warming and comforting choice for a meal, leaving you feeling full for a long time.

Ingredients: whatever you have in the house! Typically, you will need a starchy vegetable, 2-3 other vegetables, and any meat that you want.

Preparation: Saute the vegetables slowly over low heat, gradually adding water. Once softened blend. Saute any other vegetables or meats that you wish to add and add to the broth.

Meal 4: Sandwiches

Like soups, sandwiches are a great frugal meal because there is no set ingredient list! You can simply add whatever you have without the need to go to the store and buy extra ingredients. You can make them as healthy and light or heavy and filling as you wish—check out more from Taste of Home.

Sandwiches are also a great option because they can be taken anywhere with ease. If you are planning a day out, or simply taking a packed lunch, then sandwiches are an easy go-to option.

Ingredients: bread (any kind), butter or mayonnaise, fillings of your choice (e.g. cheese, meat, vegetables, salad)

Preparation: Butter (or cover with mayo) two slices of bread and fill with your choice of fillings. Cut into shapes to make them more enticing for younger ones!

Meal 5: Casseroles

Casseroles are a wonderfully warming meal that can be made of any leftovers from other meals. You can make them as traditional, or untraditional, as you want and according to what you have in the fridge. The more meat and vegetables that you add to the casserole the more filling that it will be!

This easy one-pot meal is great for not wasting any leftovers from other meals while also being very tasty itself!

Ingredients: meat of your choice, onions, stock (meat or vegetable), vegetables of your choice, flour, mustard, and herbs if desired

Preparation: Simply saute the onion and herbs lightly before adding the stock. Leave to simmer for a few minutes to infuse before adding in the meat and vegetables. Simply leave everything to simmer on low heat until softened and ready to eat! Simple!

Meal 6: Vegetable or Meat Curries

Curries are an amazingly filling and frugal meal. As long as you have the sauce you can include any ingredients you want and it will taste good!

You can make them as simple or as complicated as you want, and also as spicy or as mild as you want. You can completely customize curry recipes to your tastebuds.

Ingredients: meat or meat substitute, vegetables of your choice, onion, curry sauce, stock (meat or vegetable)

Preparation: Simply saute the onion, then cook the meat and vegetables in a pan until almost cooked. At this point add the curry sauce, mix well and leave to simmer until all meat and vegetables are cooked. You can add more spice or cream according to your tastes to level out the spice levels of the curry sauce.

Meal 7: Baked Potatoes

Although baked potatoes can take a little longer to cook than the other meals mentioned here they are very easy to make and are a great frugal meal. You can add whatever toppings you are in the mood for or even whatever you have at home. This way you can make use of any leftover food while remaining full for a long time.

Ingredients: One large potato, toppings of your choice (e.g. tuna and mayo, just butter, beans, and cheese, etc.)

Preparation: Turn on the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and leave the potato to bake slowly for 90 minutes. Once cooked through remove from the oven and add toppings.

Image by Alyson McPhee.