Meals you can Make on a VERY Small Budget

If you are a college student on a tight budget like me, these meals will blow your mind. Recently, I decided that I was spending way too much money buying fast food and food I might never eat at home. I created a straightforward list of meals that wouldn’t cost me more than $5 or take hours to make. These meals have changed the way I look at both budgeting and cooking!

These meals include a meat/non-meat of your choice and two sides. I made sure that the sides were both affordable and took less than 15 minutes to prepare. So here are three meals, two that are on the delicious cost-less side, and one that is so affordable, you won’t believe it!

Let’s start with meal number one. You can use steak, chicken, pork, or a vegan substitute, but I used steak for this meal. Steak, fresh cobbed corn, and baked potato slices. The cheapest “quality” steak I could find is “chuck-eye” or chuck steak. This is often referred to as “poor man’s ribeye” because it IS ribeye, just a little higher on the shoulder of the cow! When I say this steak is amazing I mean it, because there is some in my freezer right now. It has a tiny bit more fat, but it is worth it at the current price of $7.89 per pound at Wal-Mart and is often less at places like Foods Co and Cost Less.

However, this isn’t about how much the whole pack costs, it is about the cost of the meal. At $11.83 for 1.5 pounds of steak cut into six slices, you would pay $1.98 for the steak alone.

Next, three whole cobs of corn are $0.99 at Foods Co, having one cob of corn would cost you 33 cents.
The last side is one to two potatoes sliced thick, seasoned, buttered, and baked, which would cost you 65 cents. It is $3.27 for a five-pound bag of Russet Potatoes at Wal-Mart. That’s around 32 cents per potato. And the grand total is… $2.98! This means that you could effectively have $2.98 dinners for six nights straight if you buy six cobs of corn. I am not kidding when I say this is my favorite budget meal!

The next meal includes, again, a meat or non-meat of your choice (I used chicken), fresh asparagus, and one of my favorite sides, mac n cheese.

The cheapest way I have found to buy chicken is in the eight-count “family” packs. A boneless chicken breast family pack at Wal-Mart is $15.02 for 6.25 pounds of chicken! One chicken breast for this meal would cost $1.88 and a $2.98 bundle of asparagus split in two takes the total cost to $3.20. Lastly, Kraft Mac n Cheese at Cost less is 48 cents, making this simple meal a total of $3.85.

Here is the cheapest meal I could find. Now it’s not a restaurant feature, but it could keep you fed for eight days costing you only $11.51. Chicken is by far the cheapest option, however, it gets even cheaper if you are willing to freeze it by the freeze date, dropping the price by $3 to $5 and leaving you with a piece of chicken for $1.12.

Whatever vegetable is on sale for 3 for 99 cents wherever you can find it (it is out there). Surprisingly, Idahoan boxed mashed potatoes, a family box is $1.98, but it includes 18 servings of potatoes, that’s 11 cents per meal.
It wasn’t too hard to create this simple meal for a total of $1.81. Less than $2 is beyond cheap, but in a pinch, it will get you through.

The best part is that you can take a side from any meal and add it to a different one. I highly recommend trying to make similar cheap meals based on your own preferences while maintaining a budget that is right for you!