Budget Friendly Dinner Ideas | Make 5 Weeknight Meals for Under $50 (+ Printable Grocery List)
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Need budget-friendly dinner ideas? Try these budget-friendly meals plus our free printable meal plan and grocery list!
Need some easy, budget-friendly dinner and meal ideas?
Well, you’re in luck! I have created a FREE printable meal plan with five easy weeknight family recipe ideas that should cost you just under $50 (possibly less if you already have some of these pantry staples!).
Note that prices may vary slightly by location. The prices of the meals below are adjusted to reflect the amount of the ingredients used. For example, the cost reflects the price of a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper versus the entire container of pepper.
I have even created a printable shopping list for you! Or, if you’re like me and love shopping for groceries in your pajamas, you can click through the links on our grocery list and add all of the ingredients to your Walmart Grocery cart for a quick and easy pickup order. Not familiar with Walmart Grocery Pickup? Check out why we love using this grocery pickup service (plus snag a coupon for $10 off).
The five featured meals are a few of my family’s fall favorites and I think your family will enjoy them as well.
1. Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie
This yummy 5-ingredient meal comes together easily and is the definition of comfort food. I have used a rotisserie chicken for convenience in this meal and in the white bean chili featured below. Costing only about $6, this is one of my top budget-friendly dinner ideas.
Cost of entire meal: $6.08 via Walmart.com
- refrigerated pie crusts, 2-count
- 12 oz. canned chicken, or cooked shredded chicken
- 15 oz. can mixed vegetables, drained
- 10.5 oz. can cream of chicken soup
- 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
2. Sausage, Green Beans & Potatoes One-Pot Dinner
Get a warm and comforting meal on the table in a snap with this yummy sausage and potato dish. It has a buttery broth, and the sausage seasons the potatoes and green beans nicely, for a delicious stew-like meal.
Cost of entire meal: $10.93 via Walmart.com
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning, or to taste
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- 12 oz. packaged smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
3. White Bean Chicken Chili
This delicious chili is perfect for cold weather, is full of deep flavor, and can be compiled for an easy one-pot meal or a convenient slow cooker meal.
Cost of entire meal: $13.05 via Walmart.com
- 4 cups shredded & cooked chicken (about 1.5 pounds chicken breasts)
- 3- 15.5 oz cans of Great Northern Beans
- 14.5 oz can chicken broth
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz. small can of diced chilies
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, chopped and seeded (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground clove
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 tsp cumin
4. 10-Minute Sloppy Joes
You won’t need a seasoning packet with this yummy and crowd-pleasing homemade Sloppy Joe recipe. It’s a quick and budget-friendly meals that my kids love so much and request often.
Cost of entire meal: $9.81 via Walmart.com
- 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 an onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup water
- salt & pepper to taste
- buns/rolls for serving
- Suggested side dish: Fresh green salad
5. Taco Mac & Cheese
Take taco night to the next level by incorporating mac and cheese for a cheesy twist on this family fav! The clever combination of taco meat with cheesy noodles is so delicious, and such an easy dish to prepare. It’s one of our favorite budget-friendly dinner ideas. There are never leftovers as everyone cleans their plate!
Cost of meal: $9.39 via Walmart.com
- 2 boxes mac and cheese, prepared with 1/4 cup milk & 4 tsp butter
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 taco seasoning packet
- 15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed & drained
- 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, drained
Subtotal in Groceries from Walmart.com: $49.26 🎉
Want to save even more? Check out the latest Walmart Grocery promo codes!
Need more meal recipes? Check out these 12 genius school lunch ideas!
Thank you! Wish you guys did this every week! It would make meal planning so much easier for me haha
Aw thanks for the feedback!
Love this!! Gives us some fresh & simple ideas 💜💜
Oh good! Glad you like this idea!
I wish my family would eat stuff like this. They are a super picky bunch.
Ha darn! I do have one of those picky ones also.
I would rather spend a little more for my family to eat healthy. But one of these meals a week would be a treat!
I was wondering the something similar. How low calorie are these? Not! But I would love to see one of these with lower calorie!!!
I do an almost identical chicken pot pie recipe all the time in the cooler weather, I just use different seasonings (we like it a little on the garlicky side) and what I do is get a rotisserie chicken for dinner one night, then after dinner I strip off the remaining meat and set it aside to use in the pot pie the next night. 🙂
Great idea! Love the use of rotisserie chicken 😀
thank you! LOVE this!! more PLEASE!!
Yes! Agreed. I feel like we eat the same 10 meals on repeat a lot. This is very helpful and budget friendly. Please do more. It would be awesome if there could be a weekly post like this!!♥️
Thanks for the feedback!
Hope this helps – create and print a list of 4 weekly meal plans. Then you’re not making the same thing all the time and you eat takeout less! It is SO helpful when I’m making my shopping list because I can see at a glance what I’m making that week. And it’s helpful to list some easy alternates on the side of the plan, and revise the plan often as tastes change!
Oh thanks Tracy! Glad it’s helpful 🥰
This is great for my college kids. Thank you 💕
Oh yes! Great idea 😍
We do the kielbasa (smoked sausage) recipe like the one-pan Italian chicken recipe—sausage, potatoes cut up, green beans, all tossed together in the crockpot with Italian seasoning (maybe 2 packets worth? IDK, I make my own) and some butter, and let it cook maybe 6hrs on low.
Yum! I love meals like that.
Thank you!! I love this! Now I’m also hungry 😂
Great ideas! You make it so easy but I noticed you forgot the buns for the sloppy joe’s on the grocery list.
oh thanks for catching that! We’ll get it added
My husband I help supply a local food pantry and I am always looking for dinner meals that are $4.00 or less for 4 servings. Your sausage and potato recipe inspired me to try new way to fix a potato and cabbage recipe I have used for years.
Oh yay, that is so awesome… Yes I just made that with cabbage last week – so yummy!
What great ideas! I make a similar chicken or turkey pot pie recipe in the cooler weather. When I make one for dinner, I usually double the recipe and put the other in the freezer unbaked for another night. I bet most of these would make great freezer meals too.
OhI love this idea! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! I needed this!! Please do this more, I love this idea!!!
Oh yay and thanks for the feedback!
Sorry. Most of these are made with crappy ingredients. Need healthier alternatives
Can’t you figure out healthier alternatives yourself? 🤯Instead of ground beef use ground turkey, get turkey kielbasa, use swerve brown sugar in place of reg brown sugar, organic Annie’s Mac & cheese, Dave’s Killer Bread hamburger buns.
It’s not that hard or necessary to leave an ignorant comment. 🤨
I can only get the grocery list to open, seems that both links open grocery list and no meal plan?
Hey, jens! It looks like all the printable links DO take you to a grocery list, and you can go into each recipe link to print the recipe. I’ll make the suggestion about an all-in-one printable.
Love these ideas! Please keep the easy meal ideas coming!
Oh thanks so much Brittney!
Great post!!! I love this!! I agree, more posts like this would be fantastic. And I loooove Walmart grocery pickup. I’m NEVER doing it the hard way again!
Thanks Juliee! I do too!
I am usually not one to post but wanted to say thank you. You have made my life easier going into the upcoming week. All these dishes seem that they will please my picky family! I am excited to get a jump start on the week already knowing what we will be having each night. I went out last night and bought every ingredient. THANK YOU!
Awww, you are so welcome! We love helping others and it’s so nice to hear this!
I made the Sausage, Green Beans & Potatoes One-Pot Dinner tonight. My husband loved it and thanked me for making a such a great meal. I have the ingredients for the other nights but just had to share my success. I passed the recipe on to my mom for this one and think I will make it anytime I can get fresh green beans. Thank you very much!
Yay!! I love to hear that as it’s one of my favs too! Thanks Michelle! 💕👏
The sausage meal and taco mac are AWESOME! I’m definitely going to try the others as well. Thank you!!!!
Thanks for sharing!
We do the potatoes, green beans and sausage combo with everything bagel seasoning, and it is way tasty!
That sounds delicious, jayray! Thanks for sharing your seasoning idea! 🤗
That’s such a good idea. I make a dinner where I roast potatoes and sausage in the oven and I never thought of using everything bagel seasoning on it. Thanks for the tip.
My wife came up with that idea…so credit goes to her!
When I make chicken pot pie, I bake puff pastry, cut into squares, separately than the filling. When we are ready to eat, just put a piece of puff pastry on the bottom of the bowl, ladle in the filling and then top. This is great for people like myself that does not like a soggy crust. Store baked pastry in a zip lock bag on the counter, until you are ready for leftovers.
Oh yum! Great idea on the pastry, Stephanie!! I have made something similar with chicken pot pie soup.
I love all of these meals!! and I love the shopping list with links to walmart made my online shopping easy!! Do you have any more???
Thank you, Chuck Stratton! Glad you are loving these meals. You can find all of our recipes here. Hope that’s helpful.