Best Meals For Under A Buck

Discussion in Food & Drink started by Zyni • Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    I have a friend who always argues with me about fast food. "The dollar menu is cheaper than making something at home."

    Well, I don't see too many dollar menus any more. The items on today's "value menus" are often $1.49 to $2.09 for each thing. They are also usually made up of items full of grease and salt. Sure, the occasional burger isn't so bad, but I prefer home cooking. I couldn't eat fast food on a regular basis (and I wouldn't even want to).

    Let's think up meals that cost less than one dollar per person to make and list them here. It can be an old standby, or something you just came up with off the top of your head. Let's see who can be the most creative.

    How many meals for less than $1 can you make?
     
  2. Rosyrain

    RosyrainActive Member

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    Yeah, I do not see many dollar menu items around anymore either, and I agree that the items you can get for a dollar are filled with nasty processed chemical and fat. My favorite meal under a dollar would have to be a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of top ramen. I do not eat this often, but it is good for a quick meal when you do not have much money. 2 slices of bread, a piece of cheese, and a package of ramen comes in at less than a dollar.
     
  3. Ke Gordon

    Ke GordonWell-Known Member

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    I agree, a grilled cheese with a slice or two of tomato can be a good meal, and costs less than a dollar. Macaroni and Cheese, Pasta, Hot Dogs Omlettes all of these can be made for a dollar or less. Also, even something a bit more health conscious like a stuffed portabello mushroom is relatively inexpensive. I love spaghetti personally.
     
  4. TheViper

    TheViperActive Member

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    I think the making a meal under a dollar thing is completely silly as it doesn't work. When I was in my cheap fast food eating days which I kinda still am at this point. The one place I always went to was Taco Bell for my cheap food needs. They were the only place that had food items on the menu below a dollar. At one point they had .25 taco's we could purchase which was great but horrible at the same time.
     
  5. abonnen

    abonnenActive Member

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    There are many meals I can think of that are under a dollar a serving, one pot pasta, -Pasta .79 cents, Sausage 1.59, Tomatoe-39, bag of spinach-1.00 Total cost is 3.77, it makes 4 servings at about 94.25 cents a servings. Now this is with things being on sale (which is the one way I by them). Another one is rice and bean burritos, 1 pound bag of black beans -1.00 you are only be using 1/2 the bag so its 50 cents recipe, one bag of rice-1.00 you are only be using 1/2 the bag so its 50 cents for this recipe, block of cheese-1.79, and a pack of tortillas-1.00 (for ten). Now this recipe makes A LOT at least 6-8 burritos, the total cost is 3.79 which divided by six servings makes it about 63 cents each serving. Now a lot of people will probably say that these things don't cost that cheap where you live, I usually by things on sale, but the ingredients for the bean and rice burritos can all be bought at the dollar tree, except the block of cheese (I get mine at aldis). The key is coming up with your own cheap recipes and using sales to eat very cheaply, these are just a few samples of eating cheaply.
     
  6. cocolgooh

    cocolgoohActive Member

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    There are pound menus here, but the items on them are usually really basic.

    You can sometimes get fries for £1, or a plain burger with nothing on it at all. But to make that into a meal (with both fries and burger) it'd still be £2 and that's without a drink. So I wouldn't bother with that. I can buy burger and chips from the store and cook them myself for probably closer to £0.40 a person, or even less if I just bought one potato and did it that way.

    As others have already mentioned, omelettes are a great option as they don't take much to make either. You can add whatever you want and make them as big or small as you want them as well. Stir fries can be just as easy. Even baked beans on toast is really cheap, although maybe not particularly healthy.
     
  7. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Why do you think it's silly and say it doesn't work? There are examples right here that it does work. :)

    There are many things you can make for less than $1 per serving. Omelets are probably the best example. Frittatas are great too. You can do a lot with a dozen eggs. Potatoes go a long way as well. You can make potato soup very cheaply. That's basically true of most soups. Sandwiches can be made quite inexpensively as well.

    As noted, if you purchase the ingredients when they are on sale, you can do even better. There are tons of casseroles that come in under a buck per person too.

    With a quick search, I just found

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    .

    I'd still like to hear other people's ideas though.
     
  8. Ke Gordon

    Ke GordonWell-Known Member

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    Omelettes are great for cheap meals because not only are they inexpensive, you can also get rid of odds and ends of meat or vegetables that you don't know what to do with. I sometimes make a kitchen sink kind of omlette which uses a variety of veggies or meats I might have floating around the refrgertor. It is cheap, and good!
     
  9. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Very true, @Ke Gordon@Ke Gordon. Soups and casseroles are also great for that type of cooking. It's often better than just reheating leftovers, when you can make an entirely different entree from those odds and ends.

    Calzones are good too. You can make them cheaply when you make homemade, and you can stuff them with anything you like. Overabundance of veggies from the garden? Chop them up and stuff a calzone. Great for "meatless meal" night as well.

    Homemade pot pie is another good one, especially if you make good homemade pie crust. Just like all of the above, it can be filled with odds and ends. Using up leftovers is a great way to keep the grocery budget down. It's also a great way to make meals for less than a dollar (since you already paid for some of this stuff when you made a different meal.. why buy more when you don't have to?).
     
  10. abonnen

    abonnenActive Member

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    I am going to post again to share some other knowledge to lower the price of meals.

    I love making homemade pot pies, with a flaky pie crust, or with homemade drop biscuits (which is also good) so delicious. I also like to reinvent leftovers into other meals. If I make roast beef one night the next I will make things like empanadas, beef and noodles, bbq sandwhiches, shredded beef tacos or if I have a lot left over I will make a batch of Tamales. Creating new meals out of leftovers is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers! Also another tip is to buy meat or veggies in bulk when they are on sale splitting them up into different bags for different meals is a great way to save money. It can also help you stretch food, veggies are a great way to bulk up soups and sauces cheaply and its healthy and hearty. Just think of this a whole chicken cost about 5-7 dollars, cooked you can get at least 3-4 meals (at least I do) and chicken broth, A roast I usually get 2-3 meals out of and beef broth. Basically what I am trying to point out that you should make your food really work for you and use every penny of it possible.
     
  11. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    That's some great advice, @abonnen@abonnen. I do those kinds of things as well. It really makes a difference money wise, but it also helps avoid wasting good food.

    I'd love to see some recipes, if you guys have any to share. What's your favorite "go to" cheap meal?

    I remember my mother making stuffed tomatoes from the garden. She'd fill them with different types of salads, such as egg salad or tuna salad. Cheap (super cheap since the tomatoes were basically free) and a nice, cool, meal in the summertime. They also make a great light lunch.

    You can stuff other veggies as well, like cucumbers or zucchini.

    Tuna is another handy food for cheap eats. I used to make tuna melts for the kids when they were little. I'd just drain a can of tuna, add cheese, spread over bread, and pop in the broiler. Inexpensive and easy.
     
  12. filmjunkie08

    filmjunkie08Active Member

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    Unfortunately, I have a male teen who eats alot. A grilled cheese sandwhich or a bowl of mac and cheese is not enough. Male teens eat at least 2 of everything that is served.
     
  13. djdontpay

    djdontpayActive Member

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    The usual stuff - buy peanut butter, mayo etc. Make a sandwich. I am sure, per serving/sandwich it will cost less than a dollar. On a lighter note, you could grow your food. I am pretty sure seed potatoes cost really less and you can grow them in your backyard. When they grow into potatoes, just make stew, chips, or whatever. ;)
     
  14. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are doing a good job of it. A whole box of macaroni and cheese is less than a dollar, on sale. You can make two grilled cheese sandwiches for under 50 cents (at least around here), so good show.

    Some bean burritos might be a good choice as well for your big eater, since they are very filling, yet very inexpensive to make. You can make two or three of them for less than a dollar, with cheese. All you have to do is spread some refried beans onto flour tortillas, add some cheese, and heat them through. It's even cheaper if you make your own refried beans.

    In fact, you can stuff tortillas with many different things for cheap, easy, meals and snacks. They're easy enough for a teen boy to make on his own too. :)
     
  15. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Good luck getting a taco, or anything else, for a quarter these days. ;)

    Have you ever shopped for food at Dollar Tree? Aldi is another really good option. If you have access to these stores, or some like them, you can get your basic ingredients for nice, cheap, prices. This works well to lower the overall costs of your meals.

    These are two stores that I really like. Not only do they have good prices, but they both also have a good variety of things from which to choose. It takes a bit of trial and error, but for me, it's worth it. If you don't have these two nearby, there are many other discount stores as well.
     
  16. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

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    I tend to do what abonnen does, too.....I really get every penny's worth from all the food I get LOL For instance, my husband and I usually get three meals from a whole roast chicken. We'll start with roast dinner, then we'll use some of the leftover chicken for a creamy pasta, mushroom and chicken dish. The rest usually goes towards an omelette/salad/sandwiches. We also have stuff like beans on toast or melted cheese sandwiches, to make our food stretch further. Cheap as it may be, it's delicious AND not full of calories.
     
  17. sidney

    sidneyWell-Known Member

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    I don't know how to cook, but you can actually buy homecooked viands over here for less than $1 at those corner stores, then you can just eat them at home with rice. Fastfood chains don't offer anything less than a dollar as their cheapest menu, it's always a little over $1.
     
  18. abonnen

    abonnenActive Member

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    @Zyni@Zyni I love Aldi and dollar tree too, they are my first stop on my monthly grocery store trip!
     
    #18Sep 13, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2016
  19. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Neither one is super close to me, @abonnen@abonnen but I get to the areas in which they are located pretty routinely. When I am there, I make sure to hit those stores. I get some really great deals, and there will even be more to choose from with the holidays looming.

    If they were closer, I would start there too. My mother does the bulk of her grocery shopping at Aldi (there is one on practically every corner where she lives).

    @Lushlala@Lushlala I just made a similar dish for one of my daughters (I'm off carbs right now, but she loves her pasta). I used Penne with a cream sauce, thickened just a bit, added some leftover chicken, crumbled a leftover slice of bacon, and added some chives. She loved it.
     
  20. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Wow, I just found a meal that says it only cost 21 cents per serving. Now that is cheap! She even breaks down the pricing. It's a

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    (although you could probably just substitute any veggies you have on hand). I'd probably want to toss in a bit of chicken or something as well, so for me it would probably be double to triple the price, but even so, it's still well under a dollar per serving.

    I think recipes like these are great for anyone who wants to save money, but especially for those who are having hard times. I see a lot of people who struggle with grocery bills, and adding in some meals like this here and there could really help keep costs down.

    She has a whole page of ideas, but I haven't looked through the rest of them yet. I just wanted to share this one for now, since it's quite inexpensive and looks simple enough for even beginners.