Blowing your budget on take-out? Get these quick tips for creating cheap & easy weeknight meals at home.
When you went back to work, you didn’t think you’d be busting your budget on weeknight dinners, did you? But, it’s happening, right? Take out, delivery & even the drive-thru receipts can pile up quick, if you’re not careful. Trust me, I learned this lesson the hard way. Starting a business and feeding two kids (and one hungry husband!) on a weeknight can seem like a daunting task. That’s why fixing easy weeknight meals on a budget can be a real game changer for your wallet!
Follow these 5 tips for getting food on the table during those busy weeknights without blowing your budget.
Cheapest Ways to Cook On Budget
#1: Slow Cookers Are Your Friend
I know. Crock Pots. Sigh. Does anything super tasty ever come out of those things? YES! It’s just about knowing what ingredients to put together. That’s my job! 😊
Get the most bang for your buck by buying the ingredients in bulk & prep two and stick in the freezer. That way, they’re already ready to go at a moment’s notice. No excuses for take-out when the freezer is stocked.
Check out these fool proof crock pot ideas that will bring that slow cooker of yours into the 21st century!
Chicken Cacciatore is an absolute favorite at my house. And, don’t even get me started on this finger licking good Crockpot Asian Pork (perfect for sweet and spicy Korean tacos)!
#2: Cook Once, Eat Twice
I love a dinner that does double duty! Cook one time, and then use the left overs to transform into a whole new dish. Or, you can even double a recipe (like easy Spinach Lasagna) and freeze one for next week!
Nothing says budget-friendly like a meal that can be stretched into two!
You can transform leftover chili into a tamale pie, use left over crock pot pulled pork for tacos, or left over roasted chicken (like my crispy skinned Meyer Lemon Spatchcock Roasted Chicken) can make a mean pot pie.
With a little planning, you can push those weeknight dinners out effortlessly.
#3: Buy In Bulk
Parents who put dinner on the table every night often like to stock up on those things they use all the time in their favorite dishes. The best way to source things like chicken, canned tomatoes, fresh fish, or frozen veggies is through a big bulk store like Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club.
Things like Costco’s giant package of precooked rotisserie chicken breast (already pulled for you) have saved dinner on more nights than I can say. This package of chicken can be broken down into at least 4 bags and frozen individually. Popping one of those little baggies in the microwave and making some quick tacos or a one pot dinner is key to surviving the week at my house!
There’s also big bags of shredded cheese, ready made meals, and prewashed salads! Added bonus of buying in bulk is that your wallet will thank you.
#4: Brinner, It’s What’s For Dinner
I love breakfast, brunch, and brinner. I think it’s the combo of sweet and savory that keeps me coming back for more. It just hits ALL. THE. NOTES! If you’re looking for a dinner in a pinch, then look no further than my Pantry Pancakes. You don’t even need eggs for these! Say wha? That’s right. If that’s not budget friendly, I’m not sure what is!
Added bonus: My Pantry Pancakes HAVE to be the cheapest food to feed a crowd! This has to be the ultimate easy weeknight dinner for any budget!
Let’s talk sweet & savory.
What’s a better sweet and savory combo than Chicken & Waffles? Check out my Ready Made Dinner Idea for Honey BBQ Chicken & Waffles. This is a fun way to change up your chicken nugget routine. Buy those tenders and waffles in bulk, or pop into Aldi for another way to save some dough.
#5: Team Work Makes the Dream Work
Okay, here’s some tough love. If you’re still winging it every weeknight when it comes to putting dinner on the table, then you’re stress level has got to be through the roof. And, your budget is probably in the crapper.
You need to take a minute and get real. If putting dinner on the table most nights is something that you really want to do, then you need a plan. Winging it isn’t gonna do your stress level (or your budget) any favors.
Now, this site is full of quick recipes and ideas for getting food on the table at night. But, if that seems too overwhelming to sit and plan out, then don’t worry! I’ll do it for you.
I’ll give you my weeknight meal plan, which includes recipes for the entire week, a grocery list for shopping, and a plan of attack for your family. Ready to put it into action? Just sign up, and I’ll send it to your email.
Just remember, planning ahead (even just a bit) will help you keep those weeknight meals on a budget!
Sharing the Load
What is the ultimate secret weapon that working parents MUST have to get dinner on the table all week long? You guessed it—team work. Like we say at my house, Team Work Makes the Dream Work! If your partner is working too, then you both have crazy demands on you.
But, it is NO secret that the majority of women carry the mental load of what to cook for dinner. Even when both parents are working!
So, it’s time. It’s time to have that talk that you don’t want to have with your partner. He needs to start getting hands on at dinner—even if he can’t boil water. That’s right! There are too many short cut premade options out there for the cooking challenged.
This is where we started in my house! TRUE! My husband didn’t take on the responsibility of cooking dinner at all. That was all on me. But, I felt the stress of that BIG TIME. Putting dinner on the table every week night was a huge priority for me. And, I didn’t want it involving a drive thru. I mean, there’s only so many burgers a girl can eat. Plus, it AIN’T cheap to eat that way. There came a point, when we had to get our grownup pants on and make a plan.
Taking Turns in the Kitchen
Sounds intriguing right? Well, the plan I’ve created for Freaking Delish is the same one I use at home with my husband. It helps us plan for the week, and it divides up the cooking duties. Everyone gets a turn. Everyone has to take responsibility. It’s that simple.
I give you some easy weeknight dinner recipes that include one pot dishes, 5 ingredient meals, and other quick dishes that aren’t labor intensive. But, I also provide you with some incredibly delicious ideas for how to put ready made ingredients to good use!
Added bonus: when you’re sharing the cooking load, you’re gonna resist the temptation to order out! So, you’ll be able to make easy weeknight meals & STAY on budget!
If your partner can’t make a meal to save his life, he can still follow what I like to call simple “assembly” style recipes. No cooking, just assembly required! Sounds easy, right? Well, sign up HERE and try it out! Get my one week plan sent straight to your inbox. Then, if you like it—I’ve got another amazing plan that will get you through the month!
Good Home Cooked Meals on a Budget
Working moms everywhere are doing an amazing job of juggling all the balls, all the time. But, it can come at a cost to your budget. That’s why it’s so important to think creatively about dinner. If you just use a few of these ideas above, you can get your budget back on track.
Remember these 5 Tips for keeping those weeknight meals on a budget:
- Slow Cookers Are Your Friend
- Cook Once, Eat Twice
- Buy In Bulk
- Brinner, It’s What’s for Dinner
- Team Work Makes the Dream Work
It’s time to ditch the drive-thru and remember that dinner doesn’t have to be mission impossible. It just takes a little strategy & a little help. If that sounds like something you need, then don’t waste another second struggling! I’ve got you, girl.
Get my easy to follow weeknight dinner plan HERE!