meal planning
Dining on a Dime: Cheap Meal Plan For Two

Dining on a Dime: Cheap Meal Plan For Two

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When it comes to meal planning, finding affordable options that are both nutritious and satisfying can be a challenge. But with a little creativity and smart shopping, it is possible to create a budget-friendly meal plan for two that doesn’t compromise on taste or quality.

Dining on a Dime: Cheap Meal Plan For Two

Sometimes all you need for supper is an idea, instead of a full recipe. Instead of sifting through endless pages on recipe sites, why not just scan through this quick list for a few tasty suggestions? This list is composed of every family’s favorites and foods made on a regular basis. No actual recipes are included in this list, so as to leave room for variations and for you to use your favorite recipes for each of the ideas.

You can enjoy these on a cheap meal plan for two for about a month:


Probably one of the easiest meals you can make for your family. All you need is hamburger, cheese, and buns. Condiments are optional, and everyone can add their own depending on preference.


Similar to the cheeseburgers, you replace taco shells of some sort for the buns and add seasoning to your meat. You still serve with cheese, lettuce, condiments, etc.


Here you can get creative, and make homemade pizza in any way you’d like. You can choose to make your own pizza dough or use a store-bought crust. Any toppings you like can be added, and you can even try making a few different types of pizzas at the same time to see which one becomes your personal family favorite.

meal plan month one

Chicken Strips

Making chicken strips at home isn’t difficult at all. Breading is optional, but you have quite a few options if you decide to bread and fry them. You can also grill them if you have a stove-top grill.


If you have a little time earlier in the day, toss a roast in the oven and let it cook all day. Add your desired vegetables, cook, and enjoy!

Biscuits and Gravy

Not just for breakfast! These can be made any time of the day for an easy family meal. You can make your own biscuits from scratch if you are ambitious enough, or buy them in the store. Gravy can also be made from scratch or purchased. I believe the packets where you just add water are roughly fifty cents.


If you own a griddle, a few quesadillas can make an entire meal. Be sure to offer sour cream or salsa on the side.


This is a fantastically easy meal if you use sauce bought at the store. Making it at home is an option, too!

cooked spaghetti with pasta sauce on it and topped with cheese and more pasta


Do you have taco leftovers? If so, make some burritos! I add a can of black beans to stretch it a bit and stay with my thrifty theme. Fried or baked, these are delicious.


It may have a bad rep, but did you know meatloaf can be made with just about anything? Crackers, bread crumbs, cereal, and even potato chips can be added to ground hamburger and baked. For less greasy meatloaf, use a higher percentage of hamburger (such as 90% or higher).

Crab Cakes

We refer to these as “Krabby Patties” around our house. If you have younger children and want them to experience new foods, gift this one a shot with a more appealing name.

Pork Chops

Simple, yet can be cooked in a variety of different ways. Generally, we purchase thicker cuts, fry them until browned, and bake.

Fettuccini Alfredo

Like spaghetti, you can “cheat” by purchasing jars of Alfredo sauce and adding it to pasta.

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Steak & Mashed Potatoes

Budget cuts of steak are great if you marinade them and then slowly cook. It may not be something you can cook every night, but for special occasions or just once in a while, this makes a great meal.

Cheeseburger Casserole

There are multiple recipes floating around on the ‘net for this one. Basically, you need ground meat, cheese, and Bisquick.

Beef Stroganoff

A simple meal made with hamburger, egg noodles, and sour cream. Other versions of this recipe use specific cuts of meat instead of hamburger, although we like it just fine the “poor man” way.

beef stronganoff

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Perfect for the crockpot, and easy to make! Add chicken, cream of cheese soup, cream of chicken soup, and egg noodles.

Pigs in a Blanket

Depending on what you are hungry for, these can be made with hot dogs or sausage, wrapped in a crescent roll or pancake of some sort.

Beef Stew

This is similar to roast, but with a few added vegetables, and in stew form. Great if you have some time to cook or at least prepare ahead of time.

Breakfast for Dinner (Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon, Toast, etc.)

Who says breakfast foods can only be served in the morning? Treat your family to a “breakfast night”, where you cook all those foods typically eaten in the morning.

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Homemade Mac & Cheese

It may be easy to just grab a box of mac & cheese at the store, but why not challenge yourself to make it from scratch? There are dozens of unique recipes on the internet for this one dish.

Fried Chicken

Eggs, flour, and chicken pieces are basically all you need. Fry them all up in a pan, or bake them if you want them a little bit more healthy.


Everyone has a unique chili recipe. Start with chili beans and hamburger, adding ingredients according to taste.

BBQ Pork Sandwiches

A great meal for the slow cooker! Add a pork roast and barbeque sauce, let cook, and enjoy.


If your family doesn’t much care for lasagna, try leaving out the “odd” cheese. We use lasagna pasta, hamburger, spaghetti sauce, and shredded cheese. Fantastic!

Classico Lasagna plated up

Final thoughts on a Cheap Meal Plan For Two

This list should give you a starting point for some ideas for dinner. Embracing a cheap meal plan for two doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor, variety, or enjoyment in your culinary journey. By planning ahead, being creative with budget-friendly ingredients, and making the most of leftovers, you can savor delicious meals while keeping your wallet happy.

From delightful pasta dishes and hearty soups to colorful salads and enticing one-pot wonders, there are countless ways to embark on a cost-conscious gastronomic adventure with your partner. So, let this affordable meal plan become a delightful discovery of culinary possibilities and a celebration of your shared love for good food, without breaking the bank. Bon appétit!

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Cheap Meal Plan For Two FAQs

How can a cheap meal plan for two benefit my finances? By following a cheap meal plan, you can minimize grocery expenses and avoid unnecessary impulse purchases. Planning meals ahead of time also helps you make use of ingredients efficiently, reducing the chances of throwing away unused items and saving money in the long run.

Is it possible to eat healthy with a cheap meal plan for two? Absolutely! A cheap meal plan can still include nutritious and balanced meals. By incorporating affordable fresh produce, lean proteins, whole grains, and using cooking methods that require less oil and fat, you can maintain a healthy diet even on a budget.

How do I start creating a cheap meal plan for two? To start, analyze your food budget and dietary preferences. Look for budget-friendly recipes online or in cookbooks and plan meals for the week. Make a shopping list based on the ingredients needed, and try to buy items in bulk when possible to save more.

What are some budget-friendly ingredients I can include in my meal plan? Rice, pasta, beans, lentils, eggs, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, budget cuts of meat or poultry, and seasonal produce are all excellent budget-friendly ingredients to include in your meal plan.

Can I still enjoy variety in my meals with a cheap meal plan for two? Yes, variety is still achievable on a budget. Rotate different proteins, grains, and vegetables to keep meals interesting. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and sauces to add diverse flavors to your dishes.

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