Thrifty Redditors Share Their 'Go-To' Frugal Family Meals and Hacks

Homemade Cheesy Tuna Casserole


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Homemade Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Frugal Family Feasts

Feeding a ravenous family after a long day is hard work, especially if you're simultaneously stressing about the grocery bill. That's why one thrifty parent took to Reddit for advice: What're some affordable go-to meals that'll satisfy "huge" teenage boys? More than 2,000 penny pinchers replied with their easiest, cheapest, and heartiest meals, the best of which we've collected here. Have your own weeknight dinner hacks? Be sure to share them in the comments.

Related: 40 Cheap and Easy One-Pot Meals

bowl of chili with black beans and cornbread
Lynne Mitchell/istockphoto

Chili and Homemade Bread

Chili continually came up as an affordable, easy-to-make staple that pairs well with hearty, carbohydrate-heavy sides like homemade bread, rice, and potatoes. "Buy all the bread materials in bulk and just pump loaves out with chili/stew," a popular comment reads. You can cook this top-rated chili recipe with just five common ingredients.

Related: Cozy Fall Comfort Foods You'll Want To Cook Up ASAP

Potato Casserole
Liudmyla Chuhunova / istockphoto
Dietary foods: rice baked with broccoli, chicken and cheese close-up. Horizontal top view


It's not a meal on its own, but rice is a classic low-cost staple that you can mix and match with whatever meat or veggies you have lying around.  "Just add rice to everything," one commenter suggests.

Related: 20 Rice Bowls for Quick and Delicious Meals

Homemade Twice Baked Potatoes


Like rice, potatoes are cheap and go with, well, pretty much anything. One popular suggestion? Buy a bunch of giant Costco potatoes, and set up a baked potato bar. "Whatever potatoes are left go towards fried potatoes for breakfast," a Redditor shares.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Pasta e Fagioli

Multiple Italian Americans and frugal foodies highlighted pasta e fagioli's (aka pasta fazool) merits as a filling dish fit for a family feast. "This goes far. Many repeat meals were pasta fazool as a child," a Redditor wrote. This Once Upon a Chef recipe has near-perfect reviews.

Roasted Turkey in a roasting pan
Angelika Heine/istockphoto


Turkeys "aren't just for Thanksgiving," according to one frugal Redditor. "My parents used to buy frozen turkeys on sale and we'd eat on that," they wrote. Others suggested sourcing cheap chicken thighs from the butcher.

Mexican food chili con carne macro and ingredients

TexMex Goulash

If you're tired of plain old spaghetti and meatballs, consider Tex-Mex goulash, which often includes ground beef, elbow pasta, taco seasoning, and diced tomatoes. "It’s cheap like spaghetti but will mix it up," one comment reads.'s recipe comes together in 25 minutes.

Starting the day off at the cafe.

Breakfast Burritos

Not only are breakfast burritos a good, cheap source of protein, but you can also freeze them ahead of time. "A bag of bacon bits can go a long way when making these. My kids reheat these for breakfast and snacks," one r/Frugal member writes. This website's recipe is tailored to tight budgets.

Traditional Indian Red Lentil Dahl
Delicious Mexican black bean and corn salad or Texas caviar bean dip

Texas Caviar

Whereas caviar is criminally expensive, Texas caviar is a protein-packed dish that often accompanies tortilla chips. One r/Frugal member suggests adding avocados and calling it a Buddha bowl to sell the dish to your kids. The best part? There's no cooking necessary. This popular Texas caviar recipe also includes a tangy lime dressing.