Frugal Ingredients for Budget Meals

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The foundation of a frugal meal is frugal ingredients. Here are the most frugal foods you can buy with meal ideas.

Frugal ingredients

The foundation of any frugal meal is using frugal ingredients.

Below are links to some of the most frugal ingredients available, as well as ideas for how to prepare them and what meals to make from them.

Creating meals based on frugal foods is a great way to eat on a budget. But it’s important to note that you don’t have to limit what you eat to ONLY the frugal ingredients listed below.

Add seasonal fruit and vegetables to maximise nutrition while saving money on groceries. Or, make the most of frozen fruit and vegetables, which can be cheaper than fresh but just as nutritious. Sometimes more so!

Keep an eye on catalogue specials and supermarket markdowns to get make the most of discounts.

Turn frugal meals into 5-star meals by adding just a little of a more expensive ingredient.

A great example of a frugal meal that can be ‘dressed up’ is risotto. Made from rice, onion and homemade stock, a risotto can feed a family for just less than $1!


You can also fancy it up with a touch of parmesan cheese without adding significantly to the cost. Buying just a little cheese from the deli will allow you to do this without spending a fortune on parmesan.

And then, to complete the meal, toss through cooked, seasonal produce.

When you have a kitchen full of frugal ingredients, you’re in control of your grocery budget. Stick within a tight budget as needed, or get as fancy as your budget allows.

Save Money on the Groceries eBook

Grocery shopping on a tight budget

For more ways to meal plan and save money on groceries, check out the eBook Plan Cook Save: How to Eat Well When Money is Tight and Time is Short.

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Here is the wide variety of frugal foods to build frugal meals on.

Frugal Foods