20 Dinners That Cost About $5

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5dollarLooking to cut down on your grocery budget?  Well, it’s easy when you spend about $5 to feed a family of 4 dinner!

Around the Penner house we do what ever we can to cut down on the cost of meals.  One great tip is to balance it out.. it’s ok to have a meal or two a week that costs a bit more when the rest of your meals are low cost.

It’s an easy way to splurge while still keeping your budget in check.

It seems a little weird but one of our favorite meals is  the first on the list, Sweet Potato and Chickpea Burgers with Curry Basil Aioli.

They really are awesome and can be eaten as a burger on a bun or on a salad (just thin out the aioli for a dressing).  My husband LOVES them and we don’t even miss the meat in that meal.

I hope you enjoy this list and it gives you lots of ideas for low cost, but delicious meals.

Please keep in mind your mileage may vary with these suggestions.  Some items may be more expensive in your area than the recipe authors’.  That said, all these are budget meals which will keep your wallet heavy!


Beef Dinners

Chicken Dinners


Mexican or Tex Mex


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  1. Melody Gravitt says

    You have some nice ideas but any of your recipes calling for beef is quite a bit more than $5 now. Hamburger meat, on average, is nearly $5 a pound by itself.

    • jlpenner says

      It just depends on your area or if you wait for sales. I am in San Diego and I can still get ground beef for $2.50 to $3 a lb, sometimes less (if I snag some markdowns)

  2. missusmann says

    I’m not sure how you are thinking these meals are $5. I do a lot of couponing and bargain shopping and unless you already have a lot of these ingredients and spices on hand, it does not compute to $5. Disappointed.

    • jlpenner says

      You know, I think it all depends on how you shop. I often make similar meals for right around $1 a serving.

      If meat is expensive in your area, try subbing in beans, lentils or rice for some meat. It would work in some of these recipes. :)

  3. Rachel says

    Great links! Thanks! We live in HIGH PRICED Southern California … And I can do all of these meals, as stated, for $5 or under. Meat MUST be purchased on sale or discount and divided properly- if you shop wisely this is all doable! :)

  4. says

    TVP (textured vegetable protein) is super cheap if you buy it in bulk, and would stand in nicely for the beef to bring the price of those recipes down to size. My family is vegetarian, but my daughter’s boyfriend is not, and he honest;y prefers our TVP tacos to the greasy beef kind he gets at home.

  5. jennifer says

    Your recipes sound great, but barely at 5.00. Your sloppy Joe recipe calls for Hawaiian rolls, there at least 2.50 on sale here in N.E. Pa. That’s not including the ground beef and other ingredients. And don’t you feed your family a veggie with dinner. Sorry… good recipes, yes. But 5.00 or under no way ! My family of 4 would walk away still hungry and in need of dessert, or at least a snack.

    • jlpenner says

      You have to realize your millage may vary. The author could have well used coupons to get those rolls or picked them up on clearance.

      If one ingredient is expensive in your area choose to substitute a less costly one. I can get hamburger and slider rolls at my .99 only.


  6. Veronica says

    Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe not on website, Taco Salad and 5 more recipes not on website
    Enjoy your recipes, thank you


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