This is a guest post by Mike Collins. Mike is the founder and editor of, a leading resource on all things barbecue, smoking, and cooking outside.

Feeding a family in today’s world is no easy feat. Inflation has been higher than it’s been in years and consumers are really feeling the strain on their finances.  With the price of groceries skyrocketing, just keeping food on the table has become a major concern for the average family. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of easy dinner ideas for families on a budget.

You should be able to prepare each of these meals and feed a family of four for between $10 and $15 total.

Mac And Cheese

Dinner ideas for families on a budget
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? All you need is a box of pasta, butter, flour, cheese, and milk to make a creamy, delicious dinner your whole family will enjoy.

It’s literally just making a simple cheese sauce, boiling a box of pasta, and combining them.

Of course, you can always kick it up a notch by mixing in some chopped bacon or ham cubes to add protein and flavor.

Veggie Fried Rice

Ever since I started making fried rice at home, it’s been a family favorite. It’s super easy to make and you can customize it with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Onions, broccoli, carrots, peas, and canned pineapple are my favorites, but you can add whatever vegetables you want. It’s a great dish for cleaning out the fridge of any leftovers.

I also like to scramble a few eggs and mix them in at the end. It gives the dish another layer of texture and more protein.

Pro Tip – make the rice ahead of time and let it cool in the fridge. It will stick and clump less it’ll have a much nicer texture.

Homemade Pizza

How about a dinner idea that will feed a family of four for about $6?

Everyone loves pizza and what’s more fun than making it yourself? I make pizza outside on my Blackstone griddle about once a week. It’s super easy, budget friendly, and only takes 10 to 15 minutes to make.

Just pick up some premade dough from the grocery store along with some sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. You can splurge and add some toppings if you’d like, or just stick with the basics.

What’s great about homemade pizza is that you can make it a family activity. You can make small personal pizzas and let the kids roll out their own dough or sprinkle the cheese on for themselves.

Sausage and Peppers

One of my favorite dinner ideas for families on a budget is sausage and peppers. Grill or bake a pound of Italian sausage links. Slice up 3 bell peppers and a good sized onion and saute together until they’re soft but still have a bite to them.

Add the cooked sausage to the peppers and onions and you’ve got dinner. Serve on a roll or skip the carbs and serve as is.

Breakfast for Dinner

Dinner Ideas for Families on a Budget
Photo by Jaqueline Pelzer on Unsplash

Whenever I tell my kids we’re having breakfast for dinner their eyes light up and I know everyone is going to eat well that night.

We typically make a dozen scrambled eggs, bacon, and a ton of pancakes along with some fresh fruit. You can totally skip the bacon if you want to save a few bucks. Substitute waffles for pancakes, or omelets for scrambled eggs.

Making breakfast for dinner is both fun and affordable.

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