Skip to Content

31 Cheap Family Meals That Are Under £1 a Head

31 Cheap Family Meals That Are Under £1 a Head

Sharing is caring!

Here are 31 cheap family meals that come in at under £1 a head and are easy to make. Use these to help you keep your shopping bill down by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums

Including a month of meal ideas

If you are looking for comfort food family meals or healthy family meals on a budget then this post is for you. These cheap dinner recipes are not just delicious but also come in at under £1 a head for a family of four.

These aren’t hard recipes either. They are all easy and beginner dinner ideas that you can use for a whole month. They range from pasta dishes to easy chicken recipes at a very low cost.

Cheap meals for a week for a family

If you’re struggling to plan meals for a week or a month then why not use our meal plan below. These are cheap family dinners that come in at under £1 a person.

Now I have a confession, this week’s meals come in at £5.04. The shopping list is £5.41, as I didn’t use all the onions, so they’d be ready for the following week.

Everything is made for 4 people and most of the meals can either be frozen or used from frozen ingredients.

The good thing about these meals is they lean heavily on the kitchen staples, so if we’re struggling money-wise for a week, I start to come up with recipes, like below, that we can use, without spending too much extra money.

If you are looking for more £1 a head meals then have a look at:

The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List

A Week of Budget Family Meals For Under £1 a Head

Keep reading down below for a whole month of £1 meal ideas.

Laura Light showing the Spicentice packets

If you are a beginner cook or would like to increase the amount of recipes you know then have a look at Spicentice. We used them over a three-month period as we got stuck in a food rut cooking the same meals.

Spicentice send out packets of spices with easy to follow instructions so you can make a meal from scratch.

They are great to use if you are new to cooking from scratch or if you are looking to get your family eating new budget-friendly meals and have no clue where to start.

We tried them at the start of this year and loved them. We got stuck in a food rut and they helped by giving us ideas while keeping our food budget really low.

We made the below meals using Spicentice. Try them for yourself here:

Really Easy Homemade Beef Burgers For Under £1 a Head

Easy Chicken Fajita Recipe: A Family Meal for 94p a Person

Spaghetti Meatball Recipe For 73p a Head

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie For Just 82p Per Portion

Beginner Chilli Con Carne Recipe for Just 95p a Head

Chinese Chicken Curry For Just £1.54 For 4

If you’d like to try Spicentice yourself then make sure you use our link here with our code LASAVE20 to get 20% off every purchase.*

Free Resource Vault

If you find meal planning hard then come join our Facebook group Money Saving Mums and get access to The Resource Vault with access to over 20+ money saving printables. This includes our easy slow cooker meals meal plan, available exclusively to subscribers!

Everything is included from budget planners to meal plans and pre-made shopping lists plus a link to our Money Saving Mums Facebook group!

Come join our free Resource Vault here.

(By joining giving us your email address you are consenting to us emailing you about our other travel, home and lifestyle ideas. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every email.)

Cheap Meals Shopping List:

Wafer Thin Ham 200g £1

Courgette 900g (3 Pack) 90p

Onions 1kg (9 pack) 59p

Mascarpone Cheese 250g 89p

Frozen Mixed Peppers 600g £1

Tomatoes (6 pack) 69p

Tin Tomatoes 400g 34p

Total: £5.41 (All prices are correct at time of publication and based on a Asda shop.)

Monday Night:

  1. Creamy Tomato Courgetti

Low in calories but really high in taste, this Creamy Tomato Courgetti meal is a great way to hide vegetables. I use my spiralizer for everything!!

The original recipe calls for a sauce, but I make my own using mascarpone cheese, which takes about 2 minutes.

Ingredients: Onion 7p, three big tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, 44p, Ham, 25p and 2 x Courgette, 60p.

Total: £1.36

Tuesday Night:

  1. Stir Fry

Simple and quick, just chuck what ever you have in. I use rice noodles, as you can chuck them in with a sauce and just fry it all together, but any will do.

Ingredients: 3x Tomatoes, 34p, 200g Frozen Peppers, 40p, Onion, 7p, Ham, 25p.

Total: £1.06

Wednesday Night:

  1. Risotto with Ham & Peas

Using just one pot, this risotto is an easy mid-week meal when you really can’t be bothered to cook. Just chuck it all in and let it cook!

Ingredients: Onion, 7p, Ham, 50p.

Total: 57p

Thursday Night:

  1. Penne with Arrabbiata

I love arrabbiata, but the kids aren’t so keen. This calls for chili, which they hate, so I cook everyones and add some chili flakes at the end for me.

Ingredients: Three big tablespoons of mascarpone cheese, 44p.

Total: 44p

Friday Night:

  1. Vegetarian Chili

4 of your 5 a day, this Vegetarian Chilli only takes about 30 minutes and can be bunged into a pan and left to its own devices.

Itself of buying a bag of vegetables, I cut up my own and roast, and mix and match every time, depending on what we have left over in the fridge. I’ve thrown in ham, pineapple, frozen vegetables and even sweet potato. Anything goes!

Ingredients: Courgette, 30p, Onion, 7p, 400g of Frozen Peppers, 60p, 3x Tomatoes, 34p, Tin of Kidney Beans, 30p.

Total: £1.61

Menu Planning for me is the hardest, but the most important part of eating on a budget. It gives you a plan you can use to help you buy food more wisely and stop you staring in the fridge for 5 minutes trying to think what to make for dinner tonight. This happens more then I would like… So I designed a few menu planners that work best for me and I thought I would share them. Enjoy!

So after the week, I’d then write what I’ve used from my kitchen staples onto my list for the following week, or on a week I could afford. Here they are below for ease:

Store cupboard ingredients:


Dried basil

2 x Tin Tomatoes

Rice 1kg

Vegetable Stock

Frozen Mixed Vegetables (like peas, carrots, and sweetcorn.)


1kg Pasta

Chilli Flakes

Noodles (2 pack)

Soy Sauce


More super cheap family meals

Make sure you have a look at our another cheap meal idea posts here that could help you to fill up your meal plan and keep your grocery bill down:

Feeding a Family on a Budget: This Weekly Shop is Just £18

21 Budget Family Meals and a £16 Aldi Meal Plan

  1. Chilli Con Carne

This chili con carne recipe is easy to do and can be frozen for another night. Read how we cooked our Chilli Con Carne recipe here.

500g minced meat £1.99

4 onions 32p

3 garlic gloves 7p

300ml tinned tomatoes 28p

400g tinned kidney beans 30p

3 tbsp tomato puree 15p

Half a lime 12p

220ml stock 3p

4 tbsp low cal spray 20p

1 tsp salt 2p

Half tsp sugar 5p

180g Rice 24p

Total: £3.77

  1. Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

This is a great recipe if you need to feed a lot of people quickly. Make this in the morning and just chuck it in the oven when you need it. Read how to make our vegan shepherd’s pie here.

1 tin chickpeas 33p

1 tin lentils 55

2 large potatoes 20p

3 sweet potatoes 47p

1 onion 8p

4 sundried tomatoes 20p

5 mushrooms 40p

2 carrots 14p

2 celery sticks 60p

2 garlic cloves 5p

300ml vegan stock 3p

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 6p

2 tbsp tomato puree 10p

2 tbsp low cal spray 10p.

Total: £3.31

  1. Italian Meatball Marinara

This is a gorgeous meatball recipe that the whole family will love. It’s a healthy meal that uses a basic tomato sauce recipe that can be used for loads of meals. Make this amazing meatball marinara here.

500g minced meat £1.99

2 onion 16p

3 glove garlic 7p

1 egg 10p

1 tsp salt 2p

2 tsp low cal spray 10p

1 tin passata 32p

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 3p

Half tablespoon sugar 5p

Half tablespoon salt 3p

210g Spaghetti 8p

Total: £2.95

  1. Chinese Chicken Curry

Chinese Chicken Curry with Rice

This family-friendly meal is a great fakeaway recipe for a Friday night. It’s not very spicy and you can use frozen vegetables if you are short of time.

Here’s how we cooked our Chinese chicken curry.

2 chicken breasts 65p

2 onions 16p

Small piece of ginger 15p

2 garlic cloves 6p

400ml stock 3p

2 tbsp low cal spray 10p

3 tbsp plain flour 10p

1 tsp sugar 5p

180g Rice 24p

Total: £1.54

  1. Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken with chips and corn of the cob

These are one of my family’s favorite meals. This friendly meal is great with homemade chips and corn of cob. Get the kids to help you make them too.

This is how we make our Southern Fried Chicken.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

150g breadcrumbs 65p

2 eggs 20p

4 tbsp plain flour 15p

4 tbsp milk 10p

2 tbsp low cal spray 10p

4 potatoes 40p

4 corn of cob 52p

Total: £3.52

  1. Homemade Burgers

These are gourmet burgers that can be spiced up or down depending on what your family like spice wise. We also cook our homemade chips and add cheese slices.

Here’s how we make our Homemade Burgers. You can make them in the morning if you don’t have time in the evening.

500g minced meat £1.99

1 onion 8p

2 garlic cloves 6p

1 egg 10p

Pinch of salt 3p

6 burger buns 56p

Lettuce leave 25p

Tomato 50p

Cheese slices 35p

4 potatoes 40p

Total: £4.32

  1. Chicken Tikka Masala

This serves four and is a medium heat. This really does just take 10 minutes to make but does take up to 40 minutes to cook so make sure you have some time as it’s worth it.

We make our homemade naan bread with this too.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

2 onion 16p

2 garlic cloves 6p

1 small piece of ginger 15p

200ml tinned tomatoes 28p

100ml single cream 60p

1 tsp lemon juice 5p

4 tbsp low cal spray 20p

1 tsp salt 3p

180g Rice 24p

Total: £3.17

  1. Tomato-Baked Chicken

This is great if you have toddlers in the house too. It’s healthy and will keep you all full up.

Smartprice Chicken wings (1kg) £1.65

Tomato & garlic pasta sauce (560g) 92p

Smartprice British small potatoes (1kg) 50p

Baby button mushrooms (150g) 86p

Total: £3.95

  1. Chicken Balti

This serves four people and isn’t as spicy as it sounds. If you prefer it light then don’t add any chillis or paprika. This takes about 20 minutes to cook and does perfect with our egg fried rice recipe too.

Make our Chicken Balti recipe here.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

2 onions 16p

200ml tinned tomatoes 28p

3 garlic cloves 9p

Small piece of ginger 2p

1 tbsp tomato puree 3p

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p

1 tsp salt 2p

1 red chilli 5p

Pinch of dried paprika 3p

Total: £2.11

  1. Chicken Jalfrezi

This curry serves 4 people and is of medium spice. It takes 30 minutes to cook but you can make it in the morning and then throw it all in one pan when you get home.

Make our Chicken Jalfrezi with egg fried rice and our homemade naan.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

2 onions 16p

1 red pepper 15p

1 tomato 16p

3 garlic cloves 9p

Small piece of ginger 2p

2 tbsp tomato puree 6p

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p

1 tsp salt 2p

Total: £2.09

  1. Peri-Peri Chicken

This does take a bit of prep but is perfect for a weekend fakeaway. It takes about 30 minutes to cook and goes with wedges, rice and salad.

You can also have this with tortillas and salad if you prefer.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

3 garlic cloves 9p

Small piece of ginger 2p

Rind of lemon 3p

5 tbsp lemon juice 9p

2 tbsp cooking oil 3p

1 tsp salt 2p

4 potatoes 40p

180g Rice 24p

Total: £2.32

  1. Chicken Fajitas

Making your own fajitas is a great family treat! Make sure you marinate the chicken and peppers before you cook as it does make them taste amazing! Here’s how we cook our yummy fajitas. 

This takes about 40 minutes to cook. If you like it spicy then add some chillis too.

4 chicken breasts £1.40

2 peppers 30p

2 onion 16p

Lime 6p

3 garlic cloves 9p

1 tbsp salt 2p

1 tsp sugar 5p

Tortillas £3.08

  1. Burritos

I do these burritos when I know friends are coming over. I love the idea of everyone helping themselves and tucking straight in.

Items: Onion 10p

Long-grain rice (1kg) 40p

Red kidney beans in water (400g) 21p

Tortilla wraps (8) 92p

Little Gem lettuce (2) 75p

Fresh basil (31g) 80p

Salsa (300g) 69p.

Total: £3.87

  1. Cottage Pie

This is a classic cottage pie recipe! Just chuck it all in and grill at the end.

Tin of New Potatoes (550g) 32p

Pork mince (500g) £2

Onion 22p, carrots x2 9p

Mushrooms 68p

Everyday Value soft cheese (200g) 49p

Total: £3.89

  1. One-pot Chicken Pepper Bake

With little washing up involved, this one-pot chicken pepper bake is one of my personal favorites. It’s great for Sunday lunch or if the extended family comes round.

Chicken Thighs (1kg) £2.75

Green Pepper 50p

Tin of Baby potatoes (550g) 32p

Total: £3.99

  1. Lamb Kebabs in Pitta

This is a great fakeaway recipe for a Saturday night. You can change this up and add any meat or even have this vegetarian.

Lamb & mutton mince (500g) £1.59

Paxo natural breadcrumbs 65p

Natural Greek-style yogurt (200g) 65p

Garlic 25p

Cucumber portion 38p

White Pitta (6) 25p

Total: £3.77

  1. Homemade Pizza

This is an easy quick Friday night dinner. You can make the dough in the morning or straight away as it doesn’t need to sit. We use plain flour, dried yeast and some water to make the dough.

Taw Valley Mature Cheddar (approx 100g) 85p

Onion 10p

Chopped tomatoes (400g) 31p

2 x mozzarella (125g) 44p each

Loose closed cup mushrooms 20p

Total: £2.34

  1. Mango and Tomato Curry

Who needs a takeaway when you can cook this mango and tomato curry for less at home. This is so simple and is a hit with the whole family.

Red onion 17p

Green chillies (50g) 65p

Loose tomatoes 60p

Small mango £1.15

Organic 2% Fat natural yogurt (150g) 49p

Basics long-grain rice (1kg) 40p

Total: £3.46

  1. Fish and Double-Cooked Chips

Fish in batter with skinny chips

This is a huge hit in our house. It does take a while to double fry the chips, I normally do this in a large pan with sunflower oil but if you have a deep fat fryer than all the better.

Frozen pollock portions (368g) £2.50

White baking potatoes (1kg) £1

Smart price mushy peas (300g) 20p

Total: £3.70

  1. Bacon and Cheese Pasta

This bacon and cheese pasta is my little one’s favorite dinner. She’d eat this every night if we let her, and I have to say, at just £3.41 for the four of us, this is a bargain!

Mushrooms 22p

English medium Cheddar cheese £1.74

Smartprice unsmoked middle bacon £1.04

Smartprice Pasta 31p

Onion 8p

Garlic 24p

Total: £3.41

  1. Sweat and Sour Chicken

This easy to make sweet and sour chicken recipe is perfect if you have friends coming over. Make a huge batch with brown rice and add as many vegetables as you like! Here’s how we make our sweet and sour chicken recipe here.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts £1.16

1 x 425g can pineapple chunks in natural juice 50p

2 tbsp cornflour 2p

½ tsp dried chilli flakes 2p

2 tbsp dark soy sauce 5p

2 tbsp tomato puree 2p

1 medium onion 8p

300g frozen peppers 43p

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 5p

Total: £2.33

  1. Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

This is one of those “chuck in whatever you have” recipes. It’s mega easy and even grilling the tomatoes only takes minutes.

Wholemeal penne (500g) 55p

cherry tomatoes (250g) 53p

Dried basil (14g) 69p

Total: £1.77

  1. Spicy Sausage and Cheese Bake

As long as you have butter, flour, and milk in your cupboards, then this sausage and cheese bake comes in way under budget.

Smartprice pasta shapes (500g) 30p

Smartprice thick sausages (12 per pack – 681g) 88p

Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (200g) £1.27

Smartprice mozzarella (125g) 44p

Total: £2.89

  1. Easy Sausage and Potato Casserole

This Sausage and potato casserole is so easy to make and really cheap to buy. A lot of these ingredients, including the sausages and puree, can go toward other meals too.

Onion 22p

Tin of New Potatoes 32p

Frozen Sliced Peppers (600g) £1

Frozen Value pork sausages (20 pack) 99p

Chopped Tomatoes 29p

Puree (80g) 75p

Total: £3.57

  1. Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Cheesy pasta is a family favourite in my house. Try it in the slow cooker for an extra easy weeknight dinner.

200g macaroni pasta 13p

200g cheese £1

100g plain flour 10p

Stock cube 6p

25g butter 3p.

Total: £1.32

Related Posts: 

  1. Spaghetti Bolognese

This spaghetti bolognese recipe is so simple and the longer you leave it in the more intense the flavour.

The sauce can be left to cook all day, ready to be mixed with freshly-cooked pasta when you get home.

1 onion chopped 22p

1 tbsp tomato puree 10p

2 tins chopped tomato 58p

1 tbsp caster sugar or to taste 4p

1 celery stick chopped 10p

250g minced beef 83p

1 carrot chopped 7p

2 cloves garlic chopped 4p

1 tsp oregano 2p

2 large mushrooms chopped 75p

1 beef stock cubes 6p

1 handfull Parmesan for sprinkling 20p.

Total: £3.01, that’s 75p a head.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly budget recipes or meal plan ideas, then head over to the budget food section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 cheap posts dedicated to helping you cook and shop wiser for less. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family food Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to eat well and spend less; Family Meal Plans on a Budget, Budget Family MealsBudget Slimming World Recipes for Families.

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later.

What the * means

If a link has an * by it, then this means it is an affiliate link and helps S4SM stay free for all. If you use the link, it may mean that we receive a very small payment. It will not cost you anymore that it would normally.

You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. The items we write about are NEVER dictated by these links. We aim to look at all products on the market. If it isn’t possible to get an affiliate link, then the link, or product is still included in the same way, just with a non-paying link.

Sharing is caring!


Sunday 21st of February 2021

Two chicken breasts for 65p (they are £1 each usually) and£1.99 for 500g mince seems to low cost

Kelly Eroglu

Monday 4th of September 2017

Some great meal ideas ! The Stir fry sounds fab !


Tuesday 5th of September 2017

Thank you. Really hope it helps!