18 Inexpensive Meals to Make While You Wait for Your Tax Refund

Save money in the kitchen with these simple and cheap meals

Enjoy a nutritious inexpensive meal, like this recipe for shrimp and quinoa, instead of wasting money on takeout while you wait for your tax refund to come through.

The weeks between sending in your taxes and receiving your refund (we hope you're getting one!) can seem like an eternity, and your wallet is probably stretched pretty thin. Living on ramen and $1 slices of pizza while you’re waiting for the IRS to come through is unhealthy (and plain boring!). Skip the junk and save money by making your own food on the cheap.

Click here to see the 18 Inexpensive Meals to Make While You Wait for Your Tax Refund slideshow.

Making food at home is almost always less expensive than eating out or ordering in, and it allows you to control what you’re eating. Give your wallet a break and make healthy, tasty meals at home.

Use pantry staples like oatmeal, quinoa, and pasta as the bases for inexpensive meals. They’re filling, cheap, and cook quickly. If meat is out of your budget, stock up on non-meat proteins like dried chickpeas, beans, and tofu. Add a fried egg to almost anything and turn it into a full meal for just a few additional cents.

While making your own food is often the less expensive option, there are some things that aren’t worth making from scratch, like dumpling dough or puff pastry, both of which take significant amounts of time and effort to make. Use vegetable and chicken scraps to make homemade stock or skip it altogether and replace with water or bouillon cubes in recipes.

The easiest way to save money on meals is to plan ahead and shop smart. Take stock of what you have in the house so you’re not over-buying items you already have on hand. Buy items like meat in bulk and freeze in single servings so you can reap the benefits of smart shopping long after you get back from the grocery store.

Consider ways to stretch meals over the course of week, like this easy chicken recipe that you can cook once and repurpose for dinners all week.

Skip ordering in and save money with these simple and cheap meal ideas.


Additional reporting by Angela Carlos, Cook Editor at The Daily Meal.