Budget Meals: Tacos Made Less Expensive

Budget Meals:  Less Expensive Taco Night


Tacos are a great meal.  They are fun and most kids even like them.  But, tacos can get expensive too, especially is if you use lots of toppings and and prepackaged ingredients.  So, I am going to give you some tips to make taco night easier on your budget.  As a plus, some of these tips are healthier and better tasting.

Favorite Ingredients – I love avocado, but avocados are definitely not native to Georgia and are sometimes quite expensive, so one of my criteria for taco night is that avocados be on sale.  Now, you might not even want avocados on your tacos, but if you have a favorite topping, it never hurts to buy it on sale.

Meat – Of course, not everyone puts meat on their tacos, but most do.  The traditional topping is ground beef with taco seasoning.  I will talk about seasoning in a few minutes, but for now lets talk about meat.  I used ground turkey breast in these tacos, which is much better for you than ground beef, and it is less expensive.  Ground turkey that is not all breast meat is even cheaper, but I like this so much better that it was worth it to me.  When I bought this ground beef was $4.99/lb.  This ground turkey breast also cost $4.99, but it was 19.2 ounces.  Well a pound is only 16 ounces, so it was only $4.16/lb.  Now, it was prepackaged, so I still had to pay the same price, but I had leftovers that my husband ate for lunch the next day, which saved us money there.

Cheese – Unless the pre-grated is on sale, grate your own.  It only takes a few minutes and will save you a good bit.  Plus, it tastes better and melts more easily.  When I bought the cheese pictured, I paid $1.88 for 8 ounces of Montery Jack.  The pre-grated Mexican blend was $3.19 for 8 ounces.  Savings – $1.22.

budget tacos cheese

Lettuce – If you like lettuce on your tacos, buy a head and cut it up instead of buying the prepackage kind.  It is less expensive and tastes soooo much better!  The lettuce I used was green leaf.  It was $1.99/head, while salad in a bag was $3.49.  Savings – $1.50

Taco Shells –  Pre-made taco shells are expensive and high in fat.  Even on sale, pre-made type were $1 for 12, while the plain corn tortillas were $1.57 for 30.  So, you are paying about 8 cents per pre-made taco shell and only 5 cents per tortilla.  And, I only used 1 1/4 teaspoons of oil for all six taco shells I made bringing in the ones I made at 1.72 fat grams each, while the pre-made version had 3.5 grams each, which is a less than half the fat.  Eating Well has great directions on making your own taco shells!  I followed their directions with the exception of the cooking spray.  I measured out 1 1/4 teaspoons of canola oil and brushed both sides of six tortillas with it using a pastry brush.  One great thing about these is that they are wider than store bought shells, which makes them easier to fill.


budget tacos - shells 2

budget tacos - shells

Seasoning – Buying one of the little packages of taco seasoning will probably only cost you about $1, but changes are, you have all the ingredients in your spice drawer already, so why buy more!  It the tacos pictured above I used this spice blend.

Everything Else – And, of course, add any of you favorite toppings.   When I made these, we had black beans, tomatoes, and sour cream in addition to everything listed above.  Compare prices between brands, buy on sale, etc.  Have fun with it!

Ok, I know what you are thinking.  Sure this saves money, but how long does it take?  Well, I put it all together including making my own shells, grating my own cheese, and cutting my own lettuce in about forty-five minutes, so it really doesn’t take that much longer.  Best of all it is less expensive, tastier, and better for you!

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  1. Wow groceries are expensive over there! Here 1lb of ground beef costs $3.50, and grated cheese is usually cheaper than the bricks. I’ve never bought ground turkey so i have no idea how much that costs. Seasoning packets are usually around 50c, a minor expense. The shells can be pretty expensive ($1-$2.50/12), and so can salsa (if you use as much as i do).

  2. I’m making tacos for dinner tomorrow night, this post came just in time. I recently tried guacamole & i love the stuff, i cant get enough of it. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great advice, I always buy the prepackaged for convienence but lately have been getting away from that too. I like to use Sunday as my prep day and can grate all your cheese, slice & dice, preassemble everything for the week! LOVE the taco shell idea too. Going to try that right away!

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