$5 Tacos

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on August 28, 2008

This is WAY too much meat for one meal for our family! Lucky for me…I’ve got Skillet Taco Mac on the menu for next week…so I used half tonight and froze the other half for later next week! Saves $$$ and makes next week’s meal easier to prepare and with LESS DISHES!

Can you see the butter melting as it falls off the sides??? This is the BEST time of year for corn! Tonight I substituted lettuce for a orange bell pepper ($.75 at a farmer’s market, used half of it!).

Ingredients
3/4 lb Ground beef, shredded chicken or ground turkey ($1.26)
Taco Seasoning Packet (free or $.45)
Taco Shells or Corn Tortillas ($.50)**
1/2 – 1 cup lettuce, shredded ($.25)
1/2 tomato, chopped ($.50 or free from garden!)
1/2 onion, chopped ($.30)
Salsa ($.40)
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese ($.42)
3-4 Corn Cobs ($.75-$1)
**Recent deal on Old El Paso makes this meal cheaper than normal!

Directions
1. Cook meat. Add taco seasoning. Place meat into taco shells/tortillas. Top with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, salsa and cheese.
2. Boil corn cobs 5-7 minutes.

Cost $4.83

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 31, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Like your site. I have been reading some of your good recipes. I do wonder why you would boil your corn so very long? You are boiling all the flavor out. Try this: bring your water to a boil, add your corn, as soon as it returns to a rapid boil remove. Give it a try!! Most people don’t know you can also eat corn raw!!! Try it one night, but make sure it is fresh….3 day old corn from a chain store is not good raw it is starchy. But either way try not to over boil it. Thanks for the great recipies. Sorry I don’t have a blog to share with you :(

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Donnelle Anway June 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I love fresh corn raw! We live close to Sacramento in California and there is a local farm that sells corn, and every year we just pick up a bag and eat it on the way home! so good!

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$5 Dinner Mom August 31, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Thanks for your tip! I had NO idea it could be eaten raw! I just got some from a farmer’s market this afternoon. We shall try it tomorrow! Hopefully it will still be fresh. I will also try not boiling it so long. I guess I usually turn it on, forget about it as I go tend to the little ones and come back and turn it off when I think about it! I will have to pay more attention!
Thanks!

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solarra January 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

@$5 Dinner Mom, My cousin and I used to sneak into the local cornfield and eat a ton of it:)

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Sue March 26, 2009 at 9:29 am

I found a great recipe for Lentil tacos, made very similarly to your recipe above – they are fantastic, and it really doesn’t taste that different than beef. Half a package of lentils will make a huge amount of taco “meat”, and it is a great cost savings too.

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slorae May 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

@Sue, How do you prepare the lentil ‘meat’?

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Amy April 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Another great healthy and money-saving tip for tacos is to mix in a can or two of beans (kidney or black). The taco seasoning seasons the beans the same as the meat, you get more protein, less fat, and lower price! As an added bonus, my kids and husband don’t really notice or care!

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Shannon April 21, 2009 at 3:19 pm

Excited to try this one tonight!

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Melissa April 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

I live in Indiana, so I feel the need to share another tip for corn. :)

Leave it in the husk and put the husks on a baking sheet. Roast them in the oven at 350 for about a half hour. Then take the husks off and voila, perfect corn every time with very little fuss, and tons of nutrients. Plus it gets a special flavor from the roasting and all the sweet corn juice being locked inside the husk to steam.

In the fall, when we are REPLETE with corn, I make about 30 or 40 ears this way and freeze them to use all winter long. They never last that long, though!!

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Amber Dowler April 24, 2009 at 3:44 pm

HI I WAS WONDERING IF THE 5 DOLLARS WAS WITH ALL OF THE COUPONS AND WHERE DO YOU SHOP AT ALSO? I AM ONLY COOKING FOR A FAMILY OF 2 BUT WE STILL ARE HAVING TIGHT MONEY PROBLEMS AND EVERYTHING. SO THIS IDEA IS ALSO GREAT FOR A FAMILY LIKE US. THANKS SO MUCH FOR DOING THIS FOR FAMILIES OUT THERE EVERYWHERE…
THANKS AMBER

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Maihi April 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Is there by any chance a website online that you can also get coupons from other then the newspaper?

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Jeanette April 29, 2009 at 11:52 am

I haven’t found a single site that offers all of the same coupons. However, you can google an item your looking for with coupon to find some. You can also find some on http://www.eversave.com or just buy the Sunday paper for about $1.50 at a gas station or supermarket. You make more than that back in savings.

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Rose May 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm

moneysavingmom.com and hip2save are also good places to get coupons.

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Lisette June 7, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Good recipe. I can’t get any type of ground meat for that price up here. The cheapest I have ever seen ground meat is $1.88 a pound.

I make corn by filling a pot full of cold water and adding a tablespoon each of sugar and lemon juice (I just estimate though and throw in extra if it is early in the corn season), then put the corn cobs in. Bring to boil and let boil for about 5-6 minutes. This makes the best corn on the cob and even makes early corn taste good.

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chrissy June 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm

hi i really wanna know how you find food so cheap and were do you find coupons i go to the coupon sites and they all have the same thing i get coupons from the paper but really is it just more expensive were i live. please if anyone can give me advice.

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Linda July 21, 2009 at 9:27 am

For Corn I cook in a skillet with a lid and about 3″ of water turning the corn after the water comes to a boil and then turning it off and covering it. Then I drain the water.

I butter and salt the corn in the pan turning the corn so the butter covers. I find I can butter all the ears with about 1/3 or less the amount that would be used at the table. I can also control the salt this way. If we are short on butter I do 1/2 butter and 1/2 olive oil. If I have fresh dill in the garden I use that and cut the salt in half.

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Kristin @ klingtocash July 21, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Where are you getting meat for $1.68 a lb? The cheapest I can get ground beef in New England is $1.99 a lb and that’s for 75/25 meat. When it cooks down there is almost no meat in the pan.

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Erin July 21, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I live in Ohio…prices are definitely lower than other parts of the country. It’s actually on sale this week for $1.28/lb! It is the 75/25, but I rinse it well after draining!

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solarra January 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

@Erin, Just found your site and loving it so far:) I also live in Ohio, Beavercreek area, and I’d love to know where to get ground beef that cheap! I just moved out here from California last year and for some reason prices on food seem a lot more expensive here. $ 3-4 for a 5lb bag of potatoes is ridiculous! What stores do you shop at in Ohio? I used to love going to Winco so any of you that live in Cali shop at there, they have great prices. Thx!!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom January 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

@solarra,

I’m not far from Beavercreek! Keep an eye out for those prices at Kroger!

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katherine August 6, 2009 at 10:42 pm

we LOVE fresh corn and just a month ago it was .20 an ear. the way we cook it at our home is to pull off the hair but leave the husk on. put the entire ear in the microwave for 3 minutes. we only do 1 at a time and there are 4 of us, so i put the corn in a warm oven while I microwave the other 3 ears one at a time. when you pull off the husk, the corn is warm, juicy, sweet and very nutritious….yummy!

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Kimber August 25, 2009 at 2:25 pm

For our corn I add it to a pot of cold water seasoned with some salt & some garlic & herb then bring it to a boil. After the soft boil starts remove from the heat & cover. let set for 15 or 20 mins while you finish the rest of the meal. You will have the best corn every time. No fuss! You can get good beef for $1.50 a lb if you buy from the farmer then get it processed. By the time everything is added up it is like $2.00 lbs but that is for everything even your T-Bone steaks or Prime ribs which can be over $6.00 in a store. Dont buy through the Butcher! Go to the farmer! Then have Butcher process it!

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Amy September 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

I realize the taco seasoning costs very little, if any, but if you want great taco flavor with absolutely no additives, here’s a recipe:

1 T chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp each:
ground cumin, garlic powder, paprika, powdered oregano, sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Makes 3 T of seasoning mix which is equal in strength to a 1/4 ounce pkg of commercial seasoning mix.

I add 2/3 cups water with this mix and ground beef and cook to desired consistency.

Delicious!

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steve October 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Hi,
where does everyone find this cheap meat and free taco seasoning>? On sale I am lucky to find ground beef on sale for less than two bucks, average price is about 2.50. I’m in ND which is where a lot of cows come from so don’t know why the meat is so pricey. And free taco seasoning? Again, I’m lucky if I can find a packet for less than a dollar. Just wondering where all these deals can be found.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 5, 2009 at 7:39 pm

@steve,

Ground beef and chuck are regularly on sale for $1.29 -1.79/lb around here. I only buy it when its on sale. As for free taco seasoning, when you match a $1 sale price with a coupon that doubles to $1, then the taco seasoning is free!

Erin

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solarra January 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, Erin, What stores in Ohio double coupons? The nearest ones to me are Meijer, cub foods, kroger, sams club, aldi, save a lot, and lofinos. Thx for the help:)

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom January 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

@solarra,

I know that Meijer and Kroger double. Not sure about Cub or Lofinos, as I don’t shop there. Sam’s doesn’t take coupons and neither does Aldi.

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solarra January 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, I think Meijer only does it one day a week or something now, I’ll have to call and ask. Thx for the help again:)

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Kristina October 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm

You all are lucky to get ground beef (or any groceries) so cheap … it’s 5.50-5.79/lb for ground beef up here in Alaska… We’re having tacos for dinner tonight and it was a 25.00 purchase for everything needed in one meal. Although I don’t think we’ll ever get a 5.00 meal up here – I still love the site! Great tips and very enjoyable to read.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 6, 2009 at 3:52 pm

@Kristina,

WOW! That’s crazy expensive! We have good friends who just moved to Alaska and she’s told me how expensive most things are up there! Just do the best you can and save whenever possible!!!

Erin

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Kristina October 6, 2009 at 5:32 pm

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom,

:) Isn’t that insane?? The cost of living is high up here, but totally worth it. We get fresh salmon, crab, halibut … you name it. So there are totally awesome perks. You’ll have to go visit your friends and see Alaska.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm

@Kristina,

I would LOVE all the fresh seafood up there! Enjoy it! And I’d love to visit Alaska sometime!!!

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Marinda January 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm

@Kristina,
Kristina, i’m jealous on your access to fresh seafood. I had a co-worker that was living in WA and would send the office a bunch of great seafood. I miss that. Wanna trade, I’ll send you some beef for some fresh fish?

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Vicki October 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm

I make this recipe with ground turkey instead. I pay $1 for a 1lb roll. It sound weird buying turkey from a tube, but it’s healthier and tastes just as good.

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solarra January 4, 2010 at 5:48 pm

@Vicki, I used to buy that at the .99 cent store in California. Haven’t been able to find a dollar store that sells food also in Ohio so far. The ones in Cali also had tomatoes, avocados, and a 10lb bag of potatoes. It really cut my food costs. Another way to stretch ground beef/turkey is to add Tvp to it, can’t taste a difference and its healthy also:)

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Wendy October 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Have you ever made taco meat in the crock pot? A couple of weeks ago I tried it. The point was to save time and a make a big batch, but the surprise was how tender the meat turned out! I was at home, so I “browned” it in the crock pot. After 30-45 minutes I drained the fat. Then added the seasonings and water. Use less liquid than you would on the stove! I cooked it on High for several hours. If there is too much liquid, crack the lid for 30 minutes or so on High. Enjoy

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom October 16, 2009 at 4:05 pm

@Wendy,

I haven’t Wendy, but sounds delish! I usually brown ground beef before using it in the crockpot, but put other cuts of beef straight in.

I’ll remember this next time I make taco meat. Would work great for making a large batch of taco meat, I imagine!

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sillygeese December 12, 2009 at 2:59 pm

The most wonderful thing about taco’s is that you can use a real variety of “protein” provide meal time variety and cut costs no matter where you live.

I live in Tx and taco’s come with hamburger, shredded beef, white fish, shredded chicken, ground turkey, not all at once, heehee, but if meat is expensive then use leftover shredded chicken, if you like to go fishing and live in a place you can, use fresh caught fish.

Personally I like to buy very lean ground beef, and it is $3.99 full price, I never pay that, anytime I can get it for under $2.50 I buy enough for a few weeks, when i can get it for under $1.50 I buy as much as my funds allow.
Generally to save time I have hamburgers the night I bring the hamburger home then I make and freeze plain crumbles in portion sizes. I like how much easier it is to defrost precooked hamburger.

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Marinda January 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I am in MN, and here beef is in the neighborhood of $2/lb and up. Tbones or Ribeyes are something like $15/lb. Someone else mentioned about purchasing a beef from a farmer. I would have to second that suggestion. When I was a kid my parents always purchased 1/4’s or 1/2’s of beef from local farmers. Back then the cows weren’t raised for local sale like that, but now there are a lot of farmers who have gone into business raising cows that are corn fed, and without any hormones. Just last summer I purchased a 1/4 which amounted to 250 lbs of beef for $350. It’s a large amount of money at the time, but that’s for every cut you could want from a cow, Tbones, Ribeyes, Roasts. And I haven’t been in the beef department at the store for a long time, and it is really nice to know there is always food available at home.

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Marinda January 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Same thing can be done with pork, chicken, lamb, or any other kind meat.

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Keepin' It Real August 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Can we really be calling things free that are not in fact free?

For example, gardening costs money. While vegetables are less costly than those purchased in a store, they are in fact not at all free (e.g. seedlings and plants, nutrients for garden soil, garden tools, time and energy expended in gardening, water, etc.) If you don’t want to account for such costs in your food budget, you still have to account for it somewhere. But honestly, the food budget seems the most fitting place to budget it. So why not do that?

Likewise, a two-for-one coupon does not render the second item free. It renders it half-price because the second s0-called free item could not be obtained without having spent the money on the first not-free item.

I’m all for being economically savvy and am constantly intrigued by those undertaking a challenge to mind their money in innovative ways, but it puzzles me when I find people presenting their stories in such a way to make them appear better than they really are. ObjectI’m a big fan of objectivity.

Tacos cost me about $7.50 – $10.00. That’s $3.00 for ground beef or veggie crumbles, about $.50 for 1/4 a jar of salsa (I love the generic brand my grocery carries, so that makes it nice), $2.00 for cheese (we like a lot of cheese), about $.25 for 1/4 a container of sour cream, $.50 for 1/3 a head of romaine (which is far more nutritious than iceberg), $.50 for one tomato, $.75 for seasoning mix, $1.50 for shells, and $1 for a can of black beans (for added nutrition.) I give the range of $7.50 to $10.00 to account for the possibility of having a coupon(s). This feeds 3-4 people for $1.88 to $3.33 per person. And hey: that’s pretty damn thrifty. And really, really yummy.

Just sayin’.

Anyway, aside from the troubling references to “free” things, I find this website pretty cool. I love the mushroom barley soup. (But it costs me more like $7, for the record.)

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give her a break July 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

perhaps she should also include the cost of utilites, dish soap and property taxes on her kitchen? Would $5 hold up in court? who cares, this is a website that you can choose to read or not. I enjoy this wonderful site in the context it’s meant to be…finding new, low cost meals to that my family can enjoy while stretching the budget.

Keep on keepin on sista!

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Jennifer H January 13, 2012 at 12:15 am

Lol

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Joanna March 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Just found this site…hope to use it frequantly…I like the ideas! However, where I live the prices are way more than what you are quoting….for example a pound of ground turkey is between 4-6 dollars….but nonetheless I will continue to trudge along and try new things…thanks

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Macy Lamb September 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

TO ALL THE OHIO-IANS, im only 13, but i am a great cook and i have my mom shop at Aldi or kroger.

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Load Of Crap September 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

This is a load of crap. You will never be able to make tacos for $5 bucks. First of all you are talking about buying items in percents of a whole, which you cannot do unless you go to some nasty ass grocery store where you can buy part of some product that 4 or 5 other people have already bought part of….. GROSS. Next, I challenge you to show me your grocery statement where you only paid $1.26 for a pound of hamburger, that’s just a bare faced lie. Finally, for those of you saying “give her a break”, GIVE ME A BREAK… this is supposed to be a site where you can make a meal for $5.00 which in the case of this meal, you cannot so it’s all just a bag of shit if you ask me.

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Casey May 31, 2014 at 10:56 am

Keep in mind , this was posted 6 years ago (5 when you posted this comment). Prices are different now. Also, OF COURSE she’s not buying part of an item. Where on earth did you get that idea from? She’ll use the rest for something else, and then the cost of the rest of item goes to the other meal(s).

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Ariel January 4, 2014 at 7:07 pm

How do you find such cheap prices for the recipes? My fiance and I try to budget ALL the time when we grocery shop but are never very successful at it. Are you shopping at a preferred store or are you couponing? I still haven’t gotten the hang of couponing either :(

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