I remember a time when tacos were a cheap meal for our family. As the price of ground beef has gone up, a family taco night has gotten considerably more expensive.
You can make taco night cheaper with this money-saving tips:
Shop for meat on sale.
Watch for sales on ground beef and stock up. When I find a good price on ground beef, I like to cook some of it up in advance and freeze it into meal-size portions. Making tacos for dinner is super simple when the meat is already cooked. Just heat it up and add the seasonings.
Consider different meats.
While ground beef is the preferred choice for most tacos, you can also use ground chicken or turkey. Some folks like fish tacos. (Shop the sales or catch your own!) Watch for sales on other meats and experiment to see what cheaper alternatives you like.
Bulk up your taco meat with low-cost alternatives.
Use beans to stretch your budget. Cut back on the expensive ground meat and add in much cheaper beans and onions instead. You’ll be adding protein and flavor without extra cost, especially if you’re using dried beans.
Make your own taco seasoning mix and taco sauce.
Buy your spices in bulk and make your own taco seasoning mix for a lot less money than individual taco seasoning packets. Your own seasoning mix will taste better, too! My family isn’t into the taco sauce, but if yours is, you can save money by making your own homemade taco sauce.
Save big on taco shells.
I hate spending $2 or more for just 10 taco shells. The packages you buy are never enough for my growing family and I never fail to pick out a box with a broken shell or two. You can substitute flour tortillas you’ve bought in bulk or make your own tortillas) to make soft tacos or you can buy about 100 corn tortillas for just a couple of bucks and make your own hard taco shells.
To make your own hard taco shells, all you have to do is drape the corn tortillas over the rungs of your oven rack and bake them at 375ºF for about 10 minutes until they are crispy. For even crispier taco shells, you can spray them cooking spray or lightly mist them with cooking oil.
Of course, you could also skip the taco shells altogether and make a taco salad instead. Use veggies from your garden and save even more.
Save on taco toppings.
Don’t buy lettuce that’s already shredded. You can shred your lettuce by slicing it with a knife, using a food processor, or just shredding it with your own hands. Chop your own tomatoes. If you grow lettuce and tomatoes in your garden, you’ll save money by using your harvest. You could also consider substituting cheaper veggies you find at the store like cabbage or carrots. And if you only want a tiny serving of something like olives, head to your grocery store’s deli salad bar and purchase what you need rather than buying a large amount of something that would just go to waste.
Shred your own cheese.
You can save money on cheese for your tacos and get better quality cheese by buying large blocks of cheese and shredding it yourself. Use what you want for taco night and freeze the rest. If you don’t want to shred your own cheese, watch for sales and stock up. Shredded cheese will freeze just fine.
Put the emphasis on cheaper side dishes.
We tend to put the emphasis on our main course, but that can make for a more expensive meal. Instead, focus on making cheaper side dishes that can fill you up. Rice and beans, vegetables and salads are often cheaper and better for you than bulking up on tacos.
Make taco night cheaper with these money-saving tips. Then make the rest of the evening more fun with some low-cost games or a watching a movie you got at the library.
Does your family do taco night? What ways do you save on tacos?