the key to a budget meal is simple, knowing the cost per unit of the ingredients, know how to prepare them so that they are eatable and limiting the quantity of consumption.
My personal key to not only cheap meals but often time healthy meals is this
All of these can be purchased in bulk for very little money. A common dish in my household is fried rice as it is not only fast but also cheap. throw in a bit of frozen or canned vegetables and two eggs and some soy sauce or teriyaki sauce and your in business. with potatoes you can add some cheese and a few herbs and again you are good to go. with beans you add tomato sauce and tomato paste and some chili powder. throw it in the crock pot the night before and let it cook til your hungry.
The best part of these meals is they taste as good if not better as leftovers the next day, I usually package some of this up in a couple Pyrex
containers and eat it for lunch the next day. the recommendation I'll make is make sure you have some protein in these dishes. generally speaking chicken and pork will be the most economical choice in comparison to beef. another good option is eggs in some of these dishes as they are very good at soaking up flavors. I leave what you do to your own discretion.
If you want the official recipes that are made at my house then request them in the comments section and I'll compile them for a future post.