We just had a great meal with a bunch of friends. I fed 7 people for $12.60 by cooking a large pot of chili:

Small Red Beans – $1.65
80/20 Hamburger – $6 (3 pounds)
Tomato Juice – $1.50
Carroll Shelby Chili Kit – $2.85
Leftover Vegetables about to go bad – $0
Sour Cream – $.50
Grated Cheese – $.50
This could have been quite a bit cheaper as well. I only have an apartment size refrigerator so I can’t buy meat in bulk and freeze it like I used too (at least not as much). Otherwise, I would’ve been able to buy hamburger when it was closer to $1.29 per pound. The same package of beans is often on sale for $1. I ran out of stock and hadn’t noticed. With just these two changes, I would’ve been able to feed the same amount of people for $10.22. That’s $1.46 per person!

I’m looking into ways to buy my spices in bulk as well. The Carroll Shelby kit can be a bit expensive, but I love the proprietary spice blend, and at this point, with our tiny kitchen, it’s easier than trying to figure out space for a spice cabinet. (Seriously, I have to store my pots in the oven because there is no room.) This can decrease the cost even further.
What can you do with this chili? You can eat it straight with sour cream. You can use it as taco meat, or sandwich meat. Put it over a baked potato for a hearty meal. This sort of meal can be easily transformed for leftovers to enhance your meal plan.
Just doing this once saved us easily $17. Pizzas for the seven of us would have run $30. But be advised, the horrible gas my poor husband now has to cope with might not be worth the $17 to him.
365 Days of Saving Money: $2472 Annually (Running Total)