Saving Money with Beans and Rice

Dave Ramsey talks a lot about beans and rice, because it is an inexpensive meal and if you are trying to get out of debt you need to eat cheap. Personally, I think beans have gotten a bad rap. Beans and rice don’t have to taste bad! If prepared correctly they taste great and are full of protein, without the high cost. Black beans are a favorite at my house because they can be used in many different recipes.

You can buy black beans in a can or dried. Depending on the sales, dried beans are usually cheaper, but canned are more convenient.

To prepare dried black beans rinse, then soak overnight in water.

In the morning dump the water and place beans in a crock pot.

Cover the beans with water. Add spices, I like to add salt, pepper, garlic and either minced or chopped onion.

Cook all day on high.

When finished cooking the beans will retain their shape but can be crushed easily with a spoon.

Super cheap meal: Basic Beans and Rice

  • 1 bag black beans prepared in the crock pot $2.00 beans plus spices
  • 3 cups of uncooked brown rice $0.50
  • chicken broth free from whole chicken

Cook rice according to directions substituting chicken broth for the water. Mix together with black beans. Serve.

Total cost for 8 (with leftovers) servings $2.50 or $0.31 cents a serving.

Cheap meal: Mexican Chicken Skillet

serves 8


  • 1/2 cup chopped onions $.30
  • 1 TBS olive oil $.10
  • 1 TBS minced garlic $0.10
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (chopped) $.75
  • 1 can corn (drained) $0.55
  • 2 cups black beans cooked $0.40
  • 3 cups cooked rice (when making your rice decrease the amount of water by about 1/2 cup and add 1 cup of salsa)$0.50
  • Salsa $1.00

Cook your rice according to the directions, except add salsa with your water.

Coat large frying pan with olive oil. Saute onions and garlic and add chicken.

Add beans and corn.

When everything has been heated through add the cooked rice. Serve immediately.

A few notes: Add as much or as little rice as you like. I used 3 cups of uncooked rice for this recipe. I like to use more rice because then I can use less chicken. I also used brown rice. When mixed with the salsa it tastes great and the kids don’t seem to mind!

Total cost for a meal for 8 = $3.70 or $0.46 cents per serving

Cheap Meal that Tastes Like a Million Bucks: Black Bean Burritos

Prepare the Mexican Chicken Skillet. Place mixture in large tortilla, add a tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Roll up and wrap in foil. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes in 350 degree oven.

Top with shredded lettuce and sour cream.

cost breakdown
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions $.30
  • 1 TBS olive oil $.10
  • 1 TBS minced garlic $0.10
  • 2 cups chicken (chopped) $.75
  • 1 can corn (drained) $0.55
  • 2 cups black beans cooked $0.40
  • 3 cups cooked rice (when making your rice decrease the amount of water by about 1/2 cup and add 1 cup of salsa) $0.50
  • Salsa $1.00
  • Tortillas $1.00 (if homemade)
  • Cheese $0.75
  • Sour cream $0.75
  • lettuce $0.50

Total Cost $6.70 or $0.84 per serving

Three meals all for less than a dollar a serving. I realize some of these meals take a bit of preparation, but sometimes we have more time than money. Black beans, rice and tortillas can be made ahead of time, so these meals can be prepared in less than 20 minutes!

This post is linking to What Can I Eat That’s Glutten Free, Tasty Tuesday, and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday.

Bargain Meal of the Week
For great meals for less you can purchase at your local store visit $5 Dinner’s new feature, Bargain Meal of the Week. Bloggers around the country create a bargain meal based on their local store sales.


  1. Oh, you know that I love black beans. We eat them probably 3-4 times a week with taco dip.

  2. yummy!! how can i sell my hubby on this one?? he doesn’t care for beans much…..

  3. We had homemade vegetarian chili tonight with 3 different kinds of beans, kidney, black, pinto…it was delicious and as you said, beans are cheap. I buy organic beans by the 5o pound bag from a food co-op and they are really cheap that way! Great post, I will have to try your recipe. Kim

  4. I am really looking forward to trying these recipes. I want to get more beans in our diet and the recipes look nummy.

  5. This looks great! Thanks for the pics. I may have to try this! 🙂

  6. what a great recipe! I was just talking about black beans yesterday and how much I love them 🙂

  7. Kathleen Smith says:

    Black Bean Brownies
    Drain and rinse 1 14.5 oz can of beans. Put beans back in can and fill the can with water. Put this in a blender and blend until liquidified. Add to one package of brownie mix and bake according to directions. Low fat, fudgy brownies full of fiber. Sounds odd, but really good.

  8. Thrifty Momma says:

    In Louisiana beans and rice dishes are served at restaurants as well as homes, its down home cooking at its best. Try white beans and rice with a sausage link on top or red beans and rice mixed with sliced sausage. We always add sauteed chopped garlic, onion and bell pepper to these dishes.

  9. Sounds yummy! Thanks for sharing. Black beans are my favorite.

  10. I prepare black beans like you do in a crock pot and then freeze them in about 2c. quantities. One of the favorite ways to eat them at our house is what I have termed ‘Burritos Bowls’ (I’ve found that the girls will eat it if I call it that rather than beans and rice). Warm beans, prepare rice. I place the rice in a bowl, top with beans and then allow each person to add condiments of their choosing (shredded lettuce, cheese, chopped onion, tomatoes, avocado, salsa – whatever you have on hand). It’s very similar to a dish on Chipotle’s menu. If we have leftover taco meat (chicken or beef), it’s good to add in too.

  11. Yay! Another wonderful *cheap* dish to try. I am really working hard at trying to make more meals from scratch PLUS save out budget.

    I love all of your recipes, keep itup!

  12. Do you have a method to cook kidney beans in the crockpot? I don’t much care for black beans but we eat alot of Kidney beans.

  13. I finally converted to making beans from scratch and LOVE them so much more than canned. I soak mine overnight in the crockpot to avoid washing an extra dish. 🙂

  14. I think my family will enjoy this recipe. I love beans and rice. Never tried making it with black beans.

  15. Great post! We are big fans of beans. Great source of protein and FIBER!! I too use my crockpot to cook dried beans. I put them in and let them cook overnight 🙂


  16. I made a Chicken Skillet really similiar to yours a couple wks ago, haven’t posted it yet. We liked it. It was even better the second day as leftovers.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. We love black beans! My kids are not as big on rice, but we use both to round out meals quite often. Definitely a nice, cheap filler. 🙂

  18. When we realized a few months ago that we needed to be more careful with our money I added a lot of beans and rice to our menus. We’ve been having a lot of beans, rice, and lentils. 🙂 We just had black beans and rice last week!

    One of my favorites is black bean and sweet potato burritos. You mash cooked beans and potatoes together with salsa, cumin and other spices, and serve on tortillas with sour cream. So good!

    Your Mexican Chicken Skillet looks really yummy!

  19. i agree dried beans get a bad rap and part of the problem for folks is that it takes so much forethought. night before soak, then 4 hours cook (stovetop). and i hear a lot that “i just don’t think of it soon enough.” What makes dried beans cost effective and a HUGE time saver is a pressure cooker. and pressure cookers get a bad rap too. You’re grandmother’s friends pressure cooker in 1923 exploded- if you buy one (or have) in the last 20 years, IT WON’T EXPLODE. Boil dry beans 3 mins, turn off wait maybe an hour (after you hand up the laundry is fine) Bring to pressure, cook 15-25 mins (depending on size and age of beans). Beans done. Make extra. store in freezer. Dump frozen beans in soup, You’re feeling like a genius.

    Pressure cookers are energy savers because they use all of the heat. And you can’t forget the pressure cooker on the stove-it’ll hiss at you, but in a nice way.

  20. I love black beans and make them about once a month.

  21. Thanks for the recipes. We eat a lot of beans and rice and I’m always on the look out for new recipes.

    We use beans as a snack during the day if the children get hungry.

  22. Yummy! I can eat this all the time. 😀 Unfortunately, my crew doesn’t like beans either. 🙁 I might try to reintroduce them again.

  23. We stockpile to a certain extent. I consider myself/the family to be super-couponers, so we buy in bulk when there’s a really good sale. I have shelves in the basement for dried goods (I always call it “going to the store” when I go down there) and a big freezer in the garage, so we have the room to do so. I had pasta sauce last for 7 months b/c I had so much from when it was less than $0.50 a can!

  24. That’s a great inexpensive meal. Thanks for linking up!

  25. I love black beans and don’t use them enough. I’ll definitely be making your recipe!

    Thanks 🙂

  26. We can’t wait to try the mexican skillet! YUM. And I am so very happy to learn from the comments that you can freeze the beans after they are cooked. I’ve always shied away from doing the dry beans b/c usually I only need a cup or two. Now I’m headed down to the food storage to pull out some black beans….yea!

  27. Lura Boucher says:

    I used this with Pintos and the family LOVES it. I have officially added it as a “staple” item. Thank you so very much for this and ALL of your great Ideas.

  28. Hello may I quote some of the material here in this post if I reference you with a link back to your site?

  29. Wonderful work buddy, keep it up.

  30. Just wanna remark on few general things, The website pattern is perfect, the subject matter is very superb : D.

  31. Haley Hill says:

    For canned beans, do they still need to be cooked all day? Is there a faster way to do it? Thanks!

    • The crock pot instructions are only for dried beans. Canned beans are already cooked. So for the Mexican Chicken Skillet recipe you could use 2 cups of canned beans (drained) without having to cook them.


  1. […] Saving Money with Beans and Rice by The Happy Housewife […]

  2. […] I was home all day yesterday (Nov 12)  with Abigail (she has a bad cough but no fever) I made the Chicken Mexican Skillet I referenced in my last post. As The Happy Housewife suggests I made the brown rice with salsa […]

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