There are several ways to save money with a soup recipe because they are a flexible ingredient meal. So here are a few ways:
1. Substitue meat. You can substitue leftover roast chopped up for ground beef. It is a great way to use leftovers and get two meals out of one. You can also substitute leftover chicken or turkey in the same manner. So if a recipe calls for ground beef check your leftovers before pulling the ground beef out of the freezer. The taste may be slightly different but not much. There are several stews that it really won't matter if you use a different meat altogether or combine all the little bits of leftovers in your fridge.
2. Cut down on the amount of meat. If the recipe is a meat and bean combination then cut the amount of meat needed in 1/2. No one will miss it and you can use the other half for another soup or stew. Therefore getting two meals for the price of one.
3. Substitue veggies. In some cases you can substitute veggies. Summer squash can often be substituted for zuchinni. Just play around with what you have and think about what might work.
4. Herbs. If you don't have the exact herb called for then use something similar. For instance if you don't have oregano, think about using basil or thyme. Or if you only have a general italian herb combination use that. Don't go out and spend money on something you may only use for one recipe. Use what you have that will give a similar result.
5. Soup is a whole meal. Some people seem to think that soup is an appetizer or side dish. These soups are designed to be a whole meal unless you wish to serve fruit or veggies with the soup then it is at least the main entree'. In our family it is the whole meal with the exception of the bread served with it and the occasional celery or carrots sticks or fresh fruit.