Soak beans per the instructions on the bag, either quick soak or overnight method. Do not get rid of the liquid!
Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown, stirring occasionally and breaking up the pieces. (Note: Normally I would start with olive oil and cook some garlic and onions first, but being limited in resources due to the low budget challenge, I did not have olive oil to use, and I didn’t want to waste any of the butter. I decided the fat from the beef would be just fine for cooking the onions.)
Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Add beans (including the liquid from soaking), canned tomatoes, chili seasoning, and salt. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for at least 20 minutes. (Note: I let mine simmer for about an hour (stirring occasionally) because I was doing other things, but it would have been fine to eat after 20 minutes.)
The 7 servings is based on 1½ cups per serving – the recipe makes 10½ cups of chili.If your package of ground beef isn't quite half a pound, it's totally fine. The package I used was 0.44 lbs. You can use canned beans instead of dried. I'd just recommend using one can of chili beans or one can of kidney beans. Using one can each of black and kidney will be too much.