Eating well on a budget can be tricky, but it’s totally possible! Here’s the budget menu plan that our family of six has recently enjoyed. Lots of tasty meal ideas!
The weather is cooling down a bit and that means that I’m starting to pull out the soup recipes again. Yay! I love soups and there are so many delicious soup recipes that are cheap, filling and delicious too. Perfect for those of us that are budget conscious!
This is the first year that I’ve had a garden and I’ve also been enjoying the challenge of finding recipes to use up our garden bounty. My zucchini has been super prolific, so we’ve enjoyed lots of zucchini desserts as well as a few main dishes made with zucchini.
And I haven’t had to buy as much fresh fruit as usual because our raspberries, apples and pears have all been giving us a nice amount of fruit.
We also have had quite a few onions, some lettuce and a few tomatoes that we’ve harvested. I have to say, I’m really enjoying the garden to table experience!
New to my budget friendly menu plans?
It might be helpful to know a few things before reading further.
- The size and ages of our family. Our family of six consists of two adults, a 12 year-old boy, an 8 ½ year-old girl, a 6 ½ year-old girl and a 4 year-old boy. All of our kids have hearty appetites and tend to be big eaters.
- Having a stockpile saves me money. If an item that we use goes on sale, especially if it’s a particularly good sale, whenever possible I try to stock up. Sometimes the saving seems small- it may only be $0.25 an item. But doing that with multiple things does add up rather quickly! Then when I plan my menus, I first look at what I have in my cupboards, fridge and freezer and try to plan as many meals around that as possible.
- I use my freezer a lot. I freeze so many foods to extend their shelf life- everything from cottage cheese to zucchini to onions! Another thing I like to do is cook up extra meat, rice and even things like soup and then freeze them to save time later. Both of these things help save me time and money too.
- I cook almost totally from scratch. That means when I make a cake, I make it from scratch. I rarely use pre-packaged sauces. I make my own cream soups, homemade Bisquick and pie crusts. Making our own food is typically less expensive and healthier too.
- We rarely snack. By eating hearty food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunchtime. And the same goes for the afternoon. Our lunches are big enough that we usually are fine until dinner time. When we do need a snack, I try to keep it mostly healthy by offering fruit, nuts or maybe No Bake Energy Bites. We don’t always do it perfectly though, and sometimes end up having chips or cookies instead.
- We eat simple, filling breakfasts. Typically we have either Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, and occasionally some bought cereal and fruit too. I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but the simplicity of it works well for us. I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage like Warm Vanilla Custard every afternoon.
A little side note: I occasionally get asked why I only do a two weeks menu plan instead of four weeks. To be honest, it’s mainly for my own convenience.
Keeping track of everything we eat gets to be a little tedious. So only doing it for two weeks helps me not get bogged down with it.
Budget Menu Plan for our Family of 6
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Raspberry Crumble Bars
- Toasted Tuna Salad Sandwiches; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Clementines
- Easy Vegetable Beef Soup; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Leftover Raspberry Crumble Bars
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Pears from our own tree
- Creamy Chicken and Rice Skillet; Green Beans (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (for my husband and I); Zucchini Cookies
– I used a Brown Butter Frosting for the cookies instead of the Cream Cheese Frosting the recipe called for.
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Raspberries (our own); Pears (from our own tree)
- Beefy Tomato Soup; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Leftover Zucchini Cookies
- Zucchini Fritters; Organic Yogurt; Apples and Pears (from our own trees)
– I can’t find a recipe quite like mine for the Zucchini Fritters, but if you Google you’ll find lots of recipes that are somewhat similar that you’ll probably enjoy as much as we do these.
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie Casserole; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Apple Goodie with milk (my recipe is similar to this one)
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Plum Jam Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Raspberries (our own); Apples (from our own tree)
- One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice; Peas; Leftover Apple Goodie
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Pears (from our own tree); Fresh Plums (from a friend)
- Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Store Bought Cookies
- Various Leftovers; Green Beans; Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake
- White Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Fresh Plums (from a friend); Bananas
- Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken; Seasoned Rice; Peas; Leftover Chocolate Zucchini Sheet Cake
– The rotisserie chicken was close to its sell-by date so I was able to get it for about half price!
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Organic Yogurt; Bananas; Raspberries (our own)
- Super Easy Beef and Macaroni Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Leftover Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Plum Jam Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples and Pears (from our own trees)
- Southwest Chicken Skillet; Green Beans; Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Raspberries (our own)
- Poor Potato Casserole; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Leftover Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Apple Butter Sandwiches (for the kids); Zucchini, Mushroom & Onion Skillet (for my husband and I); Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Pears (from our own tree)
- Baked Potatoes; Lettuce Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing and Mexican Dressing; Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake
– We enjoyed the cake as dessert and I used frozen blueberries instead of fresh in the cake since it was cheaper for me that way.
- 5 Minute Refried Bean Dip with Tortilla Chips; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples (from our own tree); Raspberries (our own)
- Various Leftovers; Peas; Leftover Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake
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