Get inspired to eat well on a budget by seeing what our family of 6 has been eating and enjoying lately! Lots of simple, easy meals that are also delicious and frugal.
I’ve been finding myself craving comfort foods lately and this menu reflects it with various soups and casseroles.
I’m also trying to work at using up some of the foods that I froze from our garden bounty.
As a result, you’ll see several recipes that use zucchini and one that uses rhubarb, both items that I had grown and frozen the excess. It’s fun to enjoy those “summer” flavors now.
As always, I hope that seeing what we have been eating and enjoying lately on our cheap grocery budget can help inspire you too!
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 bake I 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. Also, with testing recipes for my site, some weeks we might eat the same thing multiple times, which isn’t much fun for you guys to get ideas from!
Get my FREE $50 Aldi Meal Plan here! It has 7 easy dinners for a family of 5.
Our Budget Menu Plan- family of six
- Various Leftovers; Green Beans; Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Tuna Toasts; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– My husband made the toasts and loosely followed this recipe for the bread. Then we made homemade tuna salad and ate it on top of the toasts. So good!
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pears; Frozen Raspberries (we grew)
- Chicken Potato Chowder; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- Zucchini Fritters; Organic Yogurt; Apples; Bananas
– 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.
- Cheeseburger Casserole; Green Beans (for the kids); Sauteed Zucchini, Mushrooms and Onions (for my husband and I); Leftover Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Bananas; Canned Peaches
- Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Coffee Cake
– Used thawed frozen shredded zucchini for the cake.
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Greek Yogurt with Honey; Canned Peaches; Apples
- Speedy Spanish Rice and Ground Beef Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Leftover Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Coffee Cake
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Bananas; Canned Peaches
- Shakshuka; French Bread; Peas; Best Ever Chocolate Cake with Easy Caramel Icing
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Apple Butter Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Frozen Blueberries; Grapes
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Leftover Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing
- BBQ Chicken served over rice; Leftover Peas (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (for my husband and me); Leftover Chocolate Cake with Caramel Icing
– I double the sauce for the chicken so that it makes enough to douse the rice.
- Naan Bread Pizzas; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– Each person made their own pizza. I put out naan bread (found it reduced because it was close to the sell-by date) and various pizza toppings and then let people add what they wanted. Easy and fun!
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Apple Butter Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Clementines
- Chicken Alfredo Bake; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Easy No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Greek Yogurt with Honey; Clementines; Frozen Blueberries
- One Pan Spanish Chicken and Rice; Green Beans; Leftover No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Frozen Blueberries; Apples
- Chickpea Tikka Masala served with rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch Dressing; Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
– Used thawed frozen shredded zucchini for the brownies.
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Organic Yogurt; Frozen Blueberries; Bananas
- Cheesy Beef and Zucchini Casserole; Green Beans; Leftover Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
– I cut the shredded cheeses back to about 1 3/4 c. total.
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Apples; Fresh Pineapple
- Easy Ground Beef and Potato Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Rhubarb Crisp
– I used frozen rhubarb that we grew for the crips.
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Plum Jam Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pineapple; Apples
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Rhubarb Crisp
Thanks for the ideas! I always enjoy reading what other people do to try and freshen up meals and saving money is always a plus.
You are quite welcome, Katie! Glad that it was helpful.
Okay. This doesn’t help those of us who don’t garden and whose children do snack. I’d need to scale this up to make it realistic. I wish somebody would publish a realistic budget where ALL the food is bought outside the home AND three meals plus 2 snacks per person. All you have here is dessert.
Hi Erika, I’m sorry that our budget and menu don’t feel realistic to you. My goal in publishing these is to provide ideas and inspiration, not so people can copy our meals exactly. The meals we eat are generally simple and inexpensive, so even if you just use some of the recipe ideas, chances are, you’ll help save money on your grocery budget. I hope that helps clarify things a bit. Also, for what it’s worth, for quite a long time I didn’t garden…in fact, this is the first year that I have. All the best to you as you work to feed your family well on a budget!