Trying to feed your family on a budget? I hope that this thrifty menu plan showing what we’ve been enjoying lately will help!
Anyone else find that you are gravitating towards lots of comfort foods sort of dishes lately? I sure have been! And I think it’s especially evident looking at the first week of my menu here. So many easy comfort food recipes. Yum!
New to my thrifty 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 ½ year-old boy, a 9 year-old girl, a 7 year-old girl and a 4 ½ 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 bake 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 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.
Thrifty Menu Plan
- Sausage and Lentil Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Store Bought Cookies
- Tuna Toasts; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
– For the tuna toasts we just butter sourdough bread, put it on a baking sheet, sprinkle the bread with shredded cheese and then bake it until it’s a bit toasted and the cheese is slightly browned. Then we make homemade tuna salad and eat it on top of the toasts. So good!
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pears; Canned Peaches
- Creamy Italian Sausage and Pasta Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Apples; Canned Peaches
- Dump and Bake Italian Meatball and Rice Casserole; Green Beans (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (for my husband and me); Leftover Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Greek Yogurt; Fresh Pineapple; Bananas
- Instant Pot Creamy Ziti; Green Beans; Apple Dump Cake from Scratch with milk
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Mini Peppers with Cream Cheese; Greek Yogurt; Fresh Pineapple; Bananas
- Cheeseburger Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Apple Dump Cake
- Zucchini Fritters; Greek Yogurt; Apples; Frozen Blueberries
– 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.
- Creamy Sausage and Potato Skillet; Cooked Carrots; Chocolate Pudding Cake (the recipe I use is similar to this) with milk
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Mini Peppers with Cream Cheese; Greek Yogurt; Apples; Canned Peaches
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Shakshuka; French Bread; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Brown Sugar Pecan Pie
- Tuna Quesadillas; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie; Homemade Popcorn
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Mini Peppers with Cream Cheese; Greek Yogurt; Grapes; Fresh Pears
- Garlic Chicken; Rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Pecan Pie
– I doubled the sauce part of the Garlic Chicken because we prefer lots of sauce when we eat this with rice.
- Black Bean and Butternut Squash Quesadillas; Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Bananas
- One Pan Ground Beef Enchiladas; Green Beans; Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Bananas; Apples
- Curry Chicken and Rice Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bars
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Organic Yogurt; Apples; Canned Peaches
– The quesadillas are just the topping for a pepperoni pizza inside of a quesadilla. So easy and delicious!
- Tilapia; Baked Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes; Green Beans (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (my husband and I); Blueberry Buckle (my recipe is similar to this one)
- Peanut Butter and Homemade Apple Butter Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Canned Peaches; Frozen Blueberries
- Easy Tuscan Bean Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Blueberry Buckle
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Organic Yogurt; Fresh Pears; Apples
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Store Bought Cookies
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