A menu showing the meals that our family of six has been enjoying recently. It’s full of easy recipes that are delicious and frugal and I hope that it will inspire you with ideas for your own meal plan!
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Seven years ago, I shared my first menu plan here with you. At the time, we were a family of 5 and our budget was $200 a month.
We now are a family of 6. Costs continue to rise, our children have grown a lot and eat more than ever. And as of January, we now have a grocery budget of $400 a month– double what it was when I first started sharing these menu plans with you!
The thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to eating simple, wholesome meals that are easy to make and budget-friendly!
NEW TO MY 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 13 1/2-year-old boy, a 10-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl and a 5 1/2-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, I try to stock up whenever possible. 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 storebought 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-week 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.
Get my FREE $50 Aldi Meal Plan here! It has 7 easy dinners for a family of 5.
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Storebought Cookies
- Ham and Cheese Sliders; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothies
– I reduce the ham and cheese in these sliders to around 1/2 lb. or maybe a bit less.
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Apples; Grapes
- Easy Mexican Bean Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies (used frozen shredded zucchini from my garden)
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Grapes; Bananas
- Creamy, Lemony Chicken and Potato Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadillas (used my homemade refried beans); Flavored Organic Yogurt; Clementines; Apples
- Super Easy Sloppy Joes; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Clementines; Canned Peaches
- Garlic Chicken served over Rice; Cooked Green Beans; Leftover Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
– I double the sauce part of the Garlic Chicken because we prefer lots of sauce when we eat this with rice.
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Canned Peaches; Apples
- Quick and Easy Fried Rice; Rhubarb Pudding Cake
– I use this fried recipe as a starting point but add more veggies, some chicken broth etc. to make it how we like it.
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Frozen Blueberries; Bananas
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Rhubarb Pudding Cake
- Sausage and Lentil Skillet; Lettuce Salad Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Molasses Crinkle Cookies
- Toasted Tuna Salad Sandwiches; Homemade Popcorn; 3 Minute Frozen Fruit Smoothie
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Clementines; Grapes
- Sourcream Chicken Quiche; Lettuce Salad Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Molasses Crinkle Cookies
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Clementines; Apples
- Speedy Spanish Rice with Ground Beef; Green Beans (for the kids); Roasted Broccoli (for my husband and I); Apple Goodie served with milk (my recipe is similar to this one)
- Homemade Egg Salad Sandwiches (my recipe is similar to this); Potato Chips; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Bananas; Oranges
- Cabbage Roll Soup; Lettuce Salad Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Apple Goodie served with milk
- Homemade Egg Salad Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Flavored Organic Yogurt; Frozen Cherries; Oranges
- Easy Mexican Rice Bowls; Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 5 Minute Refried Bean Dip served with Tortilla Chips; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Bananas; Canned Peaches
- One Pan Creamy Sausage and Potatoes; Lettuce Salad Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Leftover Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Meat and Cheese Sandwiches; Hummus and Carrots; Greek Yogurt with Honey; Canned Peaches; Apples
- Various Leftovers; Lettuce Salad Mexican Dressing and Homemade Ranch; Magnum Ice Cream Bars
Thank you for sharing! I’m always working on tweaking our meals to fit our budget, so it’s helpful to get inspiration from others! Cutting the snacks, especially store-bought, does help cut the cost of groceries big time. We’re a work in progress in that area, lol! But things like making our own hummus, baking our own cookies, etc, also helps cut costs overall and still gives us snacks 😋 I’m actually working on a frugal dinner plan to share on my own blog too. 😊
Glad it was helpful, Autumn! And yes, making your own snack foods definitely is so much cheaper. I haven’t found a hummus recipe that I love but I really want to eventually make my own regularly too as it would be considerably less expensive!