Not sure what to feed your family this week? Here’s the budget menu plan our family of 6 has been using and enjoying lately! You’ll find lots of frugal meal ideas that are also easy and delicious too.
It’s been a long time since I’ve shared one of my menu plans with you all! And if you are a regular reader here, you likely noticed that our grocery budget increased by $125 since the last time I posted.
That’s because about 10 weeks ago we moved to Cambridge, England and I’ve had to really change the way I grocery shop. (You can learn more about why we moved here.)
England doesn’t have coupons like we do in the States, so that’s been a big change for me since I used them a lot and regularly got grocery items for free or super cheap! And from my observations so far, they also don’t have as good of sales on groceries either. In fact, they don’t even have sales flyers, so it’s kind of hard to know what exactly is on sale.
At this point, I also don’t have a chest freezer either, which means that the occasional times that I have found a decent sale, I can stockpile a little, but not nearly as much as I was used to.
All of these things combined has meant that I’ve had to learn to grocery shop much more like the average person, which has been an occasionally frustrating, but mostly fun challenge!
And of course, we’ve also needed to raise our grocery budget to compensate as well.
If you are new to my budget menu plans, it might be helpful to know a few things first:
- Our family of six consists of two adults, an 11 year-old boy, a 7 ½ year-old girl, a 5 ½ year-old girl and a 3 year-old boy- all of our kids have hearty appetites and tend to eat more than many kids their age.
- 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 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 my 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.
- Our breakfasts consist of Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, the occasional bought cereal and sometimes some 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 two weeks for these menu plans 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.
It also is a bit time consuming to type these menu plans up and add all the links etc. So again, doing just two weeks helps keep it more manageable for me. The good news is that I have 45+ budget menus already on my site, so if you want more ideas or inspiration for a full four weeks, there are plenty available!
Menu Plan on a Budget for a Family of 6
- Shakshuka; French Bread; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing
- Tuna Quesadillas; Homemade Popcorn; Apples
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Yogurt; Apples; Clementines
- Hamburger Zucchini Bake; Lettuce Salad; Easy Apple Dumplings with Ice Cream
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Yogurt; Clementines; Frozen Blueberries
- Cheesy Beef Zucchini Casserole; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Leftover Easy Apple Dumplings with Ice Cream
– I cut back on the amount of cheese in the casserole to save costs.
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Yogurt; Apples; Canned Peaches
- Simple Roasted Butternut Squash; Shake N Bake Chicken; Green Beans; Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
– We love these pancakes and enjoyed them as our dessert.
- Black Bean and Butternut Squash Quesadillas; Yogurt; Bananas; Clementines
– I made sure I made extra Roasted Butternut Squash Wednesday night to have for the quesadillas today.
- Poor Potato Hamburger Casserole; Peas; Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Coffee Cake
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Yogurt; Frozen Raspberries (we grew); Canned Peaches
- Country Potato Soup; Lettuce Salad; Leftover Cinnamon Sugar Zucchini Coffee Cake
- Leftovers; Yogurt; Carrot Sticks; Frozen Raspberries (we grew)
- Chicken Nuggets; “Baked” Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes (made in Instant Pot); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Leftover Country Potato Soup; Lettuce Salad; Leftover Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Zucchini Fritters; Homemade Popcorn; Apples
– 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.
- Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas; Yogurt; Canned Peaches; Frozen Blueberries
– The quesadillas are just the topping for a pepperoni pizza inside of a quesadilla. So easy and delicious!
- Easy Chicken Pot Pie; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Chocolate Beetroot Cake
– A friend gave us some red beets, so I decided to try this cake recipe. I thought it had a bit of an earthy taste, but the rest of the family thought I was imagining it and they all loved it. I have to say, it’s a creative way to sneak some veggies into your dessert!
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Yogurt; Bananas; Pineapple
- Poor Man’s Burrito Bowls; Applesauce; Leftover Beetroot Cake
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Carrot Sticks; Yogurt; Pineapple
- Creamy Sausage and Potatoes; Green Beans; Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Yogurt; Apples; Frozen Blueberries
- Creamy White Chicken Chili; Lettuce Salad; Leftover Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Yogurt; Apples; Frozen Raspberries (we grew)
- Beef Macaroni Skillet (this isn’t the recipe I use, but it’s somewhat similar); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Bought Ice Cream Bars
- Leftovers; Carrot Sticks; Apples
- Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup; Grilled Cheese Sandwiches; Bought Cookies