Trying to save money and eat at home more? This menu plan of cheap easy meals on a budget that our family of 6 enjoyed will help!
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Hey friends! Here’s another menu plan that will hopefully provide you with some ideas for cheap easy meals on a budget! It feels like we’ve been keeping things super simple around here lately, but it’s what is making this season of life work. And while I miss being in the kitchen and being able to have time to experiment with recipes and get more creative there, I know that eventually that time will come again too! Right now I’m just grateful for the fact that our bellies have been full every day with good food and also grateful that I’ve been able to stick to our budget without too much trouble as well!
Speaking of grocery budgets. If you don’t already use grocery savings apps, I highly recommend it! It’s one of the things that helps me keep our grocery budget so low! Here are the ones I recommend:
- Ibotta (sign up and get $10 when you redeem your first offer!)
- Checkout 51 (sign up and get $2 when you redeem your first offer!)
- Saving Star
- Fetch Rewards (use referral code GE0EG to get 2,000 free points!)
– This one is the absolute easiest to use…you just scan your receipt and that’s it- they will figure out if you bought qualifying items. I’ve only used it for a couple of weeks and I already have earned $9 in Amazon gift cards!
- Shopkick (use invite code BEST562848 to get 250 kicks free at sign up!)
– This one isn’t really a grocery app per say, but I like to use it when I’m at the grocery score to earn points (or kicks as they call them) that I can redeem for gift cards. It only take a couple of extra minutes and if I’m not pushed for time it’s worth it for me!
Now…onto the menu details!
If you looking for some frugal family meals to add to your weekly meal plan ideas but are new to my menu plan posts, it’s probably helpful to know a couple of things first:
- Our family of six consists of two adults with fairly big appetites, a 9 ½ year-old boy, a 6 year-old girl, a 4 year-old girl and a 1 ½ year-old boy.
- I have a stockpile. My cupboards are full from previous shopping and here’s why. When I can get pasta for free with coupons, I buy as much as I have coupons for. If I’m able to get flour for $0.50/bag like I did last fall, I’ll buy half a dozen and put them in the freezer to use as needed. I do this as much as my budget allows, on as many items as I can and as a result save lots of money. Then when I go to plan menus, I simply plan our meals around what I already have in my cupboards and freezer, as much as possible. Obviously I still might have to buy a few things at regular price here and there, but by stocking up when the price is at rock bottom I save a lot.
- I cook almost totally from scratch. That means when I make a cake, I almost always make them from scratch. I make my own bread totally from scratch. I rarely use pre-packaged sauces. I make my own cream soups and pie crusts. Making your own food is typically less expensive and healthier too.
- We rarely snack. By eating “heavy” food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunch time. 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 that I was able to get for $0.50/box and sometimes some fruit too. I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but we actually all really enjoy it and prefer it over other breakfast food. I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage every morning. It’s just one of the little things that I do to help me have a productive day!
- Ham Loaf (comes pre-made- I just make a glaze for it); Baked Sweet Potatoes|Potatoes; Green Beans; Homemade Applesauce; Mrs. Fields Chocolate Cookies (from frozen dough- got free with coupons)
– Two friends joined us for lunch.
- Homemade Grilled Chicken Salad Sandwiches; Easy Fruit Smoothie
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Clementines; Frozen Blueberries
- Italian Vegetable Soup; Garlic & Herb Bread; Leftover Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Crustless Bacon and Egg Quiche (the recipe uses Bisquick- I use my Homemade Bisquick Mix– and it creates a crust as it bakes); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Clementines; Bananas
- All Natural All Beef Hotdogs; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce; Chocolate Cupcakes (used this Best Ever Chocolate Cake recipe and homemade buttercream frosting)
- Eggs; Toast; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Clementines; Bananas
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (my version of this recipe) served over rice; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Leftover Chocolate Cupcakes
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges; Home Canned Peaches
- Columbian Chicken and Rice; Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Chocolate Cupcakes
– The chicken and rice dish is a skillet recipe that I found in a simple little cookbook that I have. It’s basically chicken, rice, tomatoes and a few other things that give it flavor. Easy and basic, but quite tasty!
- Annie’s Mac & Cheese (got free with coupons); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapefruit; Apples
- Roasted Sausages|Potatoes|Sweet Potatoes|Cabbage (drizzled with oil and herbs); Carrot Sticks; Homemade Applesauce; Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapefruit
- Eggs; Toast; Cheese; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- One Pan Chicken and Rice; Green Beans; Homemade Applesauce
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Oranges; Grapes; Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
– Two other families joined us for the evening. We ate sandwiches before they came and then ate the rest of the food along with some things that they brought as a snack after they were here.
- Garlicky White Bean Dip with Corn Chips; Carrot Sticks; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges
- Shake N Bake Pork Chops (used my Homemade Shake and Bake); Mashed Potatoes; Peas; Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges; Home Canned Peaches
- Dr. Oetker Pizza; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Leftover Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadilla (used my homemade refried beans); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges
- From Scratch Pancakes with Syrup and Chicken Gravy; Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches; Potato Chips; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges; Grapes
- Speedy Spanish Rice and Beef Skillet; Peas; Homemade Applesauce; Crazy Good Carrot Cake
- Egg Salad on Bread and Crackers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges
- Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Leftover Crazy Good Carrot Cake
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Oranges
- Turkey Burgers (bought pre-made); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Crazy Good Carrot Cake