Trying to plan some frugal meals for your family? This is the menu plan that our family of 6 uses! It’s perfect for cheap meal ideas.
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If you’ve never noticed it before in my menu plans, it’s pretty obvious in this one that we eat a lot of seasonal fruits. One of the ways that I save money is by buying whatever fruits and veggies are on sale and then using them as my produce for the week. We just came through cherry season and right now fresh peaches are easily available, so as you’ll see, we’ve been enjoying a lot of both!
Then to help save more money on groceries and also to make things easier when I can’t find cheap fresh fruit, I buy lots of fruits and veggies in bulk from local farmers/orchards in the summer and then freeze or can them. (I like to freeze green beans and blueberries and can peaches, tomatoes and applesauce each year.) This is not only much cheaper it is also healthier too. But that is why if you look at my Weekly Spending Summaries you won’t always see lots of produce.
Between canning and freezing in season produce and watching the sales for good deals, I’m usually able to get us a decent amount of fruits and veggies for fairly good prices, which of course helps our grocery budget a lot!
Now…on to the menu plan!
If you looking for some frugal 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, an 9 year-old boy, a 5 ½ year-old girl, a 3 ½ year-old girl and a 1 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 add a bit sunshine to my days!
Frugal Meals Menu Plan
- One Pan Chicken and Rice; Homemade Chocolate Brownies
– We had a carry in lunch at our church and this is what I took.
- Homemade Tuna Salad on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Homemade Popcorn; Easy Fruit Smoothie
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Frozen Blueberries, Bananas
- Easy Ground Beef and Rice Skillet; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing, 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Jello Salad
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Cherries; Apples
- Homemade Breakfast Burritos (ham, cheese and egg); Leftover 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Jello Salad; Carrots and Dip; Homemade Chocolate Brownies
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Cherries; Bananas
- Grilled Brat Sandwiches; Potato Chips; Leftover 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Jello Salad; Black Bean Quinoa Cabbage Salad; Leftover Homemade Chocolate Brownies
– We decided last minute to go on a picnic and so I just grabbed things that made it easy to do that! The Cabbage Salad was really the only thing that I had to make and since it’s super easy, it was a cinch.
- Annie’s Mac & Cheese (got free with coupons); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Peaches; Oranges
- The Best Chili on Earth; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Fresh Peach Dessert
– I used this chili recipe as a base, but changed cut back the seasoning a bit and also reduced the amount of meat and upped the amount of beans. I feel like I should warn you, it’s a pretty spicy chili- even with the seasoning cut back. So if you try it, if you aren’t into really spicy, you for sure will want the sour cream to go with it!
- Refried Bean Dip (made with Homemade Refried Beans) with Corn Chips; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Peaches; Frozen Blueberries
- Crustless Bacon & Egg Quiche; Peas; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Fresh Peach Dessert
– I normally would serve a salad with this type of meal, but we were out of lettuce and since I had peas in the freezer, that’s what we had!
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Peaches; Oranges
- Leftover The Best Chili on Earth; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Leftover Fresh Peach Dessert
- Homemade Meat Loaf; Roasted Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes; Lettuce Salad; No Bake Triple Layer Lemon Pudding Pie (use a homemade Graham Cracker Crust)
- Homemade Pulled Pork Sandwiches (made using my beloved Instant Pot!); Easy Fruit Smoothie
– We had guests that joined us for the day and both meals.
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Bananas; Cantaloupe
- Salsa Ranch Chicken Wraps; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce; Turkey Hill All Natural Ice Cream
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Peaches; Cantaloupe
- Crockpot Tamale Pie; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce
- Meat & Cheese Sandwiches on 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Bananas; Frozen Blueberries
- Chicken Stroganoff (similar to this recipe); Peas; Best Ever Chocolate Cake with Perfectly Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Garlicky White Bean Dip with Corn Chips; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Fresh Peaches; Cantaloupe
- Leftover Crockpot Tamale Pie; Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Best Ever Chocolate Cake
- Refried Bean Quesadillas (made with Homemade Refried Beans); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Bananas; Grapes
- Homemade Chicken Alfredo Pizza (used homemade Alfredo sauce and homemade pizza crust and topped with chicken, caramelized onions and thinly sliced tomatoes); Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Best Ever Chocolate Cake
– This homemade pizza crust recipe is awesome! Not only does it need no time to rise, you can have it ready to go in the oven in 30 minutes! And it’s really tasty too. The only thing I do differently is pre-bake the crust a bit before putting on the toppings.
- Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Bananas; Grapes
- Eggs; Toast; Cheese; 5 Minute Mandarin Orange Jello Salad; Leftover Best Ever Chocolate Cake