July slipped right past me and I forgot to do a July edition of these frugal meal plans. A few of you have been asking for a new plan, and today is the day. The August edition is here!
It’s the end of summer and fresh produce around me and still coming from my garden is peppers, berries, herbs, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, green beans, peaches, and more. It’s still a great time to eat out of your garden, glean some from friends and family that garden, look for fruit trees, and shop local roadside stands. It’s a fantastic time for the food budget. In my home, the produce we consume in the summer comes exclusively from our garden, and the only things we have to buy are weekly pantry staples, meat (if I don’t have any in bulk in the freezer), and dairy products. Vegetables, fruit, and herbs are found in my backyard, watered from the rain and picked by my two hands when it’s time for dinner.
The prices below are NOT reflective of if you have access to fresh produce growing in your backyard. It will be MUCH cheaper if you already have these items. Also if you have pantry staples like flour, rice, olive oil, etc, your grocery bill will be even less expensive.
What if you don’t have a garden?
Well, I encourage you to grow something. Even if you live in an apartment with no balcony, you can probably still grow herbs in a window sill or some simple lettuces. Every little bit saves money.
If you just aren’t there yet, check out farmer’s markets, produce stands, small produce markets, or even direct farmers. You can usually find great deals on produce in the summer, especially if you buy in bulk and freeze, dehydrate, can, or ferment the bounty for later in the year.
You may also have friends, family, or neighbors with gardens. They probably have squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers coming out of their ears that they would be happy to give you. Is there anything you could exchange fresh produce for? Babysitting, homemade bread, homemade cleaners? What could you offer in exchange for some fresh goodies?
Here is a list of previous frugal meal plans if you missed any of them. Happy frugal eating, friends!
Also stay tuned for my brand new food budget ebook that will be released in September. Eat Well, Spend Less. A practical guide to eating real food on a budget. To be notified right away when it goes on sale, make sure you are subscribed to my blog. I can’t wait to share it with you!
August frugal meal Plan
- On Sunday put a whole chicken in the crockpot. Divide chicken into three portions for later dinners. Reserve juices for chicken broccoli rice casserole and black bean soup. Put carcass back in crockpot, cover with water, and cook on low for 12 hours to make more stock.
- Homemade yogurt
- Homemade bread: white bread or whole wheat
- Homemade mayo: use a mild tasting olive oil
- Homemade tortillas
- Eggs: any style
- Pancakes: 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt, pinch of sweetener, 4 T. melted butter, 3/4 cup milk, 1 egg. Mix dry ingredients. Whisk in wet ingredients. Add more milk if too thick. Cook on hot griddle until bubbly. Flip and cook until brown.
- Breakfast meat
- Homemade yogurt
- Breakfast burritos with leftover tortillas
- Egg sandwiches
Lunch and Snack Options
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Chicken sandwiches if you have leftover chicken
- Egg salad
- Celery sticks
- Yogurt with bananas
- Sloppy joes, homemade buns, oven fries, roasted broccoli
- Chicken broccoli rice casserole, salad
- Chicken fajitas, black beans (season with salt, pepper, and fresh garlic)
- Black bean soup, quesadillas (cheese or leftover fajita filling if available)
- Chicken salad sandwiches or lettuce wraps: leftover chicken, homemade mayo, grapes, celery, salt, pepper
- Cheese pizzas, salad with simple vinaigrette dressing
- Leftovers or breakfast for dinner
- ground beef 4.00
- whole chicken 10.00
- eggs (2 dozen) 6.00
- bacon or sausage 4.00
- milk 4.00
- cheddar cheese 3.50
- butter 3.50
- tomato puree (large can) 3.00
- honey 3.00
- black beans 1.79
- olive oil 5.99
- rice 1.75
- flour (whole wheat or unbleached) 3.00
- salsa 1.99
- grapes 3.00
- bananas 1.00
- lemons 2.00
- broccoli 1.00
- celery 2.50
- lettuce 2.00
- potatoes 3.00
- peppers (2) 1.50
- onions 1.69
- garlic .79
- mozzarella cheese 2.00
- real maple syrup 3.99/8.5 oz Aldi
- Pantry staples needed but not included in price: sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cumin, yeast, baking powder
If you are new to my frugal meal plans and have questions, please read my FAQs.
Q: Where do you shop? These aren’t the prices in my area.
A: I live in the midwest and prices may be cheaper or more expensive than your area. These are average prices of stores in my area: Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Schnucks, Walmart, Costco, as well as online retailers like Vitacost and Amazon. Please do not get discouraged if you don’t have an Aldi or Trader Joe’s in your area. As far as the beef price, I can only get that price when I buy in bulk from a local farmer. Grass fed beef in stores will run $6-10/lb. If the prices are more expensive in your area, take into consideration that the entire cost of living may be higher as well, meaning wages may be higher in your area also. See next question if you have more concerns over the prices listed.
Q: Can you price shop my local store?
A: No. I only have access to my local stores. If you would like to send me a master list of prices in your area, I can take those into consideration for future posts.
Q: Is that enough food for lunch and snacks?
A: Most of these dinner options will yield enough for leftovers. I have included sandwich options and fruit and vegetable options only if leftovers are not enough. They can supplement leftovers or stand alone. I am not implying a growing child eat only an apple and carrot sticks for lunch, but those alongside some soup for example, would be plenty. These meals are filling enough that snacks should not be needed, but for those that get a little hungry, I have provided small snack options as well. Children will eat better for actual meal times if they haven’t grazed all day long on snacks. This lunch and snack plan is very typical of what my family of four eats on a weekly basis, and it is plenty for us.
Q: I’m allergic to eggs, wheat, dairy, nuts, tomatoes, peanuts, yeast, and peas. Can I use your plan?
A: I understand that many people have allergies in today’s world. That’s unfortunately reality. I have tried to include as many gluten free options as possible to accommodate the masses, however, it is impossible for me to tailor these plans to fit everyone’s individual needs. Please feel free to take what you can use from this meal plan and leave the rest. Not everything will suit everyone’s dietary needs and taste.
Q: I hate beans. Can you do more plans without using beans/legumes?
A: I am an advocate for healthy pasture raised animal products, which can be more expensive than conventional. I find it nearly impossible to eat well on this limited of a budget without including some type of beans or lentils. Again, not everything will suit everyone’s dietary needs and tastes. Take what you can use, and leave the rest. I did not use beans or legumes in this plan, however all of my others do have it.
Q: I have more than/less than four people in my family. Can I still use your plans?
A: Yes, many people have used these with double the amount of people and many have used these plans for a family of one or two. Simply double the recipes if you need more. If you are cooking for only one or two people, this may be enough food for two weeks. One possible option is freezing half of the portions for later meals.
Q: I don’t even have $80 a week to spend for groceries. What advice do you have?
A: I firmly believe in grace when it comes to nourishing ourselves. We can only do what we can do. Buy the best quality of food you can afford. If you can’t afford the highest quality of everything, you just can’t. Bellies still need to be fed regardless. Consider frozen vegetables if they are less expensive than fresh. Once you have trimmed down all of those options and if you still can’t afford that amount, try checking out local food pantries and food banks. Churches/religious organizations and through your city are good places to look for those options. Dry goods like oats, beans, flour, pasta, canned tomatoes, and peanut butter are items they might typically carry. Some even offer meat and produce. Also check out discount grocers, local food co-ops, CSAs, or food ministry programs for possible cheaper options than your local grocery store. I would also encourage everyone to grow something of your own. Whether it’s in pots, a windowsill, or a backyard, anything you can grow yourself will be money saved off of your grocery bill, even if you’re just growing salad greens and herbs.