I thought it would be fun this month to not only do a week’s worth of frugal meals, but a frugal and fast meal plan. I am heavily relying on the slow cooker this week. The nights that the slow cooker isn’t used, leftovers are re-used in brand new ways. This cook once, eat twice method is one of my favorite strategies for saving money and time in the kitchen. It’s a great way to get multiple uses out of a larger cut of meat.
Just to clarify, this plan is for one week only. If you love these frugal meal plan samples and want to know how to craft your own for the remainder of the month, I highly recommend my new e-book, Eat Well Spend Less. In it I walk you through how to create a realistic budget for your family, my favorite money saving techniques, and how to create a frugal meal plan of your own. I have also included frugal recipes to get you started.
In case you missed the other frugal meal plans that I have published, here are the links:
eggs (any style)
breakfast burritos (leftover tortillas, eggs, leftover taco fixings)
Leftovers will be the main lunch option. Consider investing in thermoses for the entire family to take lunch to work or school.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
muffins (apple or banana)
- Slow cooker whole chicken, gravy, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts
Only eat half of the chicken. Reserve three cups for white chicken chili.
De-bone chicken and place bones in the slow cooker overnight to make chicken stock.
Place a large pork roast in the slow cooker. Season both sides liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Slow cooker red beans and rice
- Shredded pork tacos, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, corn tortillas or homemade flour tortillas
Reheat half of the leftover pork. Add homemade taco seasoning. Fill taco shells with pork and desired toppings.
- Pork sandwiches, buns, sweet potato fries
Reheat remainder of pork. Shred and put on buns. If there is any more juice left, you can use that for dipping sandwiches.
- Leftovers or breakfast for dinner
Note: If you need dinner fast every night and don’t have time to make the buns and tortillas the night of, buy corn tortillas or make the buns and tortillas ahead of time on Sunday. It doesn’t take that long to do and you can freeze them until ready to use or keep them in the refrigerator and reheat the night of.
great northern beans 1.00
red beans 1.00
organic sugar 3.00
peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts and salt) 3.00
whole chicken 10.00
pork roast 10.00
andoullie sausage 4.00
green pepper 1.00
butternut squash 2.00
Brussels Sprouts 2.00
eggs (2) 6.00
sour cream 2.00
Spices not included: cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper, bay leaf, oregano, cumin, chili 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.