I’m squeaking out this May frugal meal plan on the very last day of May. Whew! Just under the wire. For those of you that anticipate these every month and use them in your own home, I apologize for being so late on this.
I’m trying to use more seasonal produce in these plans instead of relying simply on the grocery stores. This is to encourage you to grow some of your own food, whether it be lettuce and greens in a planter box or herbs in pots. It cuts down on food costs, the food is fresh, and more flavorful with nutrients in tact. In May, asparagus, greens, lettuce, peas, and carrots are all in season in my area, so those items are used heavily in this plan. If you still have no access to growing your own food or a farmer’s market, I still am a proponent of grace when it comes to food. Do the best you can with the resources you have, and don’t sweat the rest.
Check out my new frugal meals pinterest board, where I pin all of the recipes in these frugal meal plans. I hope it is helpful to have them all in one spot for you to pin.
In case you missed the previous months’ meal plans:
Egg casserole: This will last a couple of breakfasts. Use half lb. of sausage instead of a lb. if you can’t afford it.
Pancakes: Sub maple syrup for the sugar
Oatmeal: Top with butter and maple syrup or fruit
Potato Pancakes: Use leftover potatoes from the crockpot chicken night. Use regular diced onions instead of scallions. Cook in butter instead of vegetable oil.
Any fruit available
Lunch and Snack Options
Leftovers (Primary lunch option)
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Carrot and celery sticks
Any fruit available
Mashed Potato Cakes
Crockpot chicken, buttered carrots, mashed potatoes
Reserve half of chicken for later in the week. Reserve broth in crockpot for later in the week. Also place carcass in a crockpot with water, carrot, celery, and onion and cook overnight. You can even use the perpetual soup method if you need more broth.
Chicken salad (lettuce, chopped celery, julienne carrots, hard boiled eggs, leftover chicken, simple vinaigrette dressing)
Tuna casserole: For breadcrumbs, dry out a couple of pieces of bread and grind them.
Leftovers or breakfast for dinner: eggs, pancakes, french toast, hashbrowns, etc. can all be made with ingredients purchased.
Seasonal Fruit 4.00
Frozen peas 1.00
Bulk sausage 1/2lb. 2.00
Dry White Beans 1.79
Dry Green Lentils 1.69
Tuna (2 cans) 2.00
diced tomatoes 1.50
green chilis 1.00
Milk 4.00 r-BST free
Cheddar Cheese 4.00
Parm Cheese 3.00
Olive Oil 5.99
Real Maple Syrup 3.99/8.5 oz Aldi
Baking Powder: 1.00
Total Cost: 79.13
Spices not included in price: salt, cumin, chili powder, oregano. Most people already have these in their spice cabinet, so I didn’t include them in the shopping list. If you don’t already have these in your pantry, your total bill will be more expensive.
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.
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.