Meal planning isn’t necessarily something I’ve always loved doing. It’s tedious, can get overwhelming and it takes a good chunk of your time if you’re cross referencing with local sales and grocery deals. Having said that, I force myself to do it week after week because it truly is a phenomenal and fool proof way to save money on grocery and stick to a very specific food budget. I attribute our ability to stick to a 100$ weekly budget to feed a family of four ( 3 adults and a toddler) 100% to meal planning and savvy shopping. I know I’ve mentioned our budget before but I’ve never gotten into the nitty gritty of what we’re specifically eating and buying on a week to week basis to feed our family and stay within our budget.
Today I’m going to share a weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners from This Tiny Blue House. In fact, this is exactly what we’re going to eat this upcoming week because I’m heading out Saturday morning to buy the very items I’ve included in the free printable grocery list pdf at the very bottom of this post.
If you’re interested in saving a ton of time and money – read on!
A few things to keep in mind
- I’ve made the basic assumption that most people have things like seasonings, sugar, oil and flour stocked in their pantry. If you’re missing these items add them to the list.
- The prices reflected below are from our local Walmart. The prices may vary depending on your geographic location.
- We don’t buy milk as part of our weekly grocery haul. This is the one item that we buy on a per-need basis because we’ve got a milk guzzling toddler in our house.
- Most if not all of these recipes can be modified to accommodate various dietary limitations and preferences.
- I do not provision for lunches because we always eat leftovers.
- Each of these meals produce at least 6 portions which covers dinner and lunch for our family of 4.
- If a recipe calls for a one-time ingredient that I know I wont use regularly I omit it.
- It’s entirely possible that you can find better deals on certain items at different stores. Absolutely take advantage and save even more money!
- The produce in this weeks list is all frozen. If you can score a better deal by buying it fresh absolutely go for it.
- I’m not making any claims that these meals are healthy. We try our best to eat a balanced diet and these recipes work best for our small family.
- We all have a healthy appetite (including my toddler) and this type of meal plan keeps us satisfied throughout the week.
Alternate between this baked oatmeal & plain yogurt topped with raw oats and thawed frozen fruit
Snacks & Desserts
- Homemade hummus with raw veggies, crackers (we omit the tahini in the hummus recipe)
- Chopped seasonal fruit
- Plain yogurt topped with cinnamon and chopped apples
- Air popped popcorn
- Hot Milk Cake
Spiced Lentil Soup + Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ( double the batch of lentil soup to eat later in the week – we sub frozen spinach for collard greens)
Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti (We omit the cream cheese altogether and drastically reduce the amount of Mozzarella to top)
Carrot and Potato Omelette with steamed broccoli
Spicy Lentil Soup + zucchini fritters
Eggs & Dairy
- 1 carton of 18 eggs – $2.49
- 1 block mozzarella cheese (to shred yourself) – $2.00
- 1 large tub plain great-value yogurt – $2.00
- 1 lb ground beef – $5.64
- 1 package chicken breast/thighs/drumsticks (whichever is cheapest) – $9.98
- 1 package spicy Italian sausage – $4.99
- 1 Can Great-Value crushed tomatoes – $1.00
- 1 Can Great-Value diced tomatoes – $1.00
- 1 16oz package Great-Value spaghetti – $1.00
- 1 package Great-Value frozen chopped spinach – $1.97
- 1 package Great-Value frozen corn – $1.97
- 1 package Great-Value frozen broccoli – $1.97
- 1 package frozen Great-Value mixed stir fry vegetables – $1.97
- 1 package Jolly Time pop corn kernels for air popping – $1.94
- 1 16oz package Great-Value dry green lentils – $1.88
- 1 5lb bag long-grain rice – $2.32
- 1 jar Pace restaurant style salsa – $1.98
- 1 15oz can Great-Value no salt added black beans – $0.98
- 1 16oz box Great-Value buttery smooth crackers – $1.98
- 2 cans Great-Value no salt added chick peas – 2 X $0.98
- 1 large bag frozen strawberries – $4.97
- 1 container Great Value oven toasted old fashioned oats – $2.48
Breads & Grains
- 1 loaf great value sandwich bread – $1.88
- 1 package Old El Paso flour tortillas 10ct – $1.75
- Garlic – $0.99
- 1 bag carrots – $1.99
- 1 bag potatoes -$1.99
- 1 bag onions – $0.99
- 2 lemons – $0.75
- 1 celery – $1.99
- 1 sweet potato – $1.00
- 3 large zucchini $2.00
- 2 bell peppers – $2.00
- 1 tomato – $1.00
- 1 5lb bag apples – $2.49
- 1 watermelon – $2.99
- 2 cantaloupes – $4.00
- 2 pints strawberry – $4.00
- 3 lbs cherries – $6.00
Free Printable Grocery List Tips & Tricks
Here is a free printable grocery list that reflects the menu options I’ve included above. Before heading to the store make sure you shop through your pantry, freezer and fridge to cross off any items you already have in stock! I’m betting that most of you will have more than a handful of these items in your home already which will drop the weekly cost even further.
Frugal tip: if you’re able to reduce your weekly cost by pantry and freezer shopping calculate how much you are saving and use it towards building up a stockpile! If you want more details about how we stockpile in our home head on over to this post to see how we do it. Other options include stocking up on meat that is on sale and loading up your freezer!
Frugal tip #2: if you’re cooking for less than 4 people I’d cook the same quantity and freeze the leftovers in single servings to use for lunches. Have a read of this post to see how much you can save by brown bagging your lunch: Save a ton of money by brown bagging your lunch everyday
How I make this meal plan work for my family
- I usually grocery plan and shop on Saturday mornings. Margs stays home with her dad so I can head to the grocery store and focus on getting everything we need for the week. One of the most important rules we have about grocery shopping is only shop once per week so it’s important that I get it right. I will not head out again. No exceptions.
- At the grocery store I have my list in hand but am open to making last minute changes/substitutions if there is a money saving opportunity. If you want to see some grocery shopping tips that help us stay on budget head on over and read this post: 5 Grocery shopping tips that will save you money
- I start cooking on Sundays. On Sunday mornings I make baked oatmeal, Hot Milk Cake, prepare hummus, pop popcorn and chop veggies and fruit for the week. I store my chopped vegetables in glass Tupperware in my fridge and freeze the Hot Milk Cake in 4 portions once it has cooled. I then pop it out of the freezer when needed throughout the week. The pop corn is stored in a large air tight container that we keep in our pantry and snack on regularly throughout the week.
- If I’m missing an ingredient or two I don’t sweat it. All these recipes work perfectly well regardless. I will not spend money on ingredients that I’ll only use once.
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What is your biggest grocery shopping hurdle?