I love seeing examples of other bloggers’ menu planning efforts. So, I thought it’d be helpful to share an example of my own $50 menu plan this week so you can see how someone who doesn’t coupon or buy in bulk sticks to a meal plan on a budget.
I placed an emphasis on easy dinners that wouldn’t require a lot of active cooking time from me, so 4 out of our 6 meals are either cooked in a crockpot or in the oven. My meal plan extends from Sunday to Saturday.
$50 Menu Plan
How I kept my costs down:
1. Frozen Broccoli.
I purchased a two lb. Bag of frozen broccoli for $2 and incorporated it as a side in two different dinners in this week’s meal plan. This keeps the cost of those sides to $1.
We had plenty of salad greens left over from last week’s meal plan, so I incorporated it as a side to several meals in this week’s meal plan. I recommend you use as much of what you already have at home since it helps you control your costs and avoid waste.
3. Creamy Chicken Casserole.
I only used two pieces of chicken for the entire casserole. A casserole lends itself well to stretching chicken. What I do to still get plenty of chicken in every bite while using less is cooking the chicken first and then pulsing it a few times in the food processor.
4. Shredded Cheese.
I purchased two packages of shredded cheese this week. In order to justify the cost, I worked shredded cheese into several meals throughout the week.
5. Brown Rice.
I’m serving rice with two meals. I purchased two 1 lb. Bags of rice since they were under $1 per lb. The rice will also be included in other areas of my meal plan and we’ll likely have leftovers for next week’s meal plan.
6. Ground Beef.
I purchased preformed hamburger patties instead of regularly packaged ground beef since it was $2 cheaper per lb. (it was on sale).
Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks
Scrambled eggs served over brown rice and salsa. This is a strange combination but it’s something we’ve been enjoying frequently. The cost of eggs isn’t included since we already had these on hand. I also have coffee every morning. The cost of coffee creamer is included in the total budget for this meal plan.
Salad for me, leftovers for my husband. When I run out of salad, I’ll join my husband in eating leftovers for lunch. We did budget for him to eat out for lunch one day this week just to provide a change of pace.
We purchased a bag of flavored popcorn. We make our own microwavable popcorn but occasionally we like to branch out. We’re also still working our way through a 15 lb. watermelon we purchased last week for $4. I’m making watermelon juice, watermelon slushies and serving watermelon as a snack in itself.
If I didn’t already have salad greens and a few salad-friendly veggies in the fridge, it would’ve bumped up the cost of my meal plan by about $7. I could’ve purchased less expensive coffee creamer and done without the popcorn if I wanted to come in at exactly $50, including the cost of salads.
This is just an example of what we eat and how we tend to structure our weekly menu plans. We do typically spend a bit more than this. The things you purchase and the costs will be different according to your specific preferences and budget.
I’d love for you to share your weekly grocery budget and your go-to frugal meals in the comments below!