On Saturday mornings I like to sit down and make my plan for cheap and easy meals for the week. I have discovered a great meal plan that cost me less than $80.00 to feed four people for an entire week. A delicious meal plan like this is great at least once a month and it will be a crowd pleaser at your house.
Have you noticed?
Sometimes you can whip up cheap and easy meals for your family quicker than driving to a restaurant, grabbing your food and returning home to eat it. If you’re the primary chef in your household, you know how important it is to cook before your family returns home.
Why Meal Plan?
On our journey to budgeting, I had to get creative with our weekly plans by thinking of cheap and easy meals for my family. I have to make sure to purchase all our groceries by Sunday.
The best way to do this is to grab your recipes and write out all the ingredients you need before you go to the grocery store. Without having a meal plan and grocery list you could easily blow an extra $150.00 by stopping by the grocery store every day.
- In the list below you will see I use a lot of the same ingredients which helps to keep our weekly cost below $80.00.
- For the items on our grocery list that states, “no new purchase” these items are stored in our pantry for an extended period of time and there is no need to purchase new items weekly.
Here is my meal planning list from one week of cheap meal options that satisfies my family for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Cheap Breakfast Options
- Homemade pancakes or french toast
- Waffles with maple syrup
- Cereal with Milk
- Cheese Omelet
- Toast with Jelly, scrambled eggs and turkey or pork bacon
- Boiled Eggs and toast with peanut butter
Breakfast Grocery List
- Pancake/Waffle Mix: $2.29
- Bread (French Toast & Regular Toast): $1.09
- 1 Dozen of Eggs: .99
- Oatmeal: $2.29
- Shredded Cheese: $1.99
- Turkey/Pork Bacon: $2.99
- Peanut Butter & Jelly: no new purchase (already in pantry)
Total Cost of Breakfast Ingredients: $11.64
One of my favorite kitchen gadgets to use for breakfast is a giant electric griddle. You can purchase here:
I can cook a lot of pancakes at once. With this griddle I can make them super-fast and freeze them to eat later in the week.
Cheap Dinner and Lunch Options
Ground Turkey or Ground Beef Recipes
You can never go wrong with one our favorite dishes “Spaghetti.” Spaghetti is one dish that can last our family for at least two and a half days. It’s really easy to make and it takes about thirty minutes from prep to finish product.
When you’re creating a meal plan for a family of four you need easy solutions and spaghetti is super easy to make.
Here is our grocery list for Spaghetti:
- 16oz. spaghetti: .99 cent
- 1lb. ground turkey or ground beef: $3.89
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped or dehydrated onions: .69
- 1 garlic clove, minced: .49
- Himalayan pink salt – no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Ground pepper – no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Italian Seasoning – no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Grated Parmesan/Romano Cheese: $2.36
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Ragu or Presto Pasta Sauce: $2.59
Total Cost of Ingredients: $11.01
We are huge fans of Chili especially during the winter months. However, Chili is something you can eat all year long like soup.
Are you ready for a yummy meal that’s good for the soul? My family prefers a thicker consistency, so I normally use my slower cooker when I’m going to make Chili.
The best part is that you don’t have to stand over your food, as it cooks, that’s the beautiful of using a slower cooker. Chili is just like spaghetti it will last two or three days.
Here is our grocery list for Chili:
- 1lb of ground turkey or ground beef: $3.89
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped or dehydrated onions: .69
- 1 garlic clove, minced: .49 cents
- tomato paste: .99 cents
- 1 packet of chili powder: $1.29
- 1 tsp of ground cumin: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- 1tsp Oregano: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- 1tsp Paprika: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- ½ tsp Himalayan Salt: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Ground Pepper: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Cayenne Pepper: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- 1 large can of Chili Beans: $1.49
- 1 can crushed tomatoes with green chilies: $1.59
- 1 can of tomato sauce: $1.09
You don’t technically need one, but we purchased a slow cooker for some of our meal options.
The slower cooker (crock pot) is a lifesaver for me on busy days. I can set my meal in the slower cooker and check back to see when it’s done. This is perfect for busy families.
Toppings for Chili
- Shredded cheddar: $1.99
- Sour cream: $1.59
- Scallions: .99 cents
Total Cost of Ingredients: $16.10
Cheesy Taco Skillet
Try an easy to make skillet meal that is mouth water and you will need approximately twenty minutes to prep and cook. If you love Mexican food, you will enjoy this quick and easy meal that’s will charm your family taste buds.
My family normally will eat on this meal for at least one and a half days. This pairs great with a garden salad.
Here is my grocery list for my Cheesy Taco Skillet:
- 1 cup of black beans: .89 cents
- 1 lb ground turkey or ground beef: $3.89
- 1 small red bell pepper: .59 cents
- 1 garlic clove: .49 cents
- ¼ cup of scallions: .99 cents
- Chili powder: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Ground cumin: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Himalayan Pink Salt: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Cheddar Cheese (shredded): $1.99
- Monterey Jack (shredded): $1.99
- Hot sauce: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- 150z Diced tomatoes: .79 cents
Total Cost of Ingredients: $11.64
Barbecue Chicken Sliders
Chicken sliders can be a great entrée for dinner, especially paired with baked beans and coleslaw.
If you are not a fan of barbeque sauce, you can try spaghetti sauce, honey mustard or another sauce your family enjoys.
Here is my grocery list for my Barbecue Chicken Sliders:
- 4 Large Skinless Chicken Breast: $5.99
- 16oz of Barbeque Sauce: $1.29
- Tsp minced garlic: .99 cents
- ½ small onion: .69 cents
- Sliced mozzarella cheese: $2.59
- Buns, for serving: $1.69
- 1 bag of fresh Coleslaw with mixtures – 1.99
- 1 large can baked beans -$1.29
Total Cost of Ingredients: $16.59
Chicken Fried Rice
You can cook for your family this meal and it will take less than thirty minutes. Make sure to fix a little extra chicken fried rice to cover your family lunch for the following day.
Here is my grocery list for my Chicken Fried Rice:
- 4 cups of long grain rice: $2.59
- 3 large chicken breasts: $4.99
- Frozen Peas: $1.00
- 2 large eggs: .99
- 1 Carrot: .59 cent
- Green onion: .79
- 3 tbsp Sesame oil: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Himalayan Salt: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
- Garlic Clove: .49 cents
- Soy sauce: no new purchase (already in spice cabinet)
Total Cost of Ingredients: $11.44
Looking for more cheap and easy meals options? Checkout these…
- Cheap Dinner Options That Leave You Craving for More
- 27 Quick and Budget Friendly Meals For Your Family
- 20 Dinner Ideas For Families on a Budget
We like to try different meal options to see how we can get the most food for the least amount of money.
I use different combinations when I plan my weekly meals:
- 30 to 1-hour meals
- Freezer Cooking
- Slowing Cooking
My neighbors receive the weekly newspapers and they share their coupons! They know I love using coupons to help save us more money.
What’s Your Favorite Cheap and Easy Meals For Your Family?
I would love to hear about your family’s favorite cheap and easy meals in the comment below.