$200/MONTH MENU PLAN FOR OUR FAMILY OF 5 (POST #31)

Frugal meal planning is a great way to keep your grocery budget under control! Check out this menu plan showing what our family of 5 eats on a $200/mo. grocery budget.

Frugal meal planning is a great way to keep your grocery budget under control! Check out this menu plan showing what our family of 5 eats on a $200/mo. grocery budget.

You probably noticed that I often mention getting something “from the freezer” in these menu plans.  For example, twice in this menu post we ate Breakfast Burritos from the freezer.  If you are serious about frugal meal planning and eating most of your meals at home, this little trick is one of your best friends!

One of the ways that I save both time and money is to cook once and eat twice (or more!).  I often double a recipe and freeze the second batch for a later meal.  Or I’ll make a pan of brownies and freeze part of them.  This keeps us from eating them all at once ;), helps them stay fresher and bails me out when I need a quick dessert for a meal or I need a snack when we have friends over last minute.  Try it!  It’s such a great way to make meal prep less stressful!

If you are new to these menu plans of mine, it’s probably helpful to know a couple of things first:

  • Our family of six consists of two adults with fairly big appetites, an 8 year-old boy, a 5 year-old girl, a 2 ½  year-old girl and an exclusively breastfed baby boy.  (Yes, there are six of us now…I just haven’t had a chance to update my image to reflect that, so it still says family of 5!)
  • I buy lots of fruits and veggies in bulk from local farmers/orchards in the summer and then freeze or can them. This is not only much cheaper it is also healthier too. But that is why if you look at my Weekly Spending Summaries you won’t always see lots of produce.
  • I have a stockpile.  My cupboards are full from previous shopping and here’s why. When I can get pasta for free with coupons, I buy as much as I have coupons for.  If I’m able to get flour for $0.50/bag like I did last fall, I’ll buy half a dozen and put them in the freezer to use as needed.  I do this as much as my budget allows, on as many items as I can and as a result save lots of money. Then when I go to plan menus, I simply plan our meals around what I already have in my cupboards and freezer, as much as possible.  Obviously I still might have to buy a few things at regular price here and there, but by stocking up when the price is at rock bottom I save a lot.
  • We rarely snack.  By eating “heavy” food like granola at breakfast we don’t get hungry until lunch time.  And the same goes for the afternoon.  Our lunches are big enough that we usually are fine until dinner time.  When we do need a snack, I try to keep it mostly healthy by offering fruit, nuts or maybe No Bake Energy Bites.  We don’t always do it perfectly though, and sometimes end up having chips or cookies instead.
  • Our breakfasts consist of Homemade Granola or Baked Oatmeal, the occasional bought cereal that I was able to get for $0.50/box and sometimes some fruit too.  I know that might seem awfully boring to some of you, but we actually all really enjoy it and prefer it over other breakfast food.  I also have a homemade iced coffee, homemade frappe or some other fun beverage every morning.  It’s just one of the little things that I do to add a bit sunshine to my days!

Below you will find our lunches and dinners.  (If we ate something other than our usual breakfast, I’ll note that too.) Monday through Friday, the lunches are just for the three children and I.  My husband takes a packed lunch with him to work and it typically consists of sandwiches, fruit, homemade yogurt and sometimes random leftovers too.

Frugal Meal Planning Ideas

Amish Turkey Stuffings

WEEK 1
Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

  • Meat and Cheese Sandwiches using 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapes; Frozen Blueberries
  • Rice & Bean Haystacks; Homemade Applesauce; Leftover Fresh Apple Cake
    – The Rice and Beans was supposed to be a stove top rice dish called Speedy Spanish Rice, but I decided to modify it and add beans too.  It kind of totally changed the recipe and didn’t turn out so well.  Oops!  So I tweaked it some more, added a few more things till it tasted good and we ended up eating it like haystacks- that means we topped it with taco salad toppings such as lettuce, dressing, onions etc.  

Wednesday

Thursday

  • Eggs in a Nest made with 100% Whole Wheat Bread (basically an egg fried in bread); Easy Homemade Yogurt; Clementines; Bananas
  •  Homemade Chicken Alfredo Pizza (used homemade Alfredo sauce and homemade pizza crust and topped with chicken and caramelized onions); Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Homemade Applesauce; Chocolate Chip Shortbread
    – This homemade pizza crust recipe is awesome!  Not only does it need no time to rise, you can have it ready to go in the oven in 30 minutes!  And it’s really tasty too.  The only thing I do differently is pre-bake the crust a bit before putting on the toppings. 

Friday

Saturday

  • Refried Bean and Cheese Quesadillas; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Grapes; Frozen Blueberries
  • Kidfresh Chicken Nuggets; Store Bought Fries; Lettuce Salad with Mexican Dressing; Turkey Hill Ice Cream
    – I got the Kidfresh nuggets and the fries for free with coupons recently.  I don’t often buy that kind of thing, even if I can get it for free simply because we prefer homemade meals.  But sometimes we moms need to relax a little and do what it takes to keep our sanity.  It was a busy day and having a quick meal like this at home was way cheaper (and probably healthier) than eating out!  

creamy-italian-sausage-and-pasta-soup-easy

WEEK 2
Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

  • Various Leftovers; Easy Homemade Yogurt; Apples; Frozen Blueberries
  • Columbian Chicken and Rice; Lettuce Salad; Homemade Applesauce; Homemade Vanilla Pudding
    – The chicken and rice dish was a skillet recipe that I tried from a simple little cookbook that I have.  It’s basically chicken, rice, tomatoes and a few other things that give it flavor.  Easy and basic, but quite tasty!

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

$1.69 lb chicken breast

Why We Have a $200 Grocery Budget

Comments

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Linsey, thanks for asking! It’s any kind of lettuce salad that I make. Sometimes it is full of other veggies, sometimes it’s lettuce, almonds and cheese, sometimes it’s lettuce, black beans, corn and tomatoes etc. Unless I specify the dressing, we just use whatever bought dressing we have on hand right then.

      I used to type out what ingredients I used each time, but it got cumbersome and as life got busier I found it harder to take the time to jot down every single salad ingredient in my planner. So, unless I follow a specific recipe, to simplify things I now just say lettuce salad. But maybe that’s too simplified! :)

  1. says

    This is awesome. Getting our monthly budget under control is something I really struggle with, with a husband, two teenaged boys, and a toddler. I will definitely be implementing some of your ideas in the upcoming months! Thank you!

    • ThriftyFrugalMom says

      Hope they help, Amy! I’m sure that the teenaged boys don’t help the grocery budget at all. I already am amazed at how much food our small family goes through. Granted, our kids have big appetites…but still! I have no doubt that in a several years I’ll feel like we’re being eaten out of house and home. 😉

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