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07 June 2013

$50 a week menu planning


$50 a week menu plan

As some of you might know, Joshua and I recently were BOTH unemployed, and just last week I was made an official job offer which I accepted. So how did we have food for the last few months. Well when I was first unemployed back in Early February we had a grocery budget of $50 a week and sometimes that had to last two weeks.

First real thing to do was to meal plan, meal plan, meal plan! If you're impulse grabbing food because nothing is prepared you'll easily spend half of your grocery budget just on ONE meal!
Here are some meal planners to help:
Weekly Menu and Grocery List
Monthly Menu and Grocery List
Freezer Cooking Planner

My most common way of planning was the Weekly Menu, and that was because we got paid each week and that's when we went grocery shopping. For others having a month menu is better and they go to the store for perishables. It's really about what your family needs.

So these are some simple tips that went into my menu planning
  • Combine ingredients ex. buying potatoes? don't just fix one meal with potatoes fix two, you've made the ingredient work for you ex. 2 chicken breasts, don't just let them sit in the freezer PLAN with them!
  • Have nights with no meat! Meat is so expensive even if it's bulk etc it's silly how expensive so have meals like grilled cheese and soup, pasta with veggies, eggs
  • Make large meals (still can do portion control) to have leftovers 
  • Make as much scratch as possible, those box meals add up quickly. It can be a LOT of work to cook from scratch but it's worth it, and it's healthier
  • If you're into freezer cooking check out pinterest for AMAZING freezer meals for pennies on the dollar
  • Have an aldi in town? Shop there!
  • Hello! Okay so you have 4 people to feed not 2 so you use 2 lbs of hamburger in a dish, okay. Why not use 1 1/2 lbs. If you have 2 meals with hamburger that's an extra pound you can use in something else if you just take out 1/2 lb!
  • If you can't get to an aldi, shop from the stores ad. You see hamburger on sale (change your menu a bit, look at their ad on their website before you go and plan around it! Take advantage of things already on SALE!
  • Picky eaters? Blenderize! If you have a kid that hates carrots blend them into the dish, you'll taste them, but they probably won't! 
  • *Addition by Josh* - COUPON, COUPON, COUPON! You can extend the amount your dollar can go by using coupons! They are like cash that can only be used on certain items! Look for coupons on things that are on the list. DON'T add something onto your list just because you have a coupon for it (Unless the item is free).
Okay so let me say that on the last one that's me, it is far easier to name the things that I DO eat then the things I don't. On top of that as an adult picky eater it's hard because I want to try all this ethnic, flavorful foods. So my trick that I learned from my mother in law is if you want to cook it, blend it! You don't really lose the nutrients but they don't know they are eating something they normally "don't like".

Now for some actual menus and break downs (i'm going to guess at a lot of the prices)! Aldi which i mentioned above is an amazing grocery store that has NO name brands instead all their brands and though they don't have as much of a selection as your walmart they have a lot, and things can be sometimes half price what they are in a large store like Walmart and Target. The food tastes just as good!

So I'm going to give you my menu plan, link the recipe but below it give you the why and how it works for me!

Week # 1

Chicken & Dumplings
I choose this because it goes so far, it'll lost easily 8 servings plus! I'll also use the chicken in another dish!

Hot Chili
So I buy hamburger or ground turkey (because it's cheaper) in those 3 pounds rolls because it's about 20% cheaper than 3 1-pound rolls. You'll have to guesstimate at the measurments when you're dividing it but it'll be worth it!

Sour Cream Noodle Bake
Again using up the hamburger (or turkey)! But also the ingredients for this are SOOOOO cheap plus again using the sour cream for something else!

Au Gratin Potatoes
You're using the potatoes from chicken and dumplings and the cheese for the quesadillas and tacos (below). Sausage costs about $2.99

Cheese Quesadillas
Using the sour cream, I only pay $.99 for my tortillas and a big bag of cheese can be expensive but I'll use it for other things, or freeze the rest!

Tacos
In this recipe you're going to use the rest of the hamburger, the sour cream, cheese, and tortillas. Now just throw in ONE can of refried beans, some lettuce that you already have for salads and it's not fancy but it's tacos!

Grilled cheese and soup
I spend the $2.99 on pepperjack cheese, but I use it for this and egg sandwiches! Soup is cheap as long as you're not buying chunky, plus Josh loves to have his leftover Chicken and Dumplings with this!

Egg Sandwiches
So I love my eggs hard if they're not scrambled so then we throw some toast in the toast mix up about 4-6 eggs throw some cheese on it and GO!

Marinated chicken
I don't have a recipe but let me tell what I mean. Put your chicken breasts in the crockpot and buy your standard liquid marinade from the grocery, pour the WHOLE bottle on the chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours. Mix a bag of pasta sides (most stores they cost $1) and you're done! Throw some frozen veggies in the microwave to steam or whatever and you have a healthy meal and you've used the leftover chicken breasts

Leftovers!
I've created 10 meals for you, three are no meat so super cheap! The meatless you could do for lunches or have leftovers whatever!


I know it's not easy, but over the next few weeks I'll sit down with MORE menu plans. It's possible to do groceries on a huge budget and you don't *need* coupons. Trust me I love couponing but sometimes it doesn't help your bottom line.



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23 comments:

  1. Great post! My grocery spending has gotten way out of control. I also like to shop at the farmer's market to save money on produce. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin- For a while my husband and I could only afford the $50 so we didn't have a lot of produce, but now with a job for me I think we'll be getting lots more!! I need to find some local farmer's markets and support them!! Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Please check out the Huge Giveaway going on right now!!

      Delete
  2. Awesome post! Pinned! I love planning my family's meals. It just makes everything so easier and cheaper! New follower here! Would love if you could check out my blog!
    Selene @ Restoration Beauty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Selene- I'll come by and check it out today!! Thanks for following! I have no idea what I would do without a menu plan, besides break the bank. Haha.
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Please check out the Huge Giveaway going on right now!!

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on the job offer!

    Great post! I agree, meal planning is vital for staying on budget. We have many nights with no meat just because it's healthier. One of our favorites are black bean burgers!

    I co-host a Sunday blog hop and I think all our readers would love this post. We'd love to have you link it to our hop!

    http://acultivatednest.com/2013/06/the-creative-homeacre-blog-hop-4/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manuela- I will come visit today! Thanks for inviting me! I love meat but having meatless nights are a necessary step to save money!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Please check out the Huge Giveaway going on right now!!

      Delete
  4. Great ideas and congrats on the job offer! That is wonderful! I am co-hosting Diana's Pin Me party this week and would like to invite you to link up at Party In Polka Dots! It's live right now!

    Shelley

    http://www.piggyinpolkadots.com/2013/06/party-in-polka-dots-26-linky-and-sweet.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shelley- Thanks for inviting me, I'll stop by today! Thanks, I love my new job!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Please check out the Huge Giveaway going on right now!!

      Delete
  5. Great tips and recipes! We, too, do a weekly meal plan and our budget is only $50 a week! Sometimes tough, but it works! Jenna @ Rain on a Tin Roof

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenna- Only recently has our budget increased, and that's because I needed more quick snacks because I'm up at 5:30 to be at work by seven so I needed grab and run stuff. It's still hard but I can't justify making a habit of spending more! Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Please check out the Huge Giveaway going on right now!!

      Delete
  6. Seeing your useful and practical post linked up at the Creative HomeAcre Hop was great, espcially reading the news about the job offer as well! Thanks for joining us and we hope you'll come and party creatively again on Sunday at http://mumtopia.blogspot.com/2013/06/June16thbloghop.html
    Do let me know if you would like to write a guest post for Mumtopia - I'm sure my readers would benefit from what you have to say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alison- Thank you so much for your offer and I as I come back to blogging I will have to consider that!
      Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete
  7. I found your post on Somewhat Simple link party. Thank you for the meal plan tips. I tend to be an impulse buyer but I'm wanting to try meal planning. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret- Meal planning has truly saved my budget sometimes! I'm just always feeling like I don't have enough recipes!
      Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete
  8. I'm visiting from Pin It Tuesday. My husband and I were in a similar situation, and it is definitely stressful. Even though we're now both employed, we are still on a tight budget. Thanks for the ideas!
    ~Erin @ Erin’s 2 Cents

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin-
      I'm not sure that you ever recover from a tight budget without thinking I know I could do this cheaper! So happy you and your husband found jobs it's defiantly a process to go through!
      Thanks for visiting,
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete
  9. These are great tips! I have pinned this to come back to. I 've been struggling to lower my grocery bills. I blew my budget by over $300 this month - and it went on a credit card . (NOT GOOD). So thanks for these tips and thanks for linking up with Pin It! Tuesday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kat-
      Putting food on a credit card is very hard unless you have the willpower to pay it off right away! I'm going to have to do that once I begin working again as we've paid things with credit cards too. I understand the struggle. Each week I'm going to be posting my menu with prices! Hope you enjoy!
      Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete
  10. this is the best real meal planning post I've yet to find! Thanks for the tips!!!
    Lauren

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren-
      Thank you so much for saying that! I know that so many times I just feel like I need to share the things that come easier to me and I'm so glad you were able to enjoy this!
      Thanks for visiting!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete
  11. oh and blending the carrots....genius!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lauren- I thank my mother in law everyday for teaching me to blenderize the veggies!
      Abbi @ Seasons of Homemakers

      Delete

I love reading through your comments and will reply to all comments as time allows me!! Thank you for visiting :D

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