Fantastic and Frugal Menu Plan

super frugal menu plan

One of my most popular posts ever was my “emergency menu” plan that fed my family of 8 (yes, two parents and six kids and the occasional guest!) for just under $100 and remained nourishing and delicious at the same time.  I heard from a mom this week from Oregon that used it and was able to follow it for just $75 because she had a few of the staples already on hand.  I loved that note this week!  This week’s plan comes in right at $119 (for 8 people) by my calculations at local prices, although we have a lot of the ingredients in our pantry already and will spend under $90 (my guess is you can tweak the ideas and work with your pantry as well!).

Here is another attempt at a super frugal plan.  Our entire family is sugar free and we focus on nutrient dense foods whenever possible.  Weeks like this one that are lean have some meals that might not be favorites but are certainly still enjoyable.  After all, family meal time is more about the people around the table and the fellowship that ensues than the meal on the plate (although that adds to the celebration).  Weeks like this are very simple, and we go back to basics.  But they are yummy and meals we enjoy.

meatloaf italian trim healthy mama garlic bread cheese bread

Breakfasts: $20

  • 4 days of Oatmeal with fruit ($4 for 2 canisters of oats, $6 for apples -half of which will be used in oatmeal)
  • 3 days of scrambled eggs (2/person) with veggies ($7 for 4 dozen eggs, $3 on veggies)

Lunches: $19

  • 3 days of baked potatoes topped with leftover chili for kids (for Mom and Dad, chili and salad) ($3 for 10 lb bag potatoes) and small salad (with “mom’s stash”)
  • 3 days of rice and lentils (2 days seasoned with taco flavors and topped with sour cream, 1 day served with pasta sauce) ($2 for 2 lbs brown rice, $2 for 2 lbs lentils, $1 for pasta sauce/spices)
  • 1 day of sandwiches (turkey and cheese on homemade bread — we have all this in the house so it costs me nothing — you could PB&J or whatever you have on hand, even leftovers for this “free” meal!) with apple wedges and peanut butter (leftover apples from breakfast purchase)
  • 7 days of salad for mom ($5 large tub salad greens from Sam’s, $3 tomatoes, $3 cucumbers)

taco soup

Dinners: less than $56

  • “E” Delicious Black Bean Burritos ($9 for 8 servings) served with Spanish rice on the side ($1/lb of brown rice)
  • “E” Double portion of Lentil Chili (dinner and then leftovers for lunch) ($9)
  • “FP” Taco Soup ($9)
  • “E” Arroz con Pollo ($10)
  • “S” Meatloaf a la Italia with pasta for the hubby & kiddos and a small salad for me ($10)
  • “S” Peanut Crusted Chicken (from the THM book) with salad for me and oven baked potato wedges (budgeted under lunches) for hubby and kids ($8) (peanut butter budgeted under snacks)
  • For the last night of the week, use up your leftovers!!!  NO WASTE!!!

Snacks: $24

  • bananas $6
  • celery (with Greek cream cheese or peanut butter for the kids) $4
  • tortilla chips, 2 bags $4
  • carrot sticks with yogurt dip (yogurt and ranch spices) $3-$5 depending on whether you need to buy extra yogurt to make the dip (I buy carrots, wash and peel and cut myself to save money)
  • Smucker’s all natural peanut butter with no added sugar ($5)



  1. Joy says

    Please create a place where someone can sign up to receive your posts via email. I, too, am a busy mom and don’t have time follow blogs any more, but I can quickly sort through posts that are relevant to me in my email inbox. Your menus and stories are inspiring.

  2. Emily Quesenberry says

    Hi! I so appreciate your affordable menu ideas for THM. I didn’t grow up on beans being used much and I”m trying to utilize them with our family of 7. You have inspired me to try :) I looked at you black bean link….what is greek cream cheese? Would 1/3 less fat cream cheese work and keep me on plan or should I just use greek yogurt? Thanks so much!

    • says

      1/3 fat cream cheese will work! I buy Greek cream cheese which is a newer product because I like the way it tastes, I have a TON of coupons for it, and it’s higher in protein while staying low in fat. But really, whatever you have will do :)

  3. says

    Thank you! This is perfect timing for me! We’ve had so many medical bills and just found out we owe a LOT in taxes this year because my husbands employer didn’t take out any federal.. Just one of those weeks.. So THANK YOU!!!

  4. Patricia Rebsch says

    Where is your recipe for Mongolian Chicken?
    I have made it four times and my husband loves it.
    Is it a “S” or an “E” when using the Dreamfield noodles?

    Thank you so much!

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