happy woman saving money on her grocery bill with a piggy bank in her hand

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Thanks for sharing - You're awesome!

First shared in 2013, this super frugal meal plan continues to help moms who want to eat better and stay on budget.

Even though the numbers have changed, these are still budget friendly choices and will save you significantly on your average weekly grocery bill. Try this frugal meal plan out when money is tight or to help get you back on budget!

woman grocery shopping with a piggy bank "frugal family meal plan" by The Moments At Home

This week’s plan is dedicated to the mama who wants to be super frugal, but just can’t catch enough of a break to break ahead.

This super frugal meal plan is one way to start getting ahead. You might also enjoy this list of ten ways to save money on a tight budget.

Start by creating room in your budget to save

If your budget is $150, spend $120.  If it’s $125, spend $100.  If it’s $100, try to only spend $75.  AND SAVE THE DIFFERENCE.

Save it, or it’s pointless to go through all this hard work.  Save it to buy some bulk beef, or protein powder, or whatever else you want to buy.

That is this week’s tip.  Even if you can only scale back $5 from your normal budget, do it.

What if you don’t have a budget? I’m so glad you asked.  I have the perfect answer: SET ONE.

Figure out how much money you take home each month

Go through your bills and tally them all up: housing utilities, phone, gas, insurance, internet, TV.  Go ahead and call your internet and phone companies and see if they have specials.  I do it every 6 months and either save money or get an increase in service for the same amount every time I call.  Really.

Don’t be afraid to cut cable.  Netflix is only $8 a month.  Amazon Prime is great, too, but you do have to pay for it up front (the 2-day shipping makes it my favorite option).

Then scale back (it’s worth it!)

Next, subtract what you have in bills from what you have in income.  Don’t cry.  Doing this is how you figure out what your grocery budget can be.

Start Your Emergency Fund…by saving on your grocery bill!

Ideally, take at least 10% of what you have coming in and put it in savings.  You need an emergency fund.  Start one, even if it is just with the $10 in spare change you pull out of the couch and the car.

If you can’t give 10% to pay yourself, give 5%.  Do something.  Put it somewhere and LEAVE IT THERE.  Your first goal is to hit $1,000.  Make a plan and celebrate each time you get $100 closer.  Just not by buying something, okay?

You can even start it with the money you save by using this super frugal meal plan.

This week’s menu plan is dedicated to the mom on this journey.  I’m going to give you my cheap and yummy meal plan to help you have some money to tuck aside for your emergency fund.

Please note that we don’t always eat like this, but there was a time we did it a lot.  It was WORTH IT to save up our emergency fund.

We did one week like this a month when we were adopting, too.  We tweaked the recipes so everyone loved them and we adjusted our ideas of what a meal “should” be.

Are you ready?  You can do this!  I am making the numbers for a family of 8, so if you have less be excited!!!

Super Frugal Breakfast Ideas: $18

  • 4 days of Oatmeal: $4 (1 canister is only $2 and should last you at least a week for a family of 4.  We go through 1-2 a week, and we are a family of 8).  If you want to add fruit, go ahead and serve a banana with it to the kids, $3 should do you.
  • 3 days of Eggs: $1.39/dozen at Aldi locally, but I’ll give you $2 per dozen, just in case.  We scramble our eggs to stretch them a little further and use 1 dozen per meal, so that averages 1.5 eggs per person.  $6.
  • Bread to go with the eggs for those not on THM: $1.  Fruit for everyone — I like strawberries: $4 (2-3 berries each is a nice treat).  Total sides for breakfast are $5.

Super Frugal Lunch Ideas: $15

  • For the kids, buy 2 loaves of bread, some peanut butter and jam.  $6 should do all of the weekdays!  I’ll budget $8 just in case your bread is more than mine.This is for my kids; I try really hard not to eat this stuff and stick to Trim and Healthy food even when $$ is sparse.  The kids will have baby carrots or cukes on the side, since I think enough veggies each day is really important. $3 is enough for this, if you shop sales.

    Be flexible — you might need a different veggie.

  • For me, I’ll eat a salad.  It may not have meat and extras on it during a lean week, but I’ll make sure I have some olive oil on it for a healthy “S” salad.  If I want an “E”, I use vinegar or lemon juice (both of which I have in the house, so they’re free for me — be innovative and use what you have) and use 1 can of beans divided across my salads for the week as an E topping.  I like to add taco seasoning mixed into Greek yogurt as my “E” dressing if I have the yogurt on hand.I will get all my salad fixings for $6 this week; buy whatever lettuce is on sale and use whatever other veggies are on special.  Some of those veggies may help other recipes.
  • Hubby will grab a PB&J or leftovers from our yummy and simple dinners

Frugal Dinner Meal Ideas: $36

  • Taco bowls (meatless!): Take 1 bag of brown rice and 1 bag of lentils (brown look better, but any work) and cook them.  I like to cook in broth, if I have some.  If not, just add some extra spices.I use about 3 TB of taco seasoning in this mix.  It will take 45 minutes to an hour on the stovetop, or you can crock it all day.  When it’s done, I love to toss in a can of rotel tomatoes or chili ready tomatoes if I have them handy.  If not, I skip that part.

    Serve in a bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and some tortilla chips if you can — if not, that’s fine, too.  Temporary sacrifices are worth it.  Also yummy in a tortilla wrap, served like a taco, but we’ll have burritos later this week.

    At it’s most expensive, this meal feeds all 8 of us for $3.  Gotta love that! {I pay $1.18 for a bag of lentils and $0.82 for a bag of brown rice}.

  • Breakfast for dinner will happen twice this week — eggs are inexpensive gems of health and great protein to replace meat.Make a Crustless Quiche or Breakfast Casserole.  We use 18 eggs and have at least 2 servings of leftovers for hubby for work.  I toss in anything we have in the fridge: veggies, meat, cheese, garlic.  We find we like diced tomatoes, spinach, and garlic a lot.  We also like chicken and cheese and bacon.

    Another yummy one is sausage and onion and peppers.

    Whatever you have in pantry or freezer, USE IT!  If you have nothing, toss in nothing and just make eggs.

    You can do this.  For my hubby and kids, I’ll serve oven baked potato fries with this.  For myself, I’ll eat chopped veggies. $5 with the potatoes … awesome, right?

  • Soup is another super frugal option.I like to cook it a day early so I can chill it and scoop the extra fat off of the top, but if I run out of time, I don’t sweat it.  Grab some cheap chicken thighs from the store and throw ’em in the crock pot (stock pot on the stove if you don’t have one).  Cover with water and boil.

    After the meat is cooked through, pull the meat of the bones in tiny pieces and toss it back into the water.  Save the bones and make bone broth later; super healthy and great for the next time you want a soup or to flavor rice.  Add in any veggies you’ve got: zucchini, tomatoes, onions, etc.

    I also add beans and corn after I pull some out for myself.  I like to add in baby spinach right before serving (you don’t want it to wilt too much or it tastes weird).  Other great additions are tomato paste, cabbage, and kale.  Use what you’ve got!  I do like to add oregano, salt, and pepper to my soups but I’m flexible.

    Soup usually costs me about $5-$8 for us all.

  • Spaghetti and Meatballs is another cheap deal.2 lbs of pasta feeds the family with leftovers for Daddy.  $2.00!  1 can of sauce is just $1 if you buy Hunt’s.  Mommy can have Dreamfield’s and if there is some sugar free sauce in the house, great, but if not make a yummy one — toss some garlic or onion or peppers or all three in a skillet with some olive oil and heat, then toss in your pasta.

    1 lb of ground beef will add some great protein to the meal and runs $3 or less when you get a good deal.  Total dinner: $8 (with the Dreamfields added in; $6 if not).

  • Breakfast #2 is French Toast.I tossed this into the ring last week, but it needs its place on a super frugal menu week.  Buy a $1 loaf of bread, a dozen eggs for $2, and go to town!  Serve it up with scrambled eggs, a fruit salad, or anything else you want (especially if you already have it!).

    Now, a trim and healthy mama needs to use plan approved bread or just have eggs tonight, but the rest of the family that is not slimming can enjoy a treat.  I like to add sugar free canned peaches and a dollop of yogurt to the mix.  $5 for the meal.

  • Bean Burritos are easy, fun, and yummy…and cheap!You can buy refried beans, but the best idea is to soak and cook your own.  $3 worth of dried beans fills us all and then some.  We soak the beans overnight, slow cook them the next day, and put about 2/3 of them in the blender to puree with some water.

    I then stir in the unmashed beans and add some Greek yogurt or cheese and taco spices.  I like to add a little additional salt, to taste.  Wrap it up in a tortilla and bake, or put on the skillet.

    Super yummy served with salsa if you have some.  $7 for the meal, for 8 people to have 2 each.  If you want to fluff it up more, add some brown rice on the side and use any leftover veggies, taco seasoning, or salsa to jazz it up!  $0.82 for an entire bag!

  • For the last dinner of the week, I’m not giving you an entrée.  Eat your leftovers, even if everyone has something different.  Graze, pick, whatever.  Clean out that pantry and fridge and freezer!  Repeat a meal if you need to, but most folks have leftovers.  But having no waste is key to a frugal budget!

Snacks (because let’s be real, these add up!): $19

  • 2 bags of tortilla chips: $4
  • 4 lbs of carrots: $2
  • Bananas: $3
  • Celery and peanut butter: $4
  • Milk: $3
  • Box of Cheerios: $3 (yes, I let my kids have cereal and milk once or twice a week as a special treat; we do it as a snack because it has no nutritional value and snacks are smaller than meals — but they love it, and I’d rather they look forward to this than Doritos!)
  • And Trim, Healthy, Frugal Mama: What will you have?  Some of those veggies, a few bites of leftovers, a hard boiled egg?  Make it work — just make sure you get your snacks in to keep your metabolism revved!

Remember, this is for that frugal week.  It’s not exotic or exciting, but it IS successful at helping you save some pennies and build up that savings account.  Blessings!

picture of frugal mom shopping for food with text "how this mom spent less than $100 on groceries this week" by The Moments At Home

Thanks for sharing - You're awesome!

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9 Comments

  1. I am so blessed by your testimony and your perspective on holy living and eating (to the glory of God)! Looking forward to keeping up with what’s going on in your life and enjoying your TH(Frugal)M ideas and recipes. I’m on the journey with you, for God’s glory!
    Blessings in Christ,
    Sarah

    1. graceful.abandon@gmail.com says:

      Sarah, it’s a beautiful thing to pilgrim together, isn’t? This is all for His glory!

  2. Praising God for you and the words of Life you share! This meal plan is such an answer to my prayers. :))
    Bless you sister!

    1. graceful.abandon@gmail.com says:

      I’m so glad it can help you! Thank you for the encouragement 🙂

  3. Darlene Benoit says:

    Don’t forget cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. I love the THM tomato soup recipe and I do a different bread for me.

  4. Libby Inglett says:

    I found your site just in time! Hubby and I have been trying to eat low carb and I am wanting to do the THM lifestyle instead. It has been hard for me to think of different things to eat and keep everyone happy while staying on or below budget. We just started FPU a few weeks ago and have our emergency fund built but need to really get the debt snowball rolling. Thanks for the ideas for meals! They sound great and have been a real encouragement to me!

    1. graceful.abandon@gmail.com says:

      I’m so glad, Libby! Thanks for coming by and I look forward to seeing you again 🙂

  5. I was looking for this. I used to see the money as an excuse for not starting…

    1. Good luck! You can totally do it SIMPLY!

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