This is my third round of bi-weekly dinner meal planning! However, this time it comes with a twist! Why? A fellow frugal friend needed help. She had to find a way to feed herself and her husband for two weeks, but the kicker was she only had $35 for food. Realizing the need for low-cost meal planning, my “$40 Meal Planning Your Family Will Love” was born.
Inspired by her situation, I wondered how many others out there could use low-cost meal planning. So my challenge for this round is to keep your grocery bill around $40. Hopefully, you have some items on hand and you will spend even less, but if you do not, you will come out right around $41. This list is a dinner meal plan so let’s see how well we can do. Be sure to read until the end and click the printable grocery list to save you time and money! My shopping for this meal plan was mostly done at Kroger.
Keep in mind, if you are saving money on your groceries, you will be able to put money away for other important areas of your budget such as an emergency fund, savings account, or retirement fund. Cutting your food costs is one of the easiest ways to put extra money in your pocket. Not to mention, my $40 meal plan will save your sanity because you will not be rushing around your kitchen, like a crazy person, trying to throw something together when your kids are hungry. This is not a fun situation for anyone!
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There are so many ways to save on groceries! The best and easiest way is to shop the sales. Seriously look at what your family eats and uses often. Then buy those items in bulk when they are on sale. An example of this would be cereal. My kids eat cereal daily. It usually sells for around $3.50 a box. When it goes on sale for $1.99 or less, I buy several boxes to last until the next sale. Sale cycles usually run for 6-8 weeks for most products.
The second best way to save money on groceries is to use coupons. Most of us do not have time to clip and organize more than a few coupons, but when I do have some time, I use coupons.com because I can print them right from my computer! Nonetheless, a Sunday paper is just as good. However, I always stress to my readers, do not buy a product, just because you have a coupon. That is wasting money. Instead, check your coupons for items you were already going to buy. Also, don’t forget to check Ibotta or Checkout 51. You may be able to cut your cost to under $40 with coupons or rebate apps.
(Ibotta is a rebate app that gives you cash back for scanning your grocery receipt. Don’t have an Ibotta account? Click here to sign up and receive a $10 bonus.)
Suggested Reading: Ibotta Awesome Rebate and Money Making App
$40 Meal Plan – Let’s Start Saving!
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Tip: Most of these items were purchased at Kroger. Make sure to sign up for a Kroger Plus Card before shopping to receive the best deals. Moreover, you don’t even have to carry the card anymore. You can enter your phone number at the checkout as an alternate I.D.
Monday: Pancakes and eggs – Yummy! Breakfast for dinner! I’m using Bisquick pancake mix in this post because I will use the mix to make biscuits later in the meal plan.
Tuesday: Subs – I use Kroger fresh bakery french bread (only $1.50) to make subs for dinner. I add mayo, mashed up avocado, tomato slices, turkey, and provolone cheese to this yummy bread. It is oh SO good!
Wednesday: Bean burritos – Make a pack of Spanish Rice. Heat up a can of refried beans and plop them on a wrap with the rice. Then add your favorite toppings. DE-lisious!
Thursday: Pasta & sauce with bread – Make your favorite pasta and top it with canned spaghetti sauce. Cook up some garlic toast as a side.
Friday: Tuna noodle casserole – It’s so easy to make and tasty too! Click here for the recipe. If you make the entire box of pasta, add a side of veggies and a slice of bread, you will have enough to eat leftovers the next day.
Sunday: Chicken wraps – To make, use canned chicken and mix it with mayonnaise. (You could add extras such as onions, grapes, or dried cranberries if you have these items on-hand.) Place your filling on a wrap with a slice of cheese, and you are ready to eat.
Monday: Egg salad sandwich – Hard boil around five eggs. Peel and cut them up. Add mayo, pickle relish, salt, and pepper, and smooth on your bread. This is just like Mom used to make!
Tuesday: Turkey wraps – Use your wraps to make a turkey, mayo, tomato and cheese wrap for din din.
Wednesday: Spaghetti (split-meat meal) – Cook up your ground beef (split it for tomorrow’s dinner) and add canned spaghetti sauce. (I like the Kroger or Market Pantry veggie sauces). Place the sauce over noodles and add a side of garlic toast.
Thursday: Taco (split-meat meal) – Since you split the meat in the last recipe, you will use your already made taco meat to have tacos tonight. Enjoy the break from cooking and cleaning up the mess.
Friday: Cheese ravioli – Buy frozen Ravioli from your favorite store. I used Kroger beef ravioli this time but the cheese ravioli is the same price. Serve with a side of veggies.
Saturday: Good old fashion tuna melt – Mix your tuna with relish and mayo and layer it on a slice of bread with a piece of cheese. Next cook the sandwich on your stove top, just like you would a grilled cheese. Mouth watering!
Sunday: Soup and biscuits – Buy your favorite canned soup and make the biscuit recipe on the Bisquick box. Use these yummy treats as soup dippers. My family loves these biscuits but you could also make your own if you already had flour and baking ingredients on hand.
So there you have it. You are well on your way to saving on your grocery bill this month! Throw in some cereal, milk, lunch meat, and more bread and you could eat all your meals for around $50 for two weeks.
If you are interested in learning how to meal plan, there is a great service called $5 Meal Plan This meal planning service will send you weekly meal plans with low cost meals your family will love! Check them out.
Shopping List: (For printable shopping list, click here: Shopping List $40)
On hand: mayonnaise, milk
- Kroger sliced turkey lunch meat $2.77
- Ground Beef (bought at Target for $2.99)
Canned or Dry Foods
- Kroger canned chicken 10 oz. $1.99
- Kroger Spanish rice pack .89
- Kroger refried beans .89
- Kroger spaghetti $1.00
- Kroger box of rotini $1.00
- 2 jars of Kroger Pasta Sauce ($1.49 each) $2.98
- Kroger sweet peas .60
- Kroger cream of mushroom soup $1.00
- 2 cans of Kroger chunk light tuna in water (.69 each) $1.38
- Kroger sweet pickle relish .99
- Kroger taco seasoning .50
- Kroger chunky canned soup $1.50
- Kroger ravioli (cheese or beef) $3.19
- Kroger garlic toast $1.99
- Kroger frozen veggies $1.00
- Bisquick baking mix $3.49
- Kroger French Bread (from the bakery) $1.50
- Wheat tortilla 8 inches $1.69
- Kroger bread of your choice $1.50 (This is usually on sale)
- Avocado $1.00
- 3 Roma Tomatoes $1.10
- Grade A Jumbo Kroger Eggs $1.39
- Kroger Provolone Cheese $2.49
Total Cost: $40.82
Now to get your cost under $40, use a few Kroger coupons. If you sign up online, you can add coupons to your Kroger Plus Card. Furthermore, Kroger often has sales and some of the prices above reflect a sale price and can range from area to area. I purchased everything at Kroger except the ground beef, which was from Target. Also, if you have some of the ingredients on hand, your cost will be lower. Additionally, you will be able to use any extras for your next two weeks, if you decided to make this again for a months worth of meal planning. You should have some Bisquick baking mix left, relish, Ravioli, and possibly some bread. This will keep your costs under $40 for the next round.
Tip: Don’t forget, Kroger has a free Friday download each week. Just download the product on your Kroger account and you have 14 days to redeem this free item with your Kroger Plus Card. This week the free item is a 15.5 oz. Tostitos Salsa Dip. This would be great on your meal plan tacos!
On a final note:
Using a meal plan will help you save money. My $40 Meal Plan will help cut cost and you can use your extra money to pay down debt or save for an emergency fund. Remember, it takes a little time and planning but in the end, it is worth it. Use my printable grocery list to help you save time. The more time you save, the more time you have to spend with your family.
Wishing you the best with your meal planning, shopping, and cooking.
Take Care – Sarah
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