7 Tips For Creating A Frugal Meal Plan That Works For You And Your Family

Groceries are one area in your family budget where you can easily save quite a bit each way. A perfect way to do that is to create a frugal meal plan each week that will help you spend less at the grocery store. But for this to work (especially in the long run), you have to come up with a menu plan that will work for both you and your family. Here are some tips for accomplishing just that.

Tip 1 – Start With Some Frugal Family Favorites

A great place is to start with a few of your families favorite meals. Make a list of inexpensive dishes that everyone loves. In my house that includes spaghetti, chili and a variety of soups, stews and casseroles.

Tip 2 – Include One Or Two Bean Dishes Per Week

Beans and other legumes are a great way to stretch any budget. They are cheap, yet full of protein and fiber which also makes them a very healthy choice. We like pinto beans and corn bread as well as bean, lentil or split pea soup. You can easily turn beans, cooked rice, tortillas and various leftovers into yummy burritos. If you haven’t cooked much with dry beans, now is a great time to start.

Tip 3 – Skip The Meat Twice A Week

You don’t have to have meat with every dinner (or every meal for that matter). Schedule at least two days a week that are meat less. If you are already doing this, see if you can make it without yet another day. You’ll quickly notice some big savings at the grocery store. Beans and eggs are great protein alternatives to the much more expensive beef, pork or chicken.

Tip 4 – Reduce The Amount Of Meat The Rest Of The Week

On the days that you do serve meat, try to serve less. As a rule of thumb you can cut any meat in a soup or casserole dish in half. Just add some more “filler” by increasing the amount of potatoes, rice or pasta you use. Another option is to add some beans for that extra protein boost.

Tip 5 – Beef Up The Sides

Even when your main entrée is meat (i.e. baked chicken, hamburgers or steaks), you can get away with smaller portions by adding more side dishes. Make up some potato salad or a big batch of mac and cheese to go along with your main meal for a day or two.

Tip 6 – Add A Frugal Dessert

Keep everyone happy despite the changes by serving a simple dessert a few times a week. This could be some fresh homemade cookies, a pie, or something as simple as a cup of cut up fruit or some homemade pudding. None of these things are very expensive or take a lot of time to prepare, but they sure will make your loved ones feel special.

Tip 7 – Hold A Family Meal Plan Meeting

Create your meal plan and try it out for a week or two. Then get everyone in the family together and ask them about their input in the plan. What dishes did they like, what didn’t they like? Is there any meal they really missed that you haven’t made in a while? Tweak your plan to accommodate your family and come up with one that everyone is happy with. That’ll make it easy to stick to it in the long run.

And now I would like to invite you to read a recent interview I did with “The Menu Mom “ that includes quite a few more family meal planning tips. You can find it here: www.hillbillyhousewife.com/family-meal-planning-an-interview-with-christine-steendahl.htm .

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About Susanne

My mission is to provide a well-rounded approach to all areas of keeping a home, and provide a place for you, my readers, to voice your opinion and share recipes and tips with each other. Find me at Hillbilly Housewife.

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