meal planning when youre broke

Dirt Cheap Meals to Make For Your Family

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We all know about hangry but what’s the word when you are hungry and short on cash?


I’m going to share with you cheap meal ideas and recipes that taste good. The ingredients are all similar and they won’t cost a fortune. Utizile the sales at your local grocery store to make these even cheaper.


I know the struggle. We were BROKE when we started our family and decided to pay off debt. Making cheap meals was really our only option.


The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like this forever. Truly.
If you are here looking for cheap meals for the week, you are already taking positive action.
Whatever your financial situation currently is, there is a way to shrink the bill.

Dirt Cheap Meals to Make For Your Family

Here are a few articles I’ve written about that for you to pin for later:

Let’s start with some of the most budget friendly foods to buy.

( You should also strive to have your pantry filled with these items here.)

  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Milk
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Tuna
  • Ground Turkey
  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Canned Tomato Sauce
  • Tortilla Shells
  • Bread
  • Beans
  • Broths
  • Cheese
  • The bigger tubs of yogurt ( not single ones)
  • Whole Chickens

You could go to your pantry and fridge right now and see how many of these items you currently have.

Read: How to Live Off Your Pantry & Freezer For AWHILE

And if you are finding you have quite a few, guess what? You have dinner for tonight.

If you are doing any grocery pick up orders be sure to use Rakuten and IBOTTA. I’ve been able to use BOTH of these when doing Walmart and Target pickup orders.

Sign up with Rakuten here for a $20 bonus.

Sign up with Ibotta and get $10 here.

I’m going to share with you a roundup of cheap meals to feed your family when you are broke. Back in my early couponing days, think 2015 on my first blog here, I was spending $25 a week total! Yep. Extreme couponing at it’s finest.

( you can see some here it’s interesting and a little inspiring.)

I live in New York State and my two favorite places to shop for cheaper food is Tops ( with sales and coupons) and BJ’s. I like to do Walmart and Target for Food when there is good Ibotta and coupon stacking.

👉Do you want someone to just do the meal planning for you?! Grab my FAVOIRTE APP That will and even will give you meals based off items in your pantry/fridge! Download the app here.

Or Sign up and get 3 FREE Weeks of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meals with a shopping list for Walmart here.

BREAKFAST IDEAS

  1. Scrambled eggs with toast
  2. Toad in a hole ( Piece of bread with the middle cut out for the egg)
  3. Homemade French Toast
  4. Homemade Waffles
  5. Homemade Pancakes ( especially if you don’t have a waffle maker- these are great things to find at thrift stores)
  6. Cereal- Use coupons to get cereal for always under $1!
  7. Hashbrown Casserole Try this recipe.
  8. Eqq Quiche- can leave out bacon. I go with Betty on these.
  9. Breakfast burriotos- I make a batch and then wrap with plastic wrap and throw in a big freezer bag. I scramble eggs, add cheese, and whatever veggies and then refried beans. So good!
  10. Smoothies- I really find grabbing the big bag of frozen fruit at BJs the easiest for smoothies. BUT you can check local grocery stores for clearance or quick reduced produce items to blend up or freeze for smoothies too.
  11. Oatmeal- not the packets the real stuff- it can be microwaved for quick meals too!
  12. Make your own Bran muffins, or whatever you like and have on had, and pair with yogurt

We are really light eaters for lunch and it’s always helped us keep our grocery budget lower.

Alot of times we have leftovers from the meal before. When we have leftovers and the kids didn’t really care for it, I’ll end up freezing the rest and using for another meal down the road or lunch. Usually by the third time it’s not so bad. 🙂

LUNCH IDEAS:

  1. Salads- It’s really the easiest. I’ll boil up eggs to add. I keep a BJs brand salad topping bag on hand. This one at Walmart is similar.
  2. BLTS also make great dinners!
  3. English Muffin Pizzas- or can make your own mini pizza dough or regular pizza dough
  4. Pasta Salad- classic oil, mayo and veggies
  5. Quesadillas use any leftover meat or even just cheese
  6. Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  7. Macaronia and Cheese
  8. Soup
  9. Black Bean Chili try this recipe here
  10. Tuna Sandwich
  11. Peanut Butter & Jelly Crackers- Yep Switch it up from Bread and put on crackers like Townhouse and make a sandwich my kids loved this as toddlers.
  12. Smoothies again
  13. Upside Down Nacho’s – we use the Ninja Foodi

CHEAP DINNER IDEAS:

Oh dinner. Again the amount of money you spend will depend on your family size, but there are always ways to cut back your grocery bill NO matter the family size 🙂

  1. Chili- I love using our venison recipe here
  2. Stew- Use a cheaper cut of meat and look for discounted meats at your local grocery store. For us venison stew is a go to.
  3. Homemade Pizza
  4. Homemade Mac And Cheese with Spinach
  5. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
  6. Baked Ziti Homemade Garlic bread this is a delicious easy and CHEAP recipe.
  7. Tacos- use refried beans to make them more filling and use less meat.
  8. Hamburgers or try black bean sweet potato burgers
  9. Meatloaf- This recipe is a hit around here!
  10. Pizza Pasta Bake- Another one of my favorites.
  11. Goulash- or I throw in whatever we have in the fridge with sauce and noodles.
  12. Baked Chicken Thighs with Steamed Frozen Veggies
  13. Rotisserie Chicken and use for a few different meals. Meal ideas here.
  14. Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloins recipe here( I wait for BOGO deals to grab these)
  15. Sloppy Joes
  16. Italian Style Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Broccoli Casserole
  17. Seasoned Chicken Thighs with Yellow Rice
  18. Midwinter Minestrone Soup with Kaiser Rolls
  19. Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs with corn and kaiser rolls
  20. Chicken Quesadillas-
  21. Whole Oven Roasted Terragon Chicken ( depending on family size this can get you two meals)
  22. Spaghetti make your own homemade garlic bread here( This recipe takes 15 mins! It’s my FAVORITE! )
  23. Chicken Enchaladas 
  24.  Harvest Hamburger
  25. Black Bean and Rice Wraps
  26. Italian Marinated Chicken Breasts 
  27. Poor Man’s Dinner(use the black beans in substitue for ground beef, truly a simple dinner! )
  28. Meatball Subs with side salads
  29.  Grilled Balsamic Venison Tenderloins with Asparagus and Radish Salad with Tarragon Pesto ( if you have venison)
  30. Garden Wraps
  31.  Oven Baked Pork Chops 
  32. Breakfast for dinner
  33. French Toast Casserole
  34. Stuffed Zucchinis with rice, veggies and turkey bacon
  35. Angel Hair Pasta with cream based sauce and zucchinis
  36. Pasta Broccoli

I hope this helps you plan breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few weeks. It’s so important to remember to NOT impluse buy when grocery shopping. Stick to your list, or choose to do shopping online and use free store pick up.

Let me know if you have any questions and be sure to Follow me ON Tiktok for more money saving tips!


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