I don’t know about you, but when I see a blog on Pinterest that says, “Feed Your Family of 4 for $400 a Month!”, I roll my eyes out loud. I LOVE the idea of this, however, I just don’t find this to fit my reality. We have a family of 5 (3 growing boys and a daddy that eats like a body builder). I simply do not want to feed my family oatmeal 6 times a week, and eat beans for dinner every night. If that works for you, great! But here is how I feed our family real food, on a budget.
Disclaimer: we are no where near perfect, but we manage 🙂
I did my monthly shopping trip today to stock up on meat. I try to be a bargain shopper and when you eat real food, you try to find savings everywhere you can!
Today I spent $174.11 on organic grass-fed beef and local-ish chicken. This will get us through an entire month. Here’s what I bought:
2 London Broils (LB) (4 meals)
2 Chuck Roasts (CR) (4 meals)
4 Cube Steaks (1 meal)
4 Packages of Stew meat (4 meals)
6 lbs. of Ground Beef (6 meals)
4 Whole Chickens (12 meals)
8 Hindquarters (2 meals)
That’s a total of 33 meals, except I’m going to use 2 lbs. for my meatloaf, so 32!
Every meal is organic as much as possible, gluten, egg and dairy free (with the exception of butter).
Here’s the meal plan:
- Meatloaf (2 lbs. of ground beef – 1 lb. would be fine, but I want extra leftovers)
- Chicken & broccoli with rice (chicken #1)
- Bean & chicken quesadillas (chicken #1)
- Chicken stir fry (chicken #1)
- Chili (from slow cooked London Broil)
- Burrito bowls (from LB above)
- Slow cooked BBQ hindquarters
- Smothered cube steak
- Beef & broccoli (slow cooked stew meat)
- Chicken & mushroom stroganoff (chicken #2)
- Chicken nachos (chicken #2)
- Chicken chili (chicken #2)
- Shepherds pie (1 lb. of ground beef)
- Swedish meatballs (1 lb. of ground beef)
- Baked hindquarters and gravy
- Vegetable beef soup (from slow cooked chuck roast)
- Shredded beef enchiladas (from CR above)
- Spaghetti (1 lb. of ground beef)
- Beef stew (stew meat)
- Chicken fajita skillet (chicken #3)
- Chicken soup (chicken #3)
- BBQ chicken sandwiches (chicken #3)
- Beef nachos (1 lb. of ground beef)
- Beef stroganoff (slow cooked LB)
- Beef & bean burritos (LB above)
- Smothered beef & potatoes (slow cooked stew meat)
- Chicken casserole (chicken #4)
- Chicken enchilada skillet (chicken #4)
- Chicken fried rice (chicken #4)
- Philly beef skillet (slow cooked CR)
- Shredded beef sandwiches (CR above)
- Beef “mac & cheese”
Throw in a few vegetarian meals like vegetable pasta with beans, bean and cheese quesadillas and veggie “mac &cheese” to help it stretch even further.
Tips & Notes:
We use brown rice pasta, coconut milk, goat cheese or nutritional yeast to create gluten and dairy free meals.
You probably noticed there weren’t any meals with pork or seafood. Pork creeps me out, and fish is expensive. We do eat fish when we are blessed by our fishermen friends.
Meal plan based on what is on sale at the store that week.
We soak/cook large batches of dried beans and freeze for later use.
You can slow cook a whole chicken over night, it will be ready in the morning to shred and divide up into meals. You can also freeze for later use.
Our side dishes usually include brown rice, potatoes, homemade fries, salad, steamed or sauteed veggies. Sometimes we even just eat a side of raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, pickles, or sauerkraut. Basically, I give my kids whatever healthy food they will eat that particular day (you know, because their tastes change depending on if it’s Tuesday, cloudy, green, or if there is a hole in their sock).
To help our budget further, I purchase all of our household supplies and packaged goods like pasta and condiments from thrivemarket.com (I usually place a large order every 2-3 months. I saved over $500 on my last order!)
Hope you found a few useful tools!