Cooking On A Budget: Weekly Food Budget Plan for Under Seventy-four Dollars

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekly Food Budget Plan for Under Seventy-four Dollars


Basically I look at 6 days worth of dinners and shopping all over on the 7th day. This particular menu plan is based on feeding 2 adults and 2 children.

The pricing is based on my local grocery store. You may spend less or more depending on where you shop and I urge you to use your coupons where applicable and take advantage of the store's discounts for the week.

Feel free to adapt this basic plan to suit your family. This post is really to give you a solid base for menu planning. Instead of the ham and Swiss cheese oven melt sandwiches, you could substitute with another affordable sandwich or make it a left-over night instead.

I will put the approximate costs next to the items and give you a total at the end of the post. The basic grocery list is just that - for consumable foods.

Menu Plan for the Week:
Major items needed at the grocery store to complete these meals:
  • Can of Italian Crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste to make up a large pot of spaghetti sauce that will be used in two different meals during the week. $6.00
  • Large package (3 lbs.) Boneless Chicken Breasts (used for Paprikash and chicken cutlet dinner). $4.99
  • 3 lbs. Ground Beef (for meatballs and meatloaf - split 1 1/4 lbs. for meatballs, 1 3/4 lbs. for meatloaf) $8.00
  • 8 thin slices of  Ham from the deli $2.00
  • 4 slices of the longer Swiss cheese (you'll fold over on the sliders) $2.00
  • One package Breakfast Sausage links or bacon (which ever is less expensive) $3.49
  • 1 box chicken stock $2.99
  • 1 can beef broth (Campbell's is usually $1.99 for the can but has such great flavor concentration - purchase what you can afford.)
  • 1 box spaghetti $1.59
  • 1 bag egg noodles $1.69
  • Pancake Mix $1.49
  • panko or regular breadcrumbs - unseasoned $2.29
  • romaine lettuce or iceberg for two nights of salad $2.50
  • 1-2 cucumbers $1.29
  • 1 lb. bag carrots $1.99
  • 1 box grape or cherry tomatoes $3.99
  • 2 - 3 stalks celery (most stores do sell single stalks) $.74
  • 1 -2 large tomatoes $2.00
  • 2 large onions $3.21
  • 1 large green bell pepper $1.05
  • Mini, soft sandwich rolls $2.49
  • 1 dozen eggs $2.69
  • 1 8 oz. container sour cream $1.39
  • 1 lb. butter $2.50
  • 1/2 gallon milk $3.49
  • 1-2 bars cheddar cheese - or shredded cheddar on sale $4.00
  • cornbread mix $1.19
The above list is the major components of the menu plan. Rounded out with spices you probably have in your pantry as well as cornstarch or flour for thickening and maple syrup. Hopefully you have taken my hint from earlier posts and have either Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet in your pantry to use in your gravy.

The approximate total for the grocery list above = $73.04
Now if you throw in extra milk, a big box of cereal for breakfast and bread for school lunch or work place sandwiches, maybe some on sale canned fruit to pack in school lunches, laundry detergent, paper products you are looking at another $20-30.00 per week depending on what you need and what you can get on sale.

For lunches: you could use the meatloaf or the meatballs for sandwiches without spending extra money at the deli counter. Also you can hard boil the rest of the eggs for egg salad sandwiches.  Look for inexpensive tuna fish on sale for either sandwiches or a pasta salad.

Shop wisely - get as much of the above list of grocery items on sale as you can. Rather than buy prepackaged cookies or snacks consider the difference in making some yourself and saving money. If you don't have an elaborate pantry for baking get some on sale box cake mixes and make cookies from that. I have a couple of recipes on the blog already.  Bring the kids in the kitchen with you to help you bake for a fun family activity.

And speaking of kids...if you have teenagers in high school eligible to work help them find a job close to home. My son worked at our local grocery store and he always walked back and forth if the weather was good as the store is within a mile of our home. He enjoyed walking and back then stayed fit and trim because of it. Also, he saved money for things he wanted but he willingly contributed grocery money. (Teenagers are big chow hounds as you may know.) So as a parent don't hesitate to tell your teenagers that it's time to contribute to the household. Whether that's in the form of some weekly cash toward groceries or helping around the house with household duties or both. They may grumble and complain as a teenager, but later in life will appreciate the basic life skills that you taught them.
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