Week 3: How I Fed My Family For Under $50 This Week!

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If you like my frugal meal plan series, you’ll LOVE my Ebook! 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners brings you an entire month of easy, frugal & delicious recipes, along with meal plans and shopping lists! Best part, it’s $1.99!
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Hi guys! It’s been FOREVER since I posted meal plans for Week 1 and Week 2, and I’m so sorry for the long delay! Life, ya know?!

Without further adieu, here is Week 3! Be sure to check out Week 1 & Week 2 if you missed those!

The details:
We live on a budget to help bring us closer to achieving our dream of being completely debt free!
We cook at home because it’s healthier, it tastes better, and it’s a fraction of the price of eating out. We feed our entire LARGE family on a budget of under $200 per MONTH! This is less than what most people spend in a WEEK! Our average shopping trip is under $50 per week. We only shop once a week, on Saturdays. We ONLY shop at Aldi. They have, by far, the best prices and quality.




Aldi-Stores-Bargains
Save money at Aldi stores!

This week I fed our family for $46.37!!!! This makes me so so so happy! 🙂 The bill keeps getting lower every week (pat on the back)! 🙂

This is based on a family of 5… Actually, 7 now! (5 adults, 2 toddlers) My parents also live with us now (don’t be alarmed, it’s great!) and eat dinner with us frequently, although not every night. Since my last meal plan post, our youngest is eating big boy food, and our oldest has turned 18. Ohhhhh how time has flown since I started blogging!

My meal plan includes a week of dinners and breakfasts for us all, plus lunches for 1-2 adults (since the entire family isn’t always home during the day).

These calculations assume that you already have some basics stocked in your pantry, like seasonings, oil, butter, etc. Also, it doesn’t figure in the things I buy in bulk and stockpile, like canned veggies, because I only buy those 1-2 times per year when I can get them on sale (or use coupons) for about 20 cents per can. We also can, or vacuum seal and freeze veggies in the summer and eat them all year long. We also enjoy fishing, and have friends who hunt, so we have access to free meat sometimes. Told ya were frugal!

A couple things to note, I use meat sparingly in dishes and bulk things up with veggies to save money. Also, the price of beef, even ground beef, has sky-rocketed recently. Ground turkey is super inexpensive at Aldi, so that’s my new go-to meat on-the-cheap. It’s healthier, too!

Main courses for our dinners this week will be:

Monday: Beans & Rice
Tuesday: Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies
Wednesday: Homemade Crockpot Veggie Stew
Thursday: Grilled Chicken Salad (salad greens & veggies topped with grilled chicken we cook in bulk once weekly)
Friday: Turkey Tacos (simple tacos using ground turkey instead of beef)
Saturday: “Thai” Ramen Noodles with Peas & Mushrooms
Sunday: Tater Tot Casserole




Our breakfast options this week, based on our shopping list, are:
Cereal, Greek yogurt, toast, eggs, omelets, French toast, fruit.
Lunch options this week will be mainly left overs, because the dishes I’m preparing make TONS of food!

Here’s my shopping list, and the prices I paid. I shop at Aldi and ONLY at Aldi!

Dried beans- $1.29
Rice- $1.19
Chicken broth- $.89
Pasta- $.89
Alfredo sauce- $.99
Frozen veggies- $.89
Chicken breast- $1.89/lb
Veggie stock- $1.19
Canned tomatoes- $.58
Canned corn- $.58
Canned green beans- $.58
Canned carrots- $.58
Canned kidney beans- $.58
Canned mixed veggies- $.58
Lettuce- $1.19
Shredded cheese- $2.89
Eggs- $1.49
(2) Ground turkey- $1.49/lb
Tortillas- $1.29
Salsa- $1.49
Ramen noodles (6)- $1.49/12 pack
Frozen peas- $.89
Fresh mushrooms- $.49
Tater tots- $1.89
Cream of chicken soup- $.79
Frozen veggies- $.89
Bread $.89
(4) Greek yogurt $.85
(2) Milk $3.09
Waffles $1.49
Cereal $1.69
Apples 3 lbs – $2.99

=TOTAL $46.37

I hope this post helps you with your meal planning this week, and helps you make your money-saving goals!
~Kelli

Don’t forget to check out Week 1 & Week 2 in my budget meal planning series!

Photo Credit: Mary LaFrance, publicdomainpictures.net


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My Version of “Thai” Ramen Noodles with Peas & Mushrooms

Thai Ramen Noodles
Thai Ramen Noodles
Thai Ramen Noodles

I love Ramen. I could eat it daily, but, sadly, I think it may shorten my lifespan and I’d swell up like a hot air balloon. Did you know that if you ate Ramen Noodles for every meal, every day, for a year, you’d only spend $140 A YEAR on groceries?? It’s true! The dirt cheap price of Ramen has made it a staple for college co eds for years, and that’s the very same reason YOU should add it to your menu plan, as well! (IN MODERATION)!

This recipe is not the Ramen of your college glory days. This is, dare I say…GOURMET! We love it in our house, and I think you will too!

My Version of "Thai" Ramen Noodles with Peas & Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Doctor up those 10-Cent packages of Ramen Noodles by adding spices and veggies. It's cheap and DELICIOUS!
Ingredients
  • Ramen Noodles (one package per person)
  • Frozen Peas
  • Fresh (or canned) Mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • A Pinch of the Following Spices: Curry Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika
  • Sriracha
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to directions on package. 1 package per person. Do not drain.
  2. Warm up peas and a few teaspoons of water in a bowl in microwave for 90 seconds.
  3. Slice and quickly sautee mushrooms in some olive oil and garlic powder.
  4. To cooked noodles and water, add your peanut butter, spices, and sriracha to taste. Mix well until peanut butter is completely melted and evenly dispersed.
  5. Add peas and sauteed mushrooms.
  6. Mix.
  7. Serve while hot. Eat with chopsticks and enjoy!

 

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Best-Ever Beans & Rice

Beans-and-rice-recipe
Beans-and-rice-recipe
Best cheap meal ever: Beans & Rice!

This is one of my all time favorite meals! It’s dirt-cheap, healthy and it makes a gigantic pot that you can eat all week or freeze for another meal (freezer meals, yay!!!!)

Best-Ever Beans & Rice
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Southern Food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
This meal makes a ton & sticks to your ribs! It's also dirt-cheap and SUPER healthy!
Ingredients
  • Dried Beans (any kind)
  • 1 Carton Chicken or Veggie Broth
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Pepper, Salt, and anything else you like.
  • Rice
Instructions
  1. Rinse & sort beans.
  2. Add to large pot.
  3. Cover with broth.
  4. Add onion and spices.
  5. Bring to a boil; let boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer on medium low for 90 minutes or until beans are tender and ready to eat.
  7. Cook rice according to package directions.
  8. Serve beans over rice and enjoy!

 

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Cheap Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies

Poverty Pasta - Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap
Poverty Pasta - Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap
Poverty Pasta – Feeding a Crowd on the Cheap

Ok, so this isn’t exactly made-from-scratch…BUT, this is a quick, easy and cheap meal that is great for busy nights. You can even make it ahead and freeze it. Gotta love those freezer meals! And it’s fairly healthy, too, made with grilled chicken and a big dose of veggies! This is definitely a go-to meal in our family. Everyone likes it, even the kids!

Cheap Alfredo Pasta with Chicken & Veggies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Freezer Meal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This is a quick, easy and cheap meal that is great for busy nights and it feeds a crowd for very little money. You can even make it ahead and freeze it. Gotta love those freezer meals! And it's fairly healthy, too, made with grilled chicken and a big dose of veggies!
Ingredients
  • 1 Box Penne Pasta
  • Grilled Chicken (we grill a bunch on the weekends & use it all week)
  • 1 Jar Alfredo Sauce
  • 1 Steamer Bag Veggies (broccoli or mixed veggies)
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  2. Cook veggies according to directions on bag.
  3. Add both to a 9x13 baking dish.
  4. Add 1 cup diced grilled chicken.
  5. Pour alfredo sauce, plus ½ cup water, over other ingredients, and mix.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and bubbly.
  7. Top with cheese if desired.

 

 

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Cheap Homemade Crockpot Veggie Soup

Crockpot-vegetable-soup
Crockpot-vegetable-soup
Crockpot veggie soup!

This is a go-to favorite  in our family. It’s made of nothing but canned veggies, broth & herbs. It could not be simpler! You’ll be surprised at how DELICIOUS it is! It costs just a few dollars for a GIANT crockpot full, and it is so healthy! I make it healthier by always draining and rinsing my canned veggies to remove the excess sodium.

Crockpot-vegetable-soup
Crockpot veggie soup!

Cheap Homemade Crockpot Veggie Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Crockpot
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
This is a go-to favorite in our family. It's made of nothing but canned veggies, broth & herbs. It could not be simpler! You'll be surprised at how DELICIOUS it is! It costs just a few dollars for a GIANT crockpot full, and it is so healthy! I make it healthier by always draining and rinsing my canned veggies (except tomatoes) to remove the excess sodium.
Ingredients
  • 1 Carton Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Corn
  • 1 Can Green Beans
  • 1 Can Carrots
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can Mixed Vegetables
  • About 1 Teaspoon of Each of These Spices: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Minced Onion, Paprika, Pepper, Basil, Oregano, Chili Powder
Instructions
  1. Pour veggie stock into crockpot.
  2. Add canned tomatoes with their juices.
  3. Add spices.
  4. Open all remaining cans. Drain liquid. Rinse with cold water. Drain again. Add to crockpot.
  5. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  6. Serves MANY!

 

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Cheap & Easy Bruschetta Appetizer Recipe

Cheap-easy-bruschetta-recipe-appetizer

Well, it’s official… I’m crushing on Bruschetta! And it all started because my husband brought home a cheap, one-dollar, day-old baguette from the store and I just couldn’t let it go to waste. I looked through my pantry and found everything I needed for a quick Bruschetta.
Here’s the recipe, and my video on how I made it.

 

Cheap & Easy Bruschetta Appetizer Recipe

Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A cheap, quick, and easy Bruschetta recipe using things you already have at home!
Ingredients
  • 1 large baguette
  • 1 can Rotel (I used the Aldi version)
  • Olive oil
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, basil
  • Cheese: Parmesan, Mozzarella, or any kind you have on hand
Instructions
  1. Slice baguette.
  2. Spread lightly with butter and toast under broiler.
  3. Mix ingredients in a bowl, and spoon onto sliced baguette.
  4. Top with cheese and broil until bubbly.
  5. Serve hot & enjoy!

 

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10 Crazy Money Saving Things We’ve Done… & How They Made Us Better People

Money-saving-ideas
Money-saving-ideas
10 Money Saving Ideas

There are a lot of blog posts out there with money saving ideas. But this blog post is different because it has ideas you probably won’t see anywhere else, because, let’s just say they’re a little bit unique.

My husband and I do all of the things on this list, except that we are no longer a 1-car family. We now own two cars outright that we paid cash for.

What we discovered in our savings journey, is that the things we do to save money have really ended up making us better people and more conscious consumers along the way. We leave a much smaller footprint as we go through life because we reduce, reuse, recycle, and make do.

1. Use single-ply toilet paper.
You know, the thin stuff that nobody wants to buy. Not only does it last forever on the roll, but it’s biodegradable and environmentally friendly. I only have to buy toilet paper about twice a year. I just can’t bring myself to spend more money on something I wipe my bum with than I do on the clothing I wear.

2. Go foraging.
Mushrooms are delicious and plentiful around here in the spring. Just make sure you know what you’re looking for. I’ve also picked fresh dandelion greens from my yard to use in salads and for dandelion tea.

3. Shop at Aldi.
We’ve seen about a 75% decrease in our grocery bill by shopping here. I prefer shopping here and seeing instant savings over spending tons of time clipping coupons.

4. Become a 1-car family.
This isn’t for everyone, but you can make it work. We did. By becoming a one car family, we were able to save hundreds of dollars on car payments, insurance, gas and maintenance. We did this at a time when we were both working full time, on opposite sides of town, and I had a middle-schooler who I had to drive out of our school district each day. It took planning. But it was so worth it. Eliminating that revolving payment from our debt-to-income ratio allowed us to buy our dream home.

5. Sell your stuff.
In our efforts to save money for a house, I sold my tanning bed, my car, my stash of Louis Vuitton bags, jewelry, clothing, shoes, and more. Yeah…I USED to be high-maintenance in my former life (not anymore!!) Never once have I looked at my home and thought, “This place sure is nice, but I wish I had my stuff back.”

6. Accept hand-me-downs with a grateful heart.
I love it when friends and family bring me a bag full of toddler clothes that their kids have outgrown, or when my friend gives me a sweater she no longer wears. I’m so thankful that people are thoughtful enough to bless me with their awesome stuff that’s new-to-us.

7. Do your own nails always, always, always.
It costs about $45 for a spa pedicure where I lived. I can buy 45 bottles of nail polish at Dollar Tree for that amount! I can buy everything needed to give myself my own pedi for about $3, AND I get the added bonus that I know where my pedi tools have been, and that they’re clean.

8. Go fishing.
We LOVE to fish, and it’s a super cheap way to stock your freezer with wild-caught, healthy protein. There are very little up-front costs. A yearly fishing license is about $19, and you can find cheap or free fishing poles at garage sales and on Craigslist. There’s a ton of free bait crawling around in the dirt right now, and even if you purchase it, it’s pretty darn cheap.

9. Say yes to free meals.
The parents invite us for dinner? Yes please! Church fellowship potluck? Uh-huh! Give a work presentation with lunch catored in? Sign me up! A volunteer opportunity with free lunch for the helpers? Ok!! Saying yes to these commitments makes us better people and there’s the added perk of saving us money on food.

10. Shop at Goodwill, thrift stores, and Craigslist.
Even though we’re in a financially happy place, years of being frugal has caused me to have a severe aversion to paying more than $3 for a shirt. I buy ALL my cute pajama sets at Goodwill for under $4 and wouldn’t have it any other way.

I hope these ideas help to bring you financial peace!
For more of my money saving ideas, you can check out THIS blog post …… And THIS one! 🙂

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Frugal Recipe of the Day: Fish Tacos

#fish #taco #recipe #cheap
#fish #taco #recipe #cheap
Delicious and simple fish taco recipe!

This is a delicious, light & fresh recipe that is super easy on your wallet! We often use fresh-caught fish that my husband scores on his fishing outings, but when we don’t have that, I like to use Tilapia.

Frugal Recipe of the Day: Fish Tacos
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a super simple, delicious, and frugal recipe.
Ingredients
  • 4 Fish filets. I like Tilapia or any flakey white lake fish.
  • 8 Tortillas
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • BATTER:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can beer
  • ¾ Cup Flour
  • Lots of spices, about ½ tsp of each: cumin, chili powder, garlic (lots of garlic!), salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, onion powder.
Instructions
  1. Mix well batter ingredients well.
  2. Thaw fish (if frozen) & dry on a papertowel.
  3. Dip in batter and fry in hot oil until fully cooked and golden brown.
  4. Set on papertowel to remove excess oil.
  5. Break fish up into bite sized pieces.
  6. Add to tortillas and top with desired fix ‘ins.

To view an entire week of frugal recipes, meal plan, and shopping list, CLICK HERE! 🙂

Image courtesy of KEKO64 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Frugal Recipe of the Day: Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

#cream #cheese #stuffed #mushrooms #recipe
#cream #cheese #stuffed #mushrooms #recipe
Cream cheese stuffed mushrooms

This is a really yummy and rich appetizer or side when you want something a little extra special. It costs SO much less to make them yourself at home than it does to get them in the deli case at the store! YUM! 🙂

Cream Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package raw mushrooms, cleaned & dried. If they have stems, remove those, but keep. Dice up and add to stuffing mixture.
  • 1 block cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 TBS Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha Asian hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
  • A few drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 finely diced pickled pepperoncini pepper
  • Paprika for garnish.
Instructions
  1. Set aside the whole mushroom caps, but mix all other ingredients very well until it is a uniform consistency. Stuff mushrooms with cheese mixture. Sprinkle with paprika. Place on foil lined baking sheet at 450 degrees for 15 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is bubbly and starts to turn golden brown.

 

#creamcheese # cheese #stuffed #mushrooms #recipe #cheap
Cream cheese stuffed mushrooms, ready to go into the oven!

Click Here for an entire week’s worth of frugal recipes, meal plan, and shopping list!

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7 Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Under 85 Cents!

If you like my frugal food tips, you’ll LOVE my Ebook! 1 Month of Dirt Cheap Dinners brings you an entire month of easy, frugal & delicious recipes, along with meal plans and shopping lists! Best part, it’s only $1.99!
1-Month-of-Dirt-Cheap-Dinners

 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Here are 7 really yummy breakfast options that cost just pennies per serving!
All of these items came from Aldi. Yay for Aldi! 🙂

1. Toasted English muffin with peanut butter. This filling breakfast comes in at ONLY 27 cents per serving!
Aldi English muffin

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