Next Week's Meal Plan

Next Week’s Meal Plan: A Budget Meal Plan for a Family of Four

updated May 29, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

When we asked our Meal Planning Club members what meal plans they needed more of, cheap, budget, and inexpensive all topped the list (after easy, of course!). And I am right there with you all — a budget meal plan is what my family needs most. Not just post-holidays, but at least once a month I find we need to rectify our grocery spending.

This week’s meal plan is all about budget dinners. We’re shopping the pantry and freezer first, buying bulk ingredients we can use across multiple dinners, and using proteins like beans and eggs to cut down on costs.

Welcome to This Week’s Meal Plan

I believe meal planning is the secret to stress-free weeknight dinners. Since I’m frequently asked by friends and family what I’m cooking for dinner each week, I share my weekly meal plan here. Whether you’re just learning to meal plan and looking for a real-life example of how this works or you’re an old pro on the hunt for inspiration, here’s a peek at how I’m feeding my family this week.

New to meal planning? Start here.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

From the pantry I’m pulling pasta and a jar of pasta sauce, and we also have some mozzarella that needs to be used up. The only ingredients I’ll buy for this bake are pepperoni (which will also top Friday’s pizza) and broccoli to roast alongside this in the oven.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

Tuesday: Tex-Mex Migas

This meal qualifies as both taco Tuesday and breakfast for dinner in our house. You’ll notice the ingredients (eggs, tortillas, avocados, green onions, salsa) also appear in Wednesday and Thursday’s meals as well.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

A special request from my daughter, these bean and cheese burritos are easy and use up tortillas, corn, and beans from the fridge and pantry. I’ll skip the adobe called for here — I’m out and don’t want to budget for it now — and use a leftover salsa from Tuesday’s migas.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I have an embarrassing volume of miscellaneous grains in my pantry that I need to use up, and these grain bowls will do just that. As for toppings? Whatever vegetables, proteins, and sauces are left in the fridge (or scrounged from the freezer) at this point will go into each bowl. Perhaps leftover broccoli from Monday, a fried egg, some sautéed spinach from the freezer. For my kids, I might take these a little more sweet than savory and top their bowls with yogurt, maple syrup, and frozen berries.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

I usually budget about $20 every week for a large half-cheese, half-pepperoni pizza from our favorite local place, but with this very budget-conscious week that isn’t possible. Instead, I’ll make pizza crust the night before and we can have individual pizzas for just a few dollars a serving. Monday’s leftover tomato sauce, pepperoni, and cheese will have given me two meals for about the same cost.

Click below to get more tips, insights, and ideas from our Meal Plan Club crew and readers like you.