Are you feeling the pinch and wanting to save money at the supermarket? Food, for us, is one of the most expensive outlays each week, and I find that if we don’t have a meal plan in place, I can easily stray and want to grab sushi or something else for dinner. This 7 day budget meal plan is here to help save you and I money, and make our lives a little easier at the same time.
7 day budget meal plan
Generally I think it’s pretty easy to think of cheap meal ideas on the go, but creating a whole week of budget meals is slightly more challenging. So, I sat down for an afternoon and hashed out how to make an affordable week of meals that would be budget-friendly, but also delicious. Each of these meals are ones that I’d really look forward to eating.
The total of this 7 day budget meal plan comes to $70.39 (correct as at 22nd February, shopped at Woolworths) and that includes all the ingredients (besides oils simple sauces like soy, and dried herbs), and will mean leftover pasta, lentils and rice that you can use on other weeks.
Tips for budget meal planning:
- Go meat-free some days. Meat will always bring the price of any shop up, so you can either go meat-free on some days to bring the costs down, buy cheaper cuts or only buy meat on sale.
- Cook recipes that use pantry staples. Any recipe that uses lentils, rice or pasta is going to be on the cheaper side, because those are budget-friendly items which also happened to be filling. Start with those as a base and go from there.
- Reduce waste as much as possible. A reader shared on Facebook that to reduce waste she rotates her sides for the week. One week she’ll do salads and the following week steamed vegetables. That way she’s not wasting sides, and wasting money.
- Shop online. I am a big convert of shopping online. I love that I can shop the specials in one click, and can also rank the items from lowest price. It also means less temptation at the checkout.
- Cook ahead. Cooking ahead will not only save you time, but money. For instance, with the lentil soup recipe below, it will work out more economical to buy a bag of carrots instead of individual carrots, so doubling or even tripling the recipe is going to save you money in the long run, plus it freezes really well.
Monday: Corn fritters
Start the week with a meat-free Monday with this easy recipe. These only need three ingredients and make a generous batch, but if you’re feeding a hungry crew you can easily double the recipe.
We serve these with sour cream and sweet chili sauce, but these would be awesome packed into lettuce cups with salad bits. Best of all, they make for a great lunch the next day or even breakfast topped with eggs and bacon.
Tuesday: Slow cooker curried sausages
Once you make this curried sausages recipe, you’ll be adding it to your rotation forever more. It’s so easy!
It’s light on the heaviness too, because unlike some curries it’s a tomato-based curry and doesn’t need cream to pack a punch. You can serve with rice, mash or even pasta. We think rice works best.
Wednesday: Air-fryer stuffed potatoes
This is a great recipe for the nights when you’re super busy, with sports, work, school and everything in between. If you don’t have an air-fryer, just pop these in the slow cooker instead.
We keep it simple and serve with bacon, cheese and sour cream, but other great additions are leftover mince, corn, grated carrot, or even lentils.
Thursday: Fried rice
This fried rice recipe feed a family of four for about $4, which you really can’t beat. Feel free to make it fancy by adding prawns, or use up any leftovers by throwing in meats like chicken, pork or even mince.
Fried rice is best made with cooled cooked rice, so make the rice the night before, or even earlier in the morning. Freshly cooked rice will end in a mushier fried rice.
Friday: Vegetable, bacon and lentil soup
We can’t stop eating this soup. It’s so delicious, and super cheap to make (around $6 for a generous batch). I think anything with bacon in the beginnings has such a hearty flavour, and that’s what this soup delivers.
Serve with homemade garlic bread or with fresh baguette dipped in.
Saturday: Spinach and ricotta pasta
Curl up on the couch with your favourite movie (I say Dirty Dancing!) and a bowl of this delicious pasta. With the delicate ricotta it’s light enough that you don’t feel like you’ve eaten an indulgent meal, while also being perfectly satisfying.
This is one of those reliable, throw-together dinners that always works, and it’s got spinach in it, totes healthy, right?
Sunday: Baked meatballs
We’re finishing the week super strong with this one, because it’s a real family favourite, and when this is cooking it will have everyone enamoured. It smells so good.
We eat as is, but you could serve with baguette, pasta, mashed potato, steamed vegetables or even salad. It’s a choose your own adventure kinda dinner, and the perfect way to end a budget-friendly week.