Meal Plans Sample – $200 for 2 Weeks

Meal Plans – Recently Married (with Debt) published its most popular article to date – Meal Plans Kick Grocery Lists’ A$$. In that article I talked about how my wife leads the family effort to save money by first making meal plans, usually a one week plan, assessing what ingredients we have, and THEN making a list of what we need.

By approaching grocery shopping with a meal plan, you take away a lot of the opportunity for unneeded impulse purchases.

Basically, it’s a grocery list for smart people.

My wife recently came home from a grocery trip very excited. She had accomplished a two week spending record – two weeks worth of meals for $200 (if you recall, I had mentioned that our weekly limit was $200).

I had also written that she was getting good at doing it for $150, so she was very excited to have bought food for four to last two weeks for $100 a week.

Now, I still do recommend that you plan meals and shop weekly because it gives you a better picture of what you actually need, and keeps you from overbuying. Plus, it keeps you nimble in keeping up with new coupons. Once you get good at making your meal plans, you can scale it up to two weeks and possibly realize even greater savings.

The reason we were able to buy for a two week period is because we sometimes buy in bulk, and we had enough ingredients left over from the previous week(s) to make a one-week shopping trip last two.

Because she was so excited, she wanted me to do a post about using meal plans to save money. I said why don’t you write one.

So she did, and here it is below.

Why does she know what she’s talking about? She used to run a daycare for over 50 kids and knows a thing or two about shopping for healthy food on a budget.

So, the words you read from here on out are hers.

 

Sample Meal Plans – 2 Weeks for $200

The meals in the list below are for a two-week period. Lunches and breakfasts aren’t covered, but the ingredients for these are included in the $200.

I decided to focus on dinner meal plans because it is the most costly meal, and a post covering every meal we eat in a two week period would be too much to digest.

These meals are quick and easy to prepare. There is no red meat in the menu and plenty of whole grains. These are well-balanced meals that include food from each of the food groups (if they are even doing those anymore, who can keep up?)

2 Week Dinner Meal Plan

Note: ingredients that provide enough for two meals will be notated by “(2)”

  • Taco Soup (rice, beans, vegetables)
  • Rice Pilaf and Chicken Breasts with Steamed Vegetables
  • (2) Angel Hair Pasta with broccoli and Chicken
  • Ground Turkey BBQ and Fries
  • (2) Salmon Filets, Rice and Steamed Vegetables 
  • Turkey Burgers and Fries
  • Shake-n-bake Chicken and Potatoes
  • (2) Cheese Tortellinis with Steamed Vegetables (with whole grain bread)
  • (2) Whole grain Rotini with Red Sauce, Ground Turkey and Canned Vegetables
  • Minestrone Soup Mix (with Rotel tomatoes, ground turkey and whole grain rotini)
  • Nuggets and Fries (backup meal in case of a long day)
  • Frank-n-beans (another backup meal)

 

The $200 for two weeks also includes daily breakfast with fresh fruit, well rounded lunches for a school-aged child, and weekend breakfast and lunches for the entire family. Also included are beverages like milk, tea, fruit juice and lemonade.

For after-school snacks (also included in price), we choose yogurt, cheese sticks and/or whole grain cereals and crackers.

I feel that there is more than enough variety of meals, even though some are repeated during the two-week period. Other meals that we throw into the mix are: tacos, pasta with sausage , homemade pizza, scrambled egg and meat skillets, and potato soup with ham.

I am aware that there are further cost savings that could be had, however, I do want to provide healthy meals in addition to budget-friendly meals. The lean ground turkey may cost a little more than hamburger, but the health benefits of making this substitution outweigh the potential cost savings.

If needed,  meal plans with less variety (and more rice and beans) could be implemented to make your savings even greater.

Creating meal plans, either weekly or bi-weekly, is definitely the way to save a great deal of money, and in our house, it is a family activity. When I sit down to prepare my weekly meal plan, I involve my husband and our oldest daughter (almost 7). In addition to saving money, we are teaching our children how to make healthy food choices. I place great importance, especially being the mom of two girls, on teaching them how to have healthy and positive attitudes towards food.

The feelings of pride and excitement I get in knowing that I’ve created a budget-friendly and healthy menu are absolutely wonderful. I now find myself excited to plan my one and two week meal plans full of tasty and healthful options, especially knowing that I can fulfill the needs of feeding a family of four for the average cost of $100 per week.

I hope that taking the meal plans approach will give you the same feelings of accomplishment, and help you reach financial freedom.

 

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25 Comments
  1. Why don’t you buy any pork?
    Also I suggest you to find in “Russian” stores some wheat porridge, oatmeal and buckwheat. That’s very tasty and healthy food.
    Alex @ Automated Forex Trading Blog recently posted..Looking Ahead at Forex Trading in 2012My Profile

  2. Meal plans are great. I did a food inventory a few weeks ago and was shocked to find out how much food I’d been hoarding, so it’s key to check what you have first, otherwise it adds up!

  3. I think this two-week menu happened to be light on pork, but we enjoy pairing Italian sausage with pasta, and with eggs for breakfast. My kids do eat oatmeal for breakfast sometimes – I’ve never been a breakfast guy.

    I’ve had corn porridge like grits, but not sure if I’ve had wheat porridge. I’ll look out for it.

  4. You can do a lot with a food budget if you plan, which is defiantly a weakness of mine. With my busy weeknight schedule, I rarely cook dinner or eat at home. It is a place that I could save money if I focused on it.

    I should really follow your example!
    Eric recently posted..How I Ripped People Off With Store Credit CardsMy Profile

  5. Great job with the meal plan. I must admit once we got out of debt (except the mortgage and my low apr student loan) my wife abandoned the meal plan for a more adhoc way of eating. I still only eat chicken breasts and greens though. I rather go for fast and nutritious than mix it up.
    YFS recently posted..Comment on My 5 Pet Resolutions That Will Save You Money by The Jenny PincherMy Profile

  6. Planning meals and keeping the food bill low can definitely help one to stay within budget. Great job guys! ;)
    World of Finance recently posted..What is personal finance?My Profile

  7. Good job, that’s too much meat for me. Very well planned meal with lots of variety.
    SB @ One Cent At A Time recently posted..8 Tricks to Get Cheap Flight TicketsMy Profile

  8. Good topic. Very true John, my wife and I have definitely noticed if we go to the store with a plan for the week of different meals, that we eliminate most of the wasted food and it also enables us to look for coupons before we go.
    Evan @ Smart Wealth recently posted..Weekly Roundup: 1-23-2012My Profile

    • Hey Evan, thanks for stopping by. Great point – We generally like to go shopping on Sunday or Monday to get a chance to check the Sunday coupon section.

  9. Good meal plans! I’ve been spending much less on food, and I am going to post my spending in January at the end of the month. My weakness is the snacks…I always need to get out of the office around two to give my mind a break and buy some Cheetos or candy. It’s not healthy but I always crave it! If I can break my candy/chips habit, I will save $40/month and a few pounds!
    American Debt Project recently posted..Personal Finance Classics Book Review: The Richest Man In BabylonMy Profile

    • Unfortunately I have access to an entire room filled with candy and chips at my office. I try to stay away. Sometimes that is lunch when I forgot to bring something.

  10. My wife and I used to do weekly meal plans, but we are kind of slacking off with that. We are eating very simple meals now, so our budget has come down quite a bit.

    It looks like you have a very balanced and fun meal plan. Great job on those savings.
    Khaleef @ Fat Guy Skinny Wallet recently posted..Push Ups Challenge: Fat Guy – Initial VideoMy Profile

  11. Great plan! My only observation: seems like a lot of fries on a menu. :) Why not to substitute fries with veggies? Steamed or baked (squash, for example.)? Enjoyed the article! Made me think about our weekly menu. We spend about $300 on food for two for two weeks!
    Aloysa @ My Broken Coin recently posted..Why TV Female Characters Never Rocked Until NowMy Profile

    • Yes, we actually had some squash last night with dinner. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. What I’ve loved about making this switch recently myself was that it allowed me to get more creative. In the past, we’d be wondering “what are we going to have today” and it usually came down to the same 5 or 6 things…This way we can have some fun.
    AverageJoe recently posted..5 Jaw-Dropping Financial Advisor Interview QuestionsMy Profile

    • Hey AverageJoe, sorry for the delay. Akismet got me again.

      That was the thing that surprised me the most. When you don’t plan, you end up in a rut. Planning meals actually has helped us add variety.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      John recently posted..Lifestyle Design: What is It? Part 2My Profile

  13. I am so glad there is another meal planner out there. We do the same thing. We plan in advance and then go grocery shopping accordingly. It works really well and we never waste anything. Plus we save a ton of time during the week when we are both working.

  14. $100 per week is impressive. I am nowhere near that. However, I often opt for simplicity with a meat, a starch, and a veggie without the extra “frills”

    Do you live in the South? I was introduced to Rotel when I lived in Tennessee. I am a big Shake & Bake chicken fan as well.
    Super Frugalette recently posted..Gazelle reduced the cost of my iPod touch…My Profile

    • CLose. Illinois, but I think some of my wife’s cooking must be southern-inspired!

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