Are you a busy parent trying to feed your family on a budget? Here are all my best free weekly family meal plans with grocery lists and prices included.
I’ve shared a good many budget-friendly weekly family meal plans here on my site over the last five or so years. Typically, I’ll share either an entire week of meals – including breakfast, lunch, and dinner – or a week (or two) of just dinner recipes. Either way, I always include my grocery list so you can see how much it cost me.
Today, I thought it would make sense to do one big post where I can have everything meal planning related here in one place and share links to all my free meal plans. Whenever I publish a new menu plan in the coming weeks I’ll be sure to come back and update this post.
But before we get to all my weekly menus, let’s talk about why you should meal plan and how to do it!
Why you should meal plan
Obviously I’m writing this whole post with the premise that meal planning is something you should do. But why? Meal planning is a great thing to do for several reasons:
1. Meal planning saves you time.
No more wasting time at the grocery store because now you have a grocery list to follow. No more stressing about what to make for dinner at 5 pm because you already have a plan. Plus, if you already have a plan you’ve probably also done some meal prep which saves you time as well!
2. Meal planning saves you money.
Instead of going to the grocery store and throwing all sorts of random things into your cart, you can go in with a plan and come out spending less on groceries than you would have otherwise. And, if you regularly meal plan you’ll also get a good sense for how much to budget for groceries and can likely cut back on your current grocery budget a bit.
3. Meal planning helps you eat out less.
It can be so tempting to swing by a drive thru or order takeout but that’s when meal planning ahead of time is helpful. With a good meal plan in place, eating out can become a special treat instead of an almost daily “necessity”.
How to meal plan – a quick overview
Meal planning isn’t too complicated – you don’t need to be a professional family meal planner or anything like that haha. 😉 It’s simply making a plan ahead of time so that you know what you’ll be eating in a given week and can then grocery shop accordingly.
There are several ways that you go can about meal planning:
- Plan your meals based on theme nights. For example, Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. Having a certain category for each night can help when you’re trying to think of recipes and drawing a blank.
- Rotate through your family’s favorite recipes. Come up with two or three weeks of dinner recipes and simply rotate through them. Easy!
- Meal plan based on the sales that week. I enjoy shopping at Kroger (they have really great digital coupons some weeks) so I will often plan several meals based on their sales. For example, if ground beef and pasta are both on sale you might choose several meals that use one or both of those ingredients. Planning your meals based on the sales is a great way to save money!
Once you’ve chosen your meals for the week you can make your grocery list or place your online order. Be sure to check your pantry, fridge, and freezer first so that you can use what you already have.
For more a more detailed look at how to meal plan on a budget and all my best tips check out these additional meal planning resources:
Example week of dinners
I typically meal plan for five dinners a week because we eat leftovers at least once (yay for less food waste!) and usually have pizza on Fridays. I thought it would be fun to share pictures of five typical dinners my family enjoys.
The pictures were just snapped on my phone – in other words, they’re not fancy food blog pics by any means – but this gives you an idea of what a typical week of dinners looks like for my family.
(Pssst – do know that there are for sure days when I scrap the whole meal plan and do breakfast for dinner or something like that!)
20+ budget-friendly weekly family meal plans
Okay, now let’s get to all the actual meal plans and grocery lists!
I’ve personally made 99% of the recipes on my meal plans because I want to make sure they’re actually tasty and save you from any meal planning fails. If there is one that I haven’t made I always tell you (for instance, if it’s similar to a recipe that I love but don’t have in digital form or something like that!)
Keep in mind that every family has their own specific needs, appetites, likes and dislikes, etc. My goal in sharing my meal plans has always been to hopefully save you a little time and give you some great recipes and inspiration. Use my meal plans as they are or as a jumping off point to make your own meal plans that work for your family.
As I mentioned earlier, some of my meal plans include a plan for breakfast and lunch as well as dinner, while some are just dinner recipes. Either way, I always include my grocery list so you can see how much my groceries cost me at the time each meal plan was published.
Obviously, the $50 grocery list that I shared five years ago no longer costs me only $50. However, despite the rising prices the free weekly meal plans and grocery shopping lists that I have shared are all still very frugal even if they cost a bit more than they used to.
And one last note: keep in mind that while I love trying new recipes and have included quite a variety in my meal plans, you will see some repeated recipes because we’re a normal family and I repeat recipes haha.
Ok, phew, now that that’s all cleared up, here are all the meal plans I’ve shared here on my site so far!
One-Week Meal Plans (dinners only)
5 Kid-Approved Family Dinners – If you have to choose just one dinner try the recipe for creamy garlic porkchops – SO good!
Fall Meals on a Budget – In the mood for warm and comforting fall food? This is the meal plan for you!
Summer Meals on a Budget – Not sure what to feed your family this summer? Here are my favorite easy meals that are perfect for summer, plus 6 specific summer meals you can make for just $50!
5 Meals for $40 – Even if you have to spend a bit over $40 now, these five dinners are still good cheap meal options that all your family members will love!
Easy Budget Meal Plan for Two With Grocery List – As the title suggests, this meal plan is for two people, but it would easily feed more people by simply doubling the recipes.
Two-Week Meal Plans (dinners only)
$125 Grocery List for 2 Weeks of Dinners for Four – This meal plan gives you some great, family friendly dinners to feed your family for the next two weeks. Save some time in the kitchen by freezing half of two of the recipes to enjoy the next week.
Two Weeks of Family Dinners for $100 – Meal planning on a budget can be hard – let me help! Here are two weeks of easy dinner ideas for $100 (as of Jan. 2023.) Grocery list included as usual!
Complete One-Week Family Meal Plans
These grocery lists include breakfast, lunch, and snack options (along with dinner of course) and a few even include a dessert!
$115 Grocery List and Meal Plan for Four – This week’s meal plan is my most recent one-week plan (hence the higher dollar amount) but still a great price for a complete week of meals for your family.
$80 Grocery List and Meal Plan – A one week complete meal plan for a family of 4-6. Check out my menu and see if you could make this work for your family!
$75 Weekly Grocery Budget Meal Plan – Love the chocolate bundt cake linked in this meal plan! And while this meal plan is likely to cost you more than $75 these days it’s still sure to save you money and be a hit with your family.
$60 Meal Plan #1 – Another oldie but goodie meal plan. This one includes “Million Dollar Spaghetti” which is a favorite of mine!
$60 Meal Plan #2 – There are some great recipes in this meal plan, including my husband’s favorite enchiladas recipe from Mexico. I purchased everything for this meal plan from Kroger.
$65 Meal Plan – Save time by cooking once and eating twice whenever you can. In this meal plan you’ll make homemade meatballs to enjoy with spaghetti one night, then use the rest to make meatball subs another night. Plus save time another day by using your slow cooker.
$50 Grocery Budget Meal Plan for Four #1 – This and the other $50 budget menus below are my first meal plans to publish here on the blog. While they’ll likely cost you a good bit more these days, they are still very frugal meal plans.
$50 Grocery Budget Meal Plan for Four #2 – Another simple meal plan with some of our favorite cheap recipes.
$50 Grocery Budget Meal Plan for Four – Low Carb – This one is for those of you who love healthy eating and want to eat low carb on a budget!
$50 Grocery Budget Meal Plan for Four – No Oven – Whether it’s too hot outside or your oven is on the fritz, sometimes you need meals that you can prepare for the whole family without an oven.
Complete Two-Week Family Meal Plans
$120 Two Week Grocery Budget and Meal Plan – The most popular meal plan on my blog for the last two years, I recently went back and re-checked all the grocery prices. As of 2023 this meal plan would cost me just over $150. Definitely an increase, but still not bad for a complete two week meal plan!
2 Weeks of Groceries + Meals #1 – Published back in 2020, this meal plan includes some of my family’s favorite meals. Snacks are included too!
2 Weeks of Groceries + Meals #2 – I especially love the Baked Ziti included in this two week meal plan.
Those are all my meal plans for now. Do you think they would work for your family? Let me know in the comments!
Be sure to subscribe to my email list below where I share the weekly menus I make for my family, including the latest recipes and new meals we’ve tried!
Thanks for stopping by the blog today!