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Frugal "Emergency" Meal Plan

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all! I'm trying to plan out our meals for the coming month with a wish to repeat the meal plan possibly for another 2-3 months afterwards. I have meal plans that I've been using/have used in the past, but I know there's room to save more money. So my question is, do any of you have an emergency meal plan that you use to trim your budget down?
We are 3 people, but DP is off on business mostly - will be back middle of February - and dd goes to school and day care most days where she gets her midday meal. So mostly it'll be cooking just for me and weekends with the family, until the middle of February. I'd obviously like a healthy menu, but not necessarily organic everything - we just can't afford that. We only have once restriction and that's milk products as I'm lactose intolerant. And I don't want to live on soup everyday either. Germans don't cook more than once a day so I don't need but one warm meal a day. Oh, and we don't do dessert. Wierd I know.

Thank you, thank you, thank you in advance for all your input!!!

ETA: I do own a large crockpot!
post #2 of 6
I don't have an emergency meal plan, per se, but what I've done for really tight months is list out 30 meals that were my cheapest (depending on the season). There is an old thread in F&F of $2 meals. They aren't all that cheap, but it's a good starting place. I have a grocery store that has pretty cheap sales on meats, and they often mark down meats that haven't sold early in the morning, so that stretches my dollar, too. That said, I haven't found ground beef on sale in a while, so we've been having fewer ground beef meals. My kids don't especially love meat (though they like it some), so we eat a lot of beans normally.

I do breakfast for supper once a week, beans usually once a week, and pasta once a week.

Some of our favorite cheap meals:
rice and lentil tacos or burritos
red beans and rice
sausage/black eyed pea cornbread
black bean soup
moros y cristianos
spaghetti with red sauce
carbonara
chicken tettrazini
clam spaghetti
pasta aglio olio
macaroni and cheese
meatloaf
hamburger steak
vegetable soup
lentil soup
split pea soup
tortilla soup
gumbo
Savannah red rice (like jambalaya, but my family calls it red rice)
etouffee
chilaquiles
enchiladas
tacos, Mexican style (meaning meat, beans, or eggs, topped with cilantro, onions, and hot sauce only, on corn tortillas)
post #3 of 6
I don't have one either. It would be good to develop one though. As much as I love cooking, I normally make do with what I have and I don't buy unnecessarily what I don't need. Only on special occasions I would buy some food items that I know I will be using. Like my Dd birthday or family or friends coming over to visit.
post #4 of 6
I make a roast, eat it one day, shred the meat and use for tacos or "hot sandwiches (so gravy and shredded meat on bread with veggies)", then make soup or stew. That's three meals. If I haven't bought the meat in bulk (I typically buy direct from the farmer, which is a lot less expensive), then I use whatever roast is on sale that week.

I also do breakfast for dinner once a week, and do leftovers one day, and then I make at least one veggie meal a week, typically two.

I make all of my baked goods myself, breads and sweets, if we have them, which isn't all that often.

I eat a lot of "international" foods, which focus on mostly whole grains and in season veggies and not so much on meat, which saves us a lot of money in the long run.
post #5 of 6
Just subbing.
post #6 of 6
The PPs have already given some excellent ideas! One mentioned a roast, which can be done easily in the crock pot and goes a long way. I alternate that with a whole chicken or a turkey breast and can fit about 4 pounds in my medium/small crockpot. Just one can yield many sandwiches, pastas, casseroles, etc. One of the keys to keeping costs down is to stretch the meat, dairy, and other more expensive items. We also do beans about weekly, though if I really got creative I bet I could rely on them more. I make homemade bread for rolls, etc. but we buy sandwich bread. I don't think you can really make a set universal plan (without relying on a lot of processed ingredients) because you have to take into account the relative costs of things where you live, what is in season/on sale, etc.

Also you might get some ideas from this site: http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/40dollarmenu.htm
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