Here is a 7 Day Meal Plan for a family of 4 that you can make for as little as $25! This includes cheap, quick and easy family meals great for families with kids. These meals are easy to make and you’ll also find easy and tasty recipes!
7 Day Meal Plan for $25: Cheap, Quick And Easy Family Meals
Here is a cheap family meal plan with a grocery list for a family of 4! Even if you don’t know how to meal plan, we’ve made it super easy for you! This post contains easy family dinner ideas and easy recipes to go with the daily meal plans. You can feel free to adjust this meal plan to your family’s taste, but if you’re concerned about the cost, be sure to consider the cost of the individual substitutions.
7 Day Meal Plan:
B – Breakfast egg burritos
L – BLT Sandwiches with 1/4 can peaches
D – Cheeseburger Rolls with tossed salad
B – Pancakes with 1/4 lb. Bacon
L – Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches served with 1 lb. bananas or celery sticks
D – Hamburger Gravy on Toast with green beans
B – Mom’s Sweet Muffins with added banana
L – Cheese Quesadillas with 1/2 can fruit cocktail
D – Japanese Goulash with bacon (omit carrot add chopped celery) (Recipe in Dining On a Dime Volume 1)
S – Peanut butter on celery
B – Eggs and Toast
L – Macaroni and cheese with 1/2 can fruit cocktail
D – Beef Tacos with salsa, chopped lettuce and cheese
S – Leftover peanut butter cookies
B – Mom’s Sweet Muffins
L – Bean And Bacon Soup And Cornbread
D – Leftovers with salad
S – Leftovers – cookies, muffins, peanut butter with celery or bananas
B – Egg and cheese omelette
L – Potato cakes made with mashed potatoes
D – Beef Enchiladas with shredded lettuce
S – Banana cake
B – Cinnamon Toast
L – Macaroni and cheese
D – Baked Potatoes with 1/4 lb. bacon
S – Leftover snacks
Shopping List For The 7 Day Meal Plan:
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 lb bacon
- 1 package flour tortillas (not burrito size)
- 1 loaf of bread
- 2 dozen eggs
- 1 package cheddar or Colby cheese
- 1 jar of salsa
- Head of iceberg lettuce
- 1 can peaches
- 1 can fruit cocktail
- 1 can green beans
- 1 can ranch style beans
- 2 boxes macaroni and cheese
- 5 lb. bag of potatoes
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 2 lbs. bananas
Total Cost: $25 The meal plan prices are calculated using Aldi prices. If you don’t have access to an Aldi store, add $5-$10.
This meal plan assumes you have these basic items in your pantry:
Baking supplies, peanut butter, jelly, spices, and fats. Add $5 more if you don’t.
Recipes For This Meal Plan:
This cheeseburger rolls recipe makes a delicious and easy main dish that everyone, especially kids will love! Serve with an easy side dish and you’ll have a no complaint meal!
Easy Cheeseburger Rolls Recipe
These easy cheeseburger rolls are great for families and kids and taste great when topped with a little butter while they’re still warm enough to melt it! Yummy!
1 batch ninety minute roll dough
1/4 lb. hamburger
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
salt and pepper (to taste)
cheddar cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Make ninety minute roll dough.
- Roll into twelve 3-inch circles*.
- In a saucepan, brown hamburger.
- Add onion salt, garlic salt, salt and pepper.
- Put 1 tablespoon hamburger mixture and 1 tablespoon of cheese in the center of the 6 circles.
- Then press another circle on top and seal the edges.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes (until golden brown).
This easy omelette recipe is delicious and easy to adjust to your taste! Homemade omelettes are a super tasty and healthy breakfast treat, but you don’t have to spend a lot to eat out to get this yummy breakfast item! Here’s our easy recipe!
How To Make An Omelet – Easy Omelet Recipe
salt and pepper (to taste)
olive oil or other cooking oil (optional)
Fillings of your choice, up to 5 Tbsp. combined of the following:
- Gather the filling ingredients you intend to use. Slice or chop each ingredient and put in separate bowls or in separate piles on a plate.
- Crack eggs into a measuring cup or bowl.
- Scramble lightly with a fork.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Make sure all of your filling ingredients are prepared before heating the pan and that you have a wide spatula (food flipper). Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium high heat for 2 minutes.
- Add a small amount of oil to make sure the omelet will not stick to the pan (not required, but recommended).
- When the pan is heated, pour the egg mixture into the frying pan. Watch carefully as it will cook quickly.
- As the edges of the egg begin to stiffen, quickly add each of the desired filling ingredients.
- As the eggs cook, they will get less runny. When the edges of the eggs pull away from the pan slightly and the eggs are less runny in the middle, carefully slip the spatula under one side of the eggs and fillings and fold it over the other half.
- Reduce heat and let it cook a little more to seal the omelet closed.
- Continue cooking until the eggs are as cooked as you desire, flipping the omelet over after it seals if you’d like to cook the other side more. Don’t overcook the omelet or it will get dried out.
- Using the spatula, slide the omelet out of the pan onto a plate.
- Garnish with some of the remaining filling ingredients to make it pretty. Cheese, olives, onions and tomatoes make nice garnish toppings.
- Serve right away.
- You can make this recipe with 3 eggs or 1 egg if you prefer a larger or smaller omelet.
- If you plan to make more than one omelet, prepare all of the filling ingredients in advance. After cooking the first omelet, remove the pan from the heat for a moment to let it cool slightly. If the pan gets too hot, the eggs will begin sticking to it and will be more difficult to turn.
- If something goes wrong and you don’t manage to keep the omelet together while you’re flipping it, you can still serve it. If you don’t like how it looks, you can quickly break it up as with scrambled eggs and turn it into “ranchero eggs”. ;-)
This easy homemade enchiladas recipe is one of Mike’s favorite recipes! It’s in the top 3! It’s in volume 1 of our cookbook.
If you need a meal that is quick and easy to prepare this is one of my go to recipes! Of course you can make it easier by using Mexican cheese and just sprinkle some onion and garlic powder inside and it’s even quicker.
You can mix and match this recipe any way you want. Just put some shredded leftover beef or chicken in for beef or chicken enchiladas or add green peppers, cilantro anything you would like for you taste. Easy and adaptable for every family!
Easy Homemade Enchiladas Recipe
- Yield: 4 servings
6–8 tortillas, warmed
1 cup Cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can of enchilada sauce or homemade (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Mix Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, onion and garlic.
- Place enchilada sauce in a bowl.
- Dip 1 tortilla into sauce.
- Place in greased 9×9 inch pan.
- Spoon about 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture down the center of each tortilla.
- Roll up and tuck in the ends; place seam sides down.
- Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
- Top with the remaining enchilada sauce.
- Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
- Bake covered until the cheese is melted and bubbly (about 40 minutes).
Enchilada Sauce Recipe
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. chili powder
5 Tbsp. green pepper, chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt (to taste)
1/4 tsp. cumin
- Combine all of the enchilada sauce ingredients in a saucepan.
- Mix well.
- Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Makes 2 cups of enchilada sauce.
This best homemade sweet muffins recipe makes moist, sweet and delicious muffins! It is our most favorite muffins recipe! Our family loves them and your family and friends are sure to love them, too!
Mom’s Best Homemade Sweet Muffins Recipe
- Yield: 1 dozen muffins
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 cups flour
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. The batter will be slightly lumpy.
- Place batter 2/3 full into greased muffin tins or muffin tins lined with papers.
- Bake 15-20 minutes.
This easy homemade pancakes recipe takes about 15 minutes to make and everyone loves them! These pancakes are a staple at our house and your family will love them too!
Easy Homemade Pancakes Recipe
- Yield: 15-18 medium pancakes
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups flour, all-purpose or wheat
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
- In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick and lumpy.
- Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium heat and lightly grease.
- Pour or spoon the batter onto the griddle to form pancakes.
- Cook the pancakes on a hot greased griddle.
- Flip when bubbles break on the surface and the edges begin to dry.
If you like, you can add chocolate chips or candies to the batter for a special treat.
If you would like to make special patterns for the kids, you can add chocolate chips or candy while the pancakes are cooking. I like to make smiley faces and other patterns in the pancakes for special occasions. For Valentine’s day, I have made heart shapes in pink sprinkles, for Christmas, I have made Christmas designs, etc.
This old fashioned peanut butter cookies recipe is the homemade cookies recipe my great grandma and grandma made! These cookies are super delicious and easy to make and your family will love them! You can find this recipe in volume 1 of our Dining On A Dime Cookbook.
This peanut butter cookies recipe calls for a few more ingredients than the 4 ingredient peanut butter cookies recipe but don’t be afraid to try it. These cookies are nice and fluffy and it’s not any more work to mix them up.
Give these old fashioned peanut butter cookies a try! They’re just like grandma’s– OK, they ARE grandma’s, so everyone will rave about your cookies, too!Print
Grandma’s Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
- Yield: 6-8 dozen
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cream shortening and sugars.
- Add peanut butter, eggs, vanilla and dry ingredients.
- Stir until well blended.
- Roll into balls.
- Place on a cookie sheet.
- Flatten with a fork dipped in flour.
- Turn fork 90° and make another fork print for the design.
- Bake 10 minutes or until brown. Make 6-8 dozen.
For more home-cooking recipes like the ones in this easy meal plan, check out our cookbook:
Click here to get our Dining On A Dime Cookbooks 25% Off NOW! They’re filled with tasty recipes and tips to make your life easier!
Thank you so much for giving the whole plan!!! Plan & Recipes!!!! I can’t wait!!! Your Hamburger Casserole just want in the oven!
This is just what I am looking for! Will there be more menus in the future? This feeds each person for .89 cents a day! Amazing!
I am LOVVVVVVVVING this!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU for taking the time to work these menus out!!!
Always looking for new simple meals for us to try.
I hit a financial rough spot and found your meal plan. Thank you for sharing. I think I have all but a few ingredients already in my home, so I know this will help get me through this rough patch. Will be searching for some more meal plans like this one until I feel ahead of the game again.
Be sure to check out more on the website Misty because we have many tips other than just meal plans that might help you save too. Sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch but am impressed that you are stepping up to the plate and trying to help yourself and not whining or blaming others about it. Way to go.
These are awesome!! Thank you for the glimpse of how we can cook healthy homemade meals along with our own family favorites.
This is a help, but that is not a “healthy” menu plan..no where near enough vegetables..and if you are shopping at aldi you can find very cheap fresh fruit or even frozen that is way healthier then canned food. This would be a good idea if you were in a real pinch, but people should NOT live this way for long. It will encourage sickness and in turn cost more money. Fresh fruit and veggies help so much even if they are not organic in helping your body then canned and lack there of.
I guess that depends on your definition of healthy. I think you need to do some more research on this because they are now proving that canned fruits and veggies are not only as good for you but are thought in some cases to be even better for you. As far as encouraging sickness I am not sure where you get that info from either. I look at many of my own family members like my parents (who are 90yrs old) and grandparents, aunts and uncles, others outside of my family who eat this diet and they are all very healthy.
We need to be careful because I see more and more people making a god out of their food and doing it on info that is gotten from health food stores,drs etc who are selling products. The only things I see people getting really sick from is if they are over weight (that can happen too by eating too much healthy food), people who smoke, and people who have young children in school or work with the public a lot.
But the biggest thing I see causing sickness is stress which comes from fear of everything. So many are so worried about every little bite they put in their mouths, they are getting themselves into debt because they are spending more money on food and other things than they should and that is what causes more illnesses. Even writing comments like how horrible this or that food is causes people to get worked up and stressed which will probably undo any good any fruits and veggies might do to the body. The more stressed we get about these things the more sickness we are going to be seeing and obesity too because so often people when stressed over eat – and that is bad even when it is so called “healthy” food.
I agree with Jill. My family of 6 have been eating this way for years; canned food, beans, rice, very little to no meat and fresh fruits and vegetables whenever available but not every meal. No one gets sick unless my husband brings something home that he caught from work. What you need to be more concerned about is the amount of GMOs’ that are found in everything we eat especially in fresh fruits and vegetables. Unless you grow it organically, there is no guarantee it’s free from GMOs’. Also, with the amount of food people eat daily compared to years ago, we as a nation, have a severe eating problem. Eating too much of anything is bad that’s why it’s called a ‘balanced diet’. And having used Jill’s menu plan myself, I have to say its very well balanced compared to what most busy families end up eating at meal time during the busiest times of the week. The fact it includes fruits and vegetables, whether canned or fresh, is better then not having any at all.
Mary Beth Ennulat
Well said Jill. AMEN! One of our nation’s biggest health problems stems from just overeating!
If there’s not enough vegetables in this plan for you, add a bag of carrots and a head of cabbage to the grocery list. That’s a whole $7 for my family since we buy the 10 pound bag of carrots. Make carrot sticks and enjoy them raw, steamed, roasted, etc. Make the cabbage into Cole slaw, roasted cabbage “steaks”, or sautéed cabbage (season with salt and pepper, Italian herbs, ginger and sesame oil, or whatever flavors work with the meal you’re making). It’s really that simple.
Very well said, Jill! This inexpensive meal plan is how most families ate when I was growing-up, without the cookies! It is good, sound nutrition. Too many people seem to buy into “trendy” eating portrayed by the media, without researching its true health benefits.
This diet is just fine. These are just suggestions. I buy fresh veggies.fruit as well, but in very small quantities cause I’m just one person. canned fruit cocktail used to be a lifesaver when I was a kid. And mom always added a can of vegetables to the soup at the end of the week. I am just fine, and so is my family. thanks for the plan, it would be even cheaper for me being single. thanks for the good work.
I like the concept – I wish there were more details, like how big the cans are, how big a package of cheese, maybe including the cost of each item. Something else that would be super helpful is a list of the pantry ingredients we should already have, and the cost of those ingredients. We may not purchase them that week, but they do cost something and will need to be replenished.
Here is a link for foods you always need in your pantry
Also we a have list of things in our book Dining on a Dime
It would take us hours and hours to try to add all the things you want I am afraid plus this is not an exact meal plan. It is to just give people a general suggestion or idea – a jump start- of what to have for dinner. It really too doesn’t help to give exact prices because every time we do that we then have people holler that they can’t get “blank” for that price where they live. It is just suggestions to help.
I’m so glad to have some new menus for spring. Am tired of soups and stews all winter and look forward to trying these new things.
Jill, just wanted to say that as a child, we only had fresh veggies when mom grew her garden and a few things she froze for winter meals. Every thing else was canned.
I will reach 72 in July and even with a liver transplant (21 years ago), I still serve the oldies but goodies. Canned fruit and veggies still works for our family.
Thank you for your comment Maggie. I really think so many now are living in fear of everything and our food is one of them. I usually am so glad just to be able to afford food and have access to it that I am not going to be picky about it. You are right. You would think that it speaks for itself that people our age and my parents age (90)are doing fine and have lived long lives eating “all the horrible” things people worry about so much any more. I really believe that the stress they put on their bodies and minds worrying about every bite they put in their mouths is doing more harm than any of the food they worry about will.
I found this and purchased your book to help me with the recipes for this page. I followed your guide for this week but I’m having trouble. I want to plan another week. Should I start by replacing a dinner with another from your book? Are there other weekly plans you have created?
We have a ton of menus on our website – for many years I wrote a menu once a week that we have posted on here just type in menu in the search to find more and here is a post that will help give you more ideas Easy Menu Planning Tips Here is one more with lots of menus themselves Easy Family Menu Ideas
Thank you so much for this. So far this week it’s been great! I have followed your instructions and the book. It saved me money this week and tastes great!
Well thank you Robert. If you need more info just go to the website and type in things like chicken menu or ham menus etc and you will find quite a few. We also have videos on youtube where we talk about menu planning too. Keep up the good work saving.
Does this meal plan provide enough calories for the day or should I be adding more to the dinner meal besides the main dish?
That depends on who is eating the meal – man, woman, teenage boy or child or other factors. Just add up the calories of each meal to see what you need. Most of the meals are what we call well balanced meals which give everyone the right amount of nutrients each person needs. If you need more calories then eat a second serving of something. Need less then eat a smaller serving.
A man, a woman, and two children.
Robert you don’t need to add more calories at all. Usually people get way more calories in a day than most need. What you really need to concentrate on mostly is the nutrient value because if you serve the exact nutrients each person needs for a day that usually gives the exact amount of calories.
What I mean by nutrients is to use a food pyramid like this one then plan your menus around that – for example all a child needs for the meat (or what I call protein)section of the chart is 1 egg for breakfast and a piece of chicken for dinner and they now have all the nutrients (and calories) for that day for them. If you add in another serving for lunch (or they have a handful of nuts for a snack) you can see they have more than plenty of what they are suppose to have for the day of “meat or protein”.
So the first thing to do is learn the food pyramid. The last thing to do is learn what a serving size is for the different foods which isn’t as hard as it sounds. If you give the person a serving the size of their fist that is usually the right amount. Don’t give a child the size of your fist but theirs. You of course can always give them more if they are hungry. Also keep in mind that something like a large banana is 2 servings of fruit not one. You can see why most people get more calories and food that they need. They assume 1 large banana is 1 serving when it is really 2.
I am still not sure if I answered your question for what you were needing but I hope it helps.
Aldi or not you can’t buy all those items for $25 or even $35. 2lbs of hamburger is $9, pound of bacon is $9…that’s more than half your budget.
Yes you can Robert. We have people all over the country who get hamburger for under $2. As a matter of fact hamburger this week here at our regular Kroger grocery store is $1.79 a pound. You may live somewhere where prices are a little higher but the wages usually are too. We have had people who are in New York (or some expensive state) say you can’t get prices any place here and immediately we will have several of our readers from New York pop in and say “Yes you can.” And precede to tell them of different stores with very cheap prices.
The main thing though is you are missing the whole point of this meal plan and that is to give you ideas of some less expensive menus to use no matter where you live and how to take and make the most of things. Be sure you are not lying to yourself about the prices as an excuse not to save. If you are serious about saving you probably would spend your time figuring ways to save and not being critical, nit picking, or making excuses about how high prices are where you live.
I don’t know where you live, but even now in 2023 with inflation I can get hamburger for 2.59lb at the discount store or at the normal store it’s about 4-5 at the highest……Personally I would recommend sausage over bacon that is a treat for our large family but I can get it 3.72 a package at walmart…I would say even if my family was only 4 it would be hard to do it for 25 dollars, but this does give some really good ideas for a “cheap” budget meal plan to change it up and think outside of the box.
LORD JESUS IS KING of kings, and LORD of lords!!!!
You can sub milk and vinegar for buttermilk. We only use almond milk, and vinegar works with that as well. Great simple menu if one does not have a special diet.
Yes milk and vinegar is often used in place of buttermilk in some recipes and they turn out fine but just so people will know there is a difference in the two and the texture is sometimes not quite the same as when you use the buttermilk but in a pinch you can use the “sour”milk made with the vinegar.
Thank you for the ideas for meal plans, I have been in a food rut and not wanting to cook the same thing all the time. This helps gives me ideas and doesn’t break the bank.
Awesome . I love the meals. Saving and eating delicious meals.
Mary Beth Davidson
You guys are such a blessing! Have enjoyed using your original Dining on a Dime cookbook since early 2000’s. I purchased it at my Kindergarten Center where I was a Teacher Assistant fir 10 years. Fell in love with the book and you guys right away! Be blessed and happy Easter!!!❤
I am making your enchilada recipe as a layered casserole with corn tortillas. Yum!
Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter!
Yes I started getting lazy in my cooking a couple of years back and started layering that same recipe. So much easier than rolling each one and it tastes just the same. : ) I have to be careful with this recipe because I would eat mounds of it every day if I could.
Dear Jill, dear Tara,
because the Corona Virus my husband will earn only the half of his income that he usually earns. This is hard for us. Nobody knows how long we have this financial crisis. But: I have learned so much from you, that we will come good out with our money. Your cookbook and your shows on youtube are great! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!
Warm regards from Germany from Sabrina. God bless you and I hope you will stay healthy.
Oh Sabrina this is one of those bitter sweet comments. I am so sorry to hear about your husbands job but that in spite of it you will be doing ok. I feel like a proud mama when you guys let us know how you are putting things we teach into practice and I am so glad that it is helping you especially now. Thank you so much for telling us and I hope you stay well too.
1/4 can of fruit at a time for 4 four people ?
No a 1/4 (about 1/4 cup) of peaches per person
Thanks a bunch for encouraging us to make it through the month until next payday. I’m doing really well knocking off those bills, loan. I learned the hard way. To never, never get another loan. I’m also doing Dave Ramsey envelope budget system. It’s working! I will soon be out of debt I’m hoping the end of the year. And I have 8 children to feed.
Good job Amy. It sounds like you are really on a roll and working hard. It will feel so good when you get it all paid off. Just think of the extra money you will have when you get it all paid off. Thanks for letting us know because we do love hearing from you guys.
You may want to update the shopping list to add in tomatoes for the BLTs.
I LOVE the dining on a dime cookbook!! I use it more than any other.
I listen to all the show past show 3 years ago up to present! Other than reading my Bible I love Tara Mike and you!
The shows teach me something every time!
I’m 63 married financially all well everything including house payed off.
But I love Frugality you all make so much sense!!!! I wish all of U.Sw would watch your videos
Thankyou so so much. God bless all you!🙏🏻
Bea knight. South Florida
Oh Bea thank you so much for that sweet comment. We do so love to hear from you guys who are debt free. There is such an different tone to your emails – always excitement. : ) : ) Thanks again so much!!!!