Recently, I stumbled upon a great blog and website–the Hillbilly Housewife. The blog provides all kinds of information on cooking, shopping, frugal living–everything a person needs to be financially responsible. Her information is provided in a much more down to earth manner than say, Dave Ramsey (whose methods I do follow) and while some of it may not be relevant to your or my life, it offers a ton of information that you can modify and incorporate in ways that work for you.
The most prolific section on her website is the recipe section. It is HUGE. She has recipes for pretty much anything you can think of and provides the information in an unbelievabley clear manner. Her meals are all intended to be healthy and frugal, which is fantastic. She devotes an entire section to Angel Food Ministries recipes and put together the most thorough, comprehensive menu plan I have ever seen.
This menu plan is amazing. It plans for 7 days, 3 meals and 1 snack a day for a family of 4-6. It uses a significant amount of beans, since they’re cheaper than meat and still provide a good deal of protein, and everything is cooked from scratch (she does provide recipes as well as a shopping list). For those following a diet, she provides all of the nutrition information for the day including calorie and fat intake. This menu plan is painstakingly detailed and is, to me, the gold standard of what a menu plan should look like.
But is $45 really enough to feed a family for a week? Or do you really need to spend that much? Although there are many who say that they can feed their family on $10-$20 per week, Susanne (the Hillbilly Housewife) selected $45 based on experience which demonstrated that those $10-$20 menu plans assume that there are a significant amount of ingredients on hand; she feels that $45 is ample to feed a family with a completely bare kitchen. I’m inclinded to agree with her, as long as you’re willing to make some compromises and put in the time and effort required to cook from scratch.
With Susanne’s menu plan as an example (and a magnificent example at that), I will try to create additional menu plans for $45. I will also try to create $60 and $75 menu plans. It is important to have menu plans for varying budgets because there are some who just simply cannot spend below $75 per month or those who just cannot spend above $45. I will even challenge myself to come up with a $30 menu plan because I remember the days of only having $30 to spend on food.
Menu plans are crucial to cooking on a budget. These menu plans can be used as is or can be adapted to you or your family’s likes, dislikes, budget and grocery sales.
If you have any ideas or items you’d like to see incorporated into the menu plans, please feel free to share them!