$25 Week Dinner Challenge – Family Grocery List On A Budget


You can feed your family healthy meals on a budget. I’ll show you my family grocery budget and show how I fed my family of 5 for only $25 in one week.

Trying to feed your large family healthy meals on a budget feels like you’re trying to find a magical unicorn.

Nearly impossible some days.

READ MORE: How My Family Saves THOUSANDS On Grocery Shopping Each Year

But this shouldn’t have to be your case, in fact, my hope is this blog post will inspire and help you with your own family’s grocery budget.

In all honesty, we don’t like the idea of paying crazy amounts every week at the grocery store. Or any store for that matter.

Life seems like for every dollar you make, you’re spending five! And when you have little children running around who decide to eat the house because they’re going through a growth spurt…heaven help you.

$25/Week Dinner Challenge – Feed Your Family of 5 for $25 | The Family Grocery List on a Budget

I want you to know that you CAN feed your family healthy meals on a budget. Doing this is a lot easier than you think, because, honestly, the last thing you need is more stress in your life.

First, I want to share with you tips that I use every week to save our family hundreds of dollars. Then, I’ll give you a peek into one of our week’s $25 grocery trips.

Tips for Making Meals on a Budget

1. Use What You Have

One of the best things you can do to save money is to use what you already have in the cupboards.

Once a month (when my youngest is napping), I take my older children and we do an inventory of the food we have in the home. We throw away expired foods and organize what we have left.

After the kids have seen the food, I ask them what meals they think we should make.

Sometimes their ideas are a bit crazy (for example, we love spaghetti and our daughter decided that we should make cake), but other times, those who eat your food will let you know which meals they love.

By using the food you have already in your home, you’re saving yourself a TON of money versus buying new.

If you find that you have a lot of white rice in your cupboards, check to see if you have some frozen peas and chicken to make a cheap stir-fry. The possibilities are as endless as your creativity.

2. Creativity Goes A Long Way

Be as creative with your meals as you’d like. For example, going back to the white rice in your cupboard idea; have you ever eaten rice with country gravy? AMAZING! Throw on some pineapple, chicken, and chow mein noodles and you have Hawaiian Haystacks.

The best way to be creative with the food you have, without spending more money, is to ask yourself, how can I make this meal filling and enjoyable without spending more than I need?

Remember, having spaghetti sauce with your noodles is a need. Buying a $4 baguette (although very tempting) is a want, especially when you can make bread at home.

3. Don’t Eat Out

Have you ever tallied the amount of money you spend eating out each month? How about the money you spend unexpectedly (such as a “quick trip to the grocery store”)?

This tip does take a bit of practice and self-control, but don’t spend your money on things you didn’t budget for, especially when you don’t need them.

Yes, ordering pizza would be so much easier than making a meal, we’ve all been there before. But at the end of the month, your wallet will be thanking you (and you’ll be saving a ton of money).

4. Make From Scratch

What do you eat throughout the week that could be made by taking a few minutes to make from scratch, rather than store-bought?

You definitely don’t have to start living the life of a pioneer and start churning your butter. But there are some foods you can easily make from scratch that won’t take a ton of time away from your already crazy schedule.

One of my favorite recipes is alfredo sauce. All you need is butter, flour, and milk. You can make this recipe more flavorful by adding parmesan cheese, garlic seasoning, or anything else your family might enjoy.

And speaking of family…

5. Involve Family Members

Don’t do this alone!

Please don’t feel like YOU have to be the only one to make these changes.

Involve your family when planning and preparing meals. Little children can easily put forks and spoons on the table. Older kids and teens can help cook some basic foods.

Give yourself and your family permission to help you in the kitchen.

6. Save $$$ At The Grocery Store

One last way to save money is at the grocery store. One of the best things you can do is plan the meals you’ll be making by what’s on sale.

Look through your store’s ad to see what’s on sale and think of meals you can make.

For example, if they’re having a sale on peppers, then you can definitely have a fajita night. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

If you get stuck on ideas, ask your family for help.

As you use the food you already have, involve your family, save money by not eating out, take a few minutes to make food from scratch, and shop smartly by using the store’s ad, you’ll be on your way to eating healthy (and cheaply) on a small budget.

As promised, here is my family’s menu for our $25 week (with our family of 5) by using the same principles we just discussed.

Sunday: Salad Night (lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, croutons, dressing, chicken)

Monday: Crescent Dogs (crescent rolls, hot dogs)

Tuesday: Biscuits & Gravy with scrambled eggs

Wednesday: Spaghetti, Meatballs & Homemade Rolls

Thursday: Chicken, Stuffing, Veggie

Friday: Waffles or pancake night

Saturday: Chillie Dogs & Homemade French Fries

Leave a comment below and let us know what your family’s favorite go-to meal is on your crazy nights.

You can feed your family healthy meals on a budget. I'll show you my family grocery budget and show how I fed my family of 5 for only $25 in one week. | Family grocery list on a budget | Click to read. #groceryshopping #feedingfamily
You can feed your family healthy meals on a budget. I'll show you my family grocery budget and show how I fed my family of 5 for only $25 in one week. | Family grocery list on a budget | Click to read. #groceryshopping #feedingfamily
Feeding your family on a small budget is possible. I want to share my tips with you on how I fed my family of 5 dinner on $25 a week. #familydinners #family #budget #mealtime


12 thoughts on “$25 Week Dinner Challenge – Family Grocery List On A Budget”

  1. love your list of meals they sound very filling and yummy. I believe I will fix crescent dogs for my family this week as well.

    1. We recently did a Mummy/Halloween themed crescent dogs and the little ones LOVED it! I hope your family enjoys their meal as well.

  2. Laurie

    Unfortunately can’t find one thing on here that everybody would like.

    1. I’m so sorry! Cooking for a family can be a challenge, especially trying to find something everyone likes.

  3. Rhoda

    I’m failing to see the healthy part to several of the meals. How do you balance meals with a protein and veggie in addition to the carbs indicated?

    1. We find other ways to eat the nutrients our bodies need. For example, we LOVE peanut butter in our home and often make peanut butter protein balls (which are super cheap), oatmeal for breakfast, veggies from our garden, etc. The main purpose is trying to find inexpensive ways for dinners and trying to lower dinner costs to equal with our breakfast and lunch costs, especially on a tight budget. Thank you for asking your question, friend. Have a happy day.

  4. Jennifer

    What kinds of side dishes do you serve? Like with crescent dogs- do you just serve those or are there things to go with it? Great ideas, thanks!!

    1. Usually, with these “fun meals” (as the kids call them), we will serve a basic side salad, green beans, carrots, or another easy produce we have on-hand. We do quite a bit of canning in our family during the summer months to help cut our costs on produce at the store, so if our budget is a little tighter that week, then we will grab some peaches or pears from the pantry. Thanks for your question, friend. Have a happy day.

  5. HEIDI

    My favorite cheap meals is a ham and egg grilled cheese sandwich. I will fry 1 egg solid, put it in a sandwich with ham and cheese then grill it. I can eat this, hot dogs or a regular sandwich for a weak and probably spend less than $20

    1. Yummy! I’ll have to add this to the list for my little ones. They love cheese and would devour this sandwich. Have a great day!

  6. Luan

    It’s nice that you gave some ideas; however, this is just one meal (dinner). You still have to plan for breakfast and lunch. We have a family of five (three teenage sons), for the most part we eat rather healthy; by that I mean no HFCS, processed foods, and we limit floured items. There would be no way we could eat on $25 a week. It’d be nice but there’s no way.
    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some way to eat healthy while on a strict budget? I can only imagine how much food teenagers need to eat, especially sons. (I know my 4 year old boy would eat us out of house and home if he could). As for other meals in our home, I don’t know where we would be if it wasn’t for our garden and canning every summer. This has helped our family so much through the summer and winter months. I know this isn’t always feasible for some people, which is why community garden co-ops and farmers markets are so vital. It’s a matter of being creative, using what you have, and knowing what you can and can’t eat. This dinner plan definitely isn’t for everyone, and we’ve since added to our groceries and diet, but my hopes is that this sparks some ideas for people.

      Have a great day, friend! =D

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