7-Day Meal Plan For Less Than $100
We’ve done it again: A 7-day meal plan for less than $100, enough to feed a family of four. Keep reading for a shopping list and meal plan. Recipes included.
The sobering truth: Over the past year, grocery prices have increased by 11.3%.
Inflation is the main culprit. 2023’s avian flu outbreak and subsequent price increases on eggs led to what many called eggflation. Shrinkflation isn’t helping, and product packaging decreases while the cost stays the same or increases.
It’s simply becoming more and more difficult for many individuals and families to afford groceries.
What to do? It is absolutely necessary to approach your weekly menu with a solid plan in place. This is not the time to go grocery shopping without a list – or to simply wing it.
You need a plan, and I will do my best to help you out.
Can You Feed A Family Of 4 For Less Than $100 A Week?
Yes! This may come as a shock to many, but it is possible to feed 4 people for less than $100 a week.
How is it done? This is basically the method I use:
- Shopping at cheap grocery stores: I did 95% of my shopping at ALDI, which is a reliably cheap grocery store. Can you shop elsewhere? Of course. Try finding a local salvage grocery store in your area. But keep in mind that my grand total (about $92) is based on ALDI prices. You may pay more if you shop at another grocery store.
- Buying cheap ingredients: We’re stacking strategies here: You’ll be buying cheap food items at the cheapest grocery store. This meal plan is built on affordable staples like oatmeal, chicken drumsticks, rice, frozen veggies, eggs, etc.
- Resourcefulness: Many of the food items you’ll be purchasing are used in several of the recipes. For example, the 2 ham steaks are used for breakfast, in pasta salad, and in the fried rice. The bell peppers are used for breakfast, in the fried rice, and as a fresh veggie side to main courses.
How To Use This Meal Plan
There is no one-size-fits-all meal plan. This particular 7-day meal plan is not perfect. But I encourage you to reference it and modify it to fit your or your family’s unique dietary needs and palate.
The best way to use this meal plan?
First, take a look at the previous week-long meal plan for less than $100.
Then, mix and match those recipes with these recipes to customize your week’s worth of meals.
Not a fan of these recipes? Browse more than 500 more cheap recipes on Cheap Recipe Blog.
Take A Flexible, Creative Approach To Save Money On Food
I’ve linked to many of the recipes, below. To keep your meal plan to under $100 for the week, you may need to omit a few of the non-essential ingredients in some of the recipes.
For example, Day 6’s dinner is Mexican ground turkey skillet. You can omit some of the toppings like shredded lettuce and avocado to keep costs down. Or, you can improvise and use toppings you have on hand in your fridge, like pickled jalapenos and tomatoes.
Approach your meal planning with flexibility and creativity, omitting and substituting ingredients when needed to save money.
What About Special Diets?
A lot of people have inquired about $100 meal plans for special diets, like gluten-free, paleo, keto, low carb, etc.
When you’re following a special diet, it will probably be more difficult to stay under $100 for a week. But it’s worth it to research some cheap recipes that meet your dietary requirements.
The 7-Day Meal Plan For Less Than $100
- Breakfast: Slow-cooker steel cut oatmeal (put in the slow cooker the night before) + frozen blueberries
- Lunch: Sandwiches with salami or ham + fresh veggies (carrot sticks, celery, bell peppers)
- Dinner: Fried egg sandwiches (2 eggs per person)
- Breakfast: Egg and potato breakfast tacos (2 each)
- Lunch: Pasta salad (made with Italian dressing, chopped bell peppers, carrots, onions, ham or salami)
- Dinner: Slow cooker chicken drumsticks + steamed broccoli
Prep for tomorrow: Boil eggs for hard boiled eggs for lunch
- Breakfast: Leftover slow cooker steel cut oatmeal (from Day 1) + bananas
- Lunch: Hard-boiled eggs (2 each) + crackers + fresh veggies
- Dinner: Pizza-style polenta with cheddar cheese + marinara sauce or pasta sauce
- Breakfast: Yogurt + banana slices + frozen blueberries + breakfast tacos (1 each)
- Lunch: Hummus + fresh veggies + crackers + salami slices
- Dinner: Chickpea and tomato curry + rice*
*Prep for tomorrow: make 2x the amount of rice you’ll need, to use in tomorrow’s fried rice.
- Breakfast: 2 eggs, any style + 1/2 package cooked breakfast sausage
- Lunch: Sloppy joes (make with ketchup or tomato paste, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper or follow this recipe) + hamburger buns
- Dinner: Kitchen sink fried rice (Clean out your fridge: Can use onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery, ham chunks, scrambled eggs from your weekly shopping list. Use stir fry sauce to flavor.)
- Breakfast/brunch: Loaded hash browns with onions, bell peppers, ham, cheddar cheese, etc.+ 1/2 package breakfast sausage
- Dinner: Mexican ground turkey skillet (with black beans, ground turkey, bell peppers) + flour tortillas
- Breakfast: Perfect scrambled eggs (2 each) + remaining ham steaks
- Dinner: Salisbury steak (frozen, from ALDI) + frozen mixed vegetables + garlic bread
Shopping List: What You’ll Need For The Entire Week
Note: I’m going to assume that you have basic pantry staples on hand, like salt, pepper, basic spices, cooking oil, butter, white sugar, brown sugar, mayo, ketchup, mustard, etc. These pantry staples were not included in the total price noted, below.
If your kitchen is stocked with the previously mentioned staple foods, all you have to purchase for the $100/week menu is:
- Steel cut oats
- Frozen blueberries
- Frozen broccoli
- 2 packages frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, and corn)
- Frozen hash browns
- Sandwich bread
- Hamburger buns
- Frozen garlic bread
- Bell peppers (pack of three: red, orange, and yellow)
- 4 to 6 bananas
- 3 dozen eggs
- 1 package salami or preferred deli meat
- 2 ham steaks
- 1 lb. package of breakfast sausage (buy frozen to save money)
- 1 lb. ground beef (buy frozen to save money)
- 1 lb. ground turkey (buy frozen to save money)
- Chicken drumsticks (2 to 3 per person)
- Frozen Salisbury steak (from ALDI)
- 2 large Russet potatoes
- 16-pack of small street taco-size tortillas (corn or flour)
- 1 lb. box pasta (for pasta salad)
- Italian dressing
- Stir-fry sauce
- 1 jar marinara or pasta sauce
- Crackers (your choice)
- Polenta/corn grits
- 1 lb. bag shredded cheddar cheese
- Yogurt (32-ounce container, your choice of flavor/style)
- 2 cans chickpeas (15.5 ounces each)
- Black beans
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
- Rice (your choice, used for chickpea curry and fried rice)
All in all, I paid about $92 for the entire week’s worth of food. This is about $23 more than my previous $100/week meal plan, partly because of inflation and partly because this meal plan is a bit more substantial.
In any case, this still comes in at less than $100 and leaves a bit of wiggle room for snacks, extra meat, or whatever your family fancies.
I hope this 7-day meal plan gives you some fresh ideas, whether you choose to follow it exactly or pick and choose a few cheap recipes to try.
In any case, remember that there are so many ways to save money on food and still eat deliciously. Even in these times of soaring grocery prices.
You’ve got this!