Budget Menu Planning Challenge

(Sorry it has been a while since I last posted. I’ve been busy being a non-crazy Mom and focused Home Maker)

Here’s the update on us and our diets: We eat about 30% vegan, 68% vegetarian, 2% meat (reserved for when we are invited to friends houses. We try to not be difficult.) The reason we added some dairy and eggs back into our diet is because The Hubby and I lost SO much weight (me 2 dress sizes and him 4 inches) in about a 6-week span, that I didn’t want us dropping any more.

Since adding in dairy again, I’m finding my food budget envelope emptying faster than when we ate strictly vegan, because I’ve added those expensive things, like $15/month on cheddar cheese (Tillamook is the only way to go. And I’m not even getting paid to say that!), among other dairy products.

So, what is a gal supposed to do when she’s got 8 days left before her next payday and only $35 in her food budget?

She get’s creative! (and makes a list. The gal ALWAYS makes a list.)

  1. Inventory
  2. Google
  3. Be Flexible
  4. Shop Wisely



Here is what I have on hand:



7 apples

1 Roma Tomato

2 Avocados


Frozen Raspberries

1 English Cucumber

5 Red Bell Peppers

1 Green Bell Pepper

2 Red onion

2 Yellow Onion

1 Swiss Chard Bunch

1 Zucchini

Butter Nut Squash


1 Eggplant



6 Red potatoes


3 eggs

Rice milk

Almond Milk

8oz Ricotta

24oz Sour Cream


Italian Shreds

8oz Feta

10oz Jack Cheese

Fresh Parm


Kidney Beans

Garbanzo Beans

Green Split Peas


3 cans of Black Beans


Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat White Bread


Israeli CousCous



Lasagna Noodles



Angel Hair


Vital Wheat Gluten



Whole peeled tomatoes

Artichoke hearts

Raw cashews

Pasta Sauce

Water Chestnuts


Nori sheets

Spring Roll Wrappers



Terms like “Budget Meals” are your best friend (I narrow it down by using the terms “Vegan budget meals” and “Vegetarian budget meals”). When scouring the interwebs for budget meals, I look for meals that fulfill the following criteria:

Most of the ingredients should be things I have on hand, and those that I need to buy should be CHEAP ones. This is usually a produce or grain. If you are missing a cheese, just a hint, that’s not the way to stay in your teeny tiny budget. Chose a different recipe.

Be Flexible

Does your recipe call for Italian Seasoning, but you don’t have any? Sub oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, and onion for it!

Does your recipe call for Yellow or Orange bell peppers (which are expensive!!) but you only have red? Use red. Duh.

Do you only have rice when a recipe calls for potatoes? Use the rice!

Shop Wisely

I’ve been shopping at Sprouts, and I LOVE it. I’ve come to find out that Wednesdays are double ad days, which means I get to shop the sales from both the previous week and the current week. Love it. So, check out when your store has the best deals! Safeway, for example, has their $5 specials each weekend. Pair some of those specials with a manufacturer’s coupon, and BOOM, great deal.

But shopping on Wednesdays only means I have to find 2 meals out of what I have on hand since today is Monday and it’s pretty frowned upon by well, everyone, to only feed your kids every three days. (I know there are people, kids included, going hungry out there. But if you, my reader are one of those people, may I be so blunt as to ask you why internet access is more important than feeding your family?)

Stay tuned for my first quick and easy meal that I’ll be making!





2 thoughts on “Budget Menu Planning Challenge

  1. Pingback: Budget Meal #2: Calzones | My Daily Bread Crumbs

  2. Pingback: Budget Meal #1 | My Daily Bread Crumbs

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