Meal Planning on a Budget - Sample Menu

Last night, I had the pleasure of being a speaker at Ignite SJ. This event invites people from various walks of life to address a crowd for just 5 minutes, with 20 slides that automatically change every 15 seconds. I was asked to speak about meal planning on a budget, and whittling down my favourite ideas into 15 second intervals was no small task. Those who know me, know that I have a hard time shutting up about things I'm passionate about! (The event was recorded and I plan to share the videos once they are posted.)

(Photo courtesy of Mark Burnett, @burnettisms)

During the question and answer period, I was asked how long it takes to do my weekly meal plan. I answered that it takes me about 20 minutes, and that I think the time is a good investment. However, as I sat down with the newest flyers this morning, my meal plan basically wrote itself in well under that estimate. There are so many great prices this week on foods that just asked to be served together!

For those who weren't in attendance last night, you can read this post (from 2012) about how I meal plan around the sales. I want to take that how-to a step further today by showing you an actual meal plan for the week, using the current sales in our area. Remember - you don't need to run all over town to get these specials. Simply bring your flyers to a store that price matches! I do this at No Frills each week, but it can also be done at Walmart or Giant Tiger. I also generally stop at On The Vine each week because they offer amazing weekly specials. And their staff offers to carry my bags out to the car...where can you get that kind of service anymore?!

Below, I'll highlight the best deals at each store followed by the week of dinners I have planned.

Welch's frozen fruit @ $2.99
Pineapple @ $1.99
Maple Leaf bacon @ $3.77

Giant Tiger
3 Lbs MacIntosh apples @ $1.99 (plus $1 off if you use the "Coupgon" app at Giant Tiger)

Pork loin roast @ $2.99/Lb

Cucumbers @ $0.88
Avocado @ $0.97

No Frills
Tangerines @ $0.99 /Lb
Cauliflower @ $2

On The Vine
Ground beef @ $1.99 /Lb
Tomatoes @ $0.97/Lb
Grape tomatoes @ $1.97
Watermelon @ $3.99
Mushrooms @ $1.47
Bell peppers @ 2.97/ 4-pack

The dinners I have planned are based around these sale items, which appear in parenthesis below:

  • Spicy Beef & Cucumber Wraps (ground beef and cucumbers)
  • Roasted Tomato Pasta (grape tomatoes)
  • Veggie Pizza with my favourite thin crust (tomato, mushrooms, peppers)
  • Tacos (ground beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, avocado)
  • Breakfast for Dinner: Bacon (bacon), veggie quiche (tomato, mushrooms, peppers), fruit salad (watermelon, tangerine, pineapple), blueberry muffins (frozen fruit) 
  • Apple Cinnamon Pork Loin  (apples, pork loin) with roasted cauliflower (cauliflower)
  • Pork sandwiches (using leftover pork loin) with sauteed veggies (peppers, mushrooms)

Of course, my grocery list will need to be rounded out to include a few additional items for the recipes above, along with things we need for breakfast, school lunches, and to replenish the pantry. I'm also always keeping my eye open for "stock up-portunities" for items with a long shelf-life that my family uses regularly. Saving money on those staples leaves lots of money in the budget for the fresh healthy foods I want to serve my family! {Those in attendance last night, you can laugh about my laundry detergent stash here. :) }

I'd love to hear your feedback about this process, or any question you might have about meal planning. As I said last night, we can all live well and eat well if we spend thoughtfully!


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