What’s For Dinner?

Our Cheap $50/Week Meal Plan For A Family of 5

Today, I am SO excited to share with you how I create a cheap $50/week meal plan for a family of 5! Technically, we’re a family of 6, but our youngest is just over a year old and doesn’t eat THAT much table food yet.

And like many families, dinner is always the most expensive meal. So learning how to meal plan effectively has helped us free up so much extra money!

Now we spend around $50-$60 each week on dinner because I keep a few of our favorite budget-friendly meals on rotation to help me create a cheap weekly meal plan.

The cheap weekly meal plan I’m sharing today is intended to feed two adults and up to three young kids, so feel free to incorporate some or all of these meal ideas into your own menu!

I purchased every item you’ll see below at Walmart in their Great Value brand, but keep in mind their prices will vary by region and could change at any time.

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But if you want to save even more money, I recommend buying groceries from lower price stores like Aldi, or just grabbing the generic brands can save you a lot of money no matter where you go!

This is what makes our meal plans so cheap

Although I’m a huge fan of weekly meal planning as a way to save money on food without the hassle of couponing, it’s not just planning ahead that makes it possible to eat dinner for $50/week for our big family.

It is actually making Stretch Meals!

This is how it works: instead of cooking every single day, I am making 1-2 large meals throughout the week so that they will STRETCH over two days for eating leftovers — and that’s like getting a 2-for-1 deal! ????

Because sometimes I will repurpose leftovers (for example; pulled pork sandwiches the first day, then pork tacos the second day). But most other times we’ll just eat the same meal twice (like if it’s spaghetti).

Incorporating Stretch Meals has made it SO MUCH easier to create a cheap dinner menu. I love that I get a break from cooking duty (without ordering a pizza), plus it’s a meal planning trick that keeps our grocery bill around $100 every week, so we save money without using coupons! (woohoo!).

Here’s what one of our cheap meal plans for dinner looks like:

Sunday & Monday

Chicken Alfredo & Garlic Bread

Our $50/Week Cheap Meal Plan for A Family of 5

There are many ways to make this classic dish. My favorite way to make it super cheap is to use jarred Alfredo sauce, fettuccine noodles, frozen chicken breast, and saute mushrooms extra flavor. Mix it all together and you’ve got a delicious meal that can stretch over two days!

Shopping List:

  • Frozen boneless chicken breast (3lb bag) – $5.94
  • Fettuccine Noodles – $0.82
  • Garlic Bread – $2.00
  • Alfredo Sauce (2 jars) – $1.50/each
  • Fresh Sliced Baby Bella Mushrooms – $2.18 ($0.28/oz)

Cooking Instructions:

  • Cook 4 boneless, skinless chicken (freeze remaining chicken) which can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried and then slice into bite-size pieces or shred.
  • Chop Baby Bella mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and slightly brown in a pan with oil.
  • Cook noodles according to package directions.
  • Combine all ingredients with jarred Alfredo sauce.


Oven-Fried Chicken with Cornbread & Baked Beans

Our $50/Week Cheap Meal Plan for A Family of 5

This is Southern fried chicken without the fatty oil. I love that it comes out just as tasty and crispy! So skipping the cooking oil saves me a few extra bucks.

Shopping List:

  • Frozen chicken bone-in thighs (3lb) – $4.41
  • Cornbread – $0.47
  • Baked Beans – $1.42

You can click here to get the full recipe.


Italian Pork Chops with Steamed Rice & Broccoli

Our $50/Week Cheap Meal Plan for A Family of 5

This recipe is from the $5 Meal Plan which is (if you don’t know) a HUGE inventory of premade weekly meal plans that arrive in your inbox every Friday to help you fill up your week with affordable and easy-to-cook meals, plus a shopping list!

My family loves many of the $5 Meal Plan recipes including the Pineapple BBQ Pork Chops, Ginger Peach Salmon, and Slow Cooker Caribbean Chicken!

You can sign up to get 14 meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert for FREE here and start saving money on groceries.

Shopping List:

  • Boneless pork chops – $5.95
  • Brown rice – $1.00
  • Frozen broccoli – $1.98

Thursday & Friday

Homemade Sloppy Joes with French Fries

Our $50/Week Cheap Meal Plan for A Family of 5

If you didn’t grow up eating sloppy joes then you didn’t have a real childhood. (Haha! I’m only kidding.) I love making sloppy joe sandwiches for my kids and it’s another one of my favorite Stretch Meals. I prefer to use 3 lbs of ground beef or turkey so that we can have enough leftovers for the following day.

Shopping List:

  • Frozen french fries – $1.68
  • Hamburger buns (2 packs) – $0.87 each
  • Green pepper – $0.58
  • Yellow Onion – $0.54
  • Garlic bulb – $0.60
  • Ketchup – $1.00
  • Ground Turkey (3lb) – $6.44
  • (Side dish for Day #2) Frozen corn on the cob – $2.24

You can click here to get the full recipe.


Chicken Quesadillas with Chips & Salsa

Our $50/Week Cheap Meal Plan for A Family of 5

Chicken quesadillas are hands down one of the most requested meals in my house every week. I especially love how cheap and fast it is to put it together! I try to cook the chicken breast in advance in my slow cooker to save more time.

Shopping List:

  • Frozen chicken breast (using the remaining frozen chicken from Sunday)
  • 8″ Flour tortillas – $1.58
  • Tortilla chips – $0.92
  • Salsa – $1.33
  • Sour cream – $1.00
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend (16 oz bag) – $2.56

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Cook 3 boneless, skinless chicken which can be grilled, baked, or pan-fried and then sliced into bite-size pieces.
  2. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Place one tortilla in the non-stick skillet, adding about ¼ cup cheddar cheese to that tortilla. Making sure it is evenly spread.
  4. Add about ¼ to ½ cup of chicken mixture (depending on the size of your tortilla) to one side of the tortilla.
  5. Fold over the other half of the tortilla.
  6. Cook until the bottom tortilla is browned, then flip and cook until the second side is brown and cheese is melted.
  7. Repeat with remaining tortillas and cheese until you have used all the filling.
  8. Slice and serve with salsa and sour cream!

Grocery Total: $51.38

Some additional items you may have to buy if you don’t already have them in your pantry include all-purpose flour ($1.18), cooking oil spray ($1.53), and brown sugar ($1.00/2lb bag).

Now, I hope this has inspired you to go and create a cheaper meal plan of your own — even if you only double the ingredients of one of your favorite meals this week!

Because that alone will save you more time and money since you’ll have enough leftovers to eat the next day and you won’t have to make a new meal.

  • Reply
    01/04 at 10:37 PM

    I’m sure excited about this because I too have a family of 5 1/2 (my son’s 3 so he’s the 1/2 LOL!) and my grocery bill has always been my frustration. I will certainly be trying this and utilizing “stretch meals” throughout the week! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/05 at 11:40 AM

      You’re welcome mama! You’ll be amazing by how much it’ll stretch your grocery budget. I’m excited for you too! 🙂

  • Reply
    01/15 at 10:58 PM

    Thanks for the help like the recipes I’ve seen

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/15 at 11:32 PM

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  • Reply
    01/16 at 10:44 AM

    This is great, like all your recipes, going to try them for my family:)

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/17 at 8:20 PM

      Yay! Awesome. So glad you like them! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ceyhana Spain
    01/18 at 9:10 AM

    YAAAASSSSS THANK YOU FOR THIS!! SIS YOU JUST BLESSED ME. I have been struggling with how to keep my food budget bill low and making meals that stretch. This is great! Thank you. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/18 at 1:33 PM

      I’m SO happy this will help! You’re welcome Ceyhana! 🙂

  • Reply
    01/20 at 11:23 AM

    I love this!! I’m researching because I’m challenging myself to spend $60/week on food for my family of 5 for a few months, and saving the difference.
    Another favorite of ours is tuna pasta salad. I make it on Sunday and we eat on it for lunch, as long as it lasts.
    1 lb elbow noodles, 1 can of tuna, some diced onion, 1 diced celery stalk, about a cup of frozen peas and mayo, salt and pepper to taste.
    It’s delicious and only a couple dollars for a big bowl!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/20 at 12:44 PM

      Yes! Tuna ANYTHING is so cheap. I make a lot of tuna sandwiches for lunch or we’ll have tuna casserole for dinner! Thanks for the tip, Heather 🙂

  • Reply
    01/20 at 6:32 PM

    I’m not sure where you get these prices from but they are WAY off. No way can you buy 2 pkgs of hamburger buns for under a $1 and I’ve never seen ketchup for $1 either. I wish !!! I try to cut back myself and watch every dime but no way can I do $50 a week. It must be single serving sizes of everything. I couldn’t buy frozen French fries for under $3.
    Bulk is more cost effective in the end.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/20 at 8:12 PM

      Hi Holly! As I stated in the article, I buy everything from Walmart to feed my family of 6 because they really do have low prices on food here in Ohio! I don’t know where you live, but you might want to check out the Walmart Grocery app for yourself and see what’s possible. 🙂

      • Reply
        Suzanne Davis
        01/27 at 2:11 PM

        I followed this list and I was able to buy all ingredients for these meals and spent just over $50! I’m in Mississippi so maybe our prices are cheaper! This was awesome! Thank you for the menu and prices!

        • Reply
          Danielle Skeaton
          01/28 at 11:30 AM

          Yay! I’m so happy for you! ????

    • Reply
      01/21 at 2:49 PM

      I completely disagree. We shop at our local dollar store for basic items such as ketchup, bread, milk etc. I literally just bought hamburger buns for 95 cents and they were FRESH!
      My husband and I have a $200/month grocery budget (Hello Dave Ramsey!) and manage to make it work. If you don’t mind going generic, then these prices are totally do-able at the right stores!

      • Reply
        Danielle Skeaton
        01/21 at 3:22 PM

        You are so right Claire! We buy everything generic lol but I completely forgot about shopping at dollar stores for pantry basics. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

      • Reply
        Suzanne Davis
        01/27 at 2:12 PM

        I shop dollar tree too! Our dollar tree has many items on this grocery list! Ours even have many name brands!

    • Reply
      01/24 at 10:44 PM

      There should be a bakery outlet close to you where you can most definitely buy buns that cheap and the dollar stores will have ketchup. Walmart too. I’ve seen it that cheap. Plus if you clip coupons there is always coupons for condiments.

    • Reply
      01/31 at 7:02 PM

      I’m in Kentucky and I know our Kroger store prices are cheap. I buy hot dog and hamburger buns for .99 cent and most of the time there is a .40 cent off 2 (8ct) packs. So this is totally doable if you are shopping store brands, sales, and coupon!!
      Thank you so much for the tips. I’ve gotten slack in my money saving but due to some financial setbacks I’m finding myself having to go back to stretching our pennies.

      • Reply
        Danielle Skeaton
        02/03 at 1:17 PM

        You’re welcome Dixie! I’m glad this will help 🙂

  • Reply
    01/23 at 10:31 PM

    Thanks for sharing. I have just a family of three but either way your ideas and tips will help me so much. Happy budget ❤️ love from Madison WI

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/23 at 10:41 PM

      You’re welcome Susan! I’m happy to help 🙂

  • Reply
    Charity Flener
    01/26 at 8:34 AM

    I am very excited to try this for our family of 5! One question, what about breakfast food and snacks? From reading this you spend $50 on evening meals only. I’m just trying to see if it would be possible to spend equal to or less than $100 weekly for our family.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/28 at 11:54 AM

      Yes that’s exactly what I do! And it’s totally possible because you can make breakfast and lunch for cheap too! Dinner has also been the most expensive meal for us. For snacks, I limit my kids to just two options every week and I don’t let them eat the entire box either in two days because that would mean another trip to the store and more money spent. So I’m kind of like the snack police in my house ????

  • Reply
    01/26 at 3:15 PM

    I do realize that you’re goal here is lowering your food bill, but my concern is the lack of vegetables. This meal plan (including your breakfasts and lunches) seems very heavy on meat and carbs.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/28 at 11:38 AM

      Hi Stephanie! I don’t use meal planning to eat healthy, I use meal planning to cook at home and save money instead of going to the drive-thru to grab dinner! So a lot of the meals I make are comfort foods, however, I do buy a lot of frozen vegetables to add to our meals because they are cheaper than buying them fresh.

  • Reply
    01/27 at 2:44 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this. As a young mom and wife I am not good at all at the cooking and budgeting groceries cost. I’m so excited to try your method and recipes.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/28 at 11:56 AM

      You’re welcome Katherine! I am excited for you 🙂

  • Reply
    01/27 at 5:45 PM

    Thank you for this!! I dont usually do the cooking my husband does (yay, me ????) but when its my turn I have no idea what to make. This helps me stay under budget and have edible food (not the greatest cook)!! We also shop at walmart and get the bogos at Publix, but I think Publix might only be a South store.
    Love from Florida!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      01/28 at 12:00 PM

      Oh my gosh, Kelci! I’m so jealous. The only time I can get my husband to cook is on the grill ???????? But I’m not the greatest cook either which is why I stick to simple meals with simple ingredients I can understand! Haha

  • Reply
    01/31 at 3:03 PM

    This is great. Thanks so much for the ideas!!

  • Reply
    02/02 at 8:33 AM

    These ideas are GREAT! Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      02/05 at 4:35 PM

      Hi Brittany! I’m so glad you like it. I can absolutely add you – thanks for asking! 🙂

  • Reply
    02/02 at 4:09 PM

    The recipe for the oven fried chicken specifically says she doesn’t recommend using frozen chicken thighs. Do you set yours out to thaw first?

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      02/03 at 1:16 PM

      Yes I do!

  • Reply
    02/05 at 2:12 PM

    Okay so I’m confused on how you make one 4 strips of chicken breast and one box (1lb) of noodles last for dinner for both Sunday/Monday for a family of 5? I also have a family of 5 and when I use 1lb of noodles we barely have any leftovers.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      02/05 at 4:34 PM

      Hi Sarah! It’s totally possible. You can shred your chicken to make it stretch and for the noodles, just break them in half instead of boiling them whole. Since the noodles are shorter it’s easier for my kids to eat it and we’ll have plenty of leftovers!

  • Reply
    Shannon Allen
    02/13 at 5:32 PM

    I love this please post more, this is the only realistic menu guide that me and my children will eat! So happy to of found this! It was $62 at Winco here in WA state but I can live with that, single mom of 4!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      02/15 at 3:39 AM

      Oh wow! That’s amazing Shannon! I’m so glad this was helpful 🙂

  • Reply
    03/05 at 1:27 PM

    Hi there. Is there a recipe for the italian. Porkchops? Thank you so much for yhis menu. A huge help to my family.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      03/10 at 6:59 PM

      Hi Jackie! I am so glad this post was helpful. You can find the Italian Porkchop recipe and many other affordable ones like it inside the $5 Meal Plan recipe vault which you can learn more about here!

  • Reply
    03/15 at 1:45 PM

    The Dollar Tree also has frozen fruits and vegetables!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      03/15 at 6:30 PM

      They sure do! Great tip. Thanks Rachel 🙂

  • Reply
    03/21 at 10:38 AM

    This meal plan is the only one I’ve found on Pinterest that was easy and detailed. I was able to spend a little less, because I already had some of the items. Great job and thanks for helping this family of 5.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      03/24 at 12:49 PM

      Wow! I’m so GLAD to hear this Tawanna! Thank you for stopping by 🙂

  • Reply
    05/31 at 4:22 PM

    Thank you for this amazing list! I am trying to meal plan this week and this has helped me figure out this week’s meal! Thanks again!

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      06/02 at 11:19 PM

      I’m so glad it could help you, Angie! 🙂

  • Reply
    06/04 at 7:08 PM

    These recipes look great!! All of them! Can’t wait to try! Please keep these meal plans coming!

  • Reply
    06/17 at 12:25 PM

    Thank you so much for this. Saving money right now is more important than ever. Sometimes putting together a meal plan is more difficult than it should be.

    • Reply
      Danielle Skeaton
      06/20 at 1:09 PM

      Hey Dani, you’re welcome! I’m glad this was helpful 🙂

  • Reply
    Lori D
    10/09 at 8:30 PM

    Im so glad I found this article On my lunch break at that ! No matter how hard I try to get meals planned im just not that good bc my constant changing work schedule & my kids new school activities make it hard to make the time to sit down & make a list then get them all in the mood to cooperate at the store. I cant believe i didn’t think of the dollar store its right down the way from me. You’re a life saver. I appreciate you!

  • Reply
    Tina ballentine
    04/21 at 6:35 PM

    Thank you!!! I used this meal plan for this week and everyone is loving it! The only bad part is cost of groceries have risen. But still doable!! You’re amazing!!!

    • Reply
      Dani | TidyUpWithDani
      04/29 at 5:08 PM

      You’re welcome! I hate that grocery prices have risen too but my meal planning method hasn’t changed. I’m glad it has helped you too! ????

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