budget friendly meal planning
family Food&Cooking

Super Simple Budget Friendly Meal Prep

What’s the purpose of meal prep?

  1. Intention of clean eating
  2. Time Saving
  3. Save Money
  4. Reducing wasted food

Create a Meal Plan

  • Prep about a weeks worth (mostly the refrigerated ones, Frozen or dry can be further out)
  • Reserve a full day for meal prep

Shopping List (what they typically look like for me) 

  • 1 pound red potatoes
  • 6.5lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • instant white rice
  • 5 cans chicken broth
  • 1 bottle teriyaki sauce
  • 3 bags bell pepper and onion frozen 
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 bags frozen tortellini
  • 1lb package ground turkey
  • loaf bread
  • 5lb roll ground beef
  • 5pkg diced onion frozen
  • dozen eggs
  • bottle Worcestershire sauce
  • bottle of ketchup
  • 5 cans black beans
  • 2 cans red enchilada sauce
  • 2 pkg Mexican cheese
  • 3 pkg soft taco size tortillas
  • 1 bag carrots
  • package minced garlic
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1pkg mozzarella cheese
  • 2pkg cheddar cheese
  • 1lb boneless pork
  • 2pkg frozen green beans
  • 1  container honey
  • 1 bottle dijon mustard
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1pkg frozen corn
  • 3lb chuck roast
  • 1pkg sliced provolone
  • 6pk sub bread
  • box onion soup mix
  • 4.5oz can green chiles
  • 2pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 box chicken stuffing
  • 1pkg frozen broccoli
  • 1 can broccoli cheese soup
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1pkg Colby Monterey jack cheese       Total:$132 approximately

What Foods are Best for Meal Prep

Chicken breast, ground beef, and boneless meats work best for meal prepping in my opinion. Most of the meals prepped are frozen in my house. Most fresh vegetables, canned vegetables, and canned or fresh tomatoes freeze well. 


How Much Does it Cost to Meal Prep?

For the current meal plan for my family, the total cost including sauces, jar garlic, and bread totaled to $132, which breaks down to $9 a meal. 

These meals are being made with roast beef, boneless chicken breasts, and boneless pork. They are not the cheapest cuts of meat but, they are still within reach. To lower the cost more, use cheaper cuts of meat and debone it yourself to save. If you prep all in one day you can purchase all the items in bulk and split them up. 

This list was primarily made for convenience and budget friendly as possible. 

Freezer and Crock pot meals from 30 Handmade Days

  • ground beef tortellini
  • honey dijon pork chops and green beans
  • mexican chicken chili
  • beef fajitas
  • chicken Philly cheesesteak
  • pot roast and green beans
  • beef enchilada casserole
  • broccoli chicken casserole
  • burritos

Dump and bake meals from the Seasoned Mom

  • herb roasted chicken and vegetables
  • black beans enchilada casserole 
  • meatloaf
  • turkey meatball tortellini 
  • teriyaki chicken
  • Fried Rice– Put in a 9×13 pan or gallon freezer bag and bake later. From happy money saver

Tips for keeping it budget friendly

  • Buy in bulk
  • stick with mostly boneless skinless chicken breasts and ground beef
  • Pork is an affordable option if you like it more than beef
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How Long does Food Keep?

Refrigerated items only keep for about three to five days.Freezer items keep longer, the freshness ranges from a few months to a year depending on the food.

Meal Prep Reduces wastes

Preparing your meals ahead of time saves money and prevents food waste. Creating a plan beforehand rather than just going into the store without a plan and guessing is the worst possible way to go. 

When you go into the store without a plan and just get whatever you think is needed it can lead to overbuying or underbuying. More often than not going without a plan of some sort I find that there will be things that were needed as well as having too much of another ingredient.  

Reduced stress

When there is a plan for meals, it reduces overall stress. Not worrying about what’s for dinner is huge, especially since it is an everyday dilemma.

Meals you can freeze and Reheat for later

Another way to meal prep is to freeze a meal for later. Definitely possible, this can also reduce waste from throwing food out. Leftovers don’t keep as well in the fridge or as long. 


One of the most popular meals, especially in the winter and fall months. Growing up Dad’s chili would be made in the fall months and then frozen for later use.

Fried Rice

One of my favorite meals, nothing like fried rice. This meal can be frozen for later. Once you are ready to eat it, just put it in the oven. 


Most soups freeze well, I find that ones with softer pasta do not freeze well unless you premake it and slightly undercook it. 


Freezing pizza for later works well if you have alot left over. This is another way to prevent waste, and the pizza can be microwaved or baked in the oven. 

Meal Prepping can take a lot of guesswork and stress away, even if you don’t do make ahead meals all month it is helpful. Making plans in advance will also save money, anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars depending on the meals. 

Let me know what you think of these meals and prep ideas in the comments. 

Hi there! I'm Cassie, a mom to three wonderful children. I blog and potty train by day, and work third shift full time by night. I help moms like you by finding ways to save money and keep life organized.


Hi there! I'm Cassie, a mom to three wonderful children. I blog and potty train by day, and work third shift full time by night. I help moms like you by finding ways to save money and keep life organized.

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