Frugal Meal Planning When You’re Short on Time

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When it comes to frugal menu planning, I like to keep our meals simple and frugal. In fact, saving money in the kitchen saves our budget every time. Food is one of the easiest budget items to trim and I had to learn large family meal planning on a budget early on in my homemaking journey. 

So, how can you practice frugal meal planning when you’re short on time? Here are some of my best tips. (P.S. Stay tuned for a really awesome giveaway!)

frugal meal planning

Frugal Meal Planning When You’re Short on Time

Keep meals simple

Breakfast and lunch can especially be kept simple. We often eat the same things every day. Cereal and fruit for breakfast. I will occasionally make fried eggs and bacon for a nice change of pace. 

Lunches are easy with sandwiches and veggies and I often work in some chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. These meals do not have to be elaborate.

For dinner, plan on using what you have on hand! If there’s a pack of chicken breast in your freezer, find a quick meal that includes chicken. Don’t forget to use up any of your boxed or canned items, too.

Stick to foods you know are frugal

My free printable frugal food shopping list is an entire list of frugal foods that you can purchase at the grocery store. Stick to items you know are not expensive like in season fruits and vegetables, whole chicken rather than cuts of chicken, ground turkey instead of ground beef, canned salmon and several other items.

Make use of time-saving kitchen tools

Small kitchen appliances have made a world of difference in how we get food on the table. Two of my favorite appliances are the Crock Pot and the Instant Pot.

The crock pot is wonderful to use when you can prep dinner early in the day. We have several favorite crock pot meals.

The instant pot comes in handy when you need to make dinner fast! You can throw frozen chicken in this thing and have dinner in a matter of minutes. 

Need inspiration? Check out our week of dinners!



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  1. I became a mom when I was 18! I now have 2 children, ages 7 and 3 months. I have been looking to add an instant pot to our busy homeschooling schedule for a long time but just haven’t taken the leap yet. 🙂 I cook all our meals at home so it would seriously help in our kitchen!

  2. I became a mom just a few days after my 26th birthday. Now I have 2 babies, 16 months and 3 months old.

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