Extreme Budgeting | Meal Prep | 21 meals for $15

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Grocery List

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 16oz bag of shredded cheese
  • 1 12oz bag of frozen broccoli
  • 2 10.5oz cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 14.5oz cans of cut green beans
  • 1lb dried black beans
  • 2lbs long grain white rice
  • 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 2 yellow onions (try to get it right around 1lb)
  • 5lbs russet potatoes

Assumptions

The only assumptions I am making are the following:

  1. You have have salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you do not keep these in your pantry, please start. You can season just about anything with these three items.
  2. You have some kind of cooking fat. Vegetable oil, olive oil, bacon fat, butter, whatever you like. Just some kind of cooking fat.

Shopping

I live in a very small town (population just over a thousand) with one grocery store option and I did this at my local grocery store. They generally have a name brand option, a Best Choice option, and an Always Save option. Generally the Always Save option is the cheapest and is comparable to the Walmart brand (Great Value).

At my local grocery they were sold out of the cheapest brand of cream of mushroom soup, so I substituted cream of chicken soup. The price was the same but the flavor is slightly different.

Also, at my local grocery store the were sold out of the Best Choice frozen broccoli. My next choice would have been frozen cauliflower or mixed vegetables but the were sold out of that as well. The only thing that they had in the price range of what I was looking for was frozen cut green beans and frozen peas and I didn’t think that would give me the flavors I was looking for. So, on this day, because of my limited options I opted for frozen California mix which was almost twice as expensive because it was a steamtable bag.

With the more expensive bag of frozen veggies I still managed to keep my price at $17.08 (pre tax, because sales tax is subjective to where you live)

My actual receipt

The next day I got onto Walmart.com and created the actual grocery list that is listed above and my total was $15.77.

Now, please note there is a charge of $5.99 for having a grocery pick up that is less that $35 so I would not recommend using grocery pickup for just this shopping list.

I could have made this slightly cheaper by opting for the 8oz bag of shredded cheese but I really wanted to get the extra protein and calories in the cheese.

You could probably get this even cheaper by shopping at something like an Aldi, WinCo, or a discount grocery store.

What are we eating?

This week I made a potato and egg breakfast bowl, cheesy broccoli rice, and a Mexican beans and rice bake.

Below you can find the links to the individual recipes.

Potato and Egg Breakfast Bowl

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Mexican Beans and Rice Bake

Want to make them with me. Watch the below YouTube Video.

Notes

Caloric Information

The calorie count of this grocery list is about 10,500. Over 7 days that is 1,500 calories per day. This does not even include the the cooking fat that you may use to cook your potatoes and onions. If you live a very active lifestyle I would recommend adding some additional fat to help give you additional energy and keep you satiated longer.

There are about 235 calories in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and almost 250 calories in 2 tablespoons of standard vegetable oil.

You can argue with me, I don’t really care but I am of the opinion that eating fat does not make you fat.

Shopping on a budget

Buying meat costs more money. One of the most expensive grocery items you can buy is meat. I love meat as much as the next person (unless the next person is a vegetarian) but the fact of the matter is sometimes it’s not an option when you’re on a tight budget.

You might be thinking, I don’t want to eat the same 3 meals all week. Well, unfortunately, variety costs more money. The more recipes you make, the more ingredients you have to purchase, which will drive up your cost.

The fact of the matter is, if you are forced to pinch pennies, which I know many are, variety and protein may not be a viable option.

Why meal prep?

First, it saves time. I was able to cook a full week of meals for 1 person in less than 2 hours. I’ve meal prepped for my whole family and that doesn’t take much longer.

Second, it saves money. If you eat out for lunch, how much do you spend on one day? Is it $5? Unless you’re eating at Steak’n’Shake, Sonic on dollar corndog day, or a very reasonably priced small town diner, it’s like more than that. I’m going to guess that you’re spending more than $10/day on lunch. Well, that right there is almost as much as I spent on one week of meals. Even if you’re just meal prepping lunch IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY!

Third, it gives you room to be lazy. Maybe you come home after a long day at work and you don’t feel like cooking. Maybe the kids are being cranky. Maybe your dad decided to stop by and chat. Maybe you’ve got a side hustle that needs your attention tonight and you don’t have time to cook. Well guess what, you’ve already got dinner in the refrigerator ready to go. Just pop it in the microwave and eat.