Large Family Meal Planning on a Budget (Feeding 8 people on $150/week) With a Sample Menu

We are a family of eight. This includes me, my husband, and our six children – Oscar (18-year-old who comes home from college on the weekends), Julia (15), Max (7), Caroline (6), Louisa (3), and Isaac (1). It’s no surprise that my big kids eat like adults. Thankfully, the other four eat like normal kids. Over the years, I have nearly perfected the skill of large family meal planning on a budget.

My husband gives me $400 every two weeks to spend as I see fit. After the necessities like toilet paper, various soaps (hand, shower, dish, laundry), toothpaste, school supplies, and so on . . . I am left usually with about $300 to spend on food. Of course, that amount does vary some, but not too terribly much.

Large Family Meal Planning on a Budget (Feeding 8 people on $150/week) With a Sample Menu

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Feeding 8 people on $150/week sample menu with a price break down

Quick disclaimer: I buy most of my meat in bulk. I get all my cans and fresh veg from Aldi. The prices below reflect the used amount of each item. I don’t need to use a whole 5lb bag of flour to make pancakes, know what I mean? I usually make everything from scratch, but on occasion (to save my sanity) I’ll feed the kids a couple .33 boxes of macaroni and cheese. The below is a pretty basic menu that reflects what we eat around here. Actually, that’s our menu for this week that I posted in my Large Family Frugal Living Facebook group.


In general, I aim for $1 per person per meal or around $20/day. Obviously, suppers will be more expensive than breakfasts, but it all evens out in the end.

Update: Since writing this article, I have developed Large Family Frugal Meals. These weekly meal packs give you everything you need to feed your large family for less than $150/week. Read more about the meal packs in this FAQ or click the photo below to be taken directly to my shop. 🙂 Happy meal planning!

Monday 

pancakes and bacon [pancakes $2, bacon $2 (we buy in bulk for $1.99/lb) = $4]

pizza bagels, fruit, veg [bagels $1.69, pizza sauce $.59, mozzarella $1.25, pepperonis $1, apples $2, baby carrots $.40 = $6.93]

ranch chicken, mashed potatoes, salad [chicken $3.38 (I get it for $1.69/lb), ranch/cornflake mix (homemade ranch, butter, cornflakes)$2, mashed potatoes (potatoes, butter, milk) $2, salad and homemade ranch $2 = $9.38]

Total for Monday is $20.31

Tuesday

smoothies, muffins [smoothies around here are homemade yogurt $1 and fruit $2, homemade muffins cost me about $3 for 24, however, we eat about 12 at a time $1.50 = $4.50]

lettuce wraps, fruit [lettuce wraps are lettuce, lunch meat, may, and cheese. I fix about 10 good sized ones for roughly $5, apples/cuties $2 = 7]

tacos, refried beans, Mexican rice [tacos are hard shells .99, 2lbs of meat $4, homemade seasoning .25, and fixins $3, Mexican rice is rice and a can of Rotel with seasonings $1.50 = $9.74]

Total for Tuesday is $19.24

Oven tacos. Done. #boom

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Wednesday

oats, bananas [instant oatmeal $1.99, bananas $2 = $3.99]

burritos (from leftover taco night) [leftover filling plus tortillas .99 and some fruit $2 = $2.99]

chicken chili (with leftover beans) [2lbs chicken $3.38, two Rotel .69 each, an extra can of beans .59 with sour cream and cilantro for topping .50 =$5.85]

Total for Wednesday is $12.83

Thursday

smoothies, muffins [smoothies around here are homemade yogurt $1 and fruit $2, homemade muffins cost me about $3 for 24, however, we eat about 12 at a time $1.50 = $4.50]

macaroni and cheese, fruit, veg [two boxes macaroni and cheese .66, apples/cuties $2, cucumber .99 = $3.65]

Sausage, pepper, potato bake [smoked sausage $1.99, sweet peppers $2, potatoes $2 plus seasonings and butter $1 = $6.99]

Total for Thursday is $13.14

Friday

eggs, toast [dozen eggs .99 and loaf of bread .89, butter and jelly .50 = $2.38]

oven sandwiches, pretzels, fruit [12 oven sandwiches are turkey $3.5, cheese $1.79, Hawaiian rolls $1.99, butter and seasonings .75, pretzels $1, fruit $2 = $11.03]

homemade pizza, brownies [homemade pepperoni pizza costs me about $5 for two large pizzas, homemade brownies are roughly $2 = $7]

Total for Friday is $20.41

Saturday

Cinnamon Rolls [homemade ingredients cost me about $3 total]

leftovers [free!]

steak, broccoli, roasted potatoes [bulk steak is roughly $10 per meal, broccoli $1.98, roasted potatoes with butter and seasonings $2.50 =  $14.48]

Total for Saturday is $17.48

Sunday

Cereal [cereal $1.69, milk .80 = $2.49]

leftovers from the week and/or grilled cheese [bread .89, cheese 1.79 = $2.68]

rice and fish [two family size bags of frozen tilapia $11, rice $2, seasoning for both (lime, garlic, whatnot) $1 = $14]

Total for Sunday is $19.17

Total for the week is $126.59

But what about snacks and drinks????

We drink lots and lots of water. I do keep lemon juice in the house in case we decide we’d like some lemonade, and of course, sometimes we have sweet tea. But that’s it. I don’t buy juice. Sometimes I’ll buy a 12 pack of those sparkling waters for $1.99 at Aldi if I see them.

As for snacks, that’s where the wiggle room after the meal total comes in. I can buy popcorn kernels, a bag of pretzels, cheese sticks, cottage cheese, and other things of that nature for snacks. Yes, we snack every single day, but usually, the kids just eat an apple or cracks and cheese or something. Our snacks are by no means extravagant or expensive.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out 45+ Homeschool Lunch Ideas.

Below you’ll see the meal planning pages I use, if you’d like to give them a try, just enter your email below!

See, Large Family Meal Planning on a Budget doesn’t have to be hard! How do you stretch your grocery budget?

16 thoughts on “Large Family Meal Planning on a Budget (Feeding 8 people on $150/week) With a Sample Menu”

  1. For the past several years, we’ve been able to raise our own meat and most of our veges–but that’s changing now, since we aren’t able to have a garden this year (it’s summer here in the Southern Hemisphere) and we’re moving into town for a few years. I will have to figure out how to tighten up, I believe. I do find it interesting that my food budget, if you factor in exchange rates, is very similar to yours, with a slightly larger family most of the time here–makes me feel better!

  2. Great ideas – I love the very simple approach! There are five of us here and it’s a constant battle to keep the grocery bill down, so I like seeing how others are doing it.

  3. Fantastic ideas. I admit that we probably spend too much on food – snacks and drinks mostly – but I like getting inspiration from others because any little bit helps our family save money. Thank you.

  4. we are a family of 7 my parents live with us and we spend about $100 a week on food…sometimes if we have extra money for food I’ll splurge and we will have a really nice meal…We were eating leftovers for lunch but here lately I have figured out the perfect portions for no leftovers…we try to be as frugal as possible. we like taking nice vacations and sticking to a budget helps.

  5. Love seeing the breakdown of cost per item per meal. Thank you for all the work you did showing us where the money goes.
    I am feeding our family of 6 on $500 per month. This includes all paper goods, but only a portion of our meat (we purchase beef and pork from a local producer once a year) I stock up the pantry and freezer at beginning of month and fill in fresh produce as the month goes on.

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