$20 Grocery Trip and Menu Plan

Reading Time: 5 min

What does a family of 5 eat while saving money and eating healthy? Here is exactly what we bought and what we ate on the first week of Real Food Cheap.


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Real Food Cheap: Days 1-7

Our family of 5 big eaters eats real food for $90/week, or about $360/month. Saving money and eating healthy is challenging! Our goal is to inspire, encourage, and equip you by showing you how we do it.

Whether you are just trying to make ends meet, paying off debt, or saving for a big dream, you can care for your body and your finances in the tight seasons. Get our Food Rules and why we are doing this here.

We share weekly updates here, but I also post to Instagram and Facebook throughout the week with the hashtag #RealFoodCheap.

Also, if you prefer watching videos to reading, scroll down to watch our video update instead!






Grocery Haul

This week, we only had $20 for groceries (read or watch why here) so here is what we bought:


Organic baby greens (clearance) – $2.99/lb

Total spent at Kroger: $6.35


Butter – $2.55/lb

Whole milk – $2.29/gal

Sour cream – $.89/lb

Cream cheese – $.89/8-oz

Eggs – $.88/doz

Tortilla chips – $.89/13-oz

Total spent at Aldi: $13

Total spent this week: $19.35



Menu plan printable with weekly lunch and meal prep sections
Get the free menu plan printable we use here!


What We Ate

While we made a menu plan here, I rarely follow our plans exactly. That was especially true this week. Here is what we actually ate.


Throughout the week, the kids are allowed to eat snacks as long as it is a fruit, veggie, or nuts. This week they mostly ate apples and peanut butter, sometimes celery or carrots.

We had green smoothies a few times between meals, and we frequently eat a fourth small meal (tea time?) early afternoon that involves leftovers from lunch or dinner.

What we ate:



Apple breakfast cake (totally made up recipe – it was okay)

Green smoothie

Leftover air-popped popcorn from the night before



Red beans and rice, salad



Chili, brown rice




Muffins, apples, peanut butter



Snacky lunch: bread, cheese, veggies, apples



Leftover chili, chips


Apple butter, bread





Kids fed themselves (celery, pickled carrots), then later they ate muffins, apples, and peanut butter



Last of the chili and snacky lunch



We had a crazy day, and I didn’t record what we ate for dinner. Probably another snacky lunch







Homemade pizza with clean & cheap 40-cent pizza sauce, salad



White bean chili 


white bean chili




Scrambled eggs, oatmeal



Leftover white bean chili

I had a green smoothie



Homemade hamburger helper (I didn’t follow a recipe, but I like this one), salad





I didn’t eat until later



My son and I had brunch at Chick-fil-A (I had a salad and he had a kids meal with fruit). Everyone at home ate leftover hamburger helper



Dinner with friends!

When we did our Cheapskate Whole30, we developed an allergy-friendly meal we nearly always serve guests now. It feeds a lot of people with plenty of leftovers, it avoids the top 5 allergens (dairy, eggs, nuts, wheat, soy), can be paleo, whole30, and Keto compliant, and none of it is weird unusual food.

We can also change it up for each season of the year without changing the core meal.

We fed 9 people for $10 and were still eating leftovers 2 days later.

This is what we served:





Eggs, oatmeal, green smoothies

I had leftover squash, sauteed peppers and greens, and a fried egg



Hamburger helper, leftover spring mix salad



Spaghetti with “pumpkin” marinara sauce (leftover mashed butternut, crushed tomatoes, Greek seasoning. It was fantastic!)

Me: spring mix salad with chicken

Follow what we eat every day on #RealFoodCheap in real time on Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories.



Here’s the video update if you prefer! You can like it and subscribe to our channel here.


Week 1 Thoughts

So far, so good! I think we did a good job sticking to our guidelines and eating a healthy balance of whole foods.

Week 2 Prep

This week is a little different. We are baking and freezing a pound cake for my son’s upcoming birthday. Normally, we make Wacky Cakes, but I wanted to fit something a little special in the grocery budget. Plus Sour Cream Pound Cake makes other cakes not worth eating.

We are also camping with friends for part of the week. Each night, two families team up to provide dinner for everyone. Our group has a few food allergies to work around too.

We’re doing loaded burrito bowls one night since they worked so well on our trip over the summer.

Next week, I’ll share what we pack and make while camping and eating real food on a budget!


What About You?

How do you save money and eat healthy? I would love to read your tips in the comments.


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