A few years ago Leanne Brown made headlines with her book “Good & Cheap” which helps you plan recipes for the week working with a budget of $5 a day. When your wallet starts getting lighter, you need to budget ruthlessly, but luckily there's plenty of advice out there.
Even if your food budget is a little higher, Brown's book offers some great suggestions for how to prepare everything from breakfast to dessert economically.
Budget Meal Planner is a site that does something similar, offering meal plans that would allow you to eat for the entire day for a slightly higher budget: $5.
The site breaks down its meal plans into different themes and offers meal planning for an entire week’s worth of meals based around that theme. The idea here is you’ll buy one set of ingredients, but use them in a few different ways. Meals are also designed around pre-making those meals and having the same thing a few times.
For instance, under the “Thai” meal week you’ll have Thai Basil Chicken for dinner for three days, Thai Chicken Cabbage Wraps two days and Thai Yellow Chicken Curry.
At the end of the week of meal plans is a grocery list you can print off and take with you to the store to snag everything you need. Much like Good & Cheap, it appears as though some of that pricing is accounting for you using staples that you might already have in your kitchen.
Thai week requires fish, soy, and oyster sauces, amongst other things. That said, if it’s a type of cuisine you enjoy, then you may have those things on hand already.
For people who need it, the site can be a great resource for coming up with ideas on things to cook. For those with a larger budget, it can also offer a little inspiration on how you can potentially save a few bucks on the meal front that can be used elsewhere in your life instead.
And if you’re looking for more inspiration, Good & Cheap’s author Leanne Brown also offers a few low-cost recipes on her site that are worth a look.