7 tips for writing a budget friendly meal plan

Most people realise that meal planning saves money, but how exactly do you write a budget-friendly meal plan?

These seven tips will help you put together a meal plan that won’t send you broke and that the whole family will love.

And the good news is that the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is SUPER budget friendly and all the hard work is done for you with over 4,000 family and budget-friendly recipes.

Kaitie Purssell’s meal prep. Source: Supplied

When it comes to saving money at the supermarket, meal planning is where it’s at.

Not only will you spend less, but you’ll also be more organised for the week, meaning you’re less likely to make poor food choices when you are short of time. Try these SEVEN tips to make meal planning a breeze.

7 tips for a budget-friendly meal plan

1. Collect recipes you love


Start the meal planning process by collecting recipes you like and that you know the family will eat. Aim for things with cheaper cuts of meats and plenty of complex carbohydrates and veggies to help bulk them out.

The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has OVER 4,000 recipes in it and 100 new ones are added each month so you never get bored – and it’s a great source of inspiration plus provides a weekly NEW meal plan too.

2. Work with a template

It’s so much easier to plan everything when it is all in front of you. A template is a great way to make sure you have a good balance of food for the week. It’s also handy to pin up on the fridge so everyone knows what’s coming.

Check out our Healthy Mummy Meal Planner Printable download.

3. Choose budget-friendly basics

melanie jane pasta
Melanie Jane’s pasta. Source: Supplied

Rice and pasta taste the same regardless of brand. When you are shopping, choose home brand basics to save when you can. Then use these basics along with beans, lentils and other low cost but highly filling foods to form the basis of meals.

Bulk out spaghetti sauce with tinned beans, add pasta or lentils to soups and make good use of affordable but nutrient dense vegetables such as sweet potato. By choosing a few rice or pasta based dishes each week, you’ll fill up the family without spending a fortune. Especially if you have a house full of hungry boys to feed!

4. Go meat-free Monday

Meat is generally the most expensive part of any meal. As part of your meal plan, have a meat-free Monday meal each week. You can also make things easier by theming other days of the week. Tuesday might be pasta day, Wednesday could be mince and Thursday might be a chicken based meal.

Keeping lots of variety in your meal plan while cutting back on the meat component will save you money and keep it interesting.

5. Cook in bulk

Sarah Jurina's epic meal prep.
Sarah Jurina’s epic meal prep. Source: Supplied

Cooking in bulk saves time and it can also save you a heap of money. Wherever you can, make up several meals worth of a particular dish and freeze the leftovers for another night. Things like soups, stews, bakes, risottos and pretty much anything from a slow cooker can be cooked in bulk and stored for later.

6. Make use of the slow cooker

Speaking of slow cookers – it’s time to get yours out. If you don’t own one then beg, borrow or (as a last resort) buy one (I got mine from K-mart for about $20).

Slow cookers are the ultimate tool for turning cheap cuts of meat into tender succulent delicious meals with next to no effort. Try to plan at least one or two meals a week in the slow cooker.

Choose cheap cuts of meat like blade or chuck steak and cook them until they fall apart. You can then use them for wraps or pies or as casseroles and stews. Yum!

7. Find inspiration

If you’re struggling to find ways to make your money stretch when it comes to meal planning, then looking at what other budget conscious meal planners do can be a great help.

The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has heaps of budget-friendly ideas but to make it even easier.

Join our next 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!

CHALLENGE_28 Days budget-friendly meal plan


With more than 4,000 delicious (and healthy) recipes, 350 exercises & 24/7 support – the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is designed (and proven) to help busy mums like you lose weight!

All our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes are about helping you lose weight on a budget, with so many meals that will cost you less than $2.50 per serve available in the challenge.

To learn more about our challenge OR to join – click here.

written by:

Michelle Thompson-Laing

Michelle lives in Sydney with her three gorgeous little boys and her equally lovely husband. When she's not writing, Michelle can be found knee deep in laundry or attempting to shower alone. She can't live without lists, tea, girlfriends and a bit of chocolate each day. Michelle loves sharing all things organisation; from home hacks to budget tips. Her motto is organise, declutter and simplify your home, family and finances for life.