Extreme Budget Meal Plan For the Week: 26 Servings for Just $36
I have an extreme budget meal plan that allows me to stretch $36 into a full week of meals, plus dessert. That is over 26 servings for the whole week at just $1.38 per serving. I’m including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert!
Note: I came up with the $1.38 per serving based on my local Walmart's prices in Pennsylvania as of October 2022. I am sure that it will be different throughout the country, but this will give you a general idea of how much it costs.
Egg McMuffins – 6 sandwiches
I'm starting by showing you some breakfast ideas. This is a knockoff of McDonald's Egg McMuffin.
I have six large white eggs, sliced gouda, some muffins, cheese slices, and three avocados with lime.
I am going to make the knockoff version of the Egg McMuffin from McDonald's.
I have a nonstick pan that I sprayed with some olive oil. I added an egg to the pan and cooked it until done. I seasoned the egg with some salt and pepper. I kind of made a mess of it, but it still tasted delicious.
I split a muffin in half then I added my cheese and my egg, and then I just sliced up half of an avocado, put some lime juice over top, and added some seasoning.
This is what I had for breakfast for six days.
Tuna melts – 4 sandwiches
Next is lunch option one. I'm going to be making some tuna melts.
- Hamburger Buns
- Tuna – 3 cans
- Mayo, salt/pepper/garlic
- ¼ onion
- Tomato – 1 slice for each sandwich
- Cheese slices
Also, this is a quick and easy meal prep idea. I'm just going to season it with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Greek yogurt dip
Then I'm going to be making a Greek yogurt dip along with the carrots as a side dish for the entire week.
- 3 cartons of single-serve plain Greek yogurt
- Pepper/garlic powder
- 1lb carrots – sliced into sticks
I also grated just a little piece of the onion in there to give it some onion flavor.
I used one pound of carrots, sliced into sticks.
To toast up the tuna melts I am just going to put a little bit of butter onto the buns.
Then I am going to add the tuna, then the cheese, and the tomato.
I am just going to place it in my air fryer for probably about five to seven minutes until the cheese is melted.
Ham and cheese crescent bites - 4 servings
Next, I'm going to be making some ham and cheese crescent bites.
- 1 tub of crescent rolls – 8
- Cheese slices – 8
We have eight crescent rolls, so you would have two per serving, and all you need is lunch meat ham and 8 cheese slices.
For another crescent rolls recipe, check out my previous tutorial on what to do with your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.
This is super simple. You just open up the crescents, place ham and cheese inside and roll it up and bake it per the instructions on the crescent roll package.
I paired this with the carrots and dip.
Italian-style meatballs soup - 6 servings
Next is a dinner idea. I am going to be making an Italian-style meatball soup. Soups are a great budget-friendly meal.
- 1 pound meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can of crushed tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
- 4 cups beef broth
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1½ cups pasta – (I used less)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese (for serving) optional, to taste
All you're going to need are some frozen meatballs, some seasoning, some garlic, onion, and some crushed tomato.
I have this Better Than Bouillon beef base that I had on hand so I was going to use that. I also used olive oil and the pasta I used is super cheap. It is in the Hispanic section, I believe, of Walmart and it is under $0.50 for a bag of pasta. I am going to start by adding some olive oil to a pot.
I'm going to place my onions in there to get them sauteed up and soft.
Next, you just add in all your ingredients. Listed down below are the measurements that I have for all of these recipes. Again, customize it, and make it your own, it is your kitchen.
Let your soup simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes, just until the meatballs are cooked and warmed through.
This makes a delicious soup that you can prepare and it will last a week. The only thing I would do differently is to cook the pasta separately and store it separately because the pasta did absorb most of the liquid.
White bean vegetable broth soup - 6 servings
The next dinner idea is another soup. As I said, soups are very economical and I'm going to be making a white bean soup along with 4 cups of my homemade vegetable broth.
- White beans – 2 cans
- Corn – 1 can
- Salt/pepper/garlic powder/Italian seasoning
- ½ onion
- 4 cups broth
- Optional: cheese and avocado slices to top
All you're going to need is 2 cans of white beans, 1 can of corn, some garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper for seasoning. I have an extra avocado that I'm going to place on top too.
Start by sautéing up your onions and then once they are translucent, then add in your broth.
The broth that I'm adding equals four cups. I am going to top my soup off with some avocado and the leftover gouda that I have.
After adding all the ingredients, I will let it simmer for a while.
I'm using a potato masher to mash up some of those beans, just to give more body to the soup, and create some thickness.
I'm just topping it off with some avocado and some leftover cheese that I had from the previous recipe in the week.
The dessert that I had was basic drop chocolate chip cookies from Walmart.
Extreme budget meal plan
That completes my extreme budget meal plan that will give you filling meals for very little money. What is your favorite extreme-budget meal? Share in the comments, we love hearing from you!
You did a great job. I like fresh food and yes it's healthier but expensive!
One of my top suggestions for folks doing extreme budgets for meals is to mix up the flavor profiles of your "leftovers" so it DOESN'T feel like you're eating the same thing every day. Tuna salad can be divided into 3 parts, one regular, one with a splash of lemon and oregano to read "Greek/Mediterranean," and one with a little chili powder and cayenne, perhaps chipotle, to read "Mexican/Latin." Same with soups. Make it Italian (as a batch, with oregano and basil, or Italian seasoning). Then, for round 2, add Mexican/Latin spices to flavor it another way. Last, you could add some of the cannelini beans and make a meatball "chili" of sorts with the last of the Mexican-flavored soup. If you keep the pasta separate, it can be paired with some tuna and a bit of cheese to make a small tuna noodle "casserole" bake.
I give all my leftovers "the treatment," so my husband never feels like he's eating the same thing, for dinner, lunch, another dinner... 1 dinner and 1 lunch per profile is my rule of thumb. He'd never complain, but I care enough about him to want to keep things interesting!! It's all about how you can switch it up so it's not boring!!! And, once you start the switching, it's so easy!!! Great post, terrific ideas!!! ~Chrissie PS if you use 1/2 a slice of cheese on the tuna melts, and 1/2 a slice of cheese in the roll-ups, it's less messy (!) and stretches a single package of cheese twice as far!!! :)