How to Plan & Prep Frugal Meals in a Recession: 40 Meals for $4

Jordan Budgets
by Jordan Budgets

I am doing a quick grocery haul; $130 is what I spent this week to make a lot of frugal meals. That is my average weekly spend, and I'll show you how much I get from that. I'm meal planning by making a lot of sandwiches this week.

$130 grocery haul

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I want to talk about the big spenders and what took the most out of that $130. 

  • Allergy meds $8
  • Nutella $9
  • Gluten-free breads $12 
  • Pistachios $10. 
  • Meatballs $9
  • And I have some water

To get 40 sandwiches for $4, I'm considering you stick to only pb&j and 3-4 loaves of Walmart brand bread. I can purchase a loaf of bread for .95 cents; peanut butter is $1.84; jelly is $1.68 for smaller containers.

Those average/small containers will last for several batches of sandwiches. Of course, the more variety you put in your uncrusted sandwiches, the more it will cost. 

I will be prepping bacon on and off because that's going to be a part of our breakfast bagels. While that bacon preps, I am going to be prepping the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, as well as a cinnamon spread. I'm prepping those sandwiches for my boys. 

Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Peanut butter and jelly/cinnamon spread sandwiches

We used to spend a ton of money every single month on prepackaged sandwiches, but those things are about a dollar a piece now, and I'm talking about the ones without the crust.

Now instead of spending a dollar per single sandwich, I'm spending about one dollar per ten of those sandwiches.

Peanut butter with either jelly or cinnamon spread is two of the variations or ways we make these kinds of sandwiches. I spread the mixture in the middle of the bread because that will be important when we start cutting the crusts off. 

Removing the crusts from sandwiches

I use a cutter I bought from Amazon to remove the crusts quickly.

Frugal meal planning and prepping

I like to store these pre-made crust-free sandwiches in bread loaf keepers. 

I am storing those by type. I have two of the loaf keepers, and I separated each sandwich with parchment so they don't stick together. I'll label it on the top, so I know what's in each container. 

Making sandwiches for lunch

Cheese, ham, and pepperoni sandwiches 

So now we've moved on to 20 more sandwiches; we already have 20 stored. I'm making cheese and pepperoni sandwiches for one kid who likes that. The other kid does not like pepperoni and cheese mixed with bread, so I am just making ham sandwiches for him. 

If you are making just peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you can make about 40 sandwiches for $4. I am using ham and pepperoni. Ham is about $5 a bag. Pepperoni is about $2.50 if you want one and a half pepperoni slices per sandwich.

Sandwiches prepped for lunches

So here we are, we have 40 sandwiches prepped and ready to go for easy lunches for the boys in these containers. 

I'm going to go ahead and store them in my deep freeze. 

How to make breakfast sandwiches

Breakfast sandwiches

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees. Next, we are going to prep the breakfast sandwiches. We will start by prepping the eggs for the breakfast sandwiches.  

Making sandwiches

While we wait for the eggs to cook, let's go ahead and make some ham sandwiches for me. 

I did not want to spend extra money on new pieces of ham, so I'm using the edges that I cut off of the sandwiches for my sons. I did buy some gluten-free bread for myself. 

Now while we are still waiting for the eggs, we're going to go ahead and prep a snack for the week. 

How to make candied pecans

Candied pecans

I'm going to make honey or candied pecans if you will. I put some honey and pure maple syrup on them, sprinkled a little sugar on top, and hand-mixed it. If you make this, it's going to be very sticky when you first start out, but as it cools, it will become hard. 

So while the oven was already heated to 350, I went ahead and put those in. 

I'm taking out the eggs now because they are ready. I’ll put a little bit of salt and pepper on them, and then I'm going to put them in the fridge so they can cool a little while we prepare the rest of the sandwich. 

For the boys, I did buy mini bagels. I have the gluten-free bagels over to the side for me. I did try in this meal prep to make myself some sandwiches. 

40 Frugal meals for $4

I just put cheese on all of the breakfast sandwiches. 

The layer of the little egg patties came out perfectly, even though this was my first time doing this. Then we each got a piece of bacon or two.

I'm putting them in regular sandwich bags, then I will put them in a freezer gallon bag. I then label everything.

I'm checking on those pecans again. I do check them about every ten minutes and give them a little bit of a shuffle. When they're done, they'll still be a little bit sticky. You want it to sit out for 20 to 30 minutes to cool off so it won't stick anymore. 

This is what they look like when they first come out. 

40 Frugal meals for $4

That's it for my frugal meals. I ended up with 40 sandwiches and candied pecans. What's your favorite frugal meal? Share in the comments below.

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2 of 5 comments

    I can't even get the recipe to come up.

  • Marcia leola Marcia leola on May 18, 2024

    It is awesome! Great eay to stay prepared! It saves both time and money while teaching valuable lessons of both! I am sure your boys are grateful! The Bible reads, " He that finds a wife, finds a good thing. Her value is more than rubies!" You are a gem! Stay blessed!!❤️