$30 Weekly Grocery List and Menu Ideas

by leslie

in Budget, Food + Recipes, Kitchen

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Please Note: This article was written in 1999, but continues to be a VERY popular article on this website. Although the prices have multiplied many times; when I’ve removed the article I get numerous requests to repost it…

If you have “tried and terrific” recipes that would fit this meal plan, please share them in the comment section below.

$30 Weekly Grocery List and Menu Ideas

by Sharon Gordon

Here’s an idea for your week. I tried to pick things that most 10 and 2-year-olds will like.

This is a fall menu. Target prices are included for you.

I assumed that you have a few flavorings and condiments in the pantry: baking powder, baking soda, mayonnaise, spices, herbs, salt, and vanilla flavoring.

Shopping List

5 lbs all purpose flour .89
5 lbs sugar 1.89
2 cartons eggs 1.78
l lb cheddar cheese 3.00
2 gallons milk 3.98
2 lbs regular margarine 1.68
2 lbs hamburger 1.98
1 lb lunch meat 1.29
3 28oz cans tomato sauce 2.67 (may want some Italian ones)
10 lbs potatoes 1.79
5 lbs carrots 1.29
5 lbs apples, medium size 3.00
1 cabbage .60
2 lbs dry navy beans .60
2 lbs elbow macaroni 1.00
1 lb spaghetti .50
1 yeast 3 pack 1.29
Total 29.23

Note: For anyone not on quite as stringent a budget, or who can get better deals, or who has a garden;

Add some more vegetables, especially green ones. I’d add fruit or juice to the other breakfasts without the apples. I’d probably also buy popcorn for snacks.

Both sites have good organization and search engines.

The food above could produce the menu below. If you make sourdough breads, this saves a lot of money on the yeast. Great recipes are at the soar site. You don’t need to let the starter ferment for a long time to get it going, just to develop the flavor. You can use it at after one day and it will work. Just let sourdough rise longer than your usual bread recipes.

Pancakes with sautéed apples 3 times
Cheese biscuits 2 times
Muffins (plain, apple or spice) 3 times

Here I am assuming that Mark and Danielle will take packed lunches and that you and Mollie will eat at home on weekdays.

Mark and Danielle
Lunch meat sandwiches, Carrot sticks, Sugar cookies 2 times
Lunch meat sandwiches, Apple, Sugar cookies 3 times

Stephanie and Molly
Baked potato with cheese, Apple, Sugar cookies 3 times
Scrambled egg/cheese sandwich, carrot sticks, potato salad, sugar cookies 2 times

Weekend Lunches
Cheese Quiche, carrots (raw or cooked), Vanilla pudding
Shepherd’s pie(1/4 lb Browned hamburger, cooked potatoes and carrots, white sauce made with Homemade Cream Soup Mix, a little cheese)


  • Mac and Cheese, Cooked apples, Cabbage Slaw
  • Spaghetti, garlic bread, Vanilla cake
  • Tomato Soup, Cheese toasts, Carrot cake plain or with vanilla frosting
  • Hamburger bean soup (Beans, 1/2 can tomato sauce, 1/4 lb hamburger, diced carrots, herbs/spices/salt), biscuits, Vanilla cake
  • Hamburger Macaroni Casserole (hamburger, elbows, white sauce, salt, spices), Carrot/cabbage slaw, Apple pie
  • Cheeseburger Pizzas(2) (1/2 can tomato sauce, browned hamburger, sprinkling of cheddar–add toppings last 5 minutes)
  • Chili Potatoes-Baked potatoes topped with homemade chili and grated cheddar, Carrot cake

Other things which could be made with these ingredients:


  • French toast
  • Scones
  • Bagels
  • Herb biscuits
  • Waffles

Main Dishes

  • Bean hamburger cheese nachos
  • Bean tacos
  • Beef noodle soup
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Cheese Pizza
  • Cheese potato soup
  • Cheese spread
  • Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese
  • Deviled eggs
  • Egg drop soup
  • Hamburger cabbage casserole
  • Hamburger Calzones
  • Macaroni Lasagna
  • Marinated Italian Bean Salad
  • Meat turnover pies
  • Meatball sandwiches
  • Meatloaf
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Omelets
  • Pizza potatoes
  • Potato cheese fritter
  • Potato, cabbage, bean soup
  • Spicy beans in flour tortilla

Vegetable Dishes

  • Apple slaw
  • Asian Cabbage Salad
  • Cheesy fries
  • Egg rolls
  • Fried or Stir fried cabbage
  • Hash browns
  • Marinated carrots
  • Mashed potatoes, plain or flavored
  • Oven fries
  • Perogies
  • Potato cakes
  • Potato skins
  • Salsa potatoes

Pasta Dishes

  • Pasta salad


  • Apple Crepes
  • Apple Turnovers
  • Baked cinnamon apple slices (takes 1.5 minutes in microwave or can oven bake whole for impressive dessert)
  • Biscotti
  • Cinnamon toast
  • Doughnuts
  • Funnel cake
  • Sliced apples with caramel dip
  • Spice cookies
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Vanilla shake


  • Apple butter
  • Applesauce
  • Children’s eggnog
  • Cinnamon bread
  • Crackers
  • Dumplings
  • Homemade nachos and salsa
  • Homemade noodles
  • Soft pretzels
  • Tomato herb bread
  • V-8 type tomato drink


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Above the article I mentioned this is from 1999. It’s quite frustrating that the prices have doubled/tripled, and yet our salaries have not!! Hoping you see that this list of ordinary food is still a bargain–even at today’s prices–because it’s plain, ordinary food.

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