My previous piece on how I keep my family’s weekly food budget at $90 garnered a lot of responses and comments on the Mamabake Facebook page. I have a couple of points and notes to make:

  • These are just ideas that you can use, should you want to
  • It is a personal account of how I manage to keep the budget as such; it’s not aimed at telling you what you should do. It is just outlining it for those curious about how I manage it.
  • The idea can be expanded – maths need to be done. If you have older children or more children or persons within your family, then naturally the budget needs to be multiplied. A budget that suits a couple with two small children would not suit a larger family. Should I have more children and as my children get older, the budget will need to be expanded, and the hope is that we will be able to afford it
  • I applaud those ladies out there who commented that they actually do their weekly food budget on even less and with larger numbers of people. You’re incredible!
  • When I cook meals, I do cook for 4-5 normal appetites, despite the fact that baby is eating home-prepared purees and not the larger family meal as yet. This is because my partner is a massive dude. At 28 and nearly 2 metres he still seems to be growing like a teenager. It’s actually somewhat disturbing. He always needs lunch for work during the week.

Meal Planning

I’ve had a couple of questions regarding meal planning with my food budget. I’m going to give you examples from two previous weeks so you can get an idea of what we eat and how it all comes together.

This is just a guide and an account of what I have done within my own family.

I can’t tell you how to meal plan for your family. Every family is different. I try to pick dishes that please all our tastes, are filling and cost effective and ones that make decent leftovers that we are happy to eat. Please refer to part 1 of the $90 food budget challenge for how I shop.

Breakfast for all is home-made muesli with yogurt or Weetbix unless indicated otherwise.
Baby at 8 months consumes a quarter small butternut pumpkin, 2 pears, 2 apples, 1 medium sweet potato, 2 carrots and half a cauliflower per week. All is food is made at home.

Week 1
Fresh food bought this week

2kg beef bolar blade
8 slices thick cut bacon
2 chorizo sausages
5 chicken thighsdozen free range eggs
750g yellow egg noodles300g parmesan cheese
300g Swiss cheese
4 onionsSmall butternut pumpkin1 leekSweet potato

Red capsicum

10 carrots

Bunch of celery

3 Lebanese cucumbers

10 button mushrooms

Head garlic

4 handfuls baby spinach leaves

4 handfuls mixed salad leaves

10 apples3 pears8 bananas10 mandarins

2 oranges

1 avocado
5 Roma tomatoes

Large bunch of grapes
1 litre yogurt
large can tomato paste
500g butter
3 litres of milk


Tuesday – Japanese style fried chicken, brown rice, cucumber and spinach salad – use 4 chicken thighs, there are enough leftovers eldest son’s kinder lunch and partner’s work lunch.
– Beef noodle stir fry – with red capsicum, carrot, spring onions (grown at home) – leftovers for partner’s work lunch, use ¼ of beef bolar blade sliced thinly
– Beef pie – home-made butter shortcrust pastry filled with basic beef ragu made with onion, carrot, celery, beef, tomato paste, water, rosemary (home grown), spices slow cooked for 3 hours – this is meat cooked to the point of being spoonable. Uses the rest of the bolar blade. Pie uses half of the overall ragu mixture. Save rest of ragu for later. Pie is enough for everyone’s dinner served with mixed leaf salad. Large slice reserved for partner’s work lunch.  Only use half a batch of shortcrust pastry for pie; reserve other half for next week by freezing pastry.
Friday –
Pasta Carbonara – uses 5 egg yolks and 3 slices of bacon as well as 1 leek, 500g pack of spiral pasta and about a cup of grated parmesan cheese. No need for leftovers.
Saturday –
Porridge for breakfast. For lunch, chorizo sausage pasta using both sausages, 1 can Roma tomatoes, handful of spinach leaves, 10 button mushrooms, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic and 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Swiss cheese, bacon and spring onion waffles for dinner with avocado and tomato salad.
Sunday –
Pancake breakfast. Knock up a batch of bread and have fresh rolls with fried egg and tomato for lunch.Remaining ragu with spaghetti for dinner – leftovers used for partner’s lunch and eldest son’s kinder lunch.
Monday –
Roasted pumpkin soup for dinner with fresh bread rolls. Use reserved chicken thigh to make chicken sandwich for eldest son’s kinder lunch, partner has leftover soup and bread for his lunch next day.

Week 2

Fresh food bought this week

1.5kg Pork shoulder
10 slices bacon
3 large fillets of blue grenadier fish (about 700 grams)
2 lamb shanksDozen free range eggs
400g mozzarella cheese
300g tasty cheese
2 onions8 large Desiree potatoeshalf butternut pumpkinSweet potato

5 carrots

4 handfuls baby spinach leaves

4 handfuls mixed salad leaves

1 red cabbage

3 handfuls of green beans

Large bunch of basil

Bunch of celery

13 apples4 pears8 bananas12 mandarins

2 avocado
4 Roma tomatoes


1kg dried black beans
500g butter
3 litres of milk
250ls cream

Tuesday Fish dinner, pan fry the blue grenadier and serve with mashed potato and salad. Make a batch of bread to make fish sandwiches for the next day.
Wednesday – Use 2/3s of the pork shoulder for pulled pork. Cut one third of the pork shoulder to use for a roast dinner for this night. Score the pork fat and salt it. Roast in a high oven for crunchy crackling and tender meat. Serve with roast potato, pumpkin and salad. Bread from Tuesday makes pork sandwiches for partner’s lunch for the next day. Pulled pork to be used for dinners in the next 2 days meals
Thursday – pulled pork tacos with black beans, tomato, avocado, red cabbage and mozzarella cheese. Make tortillas from scratch. Make additional tacos for partner’s work lunch.
Friday – ramen noodles in soup with pork, spinach, beans and carrot.
Saturday – waffles with maple syrup for breakfast.  Basil pesto pasta for lunch. Quiche Lorraine for dinner with salad, using leftover shortcrust pastry from previous week.
Sunday – porridge for breakfast. Baked potatoes for lunch with various vegetable toppings (things leftover from the week) and cheese. Lamb shank, vegetable and barley soup for dinner.
Monday –
Creamy bacon and leek pasta for dinner, leftovers for partner and eldest son’s lunch for the next day.

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