Eight Frugal Meal Ideas

Eating is expensive. Large families are expensive whether you have one child or six children to keep fed. We have six children in our brood to feed so it is necessary for me to stick to a written menu each month in order to stay within our budget. I will share some foods that we eat on a regular basis that feed our family.

  1. Tacos: This one is a no-brainer. Cheap, easy to fix, and we can eat leftovers for days.  Add salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and cheese and you have a complete meal.
  2. Taco bake:  Leftover taco meat,  pizza sauce, and cheese are filling inside a top and bottom layer of unrolled crescent rolls.   Bake 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Add cheese the last five minutes.  Pair with tortilla chips for crunch and sliced cucumbers on the side.
  3. Homemade pizza. We do personal pizzas with a homemade crusts topped with whatever the individual chooses.  Easy, peasy and always a favorite. Complete the meal with a salad.
  4. Chili. The burger is fried up quickly. Beans can soak the night before or buy canned beans if you prefer.  We keep it simple with beans, burger, chili seasoning, and tomato juice. I throw it in a crock pot and its ready by dinner. After we eat our fill, I add in more beans, tomato juice, and meat to fill it back up. I put the pot right back in the fridge. Then it goes back in the crock pot the next morning. We can eat chili for lunch or dinner for days. I can put the reheated  chili into insulated containers  for my children’s lunch. Or often my husband will take it to work to eat. When we are tired of chili we may eat it on top of hot dogs or put it in the freezer for another day that we need a quick meal.
  5. Tortilla soup: Similar to chili but still slightly different.  There are many different recipes, but the same concept and so delicious as leftovers, too.
  6. Pancakes or waffles:  I will make a batch of chocolate chip (family favorite)  pancakes or waffles to eat for breakfast or dinner.  After we eat our fill for that meal I keep some out for lunches and one more meal. My children love cold pancakes in their lunch. I will send in a separate small container of jelly for them to eat on the pancake if it is a regular flavor and does not contain chocolate chips. Then I freeze a portion for another time. Because we are used to doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling a recipe due to our family size; it takes no more energy to make extras for later on. It saves time and money.
  7. Homemade yogurt. Do a web search on recipes.  I prefer Frugal Gal’s recipe on homemade yogurt.  We do it with a gallon of milk at a time. Seriously, its the bomb. So easy to make. Of course, its plain yogurt, but you can add practically anything. We use plain yogurt in place of sour cream. Mix it with jam or jelly. We make smoothies with it. Eat it plain.
  8. Smoothies:  yogurt, juice or milk, whatever fruit you have on hand, ice, and some sugar or sweetener of your choice. Blend until it has a smooth consistency

What are some of your favorite recipes that your family loves?


13 Frugal Tips That Will Help Your Budget

Frugal tips to help your budget


Are you struggling with spending too much money?

Do you not have enough money in your budget to cover your monthly expenses?

Fast, Effective Tips to Save Your Family Money

Here are some of own personal tips that we do to save money.

  • Make our own laundry soap. There are many different recipes online that you can find and tweak to suit your family’s lifestyle. Huge savings!
  • Shop at garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for your basic needs.. We did this for clothing mainly, but often find books, videos, shoes, and other household items we need. This has saved us thousands of dollars over the past eighteen years of our marriage.
  • Have your child wear hand-me-down clothing. Each child wears hand-me-down clothing from their siblings, cousins, or friends. My children are able to dress stylishly and comfortably.
  • Be mindful of electric use. Shut off lights when not in use. Unplug anything not in use.
  • Keep heat at a low temperature in the house and wear layers. This encourages movement at times or cuddling under blankets as we watch free movies.
  • Utilize free entertainment. Play board games, read books, and borrow free DVD’s from the local library instead of going out for entertainment.
  • Think ahead when shopping and preparing food. We buy in bulk, cook in bulk, and freeze the food.
  • Plan a menu, shop around the menu, shop once a month, keep our pantries and freezer stocked at all times, and only shop once to twice a month. We do shop more often for perishables like dairy and fruit and veggies.
  • Don’t impulse buy.
  • Tell your children no. If our children want something that is not in the budget, they must use their own money.
  • Food prep and traveling. For sporting events, road trips, and other activities were food venues are present we bring  out own food each and every time. I always have frozen water bottles packed, snacks ready to go, and I will grab a large cooler to throw it all in. It has saved us hundreds of dollars over the past ten years of doing this.
  • Souvenirs: For souvenirs on planned trips, we encourage the children to fill small container with sand from the beach, a polished rock, or a sea shell to bring home.  Or we stop and buy postcards as a memento of our trip, even a day trip.  We do allow and budget for one key chain from a place we visit, then at home with save it with our decorations, and place it on the tree at Christmas. For a beach trip I will take the sand, shells, and rocks and place them in a Mason jar with a lid. I label the jar with the date and location.  The children love this. And each year we love seeing the key chain ornaments come out and share the stories from that day. Creating memories.
  • Free attractions: If we are in a new town, we look for free activities or free museums for our family. Often just a trip to a new beach, playground, or other free attractions are just has fun.  In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan we have the ability to see free museums, back road attractions, fishing holes, waterfalls, hiking trails, lighthouses, state parks, canoe rivers, and the list goes on.  For fun in a new area, we find the visitor center and allow the children to take brochures of interests. They have a collection of brochures and maps of places we have visited over the years.


What does your family do to save money?

Let me encourage you to get creative in different ways to save money. Make it a family activity. There is no better way to get everybody on the same page, then to have a common goal like saving money.

Impulse Buying and How it Affects Your Budget



Debt and a Frugal Mindset

The average American family has credit card debt of just over $16,000 and total overall debt of $132,000.

What? That is crazy!

debt and the frugal mindset

I hate debt. We have no credit cards. We quit using them years ago.  We have no student loans either.  We do have a mortgage and I cannot wait until the day it is paid off.

Having a frugal mindset when applying it towards debt is crucial for learning how to effectively manage your money, before it manages you.

As a family of eight and six of them being children twelve and under, it is important that we maintain a tight budget and be frugal. At the start of the new month and year, I decided to challenge myself and see where I could be more frugal. It is going to be challenging because we have already eliminated so many extras years ago and go without so many other things.

However, I am up for the challenge.  We do not have a smart phone, but a basic cell phone with prepaid minutes. We do not drive new vehicles at all. We do not buy clothes brand new.

We rarely eat out. Vacations are not something we usually go on.  Our children understand the word “no” when it comes to many things.  We eat homemade food and have learned many tips over the years to help us maintain this frugal lifestyle.

However, I am going to challenge myself to cut down on our grocery budget, the utility bills, and any other area I can.  Are you up for the challenge with me? If you have any tips please leave them in the comments for other readers to learn from.


How to Have Financial Fidelity in Marriage

In another post I did recently on fidelity and frugality in marriage, I spoke on financial infidelity in marriage.  Many couples are facing this right now and have no idea what to do let alone even try to overcome this problem in their marriage.

If this is you, please know you are not alone. There is always hope. Through prayer, patience, honesty, and persistance this problem can be worked through.

What is Financial Infidelity?

Taken from The Simple Dollar,

Financial infidelity is one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a marriage. When one spouse is making significant financial moves without the knowlege of the other, it endangers the financial future of both people and exhibits a disregard for the most fundamental parts of a healthy marriage: trust and communication.

Financial infidelity can simply wreck a marriage when it is uncovered. When a partner discovers a credit card statement that’s charged up to the limit without ever knowing that card existed, their trust for their partner and their idea of financial security are tossed aside simultaneously.

The tricky aspect of financial infidelity is that it can be very hard to detect at times. You might have a sense that something is amiss with your finances, but actually finding out what’s wrong can be a real challenge.

Signs of Financial Infidelity

Below are a few differents signs of possible financial infidelity occuring in a marriage.

  1.  Missing statements for bills, credit cards, or your financial institution.
  2. Unexplained charges on credit cards or loans you don’t remember having.
  3. Unexplained worry over finances, where there was none before.
  4. Your partner has new possessions and is eating out more than normal.
  5. Cash is missing. Or the bank account shows large amounts of unexplained cash being withdrawn.
  6. One partner has developed an obsession with getting the mail.
  7. You have been removed from a joint account.
  8. There is decreased communication over the finances.
  9. One partneer is hiding receipts or purchases from the other spouse.

So, you have noticed maybe a few of these happening in your marriage. Now comes the hard part. Please notice I said the hard part, not the hopeless part.

Read more here from Dave Ramsey on Financial Fidelity…

How to Overcome Financial Infidelity

Proverbs 10:9, He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.
 It may take a hard conversation, but I’m challenging you today to sit down and be honest with your spouse about your money.
financial fidelity
*First, you must remember that as Christians we are to be pure and speak the truth. No hiding of receipts or purchases. No deceitfulness at all, even when it comes to money matters.
Paul said in Colossians 3:9-10, Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

**Secondly, an open and honest conversation must be had with your spouse on your finances.

Maybe you  have never had a conversation on money before, let alone an indepth one that requires facts.  Take the time to sit down with each other, face each other, and commit to pray together before you begin.
*Finally, use a plan like Dave Ramsey baby steps in outlined in the Total Money Makeover or take a Financial Peace University class together. I promise you won’t regret this. As you seek to live out God’s purpose for your money with your spouse, turn to the Word and make the promise to always respect each other during money conversations.

TRAINING KEEPERS OF THE HOME FACEBOOK PAGE: Become educated, equipped, and encouraged in your role as keeper of the home

Proverbs 3:3-4 says, Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.

How to Eat Well Without Using Coupons (9 Tips to Help You Save Money)

Cooking for a large family can become expensive quickly. It is easy to become overwhelmed and just order takeout. But if your family is like mine, and you have a budget and try to stick to it, then careful planning is necessary.

Learn how my family saves money and eats healthily without using coupons.

*Stick to your budget.

*Feed your family.

*Stay out of debt.

*Keep your fridge full of food.

How to Eat Well Without Using Coupons

  1. Keep a stocked pantry and freezer.
  2. Only buy the necessities by sticking to your grocery list.
  3. Cook double.
  4. Eat less.
  5. Plan, plan, plan.
  6. Stick to the menu.
  7. Don’t eat out.
  8.  Shop with cash and a calculator, it is more difficult to part with cash, unlike using a credit or debit card (where there is a disconnect).
  9. Use up what is in your fridge, freezer, or pantry first. Get creative with meals you can make.

*Read some more money and time-saving tips here,



Check out two of my favorite cookbooks.

*These will help your family eat healthily

*Recipes for all types of picky eaters