This Week’s Dinners for $70 or Less (Bonus: Trader Joe’s Shopping Plan)

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Want to cook this week’s dinners for $70 or less? Check out this week’s meal plan.

This Week's Dinners for $70 or Less - Chicken plan that can be shopped exclusively at Trader Joe's if you like.

This post is going to be short and sweet. I’ve used all my brain cells creating this week’s meal plan document. Not only does the plan contain seven meals that will please kids and adults alike, but it also features a master prep list, a full-length peek at the week and how to mix and match ingredients, and a $70 price tag.

An added bonus is that everything (except yeast) can be purchased at Trader Joe’s. We used that store with the healthier ingredient guarantee as the basis of this plan’s cost analysis. Prices may vary from state to state, but they are generally pretty similar. I also know that you can probably find ingredients for less at lots of other stores or if you shop sales, so I’m feeling pretty confident about the pricing here.

Of course your mileage may vary. Be sure to read all. the. notes. I’ve included lots of little cheats to help you keep costs down as well as have an easy meal plan to work through during the week. The notes are where your cost and time savings will be explained. So read them! You can do a lot of the prep on one day and then simply assemble supper as the week progresses. At times, we veered from the recipe a tad in order to save you some coin.

Keep tabs on leftovers — don’t let your teenage sons steal them — as they will be all used up by the end of the week in different recipes. Waste not, want not.

This Week's Dinners for $70 or Less - Chicken plan that can be shopped exclusively at Trader Joe's if you like.

The plan is formatted as a full-color pdf. If you don’t want to use the colored ink, be sure to change the setting in your print window. Alternatively, save a tree and save the pdf to your iBooks or other pdf library on your tablet or phone. Just be sure to take your device to the store with you.

Recipes in the meal plan:

You can download the meal plan along with the grocery lists, prep instrux, and cheat sheet here.

In addition to the 40+ meal plans already available on Life as MOM, we’re now preparing meal plans with a week’s worth of recipes that build on one another and that cost under $70 for the whole week of dinners.

Obviously this type of plan is a little more time-intensive to prepare than previous meal plans, so we won’t be posting them on a weekly basis, at least not at the start. Any constructive feedback you can offer as we work out the bugs, is greatly appreciated. You can leave a comment here or email janel(at)lifeasmom(dot)com or jessica(at)lifeasmom(dot)com. Thanks!

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  1. These meals all look like something my family would actually eat! Thanks!

  2. Wow Jessica so much work went into this and can’t wait to try out new recipes – I now menu plan thanks to you and although we don’t have Trader Joe’s here in Ireland I will see how it works out for us

  3. Thanks for working so hard on this. Can’t wait to try some of these recipes and plans but I can’t save the leftovers because my husband takes them for lunch!

  4. Thank you! . Love trader joes!

  5. Thank you for this! This looks awesome! I love TJ’s and was just there yesterday!

  6. Krista Sanderson says:

    This is amazing! Great job!

  7. No trader joes here in Oklahoma, but I love this concept. My husband eats meat, but I do not,so I’m always looking for something like this to make meals for him a little easier

    • They are all very normal ingredients. Nothing funky or extremely “Trader Joe’s”. The trick about that store is that there’s so much “fun food”, folks don’t realize that they could eat really economically purchasing regular ingredients.

  8. Hooray! Now I’m kind of rejoicing that I was too busy to get my shopping done! 🙂 this is perfect! Thanks so much, my life just got a little easier this morning!

  9. This. is. amazeballs! Thank you for what I *know* was a lot of hard work. New to your blog, but enjoying it so much!

  10. Jennifer Hoffman says:

    Thank you so much!!! This is a God send! I feel like I should be helping you out in some way, this is so much work!

  11. Thank you! We are also a family of 8 and it is so nice to see a menu plan I can just go with without having to double everything! Gonna give it a go next week for sure. 😀

    • These plans are designed to feed 4 (if you buy the smaller amount of chicken) at the $70 price point. Read all the notes. 🙂 You will need to buy the full five pounds if you plan to feed 8, and depending on your chicken price, may need to spend more than $70 to do that. I stretched these meals for my family with extra sides. So that is possible, too.

  12. LOVE this menu!! I really needed a good cheap menu for this week- food budget has been spent 😉
    Most od the ingredients I have on hand so this is a win! Thanks a bunch.


  13. This is amazing! Sharing with all of my local friends – what a great solution for a crazy busy time of the year….
    Went to Trader Joe’s today and stocked up! Thanks for breaking it down into an easy, well planned and delish adventure! Between this and all of the great recipes in your freezer cooking book, we are good to go for the next three week!

  14. I love, love, LOVE it! I love that it is 7 meals and they’re simple for the every day family. I can only imagine the time and effort you put in to this and to provide it for free to your readers is beyond sweet. SO THANK YOU!!

  15. YESYESYES. It is so hard to find meal plans that are frugal, and made from healthy ingredients that aren’t too “weird.”
    I menu plan 2-4 weeks ahead so I know how much work it is.
    The notes are good, detailed and clear.

    I’ll be sharing this on FB. Also writing a “Moms Resources” page for my blog & will be linking both life as mom and good cheap eats there.

  16. I just had to come back and comment on how EASY it was to take this list to Trader Joe’s and be DONE! 🙂 I did buy chicken breasts at Albertsons (because they were on sale), but other than that I just bought from the list (and picked up extra since we are feeding 7). I’m also seeing that these meals can be adapted for my husband who has decided that he wants to go back to the Whole 30 way of eating. At least for this week, I won’t have to make two separate meals!
    Thanks again!

  17. I am really glad you did this … with hubby starting back to work and his new job Monday it looks like I will be the head chef again 😉 trust me I am ok with that!! Thanks for all the work you put into Jessica!!

  18. going to try most of this plan this week. my oldest son has plans to cook for us on a couple days so his meals will be different from this plan. 😉

  19. forgot to add: I bought a whole chicken on sale(about 5lb) and cooked in crock pot. de-boned and returned bones to crock with broth to make a stronger broth for a healthier soup base. Will use the cooked chicken for the sliders, burritos and soup.
    I had a package of boneless chicken breasts in the freezer for the salsa verde (bought on sale awhile back!)

  20. I love this!!!! SO easy to have the shopping list, special instructions, and chronological prep ideas. And I love the recipes you chose – they are flexible to different family preferences, simple enough not to require hours in the kitchen every night, and “regular” food that most people should enjoy – nothing too exotic or “weird” 😉 Thank you so much for this; I’m sure it was a lot of work.

  21. Lonelle Minesinger says:

    Love the dinner plans, but sadly neither of my kids like tomatoes/spaghetti sauce so that makes it harder. But I love the ones without!!

  22. Did the meal plan this week and loved it! Feed 4 adults and 2 kids all these meals for 120.00. Thank you!

  23. We are in the middle of this meal plan this week. I love it!! So far very thing has been a hit! We had the burritos last night and I put half in the freezer before we heated them. I was able to freeze half of the salsa verde chicken too, which is so delicious! Thank you so much, I love this plan and the whole idea of having all the planning work done is great! I have been following you at goodcheapeats for a long time and I just love all your recipes and ideas.

  24. I am working our way through this meal plan this week – what a hit it has been! I am sure these meal plans are not easy to develop but it is so appreciated. I am in such a rut with planning dinners so this has been quite helpful to have it so spelled out for me. My husband is thrilled to see dinner appearing on the table again. Tonight was the salsa verde chicken. Thanks so much!

  25. Hi Jessica,
    Just wanted to drop a note to say that even with nearly doubling all the ingredients on this meal plan (my family of 5 eats like a family of 8 courtesy of 2 teenaged boys and a hubby that answers to the name Hercules) I still only spent $98. You are a rock star! I can’t wait to pull this all together this week and then sit back and enjoy the compliments 🙂 Thanks for everything you do to make everyone else’s life a bit easier. we appreciate you!
    Kristy ~AKA~ Mama to the Man Crew

    • Oh Jessica, you wonderful woman you! All of Man Crew are raving about this week’s meals. I’ve have several requests for adding a particular recipe to our regular meal rotation. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a blessing!
      Kristy ~AKA~ Mama to the Man Crew

  26. This all girl trio (three generations) thanks you! This plan worked for us even though we have two seperate homes. Note: unlike most family plans, we actually felt that we gained the coveted “eating healthy” bonus too. Bless you.

  27. Thank you so much for posting this. I am a veteran weekly meal planner who has totally lost it the last year or so. I have been struggling to get dinner on the table and have been spending way too much on food. This plan saved my sanity this week. Can’t wait to try the others. I am not sure if my info is very helpful because I already had a lot of the stuff and I live in the very expensive bay area. I went to TJs today and spent $27 plus I already had 4 pounds of organic chicken breasts from Costco that cost $25 alone. So relieved that I have a plan. Thanks again!

  28. I have to say that I was skeptical about this plan being under $70 with the amount of food/dinners that this plan makes. However, I decided to try it because this menu sounded irresistible (even to the picky eater in my household). Surprisingly when I shopped for the ingredients at the local jewel (a mainstream supermarket here in IL) my total came to about $52 dollars! I did have some modifications to the shopping list since I already had carrots, rice and flour. I also switched out the fruit sides with Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes (a preference thing). I have to give kudos to this for not only being under the target price but also creating a plan that has dinners build upon each other through using leftover ingredients (something I love but is hard to find). I look forward to more of these!

  29. Mommaof2 says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your awesome website, blog & menu plans! I did meal planning when I was single, but trying to make it work with a husband who throws a tantrum if a meal was not to his liking is near impossible (as well as different tastes) He considers things seasoned if they are buried under salt SO frustrating! We are trying this $70 meal plan this week and will be purchasing your 30-min meal book if this works as well!
    Thank you SO much to your family & you for offering your insights to those of us who have lost our way (so to speak)!

  30. Jessica, you are SUCH A HUGE BLESSING!! Thank you so much for all your hard work on these meal plans!!! I’m a single (working) Mom with two boys and it’s so important to 1-stay within budget 2-feed them as healthy as possible. You have helped me do both of those things. Again, thank you SO MUCH! Many blessings to you!

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