Tuesday, February 14, 2023

$160 budget 7-day menu plan for a family of 5

With grocery prices on the rise, I thought I would try my hand at putting together a budget 7-day menu plan for a family of 5. I've based my prices off of Countdown this week, since those prices are consistent around New Zealand. I used pumpkin as key ingredient for the week's menu, so if you were able to get it cheaper somewhere other than Countdown, you could create more wiggle room in your budget for other items. 

I haven't tested this menu plan on my family, because of special dietary requirements we have, so I'm unsure how it would play out in reality, but I'm hoping it will be useful to you for ideas at the very least. 

Shopping list

Nature's Fresh toast bread 700g x2: $3.50 x2 = $7 (Countdown was sold out of cheaper bread)

Farmer Brown 20-pack eggs size 6: $10.50

Essentials crunchy peanut butter 375g: $2.70

Countdown whole chicken 1.9kg: $17.50

The Odd Bunch onions 1.5kg: $4.50

Pumpkin: $14ea

Fresh brushed Agria potatoes 1KG: $4.99

The Odd Bunch carrots 1.5kg: $4

Red cabbage half: $4.99

Royal Gala apples 2KG: $7

Countdown frozen peas 1kg: $3.30

McKenzies pearl barley 500g: $2.20

Countdown frozen mixed vegetables 1kg: $3

Countdown essential tortillas 15-pack: $4.50

Essentials coconut cream 400ml x2: $1.50 x2 = $3

Sun Valley brown lentils 500g: $3.20

Essentials long grain rice 1kg: $2.40

Select garam masala 29g: $2.50

Countdown diced tomatoes w/ Italian basil & oregano 400g: $1.30

Countdown rolled oats 750g: $3

Greggs ground cinnamon 30g: $3

Essentials mini dark chocolate chips 250g: $1.50

Countdown 390g sweetened condensed milk: $3

Countdown plain flour 1.5kg: $2.50

Tasti Yeast Active Dried 130g: $5.50

Chelsea white sugar: 1.5kg: $2.90

Hansells imitation vanilla essence 125ml: $1.99

Hansells baking powder 150g: $2.80

Countdown butter 500g: $4.90

Countdown NZ beef mince 500g: $8.90

Countdown tomato sauce 500ml: $2.80

Countdown garlic mayonnaise 250ml: $3.50

Golden Sun sliced gherkins 680g: $3

Countdown sunflower oil 500ml: $4

Pop N Good popping corn 500g: $3.30

TOTAL: $159.17

Menu plan


Breakfast: Fried eggs on toast with butter (1 egg and piece of toast per person)

Lunch: Peanut butter sandwiches, apples, carrot sticks, chocolate chunk oat cookies.

Dinner: Roast chicken (stuffed with 1 peeled onion), gravy (made with the chicken juices, flour and pea cooking water), roast pumpkin, 500g roast potatoes, cooked peas, and 1 sliced and cooked carrot.


  1. Roast the pumpkin and serve 1/4 of it with this dinner. (Save one quarter of the roast pumpkin for the lentil curry, one quarter for the pumpkin soup, and one quarter to blend into 2 cups of pumpkin puree to make the pumpkin bread.)
  2. Save half of the cooked chicken meat for future lunches
  3. Throw the bones of the chicken carcass into a large pot covered with 5L water to make chicken stock for the chicken soup, pumpkin soup, and brown lentil curry dinners. You can add carrot and onion peels/ends to the pot too. Simmer for 6 hours, strain the liquid into ice cream containers and refrigerate until needed. 


Breakfast: Apple cinnamon porridge (quadruple the recipe and use sugar instead of maple syrup)

Lunch: Chicken tortilla wraps (1 per person) spread with mayonnaise and filled with leftover roast chicken, diced gherkin, grated cabbage, and grated carrot. Snacks of apple slices, stove-popped popcorn, and chocolate chunk oat cookies.

Dinner: Chicken barley soup - make with 1/2c barley, two diced onions, the bag of of frozen mixed vegetables, and 2L of the prepared chicken stock. If you have any herbs on hand, add these for extra flavour. You will have plenty of barley left over for soup in coming weeks. 


Breakfast: Egg-in-a-hole (1 per person)

Lunch: Pumpkin bread spread with butter. (Use half the pumpkin bread for this lunch and save the other half for tomorrow). Stove-popped popcorn and apple slices as a snack. 

Dinner: Lentil pumpkin curry served on rice. Fry 1 tortilla per person in a little butter to make an imitation roti to go with the curry. Serve with a side of frozen peas. 

(To make the curry, saute two diced onions in 3 Tbsp oil on a medium heat until softened. Add 2 Tbsp garam masala to the pan and saute for 30 seconds, stirring to coat the onion in the spice mix. Rinse 1 cup of lentils and add them to the pan, stirring to coat them in the onion and spice mixture. Next, stir through the tin of diced tomatoes, 1/4 pumpkin (which was roasted on Monday night), and 3c of chicken stock. Simmer covered for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 5 minutes before serving, stir through the tin of coconut cream and add salt and pepper to taste.)

Note: While the soup is cooking, bake pumpkin bread for tomorrow's lunches. 


Breakfast: Toast

Lunch: The rest of the pumpkin bread spread with butter. Popcorn and carrot sticks as a snack. 

Dinner: Hamburgers on homemade bread rolls. Make the patties with the mince, onion, egg and bread crumbs made out of crusts. Top the burgers with gherkins, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, grated carrot, and grated cabbage. 


Breakfast: Scrambled eggs on toast. 

Lunch: Leftovers or tortilla wraps filled with a cooked egg mixture made of boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise and diced gherkins. Snacks of apples and popcorn

Dinner: Leftover lentil curry served on a fresh batch of rice. Serve with a side of green peas. 

Note: Start the overnight bread for tomorrow's dinner. 


Breakfast: Baked oatmeal made with rolled oats, eggs, cinnamon and apple. Use water instead of milk. (This can be prepared the night before and individual servings reheated for breakfast.) 

Lunch: Potato hash browns made with the rest of the potatoes, as well as eggs, flour, diced onion. Cook in oil. Serve with a cole slaw made of grated carrot and the rest of the cabbage. 

Dinner: Pumpkin soup (use the remaining pumpkin, one onion, the chicken stock and the second can of coconut cream for this soup. Flavour with garam masala if you don't have cumin, coriander or curry powder). Serve with overnight bread

Sunday (leftovers day)

Breakfast: Leftover baked oatmeal. 

Lunch: Use up whatever is left in the fridge and pantry. 

Dinner: Leftover pumpkin soup. 

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