Cheap Meals for Large Families

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We have six kids at home plus my husband and me. Together that makes for a blended family of eight. We live near my in laws as well as my husbands grown daughter (who is married with two kids).

At any given time I have eight to thirteen plus people that I am cooking for on any given night. Cheap meals for large families is what I am always on the hunt for!

I have learned some tips and tricks for making my way through the kitchen while large family meal planning takes place so we stay on a budget.

Since we have been a larger family for over thirteen years, I’ve had to learn ways to save money on our grocery bill.

I work hard to find ways to feed our large family on a budget.

Each week when I meal plan I am mapping out breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days a week. That is a lot of food!

I work hard to pack my meal plan with cheap easy meals on a budget.

5 Easy Dinner Recipes for a Family of 7

Here is what we cooked in a week at our house. Lots of quick and easy dinner ideas that are perfect for when you’re on a budget. Any of these are great for a school night or weeknight.

I do utilize online grocery shopping to make meal planning easy.

These pictures are from my Walmart order and HEB order for last week.

One Week Meal Plan for my Family of 8:

Loaded Fries– this was made using 1.5 pounds of ground beef I already had in the freezer. These are easy to make and are a perfect dinner after an afternoon at the pool. This also makes a great freezer meal and the recipe is from one of our freezer meal packs from last summer where you can make 7 meals in an hour for your freezer.

Chicken Spaghetti– in the middle of May I made two large rotisserie chickens in the slow cooker for Luke Henry’s birthday dinner. We ended up with a lot of leftover chicken. I deboned it and froze the leftovers to use later in the month of other dinners. I used about 2 cups of the chicken to make this super easy and creamy chicken spaghetti. A nice variation from the traditional red variation.

Tacos– always an affordable standby on our meal plan.  I batch cook taco meat and use what I need for the first night and freeze the remaining for a night later in the month.

Broccoli Chicken Ring– I used to make this years ago when the twins were little. It is so easy and another great way to use up leftover deboned chicken.

Chicken Black Bean Bowls– this is an easy meal that can be done in the slow cooker or in the pressure cooker depending on the time of day you start dinner.

Ground Italian Sausage Spaghetti- honestly, spaghetti shows up on our menu a lot. It is just so easy to make and super affordable. I know we are having it two different ways this week, but they really are very different recipes. I have shared many cooking videos with you guys where I show you how I make my red sauce spaghetti with Italian sausage. In my grocery order I purchased two packs of spicy Italian sausage links. I will use one for this week for this spaghetti and one for next week when I make lasagna. These sausages have a longer shelf life in the fridge that ground beef, so if you’re using them in a week or two they usually are still good. Just always check your expiration date. Usually when I buy the expiration date is two to three weeks out. Its nice to have ready to cook meat in the fridge that does not require thawing on days where you forget to lay something out. I also like to use my electric skillet for making my homemade spaghetti sauce. The one I use is a 16×12 with a lid and has held as much as 100 ounces of spaghetti sauce when we’ve hosted large gatherings.

If you like watching cooking videos here is how I made this spaghetti sauce with the Italian Sausage. Forgive me. I am a real mama with kids running around underfoot. I have not showered in this video, but kids gotta eat.

Bratwursts on the Grill– these are so easy and keep you from heating up the kitchen. We had chips and baked beans with our brats. No recipe needed for any of this!

How Much Should a Family of Eight Spend on Groceries 

Each month I spend about $1,000 on groceries for our family of eight.

This includes toilet paper, paper towels, disposable cups and plates, diapers, wipes, trash bags, toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps, etc.

I shop at three different stores; Walmart, HEB and Sam’s Club.

I use online grocery pickup for each of these places. This keeps me out of the store as much as possible, sticking to my budget and not impulse shopping.

I buy a lot of stuff in bulk at Sam’s each month. Here is a list of the things I regularly buy there each month which gives me a lower cost per unit per item. I am able to do this now that we have a home with enough storage space.

Grocery Items I Buy in Bulk for my Big Family: 

  • cheese (5 lbs at a time)
  • eggs (5 dozen at a time)
  • flour (25 pound bag)
  • white rice (50 pound bag)
  • Basatmi rice (25 pound bag)
  • granulated sugar and brown sugar (10 pound bags)
  • dry pinto beans (depending on what is in stick 12 pounds to 50 pounds)
  • chicken breasts ( I can get them for under $2 a pound, generally $1.88 a pound or less in bulk.)
  • chicken thighs (I do boneless and skinless so these are about $2.00 a pound in bulk.)
  • bread
  • dry potatoes (I can get a box that is 65 servings for less than $7.00 in bulk… I know raw potatoes are cheaper but we love the instant potatoes.)
  • canned vegetables
  • canned black beans
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • lunch meat
  • cheese slices
  • cereal
  • pancake mix
  • chicken broth base
  • seasonings
  • juice (cranberry grape juice, orange juice, powdered lemonade that I make by the gallon)
  • dog food (35 pound bag) and dog treats
  • bottled water
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, cups and plates)
  • trash bags (this means I only have to buy them twice per year)

I save money on groceries  by purchasing each of these things in bulk!

I buy all of my beef from HEB and some of my fresh produce. I also like to get fresh tortillas from HEB.

Everything else I buy at Walmart using Walmart’s online grocery shopping.

If you’ve never placed on order online from Walmart before, you can get $10 off your first order of $50 or more. Use my link to get the $10 off your first order (affiliate).

Monthly Grocery Bill 

Here is what I spent during the month of May on groceries (which includes paper products, diapers, etc).

Sam’s Bulk Grocery Total: $524.65

Walmart Grocery Total: $376. 48

HEB Grocery Total: $146.89

May Grocery Total: $1048.02

Here is how online grocery shopping prevents me from impulse shopping and over-spending.

Need Help with Meal Planning 

I started meal planning thirteen years ago. It was a necessity.

I had just delivered twins. I had a child in first grade and a child in third grade.

I was helping take care of my aging and very ill grandmother.

We were on a budget and could not eat out all the time.

I came with a method to help make meal planning manageable in five easy steps that any parent can replicate.

How Freezer Meal Cooking Helps You Get Dinner on the Table 

Summer time is hard. Kids are home from school (unless you homeschool like me in which case they are home 365 days out of the year) and you need to be able to get three meals on the table a day.

Add to that you don’t want to heat the house up cooking… which usually happens during the heat of the day when you’re cooking dinner.

Here are 21 Freezer Meals for the Hottest Days of the Year. This means you will have three full weeks of recipes in your back pockets without repeating any meals at all.

Don’t want to make them into freezer meals? No worries. You can make them as you go- no need to freeze if that is not something you are on board with.

The great thing about these recipes is they all are dinners you can make on the grill, in the Crock Pot, in an electric skillet or in the pressure cooker. No heating up your kitchen!

You can grab this instant download here. It comes with the three weeks of recipes and grocery lists for each week!


  1. Wow, I am impressed. Can’t conceive of 1000 for groceries, much less cooking for 8-13 people. You need a crown!

  2. I was wondering when this article was written, has your budget changed since then?

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