Today I am making a recipe that literally takes ten minutes of prep before it is cooked. This Hashbrown Breakfast Bake is easy, filling and so delicious Additionally, a breakfast bake can be personalized with whatever foods you want to add.
It is such a yucky word, right?
Now let’s talk about FOOD budgets.
Additionally, do you have one?
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Do you cook any or all your meals at home?
How often do you go out to eat?
How much do you spend on food a week, either in a restaurant or at a grocery store?
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Published December 21, 2020
Updated February 28, 2022
Menu Planning Tools
In 2018, Tyler and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and we then created a budget. As a one income household of five people, creating and sticking to a budget is necessary.
With another baby at the time on the way, we really wanted to bring our princess into the family without the weight of credit card debt, or any other debt! Therefore, in 2018, the decision was made to get rid of all of our debt, outside of the mortgage.
We budget food, toiletries, entertainment, phone, internet, personal spending, insurance, water bill, car stuff, etc… Everything is budgeted.
Why do we budget? For example, our goal is to be out of debt as quick as possible. (Except the house.)
Since our class, we have been a cash-only household. As of spring 2021, we are completely debt free, except the house! That is right, we have no credit card debt, no car payments, none. We own both of our cars and are SO proud of our progress.
No more credit cards, store cards, gas card. Literally, we cut up thirteen DIFFERENT credit cards. Below is the moment we cut all of the thirteen credit cards in our Financial Peace University class.
It is such a great feeling. However, the only way we accomplished this was sticking to our budget. Even for food. Keep reading for FREE downloads of how I plan our weekly groceries!
*Dave Ramsey is not a sponsor for this post*
Below are a few free gifts from me to you. I created a weekly meal planner and a grocery shopping list. By using both of these tools, you can help to limit what you overbuy on each week. Simply list your desired meals and the foods included. Then, flip the page to list what foods and items you need to buy on the grocery list side.
Weekly food budget
Our weekly food budget a year ago was $150.00 a week, and now we adjusted the budget recently to $170.00 a week for our family of 6. Sometimes we go over, and sometimes we are under. But the exciting part is, as we pay cash for everything, overages spill over to the next week and then it can cover when we are low in other weeks.
So, this week, I wanted to take some time to go over how I shop.
A few years ago, I developed my own shopping list that splits the types of food into:
Grocery, Dairy, Produce, Meat, Frozen, and Toiletries.
On the reverse side, each day is split up with the meal we will have, and what foods we need. Then, referencing recipes and what we still have on hand, I can figure out what we need, and what to buy. It is all quite fun. Weekly, we talk as a family and decide what meals we will have. Then I finish the list and shop. As a Planner and Spender, grocery planning has literally become my favorite chore.
I know shopping is not for everyone, neither is cooking, but if you really sit down and find out how much food you need for meals and plan for them, you can start to save money on the food budget. Maybe then budget will start to not be such a yucky word! As this week is Christmas, we planned to have some extra snacks, so our budget was a little bit over, and doing so did not kill our food budget. Physically handing over money, instead of swiping a card, makes you feel. You physically feel the pain of handing over that hard-earned money!
Look into Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, it changed our marriage for the better.
Check it out here: Financial Peace University (daveramsey.com) Dave, I hope it is ok to link you on my blog! Seriously👀😘 Baby Step #3!!!
If you do not want to jump into an entire course, his book helps to break down the tips and gives a step-by-step guide to financial freedom.
And as of now, February 2022, we have Baby Step #3 DONE!!! Step #4 is hard for us to decide because we do have investments including a pension and a few other accounts that all total over the 15% recommended by Dave Ramsey. Then, our next step is to take on Baby Step #5. Setting up college accounts for four kids seems pretty straightforward as we already have one for our oldest, Samuel.
One way to save on a budget
One way that we save on our food budget is by my making food from scratch.
From bread to bagels, granola bars, granola, alfredo sauces, pasta, pizza crust, pie crust, seasoning mixes… and so much more. Ingredients are cheap when you buy in bulk and have a desire for fresh with no preservatives! With 4 kids and 1 income, we cannot afford to feed them fillers and pre-packed foods or additionally to go out to eat on a weekly basis. But having fresh veggies, fruits, homemade ingredients and quality meals really helps. They are all still crazy, but it is a tame crazy. I will take it!
Also, with all of my food allergies and sensitivities, I actually cannot have packaged foods. I need to be a hawk with food labels, and I need to then avoid anything made with almond. For example, when reading a Nutrition Lable and the ingredient has a warning saying, “Made with almond or Tree Nuts”, I cannot eat it. Additionally, I am allergic to strawberries and have to follow a low-fat diet. Making our own is the only way to still be able to eat bagels, bread, granola bars, and more. If you have food issues, or you have kids that do, I know you will understand!
So, the money breakdown. Our grocery bill for this week was $185.99. That is all of our food for a week. 7 days. 9 meals. 6 people. Dinner tonight was a breakfast bake that cost $14.02 to make. We literally took the receipt at dinner and calculated ingredients down to the sweet peppers. Doing so breaks down the meal to $2.33 per person. And the kicker? We only ate half. Tyler will have lunch for tomorrow, Samuel also took some for lunch, and we will munch on it for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.
Grocery Bill Comparison
I was curious if my regular shopping spot, ALDI, really was our best option. I have been an ALDI girl for years. My mom shopped there when I was a kid. I LOVE ALDI. When I was in Denmark in 2004, we went to an ALDI. It was epic.
So I went online to Walmart, inputted ALL of the food items that I bought today into a shopping cart to see if there was a big difference.
ALDI grocery bill $185.99
Walmart grocery bill $231.96 *all items I added were not name brand. However, I would not have bought name brand as ALDI typically does not sell those brands. I cannot imagine what the cost would be if I had! * (That will be my next adventure)
$50.00 cheaper is a lot when our weekly food budget is only $170.00!
Now I am not bashing on Walmart, in fact I went there after ALDI today so I could get some last-minute Christmas gifts. As a result, I just cannot afford to grocery shop anywhere else.
Making this Menu Planner and Grocery List sheets have really helped our family stay on track with meals and the budget. Feel free to download and print copies of my Meal Planning worksheet and Grocery Shopping list.
This week’s meals
Here is a list of the meals we had through the week. Click the links below for two family favorites!
Monday Dinner: French Onion Beef Casserole
Tuesday Dinner: Tacos
Wednesday Dinner: Pizza
Thursday Dinner: Pancakes
Friday Dinner: Lasagna, zucchini
Saturday Breakfast: Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Saturday Dinner: Chicken Pot Pie
Sunday Dinner: Mac & Cheese Casserole, peas
Cost Breakdown for Hashbrown Breakfast Bake
Below is the cost breakdown for each ingredient we used for this Hashbrown Breakfast Bake. Additionally, we had ham slices on the side and grapes.
Hashbrown Patties $3.15
Ham slices $1.40
2 dozen eggs $1.50
Extra sharp cheddar cheese $2.00
Mini sweet peppers $0.75
Pumpkin cinnamon rolls $2.99
The total cost for this Hashbrown Breakfast Bake was $9.29. Included in the Hashbrown Breakfast bake were the hashbrowns, 2 dozen eggs, 1-pound cooked ground sausage and diced sweet peppers.
With adding cinnamon rolls, fruit and ham slices on the side, this meal cost our family $15.27. When breaking down the serving cost, I added how many servings each family member ate including packed up lunches the next day. This breakfast came to thirteen servings and came to a cost of $1.17 per serving.
Hashbrown Breakfast Bake Recipe
2 dozen eggs
1 package hash brown patties
2 sweet peppers, diced
1 tube pork sausage, cooked
1/2 package breakfast ham, diced
1/2 crown of broccoli, diced
4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions for Hashbrown Breakfast Bake
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees, then spray a 9 X 13 pan with non-stick spray.
2. Arrange hash brown patties on the bottom of the pan. I also broke some in half and placed them around the edges.
3. Cook sausage and set aside to cool slightly before adding to the eggs.
4. Wash the sweet peppers and broccoli and then dice both and add to a medium bowl.
5. Shred the cheddar cheese into the bowl and then set aside.
6. Dice ham slices and then add to the bowl.
7. Crack the eggs into the bowl and then mix all ingredients together, making sure the egg yolks break. Then, mix the eggs well.
8. Then add salt and pepper, or any other spices you desire.
9. Mix in the cooked sausage to the egg mixture.
10. Pour the ingredients over the hash browns.
11. Bake 45 minutes-1 hour, or until the eggs are no longer runny.
When the Hashbrown Breakfast Bake is cooked, remove it from the oven. Then let the bake rest for 5-minutes before serving. Finally, serve with salsa, Greek yogurt, more cheese, sour cream, or avocado.
Some of these items will be also used in a different meal, like the sweet peppers I only used 2 out of the 1-pound bag, and same with the broccoli, so the cost was adjusted.
So, for the leftover money in the food budget, the average cost of feeding our family is $24.56 a day in food. $4.09 per person to eat a day on average.