Cheap Family Meals Challenge is my one-year blogging plan to share with you, how we plan to live on $300 a month whilst enjoying cheap meals for 5. We are a family of mum, dad, teenage boy and 2 under 4s and love our home cooked food. This blog post covers our French cheap family meals grocery plan while camping in France in June of 2018.
If you have been following our grocery shopping challenge in 2018, you will know that I love to make savings on my grocery shopping and a road trip this summer was not going to slow me down.
During the months of June, July & August, we are spending most of the months travelling in a tent with our family. We’re staying on campsites in our tent and enjoying some family fun. We will have plenty of beach days, swimming pool days, barbecues and of course shopping days.
But what I really wanted to do was to challenge myself to spending less on groceries, compared to what I would do normally on holiday and show that food can be cooked even in the road.
French Food Obsession
I go on holiday to some countries and I can take or leave their food. BUT if I visit France I just have this obsession with doing as much cooking as I possibly can. All that amazing fresh fruit and vegetables drives me crazy and I just wish that Portugal had as much choice.
I remember once visiting a market in France and it had 30 different tomato varieties. I wanted to buy all of them!!!
I will be sharing with you below where we are, what we have bought and what we have cooked with it. Remember we have no fridge, no freezer and very limited storage, therefore, most of the time we will buy it on the day and cook it that evening.
Groceries That We Bought #1
We did the following grocery shopping on day 1:
- Chicken Seasoning = 1,05€
- White Sugar = 0,69€
- Mayonnaise = 1,59€
- Cheese Chunks = 0,99€
- 3 Kilos Potatoes = 2,25€
- 6 Litres Milk = 3,48€
- Turkey Chunks*2 = 6,17€
- Turkey Breast (butterflied) 2,94
- Burger Meat = 5€
- Dark Chocolate = 0,74€
- Milk Chocolate = 1,17€
- Tomatoes = 0,83€
- Cauliflower = 1,49€
- Mixed Vegetable Box = 1,49€
- Ice Bag = 0,95€
- Total = 30,83€
This brings our first bit of cheap family meals on the road to 30,83€ or $36.99.
This food will of course last us a while and we still have some already left over. Plus, this food was bought just before the border in Spain so its technically Spanish food. It will also reflect what we ate through our first 7 days in France.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 1
We arrived at the campsite at dinner time starving hungry with a 6-man tent to put up while it was raining. I should say the main country roads were flooding it was that bad! Dominic and Kyle did a fine job while I entertained the under 4s and they both made another friend.
For dinner though we had potatoes that had been par boiled in the Instant Pot and had it with chunks of our turkey meat along with courgette and it was delicious. It was wonderful as we could cook our potatoes in the Instant Pot and then everything else on the cobb BBQ grill!Cheap Family Meals Challenge for families that want cheap meal plans and ideas – month 6 @recipe_this
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 2
For day 2 when it still raining we went for more of a mix of the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and the Cobb BBQ Grill. I don’t think I have ever used my Instant Pot this much as I love my other kitchen gadgets too.
For lunch we had the last of an old batch of potatoes and carrots that were looking passed their best. Then we served it up with tuna and sweetcorn with mayonnaise.
Then in the evening we pushed the boat out and had the best ever camp food ever. If you have not had a Juicy Lucy before then you MUST. It is cheese hidden away in the centre of a juicy burger that sneaks out when you take a delicious bite.
We served our Juicy Lucy’s with some garlic potatoes and some turkey breast.
Groceries That We Bought #2
We did the following grocery shopping on day 3:
- Dark Chocolate = 1,10€
- Milk Chocolate = 1,37€
- Fresh Bread = 0,55€
- Fresh Bread = 0,89€
- Fresh Bread = 0,69€
- Bruschetta = 0,99€
- Bananas = 1,30€
- Milk = 0,71€
- Kebabs = 3,15€
- Sausages = 4,49€
- Chicken Slices = 2,82€
- Total = 18,06€
This brings our second bit of cheap family meals on the road to 18,06€ or $21.67.
I always like to know what Lidl is like in different countries. After shopping in Portugal’s Lidl for so long it makes a nice change. The prices are not that different, but the variety is. For the first time in ages we can see spring onions, baby courgettes and a few other favourites.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 3
Today we decided that we deserved to eat out. After all, we have not eaten out since we left home and as this is our 7th day, I don’t think we have done so bad.
We are in an expensive part of France, so I know its not going to be cheap. We had a delicious meal of pork in a tomato sauce with mixed peppers. It was served with fries and I can tell you now I didn’t leave any!
Then for dessert I had a chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and cream. It was so good and its been such a long time since I have had dessert.
The kids had pizza and similar desserts.
The bill came to 60,50€ so not cheap but still 12€ each to include a meal, dessert and a drink each.
If I compare this to US prices it is super cheap but compare it to Portugal and its expensive.
Then in the evening for dinner we had a barbecue using up our meat. We had thick sausages, pork and pepper kebabs, some turkey breast and then finished it with some ranch potatoes. Everything was cooked on our Cobb BBQ Grill.
This is because we know where we are going next doesn’t have a fridge. This can be a big problem for travelling. I am sure we will have some vegetarian days!
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 4
Today we are travelling to our next destination and we have made use of our cabin that we spent the night at. I bought and prepared lunch the night before, that way we can avoid expensive motorway services and the HUGE amount they charge for food.
As we stopped to fill up the petrol tank we got a really big SHOCK. The food in the motorway shop was 500% higher than what we normally pay for food in supermarkets. I mean how can this be possible????
Instead what we did was buy:
- 1 Large Loaf Wholemeal Bread = 0,83€
- 1 Large Bag Bruschetta Crisps = 1,20€
- Sliced Chicken (on clearance) = 1,36€
- 1 Bag Haribos = 1,00€
- Total Cost = 3,39€
This came to a total of 3,39€ to feed 5 of us lunch on the motorway. One sandwich is the shop was 5,40€ so we made a HUGE saving and I recommend that anyone travelling does the same.
As well as this we prepped soup for dinner the night before. That way we can just throw it all in the Instant Pot and not have to worry about prep time.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 5
Today is another travelling day and what we did was the money we spent yesterday on lunch did 2 days. Half the bread was used and half the chicken and bruschetta were used too. It made good use out of our money and made sure that things stretched.
Then in the evening for dinner we had the last of the sausages (we had 4 thick ones left) and cooked them with tinned tomatoes, basil, cubed potatoes and some leftover onion. It made a delicious big one pot of food in the Instant Pot.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 6
Today is a Sunday and its market day. We’re looking forward to getting out and discovering a busy French market. The food smells were amazing and even though there were some deals, some items in my opinion were expensive.
I left with 2 roast hams on the bone. Served for lunch it was like pulled pork, but with ham. We had it with some fresh bread and it was finished off with a chocolate éclair each.
Then the bones and the fat from the ham was used to make ham soup for supper with the last of the crusty fresh bread.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Day 7
Today was our last day at our current location. Because we have been without a fridge it has been all about using up our food before we hit our next location.
For lunch today, we had jacket potatoes with tuna mayonnaise. They are quick and perfect for if you’re without a fridge.
Then in the evening for dinner we had campfire beans with cheese along with the last of the fresh bread.
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge – Reflections
Firstly, let me mention that grocery shopping in France is more expensive than grocery shopping in Portugal. However, you do have a better variety of food available to you and the choice is AMAZING.
Secondly, we saved a lot of money by prepping lunches for when we are travelling.
Thirdly, it can take a while to adjust to not having your own fridge freezer, but with some careful planning you can get it right!
French Cheap Family Meals Challenge Cost
In total over the week we spent 52,28€/$62.73 and remember this was to feed 5 of us. We also ate out once, got a takeaway another time and even with eating out it came in at 122,78€. Just think some families spend this amount on a weekly grocery shop!
The $5 Meal Plan
If you are looking for even more cheap $5 meal ideas, then look no further than the $5 meal plan. Its easy. It is simple, and you can be feeding your family for a fiver.