Meal Planning on a Food Stamp Budget

adsI’m getting excited to begin my year on a food stamp budget in just under a week! In preparation, I’ve begun looking at the Jan 1 sales in my area. As you can see in this photo, I like to go through each store ad (mailed to me) and circle items I know to be at a good price. Then I see if I can tie them all into meals.

As you can see in the photo, pasta, hamburger meat, cottage cheese, quality pasta sauce (I splurge the extra dollars for good sauce) are all on sale. I thought this was a great start to Lasagna! My husband and children prefer a recipe that uses cottage cheese rather than ricotta. And what’s healthier than red pasta sauce, eggs and cottage cheese! The pasta and mozzarella are okay in moderation.

I also found shrimp at a yearly low of $3.99 a pound! You can’t get any healthier than shrimp! Since lemons are also on sale, I’m hoping to find a great lemon shrimp recipe–and I’ll probably make a Cajun shrimp and rice dish, too.

Finally, I saw Planters Trail Mix, Pace and several other good snack items were on sale. I’m gathering coupons now for these items. I use the coupon database at to search for available coupons. To view upcoming coupons, I use Finally, you can usually find coupons on Ebay–though you have to buy them in bulk to be worthwhile. If it’s an item you use a lot of and has a long shelf life–this could be a good option.

Note: you are not actually buying the coupons, as that is illegal. You are paying the person for their time to collect and sort the free coupons. It’s a loophole I guess.

So that’s three dinners already planned for the first week–and all three will come out under $12 total after coupons and sales.