About Good Cheap Eats

bryan and jessica paris eiffel tower

Hi! I’m Jessica. My old school blogger name is FishMama. This is my main squeeze and I. Bryan and I met 23 years ago in a homegroup for our church. I was 19. While it wasn’t exactly love at first site, it was close.

A year later I was an exchange student in Bordeaux. Bryan came to visit me and we toured through France. The following May we returned to Paris on our honeymoon.

It was cheaper than Hawaii.

We’ve been married for over twenty years. My husband has been a huge support to me: as a student, high school teacher, stay-at-home mom, and now blogger and cookbook writer. Thanks to him, I’ve published two blogs and four cookbooks over the last six years.

Yikes! That’s a lot. No wonder I’m tired.

Here’s another reason I’m tired: our six kids. They are amazingly awesome, in case you hadn’t heard.

Six kids. Southern California living. A $600/month grocery budget. 2009

Here are the FishKids when this blog started in 2009. Our family had just moved back to Southern California where Bryan and I grew up, after living five years in Kansas City. We were thrilled to be back in our home state with great weather, abundant Mexican food, and family and friends nearby.

We were also in the throes of debt-reduction. We made a goal in 2007 to pay off our debts and live without credit cards. We reached that goal in early 2009, after paying off over $18,000 in consumer debt. We have kept to our guns, spending no more than we make — shooting for less than.

We’ve worked hard to stay out of debt, save our money, eat well, and, now that the kids are bigger, travel.

FishKids at Clos Luce small

Here are the FishKids five years after that first picture, in the Loire Valley of France. Through some frugal efforts we were able to take our whole family to Europe for a month in the fall of 2014.

Pretty sweet to see what rice and beans can do for you, eh?

Our children are currently 17, 14, 12, 10, 8, and 6. Since the four oldest are teen and tween boys, you can imagine that our grocery bill is a bit higher than $600 these days. Food costs have gone up as dramatically as my kids’ growth charts in the last six years. The USDA now says that a frugal family, the size and age of ours, eating all meals at home, can expect to spend at least $1197 per month (USDA Food Plan, November 2014).

In 2015, I’m hoping to prove the US government wrong.

Thanks to cooking from scratch and making good use of the deep freeze, I am able to feed my family healthy, home cooked meals on a budget and make ends meet in the Golden State. Our goal for the new year is to spend $1000/month on groceries.

Pork Tenderloin

What You’ll Find on the Blog

Good Cheap Eats represents our family’s efforts to eat well, act our wage and enjoy life. Here’s what you’ll find:

The blog is updated on a regular basis.

You can also follow me on social media:

Facebook   Twitter    Instagram   Pinterest

No one should be without Good Cheap Eats.


  1. Oh, Jessica, where have you been all my (adult, married with kids on budget, trying to cook from scratch) life? I can’t wait to delve into these archives and get cooking! *muah muah muah*

  2. Thank you for your blogs! I have enjoyed this one and Life as Mom. I am trying to cook from scratch because I believe it is so much healthier for my family and your site has given me lots of recipes. Thanks again!

  3. LOVE the picture: gorgeous and no doubt the inspiration for all the love you provide from your kitchen! I just know we’d be fast friends—tortilla making and all;).

  4. Letticia says:

    I have been searching for something like this! To be honest, it’s my birthday and I was searching the web for a bar where I can have a couple of drinks and spinach dip on a budget in San Diego and this site poped up!

    It has been a mission of mine for the past year to feed my family of 6 well on a budget. I have been couponing and stretching our dollars as far as they will go, but I admit, quality in my meals has been lacking. Thank you for what you are doing here! I’m excited to learn all that you want to share!

  5. Hi Jessica,
    I have really been inspired by your healthy and frugal cooking! Your blog is just the little kick I needed to get on track with saving money and time in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your journey with the rest of us!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Hi, Jessica –
    I just had to take a moment and tell you how thankful I am for you and your site(s). I have been reading/using your site and info for several months and I am constantly encouraged, challenged and feel supported in my own endeavors to feed my family more whole, unprocessed foods. I really don’t know if I could do it without you! (at least it wouldn’t be nearly as delicious! lol) I have two young children (read: almost no time and very little sleep) and a very tight grocery budget so I appreciate everything you post. Every recipe I have tried has been a big hit with our whole family (I was super excited to find your recipe for cream of celery soup – I’ve been trying to eliminate the canned stuff from our diet for quite a while now!). It’s like you read my mind and know what I’m trying to do but you’re 20 steps ahead of me. lol Thank you for all that you do – you truly are a God-send!
    (I also esp. love this latest journey you’re on – looking forward to reading it in more detail when I get a chance.)
    Wishing you all of the best!

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