About Jessica & Good Cheap Eats

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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 25 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 returned to Paris (after scrimping and saving for two years) in 2014 with our six children in tow. We can’t wait to go back to Europe this spring.

We’ve been married for over twenty years. My husband has been a huge support to me through my different seasons of life: first 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 seven 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.

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. At the time we were spending $400 to $600/month on groceries.

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 19, 16, 14, 12, 10, and 8. 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 $1310 per month (USDA Food Plan, November 2016).

In 2017, 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 $1200/month on groceries or less. You can read my monthly Grocery Geek updates here.

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:

  • Budget Recipes – hundreds of real food recipes that won’t break the bank
  • Grocery Geek – strategies for building your pantry on a budget
  • Frugal Foodie – a weekly series where I share all the ways we’ve saved money on food and where readers from all over the world share their own bright ideas
  • Meal Planning – everything you need to know to plan meals and save money
  • Freezer Cooking – tips and recipes that will help you enjoy tasty, freezer-friendly meals
  • Pantry Challenge – tricks for using up what you have to waste less and save money
  • Help for a Whole 30 – recipes and meal planning ideas for doing a Whole 30 or other nutritional cleanse

The blog is updated on a regular basis.


Where You’ll Find Other Good Stuff

As an online publisher, I own an estore where I sell digital meal plans and ebooks. Visit my estore here.

I have written four traditional cookbooks that you can find on Amazon or anywhere great books are sold.

I also write a blog for moms. Head to Life as Mom to check out my hacks to help you make the most of family life.

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!

  7. April Hix says:

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! I too have 6 children and 5 of them are boys.I know that they will try to eat us out of house and home as the saying goes! 🙂

  8. Just stumbled across your website this morning looking for Whole 30 compliant taco salads. Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve had a taco salad, but I’m continually looking around for new ideas and your website gave me a few. Looking forward to going through the rest of your site too. At first glance, it looks awesome! Thanks.

  9. Brian in Raleigh says:

    Starting my first Whole30 tomorrow. Prayed to The Lord to give me patience and resilience, and then I found your website. Thank you, Ma’am, for the encouragement and tips. My wife and I have 2 young boys and I’m doing this for the 4 of us!
    Thanks again, Mrs. Fisher. Num 6:24-26

  10. Hi Jessica,
    Came across your site looking for a new way to take inventory and create better meal planning and budgeting. I am looking forward to sifting through your site. What I have read so far..really has inspired me to continue learning more and creating a better system. Our daughter (one of four kids) recently moved to New York, after graduating from college, and I was looking for something I could use and also help her is expensive. Even though I plan meals, cut coupons it always seems like I am missing a step…..I think I just found it.
    I also am a HUGE fan of the same carpenter/fisherman!! Actually, said a prayer before I started looking on line..little miracles! 🙂

  11. Hi Jessica,
    I found your site through Pinterest, while looking for a simple food inventory sheet. I started poking around your site and will definitely be back. I came from a big family(5 boys and 3 girls) and I don’t know how my Mom did it but we always had great meals with lots of fruit and vegetables and dessert most nights. Portion control for desserts : )) I am in my fifties now and trying to get a better handle on our grocery budget. My husband and I live in Victoria, British Columbia and it is expensive here. We do eat home most nights and I have reduced our processed food consumption a lot over the last 3 years. I look forward to learning some tips and tricks and trying some new recipes.

  12. Joan Mick says:

    You’re a godsend and so helpful in many ways! Glad you are so generous with your ideas and recipes. Plus you seem like you have a great personality and can relate to people of all ages. Keep up what you’re doing! I don’t miss a week of your e-mails.

  13. Tracy Tidwell says:

    Just found your website. I’m so excited because I will need all of your tips and tricks to make it through the month of April without grocery shopping. I’m joining Mavis in her April challenge. P.S. I love Jesus too!

  14. I’m on my own, and have gone back to school in my late thirties. Future oncology nurse right here! 🙂 Read that as…goodbye savings and social life, hello student debt. I often joke that nursing school is that time in your life where you learn to care for others and teach them to live a healthy lifestyle, all the while you yourself live an unhealthy one because the amount of studying leaves no time for anything else. If I can at least eat healthy, while not spending copious amounts of cash that I don’t have, then I’m ok with that. Hence, make ahead and meal prep are crucial.

    So happy to have found your blog and can’t wait to put it to use. I’m not much of a cook…at all…and your recipes look quite straight forward, which is so refreshing. If I can follow them, anyone can!

    Awesome site, you’ve got a new fan. 🙂

    • Hi Carrie! How nice to meet you. I love the way you explain your life right now. Hopefully, we can get you set up with some good cheap eats! Let me know if you have any specific challenges or questions. I’m happy to help!

  15. Great site & love all your ideas. I’d also know how you managed to pay off over $18,000 in debt in 2 years! What’s your method? Thanks for all the tips.

  16. Love the site! I’m now a full time Mommy and from scratch cooking is the only way to go in my Family. I love cooking and baking for my littles. I finally found a true to life site and can’t wait to poke around some more.

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