Do you struggle with keeping your grocery budget low? With practice, you can learn to reign in your spending and consistently stay under budget! I post my weekly shopping trips every Monday to give you an idea of what an average week looks like for us, and people ask if I really spend only $60 (now $75) a week. The answer is yes! Let me show you how I stick to a $60 a week grocery budget and give you tips on how to eat within your budget.t:
I make cheap, simple meals
I’ve pinned a bunch of stuff to Pinterest before because the final result looks so delicious! And then I click to see the recipe, and it involves a TON of ingredients that I never keep in the house and will waste if I don’t use all of it in that one recipe. I love simple and efficient! Anything with 5 main ingredients or less is my perfect meal. Sorry soups, but a lot of you just have WAY too many ingredients! I love making broccoli cheese soup and tomato soup, but that’s about it.
I also don’t use very expensive meats, buying pretty much only chicken breasts and ground turkey because it’s the cheapest meat I can find. I’ll also get the occasional pork loin when it goes on sale for less than $1.50/lb. I’ve found that I don’t miss ground beef at all now that I have ground turkey! I can’t even taste the difference.
Once or twice a week, I’ll do meatless meals, too. Rice and beans for dinner? Yep! Just add a tortilla shell and you can make an awesome, filling quesadilla. I also like just buying a box of pasta and a jar of spaghetti sauce to have a simple, cheap dinner that gives us leftovers.
I shop at Aldi for 70% of my groceries
Aldi has been my lifesaver when it comes to buying healthy ingredients for really cheap! I buy all my baking supplies there, as well as canned goods, produce, and ground turkey. At Aldi, I save at least 30-40% on everything, and the quality is right about the same. If you don’t have an Aldi in your area, look for another discount store like Save-A-Lot and see what you can buy cheaper than a regular grocery store. See: 20 Aldi Items That Save $37 a Month on Groceries
I only buy in-season produce
Allison and I LOVE strawberries, but holy cow, have you seen their prices when they’re not in season? I can get them on sale easily for $1.00 a pound, but in the off-season they can be upwards of $3-$4.00 a pound! I just can’t see myself buying 3-4 packages at a time (which is what we usually do when they’re on sale) at that price. So when I can, I’ll buy a bunch at the lowest price, wash them, and chop/freeze for a later time.
If I don’t plan on freezing produce, I’ll just plan dinner around what produce is on sale. Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are on sale in the winter? You can bet I’ll be using them at least once a week. If you only buy the produce that’s in season and work your meals around that, you’ll be saving so much money every week!
I make breakfast for dinner once a week
Seriously, pancakes and eggs make for a great dinner! You can keep a box of pancake mix around, or make your own to store it. It’s so cheap to make, and our family loves pancakes. We’ve also done biscuits and gravy and waffles.
I eat leftovers every day for lunch
Maybe it’s just because we’re a family of 3, but every dinner I cook makes at least 2-3 servings for leftovers the next day. And right now, since we’re practicing portion control, we have LOTS of leftovers. I’ve tried to buy extra stuff for lunches for us, but that resulted in so much food we had to throw some away. It just didn’t work for us! We have no problem eating leftovers, so we just happily eat them to save money. Allison, on the other hand, usually won’t eat most of my dinners (typical toddler), which means she won’t eat it the next day for lunch, either. So I buy good, healthy lunches for her, which doesn’t cost a whole lot. This may not work for you, especially if you have a larger family, but if you’re in this position, consider having leftovers for lunch!
I bulk cook and freeze items
Over the years I’ve begun to realize that it’s better/cheaper to make certain items myself to always keep in the house! Right now I bulk cook black beans and pizza sauce, and sometimes spaghetti sauce. It’s cheaper, tastes better, and I know I always have them in the house if I suddenly need a meal.
I make my own bread items
Okay, I only do this most of the time! Things like dinner rolls, breadsticks, and English muffins I always make, because I can’t see myself paying $2-$3 for a package! Tortillas I’ll sometimes make, but if the whole wheat ones go on sale at Meijer for $1.00 a pack, I’ll buy some to stock up. Those take a little longer to make than bread items. I’ve been buying loaves of bread because I just can’t find a good recipe that I like; plus, I’d been holding off until I found another bread pan. I only had one, and most of the recipes I saw would fill two, so I finally went to the thrift store and bought another!
With all that said, if I know that the next week is going to be tough budget-wise, I’ll go ahead and make all my bread products instead of buying them. I’ll spend a little extra time in the kitchen if it means saving a few dollars on our budget!
I only buy one big stock-up item each week
Our $60 a week grocery budget includes household items, so sometimes I have to get creative. I usually buy toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, and dishwasher tabs at Sam’s Club, and those can easily be $15.00+ each. If I notice we’re low on something, I’ll add it to our grocery list and figure out some really cheap meals to make so we can afford to buy that item. This is where keeping my pantry and freezer full really helps!
To help supplement our income so we can buy more bigger items at Sam’s Club, I use Swagbucks to earn a $25.00 gift card about once a month! Swagbucks is a site where you can earn points, called Swagbucks, by taking surveys, watching videos, and performing various activities. It’s free to sign up and easy to use, so make sure you click here to create your account today! Need help? Make sure you check out my tutorial on how I earn my Swagbucks!
Depending on your family size and income, $60 or $75 may not be feasible. A family of 5 or 6 may spend much more than my family of 3! The tips above still hold true no matter your budget; and if you follow them closely, you’ll find you may have some extra wiggle room in your spending! Do you have any other tips that help you stay within your budget? Leave a comment below!