Do you stick to a grocery budget each week? I definitely do! With many people spending time at home, this grocery list might come in handy as you watch your budget.
Each week I budget $50 to spend at the grocery store. I decided it would be fun to take a photo of what I buy and list how much each item costs.
I love reading how much other people spend money in their daily life. This includes creating a detailed and organized grocery list to help you stick to your budget.
This blog post is all about how to stick to a grocery budget, and maybe you want to share your ideas in a blog as well.
In the past, I have written about how my tips and tricks to stick to a grocery budget. No matter what, I still have to plan my grocery list each week to make sure I save money.
It’s not easy to stick to a $50 budget for myself. I use every dollar and try to get the best deal possible, all while still buying the best food possible.
Meal planning to stick to your grocery budget
The cost of groceries varies so much across the United States. I have to really plan out my meals ahead of time and figure out how to overlap my food. I pretty much each the same thing all week!
Before I went grocery shopping, I wrote down what I had leftover to work with.
You can do the same thing when making your grocery list.
- Frozen broccoli
- Waffle mix
- 1 Greek yogurt
I purchased a waffle mix a couple weeks ago and made exactly one waffle. This was such a waste of money for me.
Does this happen to anyone else?!
Since I don’t stock my pantry with bulk items, I told myself I have to incorporate this mix into a couple meals this week.
Otherwise it will literally sit in my cupboard forever and I’ll end up just throwing it out.
If you’re short on time or have no idea where to start when it comes to planning your meals,
I’d highly recommend trying out the $5 Meal Plan.
It’s a $5 monthly subscription plan that sends healthy, affordable meal plans and shopping lists to your inbox weekly.
I love how the $5 Meal Plan has gluten-free and picky eater friendly options for those who love switching up their meals.
You can try it for 14 days for free here!
Here is my $50 grocery budget
Here is an example of my most recent grocery budget. I would love to know if your grocery prices are similar!
- Eggs 3.69
- Cheese 2.50
- 2 small avocados 2.00
- 1 small lemon (not shown) .50
- Salad kit with dressing 3.50
- 14 oz sirloin steak 8.09
- 8 oz sirloin steak 5.89 **
- Creamer 3.49
- Grapes 3.25
- Mushrooms 1.19
- 2 roma tomatoes 0.88
- English muffins 1.39
- Salad dressing 2.49
- Ziploc bags 1.69*
- Corn on the cob 2 for 1.00
- 2 bananas .52
- Perrier 1.00
- Tupperware 1.99*
Grand Total: $43.07+ tax
*These are gremlin purchases and are not part of my regular budget.
I decided to incorporate them into my $50 budget, but I am ok if I end up spending a few extra dollars on additional food this week.
**I bought an extra steak for my roommate. We went grocery shopping together and he bought corn tortillas and chips that we will share.
I have about $6 leftover to use still for the week. I will probably end up grabbing a couple of Greek yogurts, salad mix, and some chocolate.
Here’s what I’m eating this week. Not overly exciting, but good enough!
- Banana waffles
- Egg sammy
- English muffin with peanut butter (I keep a jar at work)
- Grapes & cheese
- Tacos / Quesadillas
- Chips and guacamole
- Steak salad
Meals I Make With My Tight Grocery Budget
As you can see, I’m going to be cooking all my meals this week which is what I usually do for the most part.
Preparing your own meals will save you tons of money because it’s cheaper to be whole and fresh foods as ingredients instead of buying pre-packaged, ready-made food.
Packaged food is often processed which means it has a ton of salt and preservatives in it.
You don’t have to be a chef to prepare your meals either. I like to keep it simple and stick to what I love. You can also look up recipes online or on YouTube for ideas or borrow a cookbook from the library.
It takes me less than 20-minutes to prepare most of my meals and sometimes I cook in batches so I’ll have leftovers for the next day or to freeze.
Batch cooking and freezing meals is a great way to save time as well as money since you can just grab a quick prepared meal out of the freezer instead of ordering takeout.
I recommend getting some freezer-safe containers to store your leftovers.
Using a grocery delivery service to help Your Grocery Budget
I’ve been using the past Shipt app for over two years now and could not be happier.
If you aren’t familiar with Shipt, it’s shopping and delivery service that does all your shopping for you! Depending on where you live, you have different delivery options.
We are able to place our grocery orders online through the app and have access to Target, 2 grocery stores, CVS and Petco.
The main reason we use it is to save time because of our busy schedules. For the past couple of weeks, we use it as a safety precaution to avoid going out and doing our part to social distance.
Shipt has a promotion right now where it costs $89 for 12 months of membership. That is equal to $7.42 per month for 12 months. Learn more here about Shipt.
Here’s what you get:
- Unlimited deliveries
- Pick your delivery time (as little as 2 hours)
- Choice of where you want your deliveries from
- Access to your ‘shopper’ incase you left something off your list
- Delivery straight to your front door
Shipt not available in your area? Another great app that you can try is Instacart.
Should you coupon on a $50 grocery budget?
I want to mention that I am not an extreme couponer!
In fact, I rarely use coupons as most coupons I see are for processed foods and food I don’t normally eat.
I generally shop at two places – Trader Joes, located nationwide and occasionally Safeway, a grocery chain in the Pacific Northwest.
As I have lived all over the country, I also shop at Publix and Krogers.
Couponing can seem out-of-date or too time consuming to some, but if you’re looking to stick to your budget, there are more modern ways to take advantage of discounts aside from cutting out coupons on newspapers.
First off, you’ll automatically save when you shop in season. I tend to buy whatever produce is in season to optimize the sales.
As I mentioned above, I do not use a lot of coupons. However, I like to browse the grocery ads online ahead of time. I also look online at what digital coupons my grocery store is currently promoting.
After you receive your shopping receipt, I recommend scanning it into a program like Fetch Rewards.
This is a free app that rewards you with points depending on how much you spend. The points can be redeemed for all kinds of gift cards from stores everywhere.
Finding coupons may still work for you. However, it’s important to make sure you’re not wasting too much time trying to save a very tiny amount.
Additionally, avoid feeling pressured to buy multiple items just because they are on sale.
And, if you want to save more money, make sure you meal plan. While finding sales is great, zero food waste and knowing what you have to eat to avoid going out is even better.
- 7 Ways to Save $500 Right Now
- How to Track Your Expenses
- Tips for a No Spend Day or Week or Month
- How to Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons
- Grocery Budget Meal Planner
If you are ready to stick to a grocery budget, you have to make a plan. Take some time to really think about what you need without being wasteful.
If you know you are going to eat a few meals out at a restaurant, try to plan accordingly. This means you should purchase less at the store. There is nothing worse than wasting food!
Have you been sticking to a grocery budget?
Esther Chupp says
I might have missed this detail, so forgive me if so, but how many people are you feeding for $50 a week? We’re a family of 5, and our budget is $275 a month which works out to about $68 a week. We could lower that a bit more but we eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and I’m happy with how healthy we eat for so little money. It is incredible how much of a difference it makes to pay attention to what is on sale and cook all your meals from scratch!
Kristin Larsen says
This was just for me, ha! I need to do a new post for a family of two 🙂
Especially now with people facing potential layoffs, furloughs etc., the grocery bill is the 1 thing that you can control. It’s a tad bit harder for those on special diets. For instance, I’m currently on Weight Watchers and I’ve been posting a lot of WW Meal Plans that consist on meals where you are eating from the pantry, freezer, cupboards. The lowest cost per person I’ve came up with so far is about $19/per person for the week. And I have to say, we are enjoying fantastic meals. Sad that it had to take a lock-down for me to get super creative!
Kristin Larsen says
We are definitely getting creative as well during these times, especially as groceries have gone up in price near us.
Tony Page says
Reading this during the pandemic. I am struggling with my grocery budget. There are only 2 of us and when the weather gets warmer I HAVE to purchase certain items for my hubby: Pedialyte, bananas and yogurt. When I purchase 3 bottles of pedialyte that’s nearly $15. We only have Food Lion, Walmart and IGA for grocery stores. Any suggestions about helping me reduce my grocery debt??
Kristin Larsen says
We adjust our budget seasonally as well. I always try to deduct from one area if I need to increase in a different area. We’ve recently been trying to reduce how much meat we eat per serving. We also look for really good deals on frozen veggies and then stock up!
Carol M says
All good ideas. No fancy coffees out – learn to make these at home and take in a thermos to work. Whole rotisserie chickens are great least – 4 servings, then chicken salad, chicken tacos, etc. with the scraps. Look for BOGO items like peanut butter. Waffle mix – make your own waffle batter, make all the waffles, then freeze. In cold weather soups and stews are great – make a batch and then freeze.
Kristin Larsen says
Great suggestions Carol!
Any suggestions on coffee budgeting and coffee shops spending . I spent way too much on coffeeay coffee shops but I like a cup in the morning and then another pick-me up i the afternoon.
Kristin Larsen says
I am right there with you Stacy. I added coffee to my monthly budget. It’s not possible for me to nix it from my budget – I just don’t want to. Instead I give myself a monthly budget so I can plan for it and have no guilt. If I’m really trying to save money, I’ll skip the $6 latte and get a coffee but have them add a pump of syrup and steam the creamer so it feels like a latte, but it’s only half the price 🙂 Google Starbucks coffee hacks for lower priced options! Do you get your coffee at the same places? I use the Starbux app to get the points and free coffees, and then I use local shops that usually have a punch card for free coffee. Dunkin Donuts has an app too with rewards!
This year were trying to stick to 50 a week all meals for my family of three. So far we’ve gone two weeks and been able to do a variety of meals. Taking cash and a list definitely helps so I don’t wander and pick up random not needed items! We live in California so things are expensive but having canned vegis and rice and pasta and spices on hand make a world of difference when all you need are the meats we try to have a protein vegis and starch every dinner and breakfast eggs and turkey bacon. I’m rambling but it feels so accomplishing vrs spending over 100 a week on snacks or coffee or fast food!
For dinners only…. I recieve free breakfast, and skip lunch….
What about $50 – $60 a budget for a month..? Because that’s what I’m trying to figure out and can’t seem to… Because that’s now my monthly budget because it’s all I can afford….
How many people?
Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor says
We spend about $75-80/week on groceries for a family of four (the kids are little). Sometimes more for hosting or taking food to social events. We eat a lot of whole chickens, some of which we raise ourselves, and dry beans I make in large batches in the crockpot & freeze. Here are some of my frugal food hacks: http://www.pretendtobepoor.com/food-hacks/ and a price-per-serving of protein breakdown: http://www.pretendtobepoor.com/meat/
Thanks for sharing Kalie!
Ms Splendour says
It’s helpful to see it all laid out like that! I’m working diligently to reduce our grocery budget but still have a ways to go unfortunately. I’m learning you have to be strategic. No pre-made meals or fancy drinks and I found a local cheese shop that always has sales (I love good cheese but it’s normally so expensive). We stopped eating out, stopped buying coffees and things during the day and started bringing out lunches to work every day. You also end up eating healthier by doing this. added bonus!
I love fancy cheese! My Trader Joe’s always has a good and inexpensive selection. Otherwise, my other grocery store always has a small selection of small amounts to buy that is cheap. Congrats on cutting those expenses, that’s awesome!
I was curious how in the world you were going to eat on only $50. Can I assume that you’ll also be eating out for a lunch or two? It’s really fun to look over your list, you look like a smart shopper. I used to budget more strictly, but now that we’re mostly paleo and there are 7 people in our family, our food budget is pretty gigantic. You’ve got me tempted to write up a similar post. It’ll be shocking to many, I’m sure! 😉 Thanks for sharing.
I was eating out a few times a week, but I am really trying to reign in my dining out and stick to this budget. It’s not easy and involves so much planning! Yes – write a post on this!! I’m curious about paleo and how you shop for a family of 7!
I would love to read about paleo for 7. We’re a farming family of 9. Hardworking bodies are always milling around the kitchen looking for food. We work very hard at keeping our food spending to $700/month with 1 meal out and usually a stop at the ice cream parlor. I’m always on a hunt for the best deals and grocery hacks online. Love your blog.
Awesome job! I always make a list and write how much I expect the items will cost, which really helps with staying on budget as well as using cash. I do buy several things in bulk, but not every month so I have money which ‘floats’ until I am ready to spend it.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who writes down the cost of the grocery item when making a list! But it really helps to budget! The cash method works!
Reelika @Financially Wise On Heels says
This is great, actually even awesome! I know it requires lots of planning and time to figure it all out, but it is definitely worth it! Well done and great list to follow!
I don’t really mind going slightly over my grocery budget either when I really need to since it’s so low to begin with, but you did a great job this time. I was thinking of doing a breakdown of what my family purchases at the grocery store each shopping trip as well, maybe in the near future. Our goal is about $150 for 2 weeks worth of food and we still purchase a decent amount of meat as well. It baffles people, but somehow it works.
Yes do it! I’m fascinated how families budget groceries since I have a hard enough time figuring it out for myself!
Jennifer @ WanderlustWallet says
I love these kinds of posts, and pictures are a great idea. Seeing your photos made me realize how much I miss salad kits. I used to buy one kind in particular and make lunches for work. I haven’t seen salad kits here where I shop, and now I want to try to recreate that specific salad dressing (this is how I tend to get myself into trouble with my budget, haha!). I have been doing pretty well with sticking to my budget recently, but it’s not always easy. Often it means taking things off my initial list once I tally up the costs and then finding less expensive options.
I take things off my list too. When I make my list, I write down the price next to it and then tally the list. Salad kits can be a little pricier than building my own salad, but the savings are pretty minimal (to me anyway) and I like the portion control on the dressing that comes with the kits!
[email protected] says
Oh, I should TOTALLY start taking pictures to go with my weekly grocery list — I love that idea. I can’t do it for tomorrow’s because everything’s put away already but I totally will for next week’s.
Sticking to a cash budget each week ($60 or less, usually ranges $40-50ish) has totally revolutionized my food life as well as my financial life. It’s great.
I would love to see your grocery picture, especially since you are such an advocate of zero waste! It can be such a pain to use cash, but I find I keep myself in check really well when it comes to spending. I am much less tempted to spend when I can physically see the cash I have as opposed to using my debit card.
Ooo you got lots of yummy stuff for $50! We don’t follow a super strict grocery budget, but we always eat everything we buy.
Typically, I spend $15-$25 every Tuesday at Fresh Market on meats (it’s their sale day), coffee and some fruit or cookies. I also go to Trader Joe’s once a week and spend $30-$40, and then we go to the regular grocery store here and there (milks, snacks for the girls, a random recipe I want to make) and I would guess we spend $50 in total doing that. So we probably spend about $115/week max for our family of four. Not terrible, but we could definitely be better!! Since we’re both self-employed, we base our spending on how busy we are. If we’re super slow, we’ll cut way back so we can still save money. If we’re busy, we’re a little more willing to spend 🙂
Oh I miss Fresh Market – they don’t have those out here. They do have the awesome sale day each week! I love Trader Joes but have a hard time sticking to a budget when I shop there. Maybe it’s their packaging or the way they display everything? Either way, I overspend there and go to my boring grocery store most of the time 🙂