Do you stick to a grocery budget each week? I definitely do! 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.
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 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 plands 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
Cooking Your Meals
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. I use these.
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. I do make some effort to browse the grocery ads online ahead of time, as well as checking out what digital coupons my grocery store is currently promoting.
You can do this by heading to the website of your favorite grocery store or checking out the Ibotta app which offers instant cash back rebates on a ton of groceries and personal items.
I browse the sales each week for a few minutes before I make my list. Setting aside 10 minutes per week to do this is worth it to maintain your grocery budget. Get $10 cash when you sign up with the free Ibotta app!
Another app similar to Ibotta is Fetch, but instead of getting cash back, you get points for each receipt you scan, no matter what you buy. You can get 2,000 bonus points just by signing up with this link.
Couponing may still work for you which is great, but it's important to make sure you're receiving cost effective results for the time and effort you're putting in. Plus, you also want to 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. Finding sales is great, but zero food waste and knowing what you have to eat to avoid going out is even better. I use a meal planning service, and it's saved me so much money!
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 out a few meals, plan accordingly and buy less. There is nothing worse than wasting food!