If you want to learn how to spend $50 a week on groceries, you should first know that if I can do it, you can do it!
If you look at any of my previous budgets, you’ll notice the hubs and I spent a ridiculous amount of money on food last year. $700… $600….plus eating out sometimes. Whaaa?
Last time I checked, this was a blog about spending less and living more! It’s time to get back to those roots. Y’all have been generous on letting me slide on this given how insane 2014 was, but now it’s time to reevaluate and set an example on how to drastically reduce your grocery budget.
So far, I’ve done all the steps below, and it’s working. Week 1, we spent $48 (picture included in this post!) and week 2, we spent $50. All of our meals have been great and relatively simple. So, here we go…
Step 1: What’s Already In Your Fridge?
Why buy all new groceries when you can use some of your old ones? Chances are you have some things frozen or in your pantry. So, let that help you ease into the transition of spending less. We had some frozen turkey stock, some chicken, and some ground turkey in the fridge. We also had pasta, cous cous, rice, and beans in the cabinet. So, I set off to make a plan that could utilize these things. When you shop this way, your fridge will not look nice and full and stocked. That’s something you’ll have to get used to.
Step 2: Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals is the #1 thing you can do to save money on groceries. Planning your meals leads to less eating out, less quick trips through the drive through because you’re starving, and less moments of being annoyed because the one thing you wanted to cook is still frozen at 5 PM. It does take time, about an hour and a half actually, to plan meals for the entire week, but once you do, you will feel so accomplished and organized.
You can even use a handy dandy app like Ibotta to help plan your meals. Sign up and then scroll through to see what deals they have that week. You can plan your menu around what items will give you cash back. Trust me, it’s awesome. (You can get an ibotta referral code here.)
Step 3: Make Soup and Vegetarian Meals
Rice and beans are the classic, cheap meal. My friends, the Frugalwoods, inspired us to make this for our lunches, and we’re two weeks going strong. It’s cheap and delicious. Once you start going vegetarian for your dinners, you get used to it. I am the biggest lover of steak and potatoes out there. Seriously, just ask my family; however, cutting back on the meat does help the budget. Just make sure to replace the nutrients with another protein.
Here are examples of two really good vegetarian meals I made this week:
Skinny Baked Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese (made tons and had leftovers)
Mango and Black Bean Salad (made enough for lunch the next day too)
On the non-vegetarian but still cheap front, we’ve also made taco soup, split pea soup, and several variations of bean soup, all which taste better with a little bit of meat in them. We sprinkled some bacon in most of those dishes because it was on sale. This Kale and Potato soup is a good example of an amazing but inexpensive soup if you replace the sausage they call for with a little bacon or a ham hock.
Step 4: Discipline, Discipline, Discipline
I’m not going to lie. The $50 a week thing has not been easy. I know it will get better once it becomes a habit but I find myself wanting other things not on the list or wanting take out. It’s tough to stay regimented. We pooled some of our personal allowances this month to get a pizza one night when we were exhausted. It was $20. That’s fine because we budgeted personal expenses to use however we want but all that said, the month is halfway over and we technically have no more to spend on take out, so we have to stay strong. The fact that we’re in this together and trying to stick to this goal is really what makes it worth it.
I should note that we live in one of the most expensive areas in the entire country. My in laws were amazed at the grocery prices. They are double and sometimes triple the prices of items in Louisiana. So, all that to say, no excuses! All of this is possible for anyone, and I know that because I am so not the cooking type. It’s my least favorite thing to do every day; however, I notice I do have a sense of pride when I make something good and healthy for my family, especially because we’re now sharing our food with the babies, who love trying new things.
So, that’s how I’m saving so much money on groceries this year. It’s a personal goal of mine to keep our groceries under $240 each month. However, if you want to start saving in general in all aspects of your life this year, you can begin by entering the free giveaway below!