How to Spend Less Than $50 a Week on Groceries
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For the past year, I’ve really tried to keep our spending under control when it comes to groceries. We are a family of two for right now and it felt ridiculous to spend $400 a month to feed ourselves. This was on top of eating out a few times a week. So I immediately looked for ways to still have great food options throughout the week while significantly decreasing our spending. I pretty quickly cut our grocery bill in half. Now I spend anywhere from $20-$30 a week! Our eating out has significantly decreased as well. Sounds too good to be true? Well, here’s how to spend less than $50 a week on groceries.
1.) Coupons, Rebates and Sales
This first way was quite simply my most underutilized tool. I would spend so much on groceries and not clip one coupon or use one rebate. That’s when I discovered Coupons.com and Ibotta! I can honestly say I shopped for sales, but I never thought to pair them with coupons and rebates. After making my grocery list, I would look for coupons to print. Then I would look on my Ibotta app for rebates I could use. I would also buy when things were on sale and refused to pay full price for items unless I absolutely had to.
2.) Cut Back on Meat
I had switched to a mostly vegan diet for health purposes a few years ago. However, I learned very quickly how much cheaper eating vegan would be. Meat is one of the most expensive grocery items. Not only that, but when we compare how much we consume to the high cost, that is one of the major expenses on the grocery bill. My husband has not gone vegan. However, he does eat far less meat now than he used to. When we eat meat, we try to stick with 4-ounce portions (which is suggested anyway). I also purchase mainly lean meats with chicken being the top of the list. I buy it on sale in larger quantities and then freeze each individual chicken breasts. On top of that, we try to do a completely meatless meal at least once a week. When we go out to eat on rare occasions, we splurge on meat items that we don’t normally buy for home (such as quality cuts of beef). This makes the dining experience that much more enjoyable and satisfying.
3.) Stock Up on Staples
There are several things our pantry that we use a lot of. It’s completely possible for every household to have a different set of staples. The key is to take note of what your staples are and buy them in bulk when they are on sale. For us, our staples are garlic, olive oil, potatoes, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat flour, brown rice, oats, beans, canned vegetables and spices. Most of our meals are built with these items as a base. This enables us to make things like burrito bowls, pizza, pasta, curries, and soups with a variety of flavor profiles. It’s important to note that this isn’t the entirety of our diet. If it were, it would be entirely too many carbohydrates. In fact, these items tend to last for quite a while. The bulk of our diet comes from fresh fruits and vegetables which we buy on a weekly basis. These purchases balance out weekly as we restock staple items that have run out and buy our regular fruits and vegetables.
4.) Compare Prices
I get my groceries from 3 different grocery stores. Yep. 3. That’s because all 3 have widely different prices on various things. It’s worth it to save several dollars by just driving down the road and getting an item I need cheaper. From my regular grocery routine, I generally know how much places charge for certain items. This is so helpful when it comes to deciding which store to get something from. I’ve seen that almond milk is cheapest at Aldi as is chicken by the pound. However, there are times when canned food is on sale at the local chain store and beats out Aldi’s. At any rate, I highly suggest noting prices on items you buy regularly. From there you’ll know the cheapest place to get it.
5.) Stop Buying Junk Food
You might say junk food is cheap. I will give you that some junk food is certainly cheap. However, when do you just get a box of ding dongs without also getting potato chips, cookies, or something from the bakery? Those ding dongs are a gateway drug that’s costing you a ton of money. When we eat junk food, we crave more junk food. Suddenly we’re shelling out a ton of money for processed, nutritionally void food as well as buying healthy food that goes to waste in the back of the fridge. Sure, you’re occasionally going to have that ding dong. But it doesn’t have to be every week. My husband and I will buy a half-dozen Krispy Kremes and a small jug of milk a few times a year. But we don’t do it every week and it’s typically done as a tradition we’ve started in our relationship.
6.) Shop with Instacart
This is something that may not seem to make much sense, but bear with me. Instacart is a grocery delivery service. You order the groceries online and a personal shopper gets them and brings them to your door. The fee for this service is around $10 right now. So how is using this saving you money? Well, it completely eradicates impulse purchases. If you are known to walk down the aisles of the store and grab things that aren’t already on your list, I highly suggest this option. I started using Instacart during the colder days of winter and I realized I was spending so much less because I wasn’t being enticed to buy things that weren’t on the list. Plus, it’s also nice if you’re sick or too busy to get to the store (which also decreases the fast food runs you might be doing out of convenience).
So that, folks, is how I do it! Sure, we’d love to shop for our groceries without thinking much about how much we are spending. But we’re far more mindful now of waste as well as cost. If we want to truly focus on being out of debt and living within our means, we sometimes make concessions that aren’t necessarily comfortable or convenient. I know by putting this amount of thought into our weekly grocery bill will help us be successful in reaching our goals to be debt free. I think Dave Ramsey would be proud.
What about you? How much do you spend every week to feed your family? What ways have you found to cut costs?