The Mystery Behind My $50-A-Week Grocery Budget

When I posted a couple weeks ago that I spend $50 a week on groceries, y’all started hitting me up hard and heavy.

“Um, do share your secrets!” 

“Dang, I wish!” 

“Teach me, Tara. TEACH ME!!” 

And really, I don’t have any magic secrets. I just don’t spend the money. LOL.

But if you want something a little more specific, here it is:

  1. About every six weeks or so, my husband and I go to Sam’s Club to stock up on stuff. Mostly stuff that’s cheaper when bought in bulk, like cupcakes frozen vegetables, ground turkey, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts/wings, pasta, juice and frozen fruit. I also discovered that lettuce is one of the best buys there. I get six heads of romaine for about $4. I also bought two huge containers of cooking spray for about $3. The seasonings are usually a good buy if you know what kind you like. We usually get out of there for about $125-$150. (I should add that we have a deep freezer in the basement, which makes it possible for us to buy so much frozen food.)
  2. Then I go grocery shopping every week for the stuff that makes no sense to buy in bulk, like milk (we go through two half gallons a month, if that).
  3. Since we stocked up on food at Sam’s Club, I don’t have to buy many of the expensive items at the grocery store. I usually go to the store to buy “special ingredients” for different meals and desserts, like artichoke hearts or ahem, Oreos. My weekly grocery list looks a little something like this:
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Lunch meat
  • Salad dressing
  • Bread/buns
  • Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti sauce
  • Onions
  • French fries
  • Cream cheese
  • Apples
I usually enter the store with a list and I kind of instinctively know when I’ve reached my $50 limit. Sometimes I pull out my phone and use the calculator function to total up my purchases as I go, but that’s only if I know I’m going to spend more money than usual.
If I hit my $50 limit and I still have items on my list, I just go get in line. I don’t spend a lot of money in the grocery store because I don’t have a lot of money to spend. My budget is beyond tight. Occasionally, I’ll go back to the store (or the dreaded Wal-Mart) for an item or two. But in general, once I’ve gone to the store, I’m done for the week.
If we run out of juice? The kids are drinking water. If I don’t have any ground turkey for sloppy joes, then I’ll use some shredded chicken breasts.
Another thing I’ve really started paying attention to is how much food we throw out. I’m trying to get it down to zero, where all the food we buy gets eaten (sounds easier than it really is). This requires that I freeze more stuff. I force myself to eat leftovers. (And I just ate our New Year’s dinner for lunch AND dinner  through Wednesday night. That was rough.)
Of course, my kids are young (5 and 3) and they don’t make too much of a dent in our grocery budget. I’m sure my $50 a week budget will be less feasible as they grow older. But for now, I’m enjoying saving money each week and not having to drive myself crazy with couponing to do it!
What about you? How much do you spend on groceries each week? 

 

 

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Written by Tara

Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder and editor of TheYoungMommyLife.com.

Comments

  1. I do thesame. Since I dont have time to go grocery shopping every day/week. I just head to Sams and buy everything I could. My only problem is that I cannot find organic options, so I still have to go to Walmart or local market to get organic fruits and vegetables. I love that you stick to a list, its something I need to start doing.

    • @Blessing – Yes, I hate that Sam’s doesn’t have more organic stuff, and I do go to the grocery store for that and things like brown rice. Why, oh, why doesn’t my Sam’s Club have a big package of brown rice?! Would save me so much money!!

  2. Good job! I was thinking the same thing everyone else was when I read that in your post. $50 is my target amount and now that seems more than feasible with one less mouth to feed than you guys… I try and compare ingredients btw name and non-brand, usually non-brand wins. But we need to start being more effective at Sams. Also when I hit 50 I keep shopping anyway…that is my problem…LOL

  3. This is definitely inspirational! However, how would one accomplish this without a deep freezer? I live in a small apartment that can only hold so much. What items do you buy in bulk that can go in a closet? LOL. Thanks for the article because I’ve definitely been weighing the pros and cons of becoming a Sams Club member.

  4. Love it!
    @Vanesse muffins, snack packs, sodas if you drink soda, unopened salad dress, mustard, mayo etc. Can veggies. ALOT of things can be stored in the closet. I used to have the small apartment too trust me I understand.

  5. We try to only go shopping every two or three weeks. This saves us a lot of money since we don’t have a car, and have to take a cab. We don’t have the space for a deep freezer yet, but I can’t wait to get one after we move this summer. The few things we do to save money are; -baking our own bread and treats like cake, muffins, or cookies.
    -buying mostly fresh vegetables to chop up and freeze or cook (ie. baked potato wedges instead of a bag of fries.)
    -get dry beans/legumes instead of canned, it takes a little more time to prep for the meal, but it’s at least a third of the cost.
    -actively look for and use coupons in papers and online.
    -almost never buying name brand unless I’ve already compared it to the store brands and noticed a really big difference.
    My daughter is 14 months old so she really doesn’t eat much at all yet, but breastfeeding and making our own baby food sure saved us a ton of money (on grocery bills and on medicine since she’s literally only been sick twice so far!)

  6. Buying wholesale is great and is a staple in my house but the choices are getting really limited for us… very annoying

  7. I live in an apartment … I have no car …. I use the grocery delivery service through Peapod …. I spend about $200 – $220 a month on my groceries (includes delivery fee and tip) … I feed 2 adults and 1 3y/o little girl

    After lots of practice I finally stick to my monthly meal calendar with my meals Ive filled in …. I take a blank calendar and plan out EVERY SINGLE MEAL (3 meals on weekend days and only 1 meal on week days) …. I STICK to the plan I may switch the end of month meal for beginning month of meal but if a meal calls for me to have leftovers the next day I have to ensure I still do so ….

  8. when you are a young mom $50 a week is expensive. Im 21 and im a full time worker and a college student and a month of a 4 month old. if i was to spend $200 a month on food id probably be homeless. i have to squeeze about $45 worth of groceries into my 2 week paycheck. i cant remember the last time i was able to spend 100 out of each paycheck on food.

    • @Abbi – Oh, trust. I wasn’t always able to spend $50/week on groceries. Even though I find that it’s still at the lower end of the scale (some moms reported spending at least twice that every week), I know where you’re coming from. When my daughter was first born six years ago, we made almost no money. I was in school, not really working and money was tight. But we’ve been able to increase our income over the years, as I’m sure you will as well. Hang in there, mama!! :)

  9. veronica mccoy says:

    also buyimg produce from stand alone “mom and pop” markets are significantly cheaper

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