After many questions about how I keep my grocery costs so low, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to fill you in on how I manage to feed myself for so little each month.
I know there are lots of posts on the web about how you can save money on groceries. They explain various shopping techniques, how to use coupons, etc. But this is about how I personally keep my grocery spending under control and eat healthy, delicious, and nutritious meals for only $125 a month.
The first thing you need to know is that this is my budget for food from the grocery store only. Period. I do not use this money to buy other things like paper products, personal hygiene items, cleaning products, etc. This is for food only and it does not include the amount of money I spend on eating out.
Another variable to consider is that I’m single. So, I don’t have to feed a family, and I’m not a huge eater most of the time. I’m not growing anymore, though I’d really love to be taller. 🙂
That said, I do feed my dad lunch a few times each week. In exchange, he usually pays whenever we have lunch out. I also have a younger brother that lives with me. But he contributes to the grocery bills. Since he eats more than I do, his share of the grocery bill each month is about $150. Mine is $125 since I eat less than he does.
Here’s how I spend only $125 a month on groceries.
Keep it Simple
I also do really simple breakfasts for myself. I usually have a bowl of cereal out of a box that I paid between $.25 and $1.00 with coupons.
I also keep things simple for a lot of my other meals too. Cooking for one person isn’t the most fun thing in the world, so I do eat simple things like eggs, cereal, or a PB&J sandwich for supper a couple of times each week.
While I do utilize coupons, I don’t generally stockpile many food items because I usually can’t use them up before they expire. Even if you find the best deal in the world with coupons, it’s not really saving you money if you can’t use it up before it expires. Plus, I hate food waste!
In addition to doing some couponing, I also shop sales.
When I select my fresh fruits and veggies for the week, I only get what is on sale.
I plan my meals and snacks for the around the sale flyer from my local grocery store. We only have one grocery store in my rural town, so I can’t shop around or take advantage of price matching. But if you have the opportunity to do so, take advantage of it! Just be careful to weigh the cost of your time and your gas if you plan to visit more than one store to get things on sale.
Shop Once a Week
I avoid spending on food temptation items by only going to the store once a week. If I forget something or run out of something early, I try to just tough it out until the next weekend when I go to the store again.
At first this was really hard, but once I got used to it, it got easier. I also found that I’m a much better planner when I know I can’t make another run to the grocery store if I forgot something the first time.
Limiting my trips means I only get tempted once a week to buy something that’s not on my grocery list, instead of being tempted and giving in to an impulse purchase several times each week. That is an easy way to save some money on food. I also try to avoid shopping when I’m hungry to cut down even more on those impulse purchases.
Having a Generous Family
My parents are also very generous. We are farmers and we also raise livestock, which we then harvest about once a year. This is how I get my beef and pork.
In exchange for helping on the farm, my parents provide these meats to my brother and I free of charge. The only meats I have to pay for out-of-pocket are chicken and seafood. This is why I don’t eat chicken or seafood as often as red meat.
I do have to supplement my meats occasionally by buying things like bacon. I save on bacon by only buying when it’s at its rock-bottom price at the grocery store or ordering it in bulk. When I get my chicken in bulk, I freeze the majority of it in vacuum sealed bags so it lasts a long time.
I’m very lucky to live in a low cost-of-living area. The midwest truly is one the of cheapest places to live. And I wouldn’t be able to save much money on my proteins without having such a generous family.
At some point, I will probably have to increase my grocery budget. When I started this journey to get out of debt, I had a stocked pantry and freezer thanks to using coupons.
Since then, I’ve been on a very strict grocery budget and I’ve managed to stick to it while also slowly cleaning out my pantry and freezer. This clean out isn’t a bad thing. It is forcing me to eat the things I’ve passed over before. But at some point I will have to re-stock some of these items.
What are some of the ways you eat on the cheap?