3 Ways I Save Money on Groceries as a Single Person

Guest post from Nancy of Counting Dollars and In the Black

As a single person, I’ve learned many ways to save money on groceries. Here are three of my favorites:

1. Cook Meals Ahead and Freeze in Single-Serving Portions

As a single person, I eat mostly home-cooked meals but I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. My secret? Freezer cooking! When I make a meal, if it is freezable, I freeze it in individual portions to either eat another evening or take for lunch the next day.

Here are some of the meals I make in larger quantities and freeze in individual servings for lunch or dinner:

2. Reduce Waste by Freezing Extra Ingredients

Another dilemma for those cooking for one or two is worrying about ingredients going to waste. Many things can be frozen and used when you need them. Some of the items I freeze and take out as I need them are:

  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Vegetables such as green and colored peppers and onions
  • Fruit such as strawberries, pineapple (cubed), bananas (sliced).

3. Join a CSA

This past summer, I subscribed to a CSA group (Consumer Supported Agriculture) and have subscribed again this year. In our case, we pay a monthly fee the first part of the year and for five months during the summer we receive a weekly box of produce. Besides the weekly boxes we also have opportunities to pick more of certain items.

The half share box I got is meant to be enough for two people and comes to about $80/month. I froze some of the extras and what I picked.

Now, several months later, I have needed to buy very few vegetables because of what I have in my freezer. Last summer, some people were wondering if the CSA fee was worth the money to me, but for $20 per week I have vegetables all summer and most of the winter.

Nancy Kvamme has spent several years learning about ways to make her money go further and now wants to help others through her blogs, Counting Dollars and In the Black. Nancy also feels it is important to teach kids about money and finances before they get out on their own.  She enjoys traveling, which is easier to budget for when finding ways to save money on everyday expenses.

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  1. Lynn says

    I have also found that freezing buttermilk, milk and yogurt in ice trays and then putting in a container in the freezer is a great saver too. Each cube equals about 1/8 cup. The milk & buttermilk separate but you can use them in cooking, just put in small container and shake. And the yogurt is great in smoothies.

  2. Cynthia says

    I am single and am always challenged with eating healthy and things not going to waste. I love cooking, but I don’t want to cook from scratch every night. I do not have a very big freezer at all. I keep frozen veggies and fruits, and do break up larger packages of meat and freeze them in smaller amounts. I will also freeze quarts of homemade chicken broth, which helps to make a quick soup. I am not big on freezing anything precooked like casseroles, meatloaves etc. Just a weird aversion I guess, when I do…I end up not eating them and throwing the out at some point. I am willing to eat most things twice for dinner in the same week, and possibly once for lunch, anything more than that is overkill.

    • KW says

      Just a note on precooked items not working for you. I have this same aversion. I think it maybe has to do with texture. I noticed that some people described freezing casseroles before they were cooked. Doing this in smaller poritions has worked for me as the pre-cooked ingredients seem to freeze better and look and taste more like normal when defrosted. You should still do what works for you, but I thought I’d mention it because it was a revelation for me!

  3. says

    I cooked like that when single! I used a few Saturdays to make meals, then froze them in single servings. Even though I worked 7:30-6pm, I still always ate home cooked meals! Every morning I would choose what I wanted to eat for supper and take one portion out of the freezer. Worked great! :)

  4. Debi says

    I love that you joined a CSA. I hear people comment that they’re only worthwhile if you have a large family…which couldn’t be further from the truth. Great post!

    • says

      My family (of three, going on four) is looking into joining a CSA and I was worried that a half-share would be too much for me and my vegetable-loathing husband and son. I love vegetables so it’s nice to hear someone else found a CSA worthwhile.

      • says

        Your husband and son might take an interest in the vegetables because of the variety that’s offered. Also, it’s kind of intriguing to wonder what’s going to be “in the box” this week and to figure out what to do with the unique vegetables that you’ve never eaten before- maybe they will be intrigued as well. Also, I don’t find that a half share is too much for our family of three because many vegetables take the place of the carbohydrate for the meal (Cardoon gratin takes the place of potato gratin, glazed parsnips take the place of rice, etc).
        Good luck!

  5. Becky says

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m also single and always trying new ways to improve on “cooking for 1″. I actually enjoy cooking, but if I am tired when I get home from work, it’s hard to find the motivation to make a whole meal for myself. For me, freezing single serve portions is a great way to get around that. I have a smaller than standard fridge/freezer and it is still amazing how much I can fit in there.

    I also second freezing extra ingredients. While I’m cooking, I divide up the extra and freeze so they don’t mold in my fridge. Right now, I have both chicken broth and pureed pumpkin in one cup portions and tablespoon portions of tomato paste.

    Another idea for a CSA is to split it with friends. The last few years I have split a vegetable box with a couple I know. It’s the family size, so is just about right for three people.

  6. Becky says

    Our HMO offers a Eat Healthy rebate for joining a CSA. We get summer veggies close to free this way. If you are considering a CSA, check to see if this might be an opportunity for you.

  7. says

    We are two adults and a baby and cook like this as well. I freeze leftover herbs in ice cube trays, separate meats and freeze them in smaller packages (http://preservingpennies.com/frugal-food-tip-freezing-bacon/), freeze half batches of cookie dough or put them in the fridge for a later date (http://preservingpennies.com/frugal-food-tip-keeping-cookies-around/). We also try to grow as much of our own food in the summer as we can (and freeze and can whatever we can’t eat) and will hopefully get some backyard chickens soon. It is hard to keep food costs down when the potential for waste is higher with fewer people eating up the food.

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