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How We Afford Snacks and Treats for Our Kids on a Tight Grocery Budget

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

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You CAN afford snacks and treats for your kids on a tight grocery budget! Here's how!

One thing I promised the kids when we cut our grocery budget back to $70 per week was that I would still find ways to buy treats and some of their favorite foods for them. So I’ve been on the lookout for markdowns and deals on items that they especially love or that I knew would make them excited.

These items aren’t necessarily the best deals ever, but if I can afford to purchase treats for them in our budget, then I’m all about that. Also, it becomes easier to have wiggle room in your grocery budget the more you stock up and buy multiples of items when they are at their lowest price.

Here are some of my tips for being able to afford snacks if you’re on a tight grocery budget:

  1. Follow So many of the great deals I find at Kroger are thanks to tips from I can’t recommend this site enough! It’s fantastic if you have a Kroger or Kroger affiliate. I may check it something like 3-5 times per day. Yup. I’m THAT weird girl who gets so jazzed about new deals! By the way, the Friday-Saturday/weekend sales recently have had a LOT of great deals on snack foods.
  2. Find a local blogger. Don’t have a Kroger? Search for the name of you local store and “deals” or “coupon blogger” to see if there’s a similar site where a blogger is covering the deals at your local store. (There are so many,, and many more! If you know of a great blogger doing a really great job of covering deals exclusively at one store, please leave a comment and let us know!)
  3. Look for markdowns and closeouts. As you know, I always walk around the perimeter of the store looking for markdowns. If I have extra time, I’ll quickly walk through the aisles looking for the white closeout stickers at Kroger. Other stores like BigLots, have clearance carts that sometimes have really great deals on snack foods. Check at your local stores to see what they offer in the way of clearance and markdowns. I know that Target often has great markdowns on snack foods, too. (Tip: Check out my post on How to Find Great Markdowns at Kroger.)

  1. Stock up when you find a great deal. This is one of those tips that I assume every knows, but when I talk to so many people most people are not stocking up when there’s a great sale. If you know it’s something that your kids love and it’s on a great deal and you can afford it in your budget, get as many as you can! That way, you won’t have to pay full-price for snacks OR you won’t have to tell your kids that there just aren’t any snacks because you didn’t have wiggle room in your budget. I try to buy ahead at least $5-$8 worth of snack type foods each week and then we always have a good selection to choose from.
  2. Set up a stash that the kids can’t get into. Okay, so some of you might think I’m a crazy mom to do this, but I actually have a high shelf in our pantry that is known as “Mom’s Secret Stash.” It’s not really that secret since all the kids know about it, but it’s snack foods that I’ve bought extras of that they aren’t allowed to get into until I get it down. The reason is: if I leave the snack foods easily accessible, my kids go through them at alarming rates. So instead, I will put one or two bags or packages of something in the pantry that they can get into and the rest are saved for the following week (or for whenever we are running low on snacks in the other shelves of the pantry). It’s weird, but by doing this, the kids pace themselves and the snacks last much, much longer.

While packaged snacks can be fun and my kids love them, they also love homemade snack foods, too. Here are some options that are favorites around here:

8 Quick & Easy Homemade Snack Ideas

  1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
  2. Veggies
  3. Fruit
  4. Homemade Yogurt in the Crockpot
  5. Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets
  6. Popcorn
  7. Homemade Crockpot Pear or Applesauce Sauce
  8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies

8 Freezer-Friendly Snack Ideas

When you have a free day or a laid-back weekend, use some of that time to make meals and parts of meals to stick in your freezer. Things like homemade popsicleshomemade gogurtshomemade cookie doughhomemade muffins, and homemade smoothie kits are great to have on hand.

  1. Freezer-Friendly Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
  2. Freezer-Friendly Banana Bread
  3. Easy Morning Glory Muffins
  4. Homemade Energy Bites
  5. Brown Bag Burritos
  6. Homemade Pizza Pockets
  7. Southwest Roll-ups
  8. Best Ever Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

I stopped by Kroger on Monday and Tuesday of this week after school dropoffs and here’s what I picked up:

Monday Kroger Shopping Trip

Tuesday Kroger Shopping Trip

  • 1 package of Simple Truth popcorn — $2.99 — used $0.50/1 Simple Truth Digital Coupon (no longer available) — $2.49
  • 1 Popwell Chipotle BBQ snack — on closeout for $0.87
  • 1 Cousin Willie’s Popcorn — on closeout for $1.25
  • EPIC Protein Bar — free with Free Friday coupon
  • 3 boxes of Simple Truth Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles — on sale for $1.29, used $0.50/1 Simple Truth Digital Coupon (no longer available) — $0.79 each after coupon
  • Siggis Yogurt — marked down to $0.79
  • 3 Oscar Mayer Deli Turkey Meat — on closeout for $2.09 each
  • Lettuce — marked down to $1.29
  • 1 Dole Organic Salad Kit — $1.99
  • Gallon of milk — $2.69
  • Total with tax: $21.29

What I’ve Spent So Far This Week

Total I’ve Spend So Far This Week: $33.21

Total Left to Spend: $36.79

Cashback Earned This Week: 87 points from Fetch Rewards for buying Oscar Mayer + scanning another receipt + $0.25 back from Ibotta for scanning a receipt

Looking for more ideas?

What tips and advice do you have for saving money on snacks? I’d love to hear!

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