I’ve heard from so many of you over the last few years who have said, “I want to lower my grocery bill, but I can’t shop like you do.”
Maybe you don’t have a Kroger, or you don’t have access to great markdowns, or you don’t want to shop more than once a week, or you find it stressful to think of planning a menu based upon what you have on hand and what is on sale at the store.
How I Usually Grocery Shop
I know that the way I grocery shop can seem weird and confusing. I buy ahead for the weeks to come based upon what’s on sale, what’s marked down, and what we’re running low on.
Much of time, this means that my grocery shopping trips are sort of a random assortment of food that doesn’t look like it would really make many meals. And that’s exactly right — because often, I AM buying a random assortment of items that are marked down or on sale at rockbottom prices.
I aim to never pay full price for pretty much anything, so I base our menu plans almost entirely on what we already have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer — which is usually a big assortment of different items I’ve gotten in previous shopping trips — plus, what’s marked down and what’s on sale.
For me, it’s fun and life-giving to play a sort of version of Chopped every night in how I make our meals. However, I know that not everyone would enjoy shopping this way nor does everyone have access to the stores and deals I do. But just because you don’t want to shop and cook like this and just because you have different stores with different prices and sales, doesn’t mean that you can’t save money on groceries!
Why I Spent $110 on Groceries This Week
This week, I’m going to be showcasing how you could shop on a budget even if you want to just buy all your groceries for the week and not mess with buying ahead or matching coupons with sales at the grocery store.
The shopping trip below is almost everything we need to eat for a week. (Not 100% everything, but most everything, because I did let myself use a few items we already had on hand — which I think most people would do a little bit of each week!)
We usually spend $70 at the grocery store, but I got creative and we only spent $40 last week and then I had a little extra in the budget from the past few months, so I let myself just pretend like I was a “normal shopper” this week — while also being somewhat mindful of being thoughtful about how I spent money.
Simple Ways to Save — When You’re Short on Time
A few simple suggestions for saving money on groceries when you don’t have a lot of grocery options and/or you don’t have a lot of time:
- Make a plan. Take 15 minutes to plan your menu for the week. Need a little help? You could try a menu-planning service. I’m using the Eat at Home Slow Cooker/Instant Pot plan for our meals this week — it’s just a few dollars per week to have someone do all the leg work for you! (Use code EASY to save 30% off this week. That’s the best deal that they offer! See some sample menu plans here.)
- Stick with the plan. 🙂 Seriously. Use self control. Bring only cash to the store. Get an accountability partner. Whatever you need to do, do it so that you come home with what you planned to buy and not a cart full of impulse purchases!
- Choose inexpensive meals. This is one simple way to cut your grocery bill, no matter what stores you have. Choose chicken over other expensive cuts of meat. Choose meals with fewer, frugal ingredients. Focus on making ingredients you can get inexpensively the stars of your cooking show. If you can save a few dollars each meal by doing this, it all adds up!
- Buy the produce that’s on sale. Rather than always buying the same variety of produce, buy the few varieties that are on sale that week. I shoot for fruit that is $0.99/lb. or less and stock up on that. It might mean we don’t have as much variety each week, but it means that we have lots of variety over the course of a few months.
What I Bought At ALDI
Now, on to the groceries! Here’s what I bought this week at ALDI:
- Water — $0.79
- Ranch dressing — $0.79
- Bananas — $1.04
- 3 bags of Gala Apples — $1.99 each
- Bacon Bits — $1.29
- Ranch dressing mix — $0.45
- Mandarin oranges — $2.89
- Chicken tenderloins — $5.45
- Chicken Breasts — $5.59
- Taco Seasoning — $0.39
- Tortillas — $1.15
- Pork Chops — $5.51
- Feta Cheese — $2.19
- 2 cans Refried Beans — $0.75 each
- 10 lbs. potatoes — $4.29
- 4 bags Organic Peas — $1.99 (whoops — I thought these were $0.75 each! I just realized that when I was typing this up — oops!)
- Mozzarella cheese — $1.69
- 2 bags shredded cheddar cheese — $2.19 each
- Honey — $4.99
- Cane Sugar — $3.49
- Sweet Potatoes — $2.39
- Baking Powder — $0.99
- Chocolate Chips — $1.69
- Cantaloupe — $1.69
- Brown Sugar — $1.29
- Yellow Onions — $1.89
- 2 cans pumpkin — $0.85 each
- 2 Chicken Broth — $1.19 each
- Baking cocoa — $1.79
- Pineapple — $0.95
- Lettuce — $1.39
- Eggs — $0.58
- Black Beans — $0.58
- Flour — $1.15
- Diced Tomatoes — $0.45
- Mined Garlic — $1.79
- Cinnamon — $0.95
- Honey Nut Crispy Oats — $2.69
- Honey Crunch Oats — $1.29
- Red Grapes — $1/85
- Peppers — $2.99
- Cinnamon Crunch Squares — $1.39
- Carrots — $1.19
- Tomato Paste — $0.39
- Celery — $1.29
- 2 gallons milk — $2.20 each
- Total with tax: $110.37
Stay tuned for tomorrow when I’ll share what our menu plan is for this week using these groceries! Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them!