$40 Grocery Budget
Yes, you read that right. My grocery budget is $40 a week.
And yes, we do eat…and we eat healthy, delicious meals.
I don’t talk about this much, but whenever I do I sure do get loads of questions. Because of that, I wanted to dedicate a little area designated just for that.
We started our marriage very young and on a budget. A pretty tight one. When my husband and I were married he was finishing up his Masters degree and we were living on my salary and his small stipend from his assistantship at the University he attended. We lived on a cash budget and learned the importance of a dollar really quickly.
We didn’t have much in the way of extras, but we were so happy to be married that I don’t remember it bothering us at all.
Those times helped us build a foundation for the future. Although I wouldn’t want to go back to living that tight, I’m SO thankful for the lessons that we learned.
We learned firsthand how to budget when there wasn’t room for error. Daniel started his real job within a couple months of us getting married, so things changed pretty quickly for us, but we held tight to our cash budgeting so that we could save for a down payment on a house. With simple living we were able to do that within the first 6 months of being married. And saving just became a part of what we did. Saving for short term things like furniture and vacations. Saving for long term things like retirement. Saving is SO very important.
We vowed to keep ourselves out of debt, to live on a budget, and to always live below our means no matter how much we ever have.
What Broke Me
Then a few years ago, I found myself spending way more than I wanted to at the grocery.
One day in particular, I was checking out at the grocery store and I couldn’t believe the total…$80!…and I only had a handful of bags! My way of shopping was to just throw things in the cart. Snacks, produce, meat…there was no rhyme or reason to what I did. No menu plans, no grocery lists, and no cash.
And I was tired of it. Tired of feeling like my pantry AND pocketbook we bare. Tired of feeling like I wasn’t managing the money the Lord had given me very well. Tired of feeling like it was cheaper to eat out (when I knew deep down it wasn’t?!).
Driving home that day I decided that what I experienced that day would never happen again. I felt sole responsibility since the shopping/cooking was my job. I set out to find a way to reduce it. I discovered couponing that very day and immediately started reaping the benefits. Sure it took time, but my bill was shrinking and I was scoring great deals. For me, it was WELL worth the time.
Setting the Budget
I decided that new year, after about 3 or 4 months of couponing, that my new grocery budget would be $50 for the two of us per week.
There were some haters along the way, saying it would be impossible to eat well on $50 a week.
I set out to prove that it could be done. Do or die.
Surprisingly, I found such a love of not only couponing but finding other ways to cut back in the kitchen. After a month or so, I lowered it to $40, because I was saving so much. I have been on a $40 a week budget for two and a half years now, and I typically don’t spend all of that.
Just last year I was able to save over $500 from my leftover grocery money…and my average per week was just over $30.
I’m not telling you that your budget should be the same as mine.
We all have different family sizes and situations. You have to do what works for you.
What I am telling you is that it IS possible to save some of your hard earned money by implementing some or all of these Strategies to Savings.
4 Ways YOU can lower YOUR grocery budget?
- Start planning a menu before you hit the store (Check out my weekly menu posts for inspiration)
- Shop at Aldi or a discount grocery store
- Fill your freezer (Check out my guide to everything freezer cooking to get started)
- Set a budget and stick to it. I recommend cash, if you only have $5 in your pocket you can’t spend $6!?)