How to Create a $50 Grocery List

geo-darwin-39403How much do you spend on groceries each month? This is always a hot topic for budget-conscious households who feel they spend way too much on groceries. If you feel your grocery budget is out of control, you’re not alone. According to a Gallup Poll, the average American spends $151-$180 per week on groceries.

Lowering your grocery budget requires some skill, prioritizing, and willpower but it’s certainly doable. Some people have even resorted to practicing ultra frugal grocery shopping to keep their food expenses low and reasonable so they can do other things with their money.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to eat well on much less and create a $50 grocery list that you can maintain each week. Before I get started, I want to make it clear that these tips and strategies will help most people feel more comfortable about trying out ultra frugal grocery shopping but depending on your family size, you may or may not find a $50 weekly grocery list realistic and doable.

For my family of 3, $50 per week is doable, but you can adjust the numbers however you see fit. As long as you’re using these tips to lower your grocery bill and save money without having to sacrifice eating good food, you’ll be heading in the right direction.

Start With an Inventory Check Before Shopping

Before you go shopping or even create a $50 grocery list, you want to do a quick inventory check to see what you already have in your cabinets. This will help you avoid wasting money by buying things you already have or don’t need.

You may even be able to piece together some meals with what you already have in your refrigerator or cabinets.

Plan Your Meals

The next thing you want to do is plan out your meals for the week so you know exactly what you need to pick up at the store. Meal planning will save you a ton of money and time because, after a long busy day, you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat.

I’d highly recommend planning your meals based on items you already have leftover in your cabinets or refrigerator so they don’t go to waste. For example, if you have a few potatoes left over, you can plan to make a beef stew or prepare homemade mashed potatoes as a side dish one night.

You can also ask family members what they’d like to eat or look up recipes online to get ideas. Then, map out a rough list of what you’ll be eating for the next 7 days.

Search For Deals

Searching for deals beforehand is crucial if you want to practice ultra frugal grocery shopping. As you create your list, scope out what’s on sale so you know where to buy certain items at. This can be extremely helpful if you tend to buy pricier food items.

For example, I love buying avocados but hate how expensive they can get so I always opt to buy them wherever they are cheapest or on sale at. I also love buying fresh salmon and other fish so I always keep a lookout discounts on those food items. You can look through weekly ads in your newspaper to see what’s on sale in your area then, build your grocery list around those deals.

Keep Breakfast Under $1 Per Day

Another good tip is to keep your breakfast costs as low as possible – preferably under $1 per day. Just because breakfast is the most important meal of the day, doesn’t mean it has to be the most expensive meal.

In fact, breakfast is the easiest meal option to keep costs down while still being able to eat healthy. Instead of buying expensive breakfast sandwiches or processed breakfast meals, pick up items like eggs, sausage, and bacon, pancake/waffle mix, bagels, yogurt, or dry cereal that you can prepare with fresh fruit during the mornings when you’re short on time.

You can always prep your breakfast by boiling eggs and cooking your other protein the night before. When you stick to these options, it will be easy to keep the cost of your breakfast under $1 per serving.

An Example of a $50 Weekly Grocery Budget

Groceries - Walmart
Now it’s time to put all these tips to work. I do some of my food shopping at Walmart and I love how they have a new grocery pickup service available in select stores.

Basically, it allows you to cut out time spent grocery shopping in the store since you can now shop online for the food items you need, pay for your purchase, then schedule a time to pick up your order.

I went ahead and used the Walmart pickup option to show you a realistic example of how my family gets by with a $50 weekly grocery budget. We usually shop for 2 weeks which is why we tend to have quite a bit of leftover miscellaneous food items to eat even when our main food supply is low.

That being said, for the foods listed below, I noted which ones we already had in our cabinet/fridge. To avoid any confusion. This is by no means a ‘typical’ weekly grocery list since we like to switch up what we eat a lot but it is a realistic example of what we usually spend.

Homemade waffles or pancakes (already have)
Eggs – boiled, scrambled, or fried: $1.14 for 18-pack
Brown n Serve Breakfast sausage: $1.25 for 10 links
Cereal (already have)
Oscar Meyer Turkey Bacon: $2.98 for 12 oz

Total: $5.37

Sunkist Chunk Light Tuna (for Tuna salad – already have eggs and mayo): $1 for 5 oz
Burgers w/ side salad (already have ground beef frozen and burger buns): $1.48 for head of lettuce
Grilled cheese (already have bread and American cheese slices)
Beef Pot Pies (already have 2 in freezer)

Total: $2.48

Johnsonville Fresh Italian Sausage: $3.50 for 5 links
Sweet Corn: $0.68 per can
Hot Dog Buns: $0.84 per pack of 8

Jennie-O 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey (to make turkey tacos; already have corn taco shells, taco seasoning, and shredded cheese): $4.84 for 1.25 lbs
Avocado: $1.68

Raw Shrimp (to make a zucchini noodle shrimp alfredo; already have alfredo sauce leftover in fridge): $4.96 for 12 oz
Zucchini: $1.28 for 1 pound

Great Value Frozen Chicken Wing Sections: $10.42 for 4 lbs ***Enough for two nights***
Brocolli crowns: $1.74 for 2lbs

Baker’s Dozen Real White Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese: $1.68 for 16 oz
Yellow Rice (already have in cabinet)

Total: $31.62

Great Value Wavy Potato Chips: $2.98
Welch’s Mixed Fruit Fruit Snacks: $2 for 10 ct.
Jolly Time White Popcorn Kernels: $1.94 for 32 oz
Fresh Walnuts (already have in cabinet)
Fresh Strawberries: $1.98 per 1 lb
Bananas: $0.94 for 4

Total: $9.84

As you can see, it’s quite possible to create a $50 grocery list for a small family. To make it work, you have to come up with a plan ahead of time and set clear priorities for your food spending. If you like to spend more money on certain items, that’s fine but make sure you cut back in other areas like snacks for example or stick to buying produce that’s in season.

Also, remember that it’s not the end of the world if you go over your grocery budget from time to time especially if it’s super frugal.

Do you have any trouble sticking to a grocery budget? Do you think you could be spending less overall?

Posted in: Food and Grocery

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