How to Save Money on Groceries & Meal Plan on a Budget

Created for Eden
by Created for Eden

I'm going to be sharing with you how to save money on groceries and how to meal plan on a budget. We give ourselves about $75 every week for groceries, and we eat out about once a week. I'll also be sharing with you my process for how I plan and prep for a week of meals.

1. Take inventory and plan

I do this on Saturdays. My first step is to go through our fridge and our pantry. I find things that I can make meals out of for the week.

Whiteboard with meals

A whiteboard that I got at Target is what I use for my meal plan. 

This plan isn't set in stone. Sometimes I'll mix things up if I don't really feel like making what's listed on Monday night, crossing things off that we ate to keep track of the meals. 

At the end of the week, I'll completely erase the things we ate. I have a notebook and a pen I use to do the meal planning; then I'll write it back on the whiteboard once I get the basic plan for each meal ready.

I'll transfer it back to my whiteboard, plan out the week, see where we have some empty spaces, and where I need to purchase supplies to make meals for the week.  

2. Make an ingredient list

Then what I'll do is I'll go through, and based on the meals that I wrote down, I'll add in all of the ingredients that I need to make those meals. I'll also look around and see what essentials we need.

Essentials for us are avocados, bananas, almond milk, spinach, and those kinds of groceries. I'll add the essentials to the list, too. 

Grocery Outlet

The two stores that we shop at are Pops and Grocery Outlet. 

Pops is a bargain market outlet that has things from a bunch of different stores. I have found stuff from Trader Joe's and Raley's there. I really like it. You can buy a lot of things in bulk, and they have great prices. 

Shopping cart with groceries

We walk out with bags of stuff for about $30. 

If I don't find what I want at Pops, I will buy it at Grocery Outlet. What I do is I have $75 in my calculator on my phone, then I'll subtract every time we put something in our cart. That way, I'm aware of how much we're spending and we're staying within our budget. 

We grabbed our reusable bags and headed to both stores. 

The grand total was $75 for everything. These groceries will last us about a week, if not more. By bargain shopping, RXBARs that are generally $1.25 each were six for a dollar, so we got a bunch of different varieties. 

Bargain bin

There was a big bin I had to dig through, but it was worth the effort. 

We got some Good and Gather eggs, which are a Target brand. I was happy to see those at the discount store. I also purchased rice that you just put in the microwave. I got four of those at $1.00 each

There are nondairy frozen burritos, which are $0.50 each. I also bought bread. It was $1.50 at the discount store. I think in other places, this same bread is at least $3. 

How to save money on groceries

We got all of this at Pop’s and Grocery Outlet.

Cost per meal

I want to walk you through a few of the meals in my meal plan and go over how much they cost. So I'll go through three. 

Gnocchi tomato soup

We're going to do a gnocchi tomato soup recipe, so we got some tomato soup and some potato gnocchi. Put a little bit of spinach in it, and you have a meal. So let's see how much this meal cost us. $1.00 for the gnocchi, $2.00 for the tomato soup, and about $0.50 for a handful of spinach. The total cost for this meal was $3.50. 

Chicken sandwiches

The next meal is chicken sandwiches. I got all the chicken I needed for the chicken sandwiches and some leftovers for another meal for a total of $8.16. Then we got some sourdough bread and some pepper jack cheese.

We marinate the chicken overnight in teriyaki and soy sauce. Then we'll cast iron grill it. The cost of the ingredients for this meal is $3.00 for the chicken (I only used two chicken breasts), $1.00 for the sourdough bread, $1.00 for the cheese, and roughly $0.50 for the sauce. The total cost for the meal was $5.50.

Broccoli chicken teriyaki

Next, I have the broccoli chicken teriyaki meal. We got some broccoli for $1.69. $3 for chicken breast to put in the recipe, $0.50 for the sauce, and then $1.00 for the rice. The total cost for the broccoli chicken teriyaki meal was $6. I think that's pretty good.

Average monthly cost per person 

We calculated the cost per person per meal for the month just for funsies. We have three meals a day, seven days a week, which equals 21 meals a week. I spend $75 a week. 

$75 each week divided by 21 meals, then divided by two people, comes out to an average of $1.78 per person per meal. I don't even think Taco Bell is this affordable. 

How to save money on groceries

Making a meal plan and bargain shopping are the best ways to save money on groceries. I hope you got some useful tips you can use and implement in your life. What tips do you have to save money on groceries? Share your shopping hints in the comments below.

Join the conversation
  • NatureHippy NatureHippy on Feb 25, 2023

    From what you bought for $75.00 the ONLY MEAT you bought was Chicken and a few good items, the rest was JUNK FOOD. You TRULY need to learn to learn how to buy FOOD, not 80% Junk food!

    • Millie Millie on Feb 25, 2023

      I googled the RX Bars and they are made from healthy ingredients, I’m going to shop for them myself. Thank You for bringing this junk food to my attention.

  • Millie Millie on Feb 25, 2023

    I think you did a great job, not many people want to put the work into saving money like you do.

    Nature Hippy what you consider junk food may very not be and besides there’s no need to be rude.