Reducing Our Grocery Bill

It's not really a secret that we're currently strapped financially. God has been working some amazing miracles and blessing us immensely during this season in our lives too, but I do feel that we need to be seriously careful with any money that the Lord entrusts to us.

Right now all of our expenses are basically non-negotiable other than food (school tuition, rent, insurance, and gas). We are trying very hard not to have any expenses beyond this, and for the most part we have stuck to our budget.

This past month I have reduced our grocery bill by about $10 - $20 less a week. Still, I feel that we are spending way too much on food and I think I'd like to reduce our grocery bill by another $20 per week. I was recently  encouraged to continue to reduce the budget when I read a blog post titled: What I Would Feed my Family on a Monthly Budget of $250. Our budget is well over $250/month, and we're simply a family of 2 (this budget is for a family of 5).

Here are some simple steps we're taking to reduce our budget:
note: some of this may seem super-frugal, but that's how it has to be for us right now.

1. Stop eating out. I seriously crave Tim Horton's Steeped Tea quite often, so this week we'll be setting $5 cash aside per week for quick Tim's runs.
2. Make a Grocery List: Make a grocery list of the essentials, and only the essentials, and stick to your grocery list.
3. Ignore the Sales: Unless the Sale is something that you have on your list, or normally use, don't buy something just because it's on sale! When you do see an essential that is on sale though, stock up with 1 or 2 months supply.
4. Drink FREE water: Don't buy pop. Don't buy juice. Don't buy alcohol. Don't buy coffee. DON'T BUY BOTTLED WATER! Water is FREE (we have a Britta Filter) and can be flavored with a slice of cucumber or slice of lime/lemon. You can also make Homemade Lemonade or Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice.
5. Don't buy Snacks: We try not to shop the aisles of the grocery store, because there are tons of unnecessary snacks on the shelves. Instead, we make our own snacks or munch on fruits or vegetables between meals. Things like chips, cookies, or chocolates are all expensive, unhealthy, and unnecessary. You can make Zucchini Fries, Homemade Potato Wedges, or Homemade Cookies for much less.
6. Don't buy frozen foods: I must admit that Daniel and I enjoy Jane's Chicken Fingers. They taste good, they are super easy and quick for lunch. The problem is, they are very expensive and not healthy! We recently decided that we aren't going to buy any more frozen foods (although we don't really buy much to begin with). Instead, we're going to make healthy lunches like Chickpea Salad or even just eat leftovers from dinner.
7. Search Your Cupboards: Try to find something in your cupboard that you haven't used for a few weeks/months and use that instead of a "go-to-item" that you always use. For example: we have Chickpeas in our cupboard that have been there for a very long time, so we're going to have Chickpea Salad for lunch today. After that, we won't buy chickpeas because clearly we don't use them!
8. Make it yourself: These past few weeks I keep having to ask myself, "can I make this myself instead of buying it?" I've been trying to make homemade chicken stock instead of buying it each week, which saves a few dollars a week. I also made homemade bread this week and will probably make two loaves next week, this also saves some money and just tastes way better!
9. No more Recipes: This is something that I have personally chosen to do. I find that when I was making recipes that I found online or in a book I was having to buy all these ingredients that I didn't have, and often not even using the ingredients again. Now, I try to make my own recipes with what I have (which has made me a better cook). I also try to find simple recipes online, that way I don't have to go out and buy anything.

There are tons more tips that I have heard, but these are the tips that I'm standing by! Next week we're also going to stop buying meat from the butcher and stop buying organic fruits and vegetables. This makes me sad, but I think that we're spending too much because of this, and could potentially save $20/week just by going back to our "old ways". I still plan on buying free-range, grain fed meats at the supermarket, but I think it will still be cheaper than going to the butcher.

What are your tips to reduce your grocery bill?


  1. We went through some rough financial times when my husband was laid off work for a while. We lived off of about $30/week and we had a baby. We ate a lot of pasta. I also planned meals around what was on sale in the flyer. I actually find frozen veggies are cheaper than fresh. We also bought no name products. We didn't eat that healthy but we ate. I can understand that you would want to eat healthy when you're pregnant. We also found that God provided in some amazing ways. Having very little money really helps you to see what are needs and what are wants.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment!! WOW, $30/wk? I don't know how you did that! I agree though, pasta is a great meal that is inexpensive!! We eat pasta once or twice a week!

  2. Brianna,

    Good for you! My grocery bills have consistently been higher than I would like them to be, as well. For some reason I always spend the same amount on groceries each week and I am just feed ONE at the moment. This just seems crazy. One thing my husband and I like to do is make a list of everything consumable in the house. We have a list for the freezer, fridge and pantry.

    When meal planning and shopping list making time comes around, we already know what's in the house and can match our "inventory" to different meals we would like. This way we eat through our supply rather than buying new items, and it also prevents us from buying duplicates on accident.

    Good luck!


    1. Oh, and as for steeped tea from Timmies....the Tetley Orange Pekoe tea (in the blue box) has the same taste and you can buy large boxes of it from the grocery store for much cheaper than the $2 per tea at Tim's. It's my go-to tea and I go through quite a bit of it!

    2. Thanks for your comment -- food is expensive and we HAVE to eat. I keep telling myself that as long as I try my best to budget that God will take care of us, even if we have to spend $100/month. My husband eats A LOT, and so do I now with baby, so we are more like a family of four -- haha! I LOVE your idea of doing the inventory! That is such a good idea!! I will have to try that because once in awhile I do buy doubles. Usually by the end of the week our fridge is EMPTY, but our cupboards do have some stuff that we don't use, but I'm trying to use it up and not buy them again!

    3. whoops I meant $100/week. There is no way we could eat on $100/month...haha!!
      PS: My fav tea is Tetley Orange Pekoe, but nothing beats Tim's Steeped...maybe it's a pregnant thing? I do agree the taste is quite similar though!

  3. Hey Brianna,

    One of the most tricky things for us when we first got married was planning out our food budget and spending. We love to eat out and that obviously doesn't work on a "young newly wed" budget so we HAD to figure out something new. Our absolute favourite thing now is that we price match! i know it sounds silly but we save about $60.00 a grocery shop!!!! I make a list every Sunday night of the things we absolutely NEED milk, bread ect. On mondays I go through every flyer we get in the paper and I find the best sale and make a spreadsheet and go to wal mart and price match everything we can! It takes about a half hour in total to do the whole flyer thing and all that stuff, but it's worth saving money! Our grocery bills have gone from about $90-110 a week to about $65 and there is always meat, fruits, and veggies in there which aren't cheap! Our bill last week at wal mart should have been $124 and we walked away with a $67 bill! It was fantastic! I also print off coupons for little things like shampoo, soap, all that stuff. I got dove shampoo for $0.50 a bottle! So we bought a few because we could technically buy 7 bottles for the price of one, so now we're stocked up. Another great thing we do is use cash only. We have a little folder thing from the dollar store and we have it all in categories, and any bill that is not a "must pay" (rent, cars, insurance, gas....) we pay with cash only. So groceries, movies, tim hortons ect! We have saved so much doing this. We each have an allowance every week and that means we can buy a lunch or coffee or save up for some new shoes, but once it's gone, it's gone. So we have to spend it wisely. We we're wasting so much money on random odd ends and especially on coffee's on the way to work, and random day's where we didn't have time to make a lunch. It works so well for us, and was actually something someone suggested to me before we got married!

  4. Keeper of the Home has some really amazing tips and lots of examples for how she keeps her food costs very low, while still eating very healthfully indeed. You might check her out! My husband and I are planning for me to stay home in about a year when we (Lord willing!) expand our family, and I've already begun to do the research for how to live well with a third less money coming in. Her site is great.

    1. Whoooops, you link to her at the beginning of the blog! Sorry bout that ;-)

    2. She has a great website!! I love it!! It's tough to live off less when you're used to more, but it's for sure possible!!! It's wise of you that you're already starting to make changes and research different ways to save.


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