Budget

Budget $75 of Groceries per Week

Starting your grocery budget

How I but my grocery bill to $75 per week.

As I stated in Basic Beginnings, my household grocery budget is $75 a week for me and Doug.

The grocery store is a tricky place as it is the same place that we buy toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and if you live in Michigan, Meijer is your “One Stop Shop” there many distractions that will quickly find a place in your cart.

I may earn money from products mentioned in this post.

Grocery Budget

Although it can be a pain, I spread my shopping needs across three different stores and times:

  1. Bulk shopping (Costco)
  2. Grocery (Trader Joe’s and Meijer)
  3. Dollar stores

Each of these meet different needs in our household that can easily cut the cost of a product from the average of $3-4 dollars down to $1.

Getting Started:

  • Establish your goal amount. Ours is $75 per week based on a two person household (and our two dogs).
  • Look in your cabinets for what you already have.
  • Plan ahead: are you bulk shopping or filling in the gaps?
  • Are you planning a get together?
    • This is a mistake we have made one too many times to throw the budget off. Not planning the extras that come up is a killer.
  • Food prep and meal planning.
    • Portion control is a very important aspect for meal planning and food prep. This has been a key factor for my own health and weight loss goals.

Bulk Buying and Portioning:

  • Zip locks for bulk storage or vacuum seal. (Note: I don’t have a vacuum seal but it is on my wish list for sure! I am even saving up to get one) Do you have one or any recommendations?
  • Portion Control and Storage
    • 1st: I save a ton of money at Costco buying meat. I can buy a package of grass feed beef with over 3 lbs of grass fed beef at $20 vs my grocery store where it can cost me $9 for 1 lb. Yes, I know that grass fed beef is a splurge but the flavor of the beef and the health benefits fit my own needs.
      • You know those StufZ Burger Commercials for As Seen on TV adds? Yep, I bought one and I love it! Not only do I make stuffed burgers with it but it is perfect for portion controlling ground beef into ready to go patties.
      • I like to portion out 2 burgers, line them with wax paper, then put them into zip lock bags in the freezer.
      • Leave two Ziploc bags aside with portioned out beef to make tacos or meatloaf.StufZ and Pyrex
    • 2nd: I make portion controlled lunches in our house with glass Pyrex Dishes and this is for two reasons:
      • 1: Glass dishes are much healthier to store food in than plastic.
      • 2: They come in measurements already so it makes portion control super easy.

Are you having people over or must attend a party?

This was always a killer on our $75 per week when we did not plan ahead. One week of groceries is easily shot if you are hosting friends or family without thinking ahead.

Fixing this issue took a lot of communication with Doug. If you know you have plans coming up or a trip, try to purchase some of the ingredients in the week before the planned shopping trip that will hold or have more frozen meats planned ahead.

If you make food for the party, set one portion out to eat later in case there are left overs. Since we meal prep, we eat a lot of left overs!

 

Shopping Point Programs:

In Michigan, Meijer and Spartan Stores are the leading brands. Meijer uses “MPerks” while Spartan Brands use “YesRewards”. Each of these brands have their own different specifics.

When rewards first came out, my mom was concerned about signing up as they track your purchases.

This is for their own brand marketing but in rewards, you receive discounts and extra coupons. I have earned anywhere from $2-20 off a shopping trip and they often send me coupons for items I buy often vs sifting through their whole page.

You can also join programs like SwagBucks or Survey Savvy. You can take surveys to earn gift cards, print off food coupons, or share deals for places you shop online at. This is a great tool to save money on Amazon purchases or your favorite online stores!

Getting gift cards or cash back on purchases is great!

Try out SwagBucks

 

Use Dollar Stores!

Using a dollar store was a game changer for our budget. I buy a ton of different things at the dollar store that can cost anywhere from $3-4 more at the grocery store vs $1.

  • Ziploc bags/foil/saran wrap
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Cards (birthday\holidays): Dollar stores offer cards buy 2 for $1 or $1. Spending less does not mean the card means less, it just means that you are being smarter with your money. You can find some great cards with more variety too.

Bulk Buying:

You would be surprised how much you can save when you buy certain items in bulk. BUT: You must practice self control in these stores! My family nicknames Costco “CostlyCo” for a reason.

A list is a MUST and beeline shopping. Go to the items you need only and don’t look around. There are so many things to distract you that will blow the budget in minutes.

Here are some of the items that we save a ton on:

  1. Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients (Post coming soon!): One recipe makes 6 months to a year worth for $20! One Bottle of Tide costs anywhere from $15-20 and will not last nearly as long. Add on the harsh chemical smell.
  2. Garbage Bags: One box Costco Kirkland Brand costs around $14 and lasts a year for us vs a local stores that charges $6-10 for 28 Hefty Bags.
  3. Toilet Paper: this is a game changer in our house! We pay around $15 for the Kirkland brand and toilet paper lasts us 6 months vs 18 mega rolls of Charmin at $18. We pay $20 for 30 rolls.
  4. Same goes for paper towels (In our house we use them as napkins too, Doug hates napkins!)
  5. We buy Rylie’s dog food at Costco too! The Kirkland Brand Sweet Potato and Turkey is grain free and she loves it.

 

When you start to add up the savings of the $50 membership fee adding Costco for gas savings, you quickly counter the membership fee.

 

How to get started.

A minor disclaimer: household items can be a different budget outside groceries depending on your needs. As we don’t have more than two people on our grocery budget, we set aside a line item each month for dog food or use our miscellaneous budget to get odds and ends when we need them.

Making changes or establishing a budget will change how think and it is always in a good way! This wasn’t a one day change for me and Doug and it took us some time to get moving in the right direction.

I wish you the best on your budget journey and would love to hear your thoughts, tips, or tricks!

What works for you? Have any questions for me?