How I Cut My Grocery Budget in Half {Plus an eMeals Giveaway}

How I cut my (outrageous) grocery bill in half--plus an eMeals giveaway.

Of all the spending that my family does in a month, groceries are the one area where we consistently spent WAY TOO MUCH.

It’s so easy to run to the store during the week for a few things. And it doesn’t seem like you’re really spending so much, right? But $10 here and $20 there adds up so fast.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been on a mission to whip that grocery spending into shape. Seriously, we spend enough that cutting back would be like having a part time job.

Yes, that much.

The good news is that I’ve been able to cut my grocery spending in half (so far!) and I promise, if I can do it, you can, too.

The Embarrassing Part

For our family of five, we were easily spending $250 to $300 a week on food. That’s a regular grocery order, plus a stop or two for a few other things, and eating out.

I’m not sure why that’s so embarrassing for me to admit, but it is! I mean, we were much spending the same amount on food as we do on rent.

I decided to treat bringing that expense down like a side hustle. Really, it is just like one. I have to put work into my don’t-spend-the-rent-on-food plan, and the result is quite a lot of money that we can spend elsewhere.

My Three-Step Plan

I’ve been able to bring that down to about $150 a week, or about a 50 percent savings! This little side hustle is netting me $600 or so a month.

Not bad, right?

The three big steps I’ve taken to do that are:

1. Making a menu plan.

2. Making a shopping list and sticking to it.

3. Shopping smarter.

Menu Planning

I use eMeals to help with my plan. I know it seems counter-intuitive to spend money on a plan to save money–but it works for me. Like really works. It’s pretty clear that planning isn’t my strong suit, and that shopping without a plan was expensive. I needed something to help me reign in that spending.

I love that eMeals weekly plans are worked around what’s on sale at the store that week. You can choose a store on some of the plans–although I don’t do that because my favorite store by far is Winco and they don’t have Winco in their system. Even if you’re store isn’t there, or you pick a plan that doesn’t use a store, the menu plan still takes into consideration what’s in season and what is probably on sale that week.

I spent about $20 for a three month plan (I use the 30 Minute Meals plan) with a discount code. I easily saved three times that much the first week I used it.

I know that my grocery spending was way out of control. Probably way more out of control than yours! But if you’re struggling to bring yours down, eMeals might help.

Shopping With a List

Okay, so shopping with a grocery list isn’t exactly revolutionary stuff. People have been doing it since the advent of grocery shopping, I’m certain.

It’s the sticking-with-the-list part that really changed things for me. That means no impulse buying.

The result is far less money spend at the store every week and, as an added bonus, far less food waste.

I use my menu planner printable every weekend to plan dinners for the upcoming week. I don’t stick to eMeals strictly, but I use it as a guide. I update the grocery list that eMeals sends me to remove any items I already have, to include things I need for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and to reflect any changes to their meal plan. I put my list on my grocery shopping printable, and I’m ready to go.

That’s it. I end up with a well-rounded grocery list, divided by store category. Sticking to the list is a big deal for me.

Shopping Smarter

For me, shopping smarter means saving the most money for my time, and getting the best food I can with the money in my budget.

I do the bulk of my shopping at Winco. The prices there are comparable with Wal-Mart’s, with a much nicer shopping experience. Winco has a great bulk section, which I love. They treat their employees well.

I just love Winco, all around.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday I get grocery ads in the mail from other local stores. I write down the loss leaders I want to make sure to pick up. I use one index card per store and keep them in my HPDA so that when I’m out and about and find myself near one of the stores, I have my list with me.

I almost never use coupons, although I plan to start. I’ve tried, lots of times. I have it in me to be an extreme couponer! But I don’t have the organizational skills to keep up with it and I usually wind up with a zillion little squares of worthless, expired coupons that I forgot to use. The only time I use coupons on a regular basis is if I find a national brand at a loss leader price at one of my local stores. I’ll Google to see if there are any printable coupons for that item.

Shopping smarter, for me, means sticking to my list like glue. No impulse buys! No deciding while I’m at the store that something looks or sounds good. The only time I deviate is if I find something marked way, way down, that I’d like to stock up on. For instance, I was at Smart and Final yesterday and they had Pilsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough marked down from about $4 to 99 cents. I bought all five packages, because A) they freeze, B) cookies are something I sometimes buy anyway, and C) peanut butter cookies are the bomb.

I have a budget within my grocery budget for stocking up. For many reasons, not having what feels like ‘enough’ food in the house freaks me out. I like having a store of staples. More than that, it’s important for my peace of mind. So $20 of my weekly budget goes toward restocking pantry staples that we might not need for a specific meal that week, but that will get used.

 Try eMeals for free!

emeals2

I’m really excited that eMeals has given me a three month menu plan to give away to one of you!

Entering is super easy. Just CLICK HERE and input your email address. You’ll get a free copy of my C.H.a.O.S. Binder Quick Start Guide and I’ll pick a winner from all subscribers on October 1. (If you’re already a subscriber, you’re automatically entered to win.)

Easy peasy, just how I like it.

If you just can’t wait, you can use the code SCHOOL to get 20 percent off right now Save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals meal plan.

* * *

This post is linked to these awesome blogs:

Pretty Pintastic PartyFancy This Fridays123 Homeschool for MeInspiration Spotlight Frugal FridaySerenity NowCity of Creative Dreams, Domestic Superhero, Snippets of InspirationSay G’DayI Heart NaptimeCooking on the Front BurnersFlaunt it FridayStrut Your Stuff Saturday, Financially Savvy Saturday

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17 thoughts on “How I Cut My Grocery Budget in Half {Plus an eMeals Giveaway}

  1. I can’t even function without a weekly menu plan, and it sure does save on the grocery bill as well as TIME when you don’t have to keep running to the store (plus you are saving on gas, too). I have a thing about wasting food, so I also try to make a point of using up everything in my fridge before it goes bad, even if it means cooking up a batch of random soup and freezing it. You would be amazed at how much money you can save just by not letting stuff go to waste.

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  2. I am with you on Winco. Their bulk food sections takes the cake and I am forever spoiled for ever shopping for groceries anywhere else. I love your idea about setting aside $20 for staples. It’s a peace of mind thing for me too.

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    • Winco rocks, right? I feel so lucky to live near one. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets freaked out about not having ‘enough’ food. It’s so weird. I couldn’t tell you how much is enough–but my brain knows. As soon as there isn’t enough, I get antsy.

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    • Years and years ago, when I was a single mom and my two older kids were really little, I used to be able to feed all three of us on $100 to $150 a month. Food prices have really gone up since then–plus they’re grown now and I’m still feeding them. They eat a lot more than they used to!

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  3. I was definitely not a fan of eMeals, but I think they work better for families or even couples instead of single people. I think that’s kind of shame though because meal planning for 1 person is so incredibly difficult that I would totally find it worth paying for if they could properly meal plan for 1.

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  4. I definitely plan my meals ahead of time. Since I travel for work I cook up a bunch of food for my husband before I leave. (He could of course cook for himself, but it’s something I like to do.) Haven’t tried eMeals since it’s just the two of us though.

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  5. Great tips! I have never heard of Winco, but sounds like you have a great experience there. Keep up the good work, and keep making smart decisions!

    Thanks for linking up to the Weekend Wind-Down party!

    Nicole =)

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