How to grocery shop when your budget is slim to none

This time of year is stressful on 90% of families trying to make ends meet, buy CHRISTmas presents and attend all the holiday functions. We live paycheck to paycheck like everybody else just above the poverty line. Who makes these lines anyway? Who do I need to speak to? Cause it’s getting a little irritating! We are a single income family and it is my job balance budget, prepare meals and shop for presents. It is a daunting task on a limited budget.

This weekend in particular has got me a little edgy. Not a in bad way. Just making my lists and checking them twice. These lists however, are to do’s, groceries, and menu plans. In any other normal month, it is not uncommon to spend $400 at the grocery store AND go back for little things we run out of. But the month of December we cinch down budget straps in anticipation of all things to come.

Compared to previous times, we eat like kings. We are beyond blessed to never scrimp on food. The hubby works very hard for our family every single day and all he asks for are good home cooked meals. And as his help meet I am eager to serve and fulfill his request. Truly, I am! There is not much more that satisfies my soul as much as feeding his!

After payday on Friday, bills are paid and now it’s time to grocery shop with what little money is left over. So how do I feed our family of 3 for two weeks?


How to grocery shop on a budget

  1. Use what you’ve got                                                                                                                    I like to shop my own freezer and pantry first! Today I spent the afternoon taking inventory of what we already have. I really have to get creative this time because we have a lot of hamburger meat. And our food preferences don’t stray much farther than tacos and lasagna. 😉
  2.  Start your organized meal plan                                                                                       Once I’ve inventoried the meat it was time to put those dinner ideas down on paper. I’ve shared my meal plan book with you before. And I love it for this reason!! Trying to make a meal plan with a smorgasbord of different things, needs organization!
  3. Get creative                                                                                                                           Next it’s time for the side dishes. I have enough canned corn and green beans to last us another 3-6 months. With such a limited budget..done and done! This is when I start using items I bought when I was trying to eat healthier and it didn’t pan out. Things my hunny doesn’t care for and rather not eat. But I’m sure he’d rather eat what I’ve made versus a bowl of cereal. So he’ll suck it up! 😉
  4. Time to shop                                                                                                                            All I need to do is shop for the few missing ingredients to complete my meals. Not having to buy meat this time is a HUGE budget saver!


2-Week Sample Meal Plan

Week 1

*Taco’s with beans and rice

*Ribs with “crack potatoes ” (recipe to follow) and beans

*Lasagna with green beans and garlic bread

*Goulash with biscuits and corn

*Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli

*Crockpot Chili and cornbread

*Pancakes with eggs and bacon

Week 2

*Salisbury steak with corn and fried potatoes

*Hamburgers and Brats with beans

*Corned Beef Casserole with green beans and cornbread

*Vegetable Soup

*Spaghetti and meatballs

*Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and corn

*Biscuits and gravy with eggs and sausage


The Result

Buying only the items I needed to finish up meals, I was able to spend just under $100! That’s a huge saving for us right now! I bought all my produce at a local and new to me place, called City Wide Produce. Right here in sunny Tucson, AZ and I am so excited to purchase from them again! Great prices!!


Do you have any money saving tips on grocery budgeting? I’d love to hear from you!!






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