Cut Grocery Bill: Feed A Family For $150 A Month

This “ Cut Grocery Bill: Feed A Family For $150 A Month” post describes what my wife and I do that allows us to feed our family for just $150 per month. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy

If you reached this part of my post, you either are wondering how my family lives off $150 or less for food per month. Or you are looking to cut grocery bill of yours but can’t seem to figure out how. Or maybe something in between.

Before I go on discussing how my family is able to live off $150 or less per month on food, I have to tell you first how far we (i.e. referring to me, my wife, and I) have gone to reduce the food budget.

Two years ago, our average grocery budget per month hovered around $300 primarily due to my daughter’s food (i.e. formula and baby food).

A year ago, we were fortunate to bring down our food budget to $200.

These past couple of months we’ve been able to spend around $150 or less for food. I know it’s crazy and unbelievable, but it’s true.

Truth of the matter is, when we thought we couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to cut grocery bill, we somehow were able to reduce it.

We tried to further cut the $150 grocery bill but I think that’s the bare minimum we could afford without having to sacrifice the quality, quantity, and variety of food we eat.

Over the past couple of months or years, we have been experimenting and exploring ways to reduce our food budget. Of course, with experimentation and exploration, we sometimes end up spending more. But most of the time, we do save some money.

We use the Budget Binder Printables to help us effectively budget for our grocery and other expenses.

These printables has continuously helped our family get our budget in control and save a ton of money even on a single income. In addition to that, with these printables we were able to pay off our $40K debt and, at the same time, saved at least $70K in 2.5 years (click here for the full story).

Read:

Cut Grocery Bill: Feed A Family For $150 A Month

There are a ton of tricks on how to cut grocery bill. What my family does may or may not work for you but that’s ok. Each family has its own needs and I completely understand if you don’t agree with my tips and tricks here.

As many say, if you want to save money, then, one of the best places to focus is your grocery bill. I seriously believe in that.

Here are the steps that my family does to reduce our food cost per month.

Just a side note, my family eats good food…well, great food I should say even when we are on a tight budget. You will see, at the end of this post, our typical grocery budget and what we buy with our food budget.

 

1. Plan and execute weekly meals.

Effectiveness Level: High

Before we do our grocery shopping, we look into our meal plan to ensure we buy the foods that would keep us within our budget. We use the $5 Meal Plan to the dot.

This plan has helped us in bringing our monthly grocery budget down to $150.

We also make sure that we plan our meals for the upcoming week based on the weekly sales. There a ton of websites that publish weekly sales ads even before the stores publish them.

One of my most favorite sites for weekly sales ad information is Living Rich With Coupons. I know there are a ton out there but this is always my first stop before we do our grocery shopping.

If you ever go to a grocery store without a plan or even a list, what do you think happens? You may either end up not buying the things you need, buying more than what you need, or a combination of both.

When you plan your meals and know exactly what you need, you reduce the chance of buying or spending more.

What’s more interesting about planning and executing weekly meals based on upcoming sales is that you can eat different meals every week since sales or promotions don’t necessarily extend to more than a week.

One of the things I recommend is to look for recipes. Here are some books you may consider checking out:

Read: 5 Sites To Make More Money Through Shopping

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Meal planning done right for a lot LESS.

 

2. Compare your food expenses with other people’s food expenses. 

Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

When you can and if you know people with the same family size, ask them how much they spend. If you find people who spend way less than you spend, ask them for tips and tricks.

One of the things I realized when we started cutting our budget was that my wife and I were not alone in our quest to cut down our food budget. I found there were people who wanted to do what we wanted to do.

So, we shared our experiences, budgets, etc.

Personally, I learned so many things about the ways to trim down our food budget from them. The lessons I learned are notated in some of the tips and tricks here.

Never be shy to ask your friends and families how much they spend on food. It may sound like a personal question but you are just asking for valuable information, which can help you cut down on your expenses.

The worse they will say is “No. I won’t be able to help you.”

You can also use the dynamic budget breakdown screen (below) to identify how much your budget looks like compared to the budget of those families in your surrounding area. It’s a pretty good budget breakdown comparison if you ask me.

When I used it, it showed that my family spends $330 less than other people.

 

3. Automatically submit a claim and receive refund. 

Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

Since almost everything can be bought online, it has, sometimes, become difficult to take advantage of price matching and other money saving strategies that can only be done through buying from the traditional way of buying things.

Do you know you can still save money even after you’ve made your purchase already?

That’s right. You can do that with Paribus.co. Paribus will track the prices of the items you purchased and put a claim for refund on your behalf. It’s that simple.

We manage to cut grocery bill of ours by using this app. My wife and I have received refunds of over $30 in 2 months because of Paribus.coIt may not be a whole lot of money for some but it’s savings.

One other thing you can do is use Gumdrop. Gumdrop is a FREE desktop add-on that you can use to get coupons without having to go different sites to get one. So far, we have saved over $200 with Gumdrop.

When you are about to pay and see a coupon section in the checkout section, you can simply click Honey, which is located on the top right of your browser, and it will automatically look for the best coupons in the internet and apply it in your cart. It’s that simple.

Try:  Student Loan Prepayment Calculator

 

How To Lose Weight On A Budget BJ's Wholesale Club : 3-Month Free Memberships To New Shoppers How To Lose Weight On A Budget

 

4. Save more by buying online. 

While in-store grocery shopping is still the means to buy groceries, more and more people buy their groceries online for reasons such as variety of choices, convenience, and others.

If you like buying grocery stuff or just things in general, you will save more when you use Gumdrop. It’s a FREE Chrome extension that searches for coupons, deals, and others and apply them automatically in your cart.

For me, it makes sense for us to buy things online when we can save more doing that way instead of going to stores and hunt for sales, clearance, etc.

So far, we’ve managed to save at least $300 just by using Gumdrop when we shop online for groceries and general things.

 

5. Don’t make meals that are just too complicated. 

Effectiveness Level: High

When I say complicated I mean meals that have a long list of ingredients. As much as possible, stick with the basic ingredients since you can use these for other dishes. Basic ingredients are those that you use a lot of times.

Uncomplicating your meals can easily cut grocery bill.

If you need ¼ cup of tomato sauce and bought a 1 cup tomato sauce and don’t know where to use the rest, you may end up putting it to waste. Not good at all.

There are a ton of great recipes that mostly use basic ingredients. You can always go to All Recipes, Pinterest, and Yummly for some great dishes. You can always use crock potsto create your perfect meal without using a lot of ingredients and spending too much time in the kitchen.

My other blog “The Handy Foodie” has numerous recipes that only require 5 or less ingredients. You should check it out when you have time or in need of great recipes at a low budget.

I recommend the following cookbooks with recipes that can easily be created:

 

6. Use coupons. 

Effectiveness Level: High

Even when the products are on sale, we avoid buying impulsively. We tend not to buy items when we don’t have coupons for them. Just because a product is on sale doesn’t mean that it’s a good buy.

What I observed from years of couponing is that sometimes some stores will bring up the prices of the products before discounting them.

Many shoppers, being unaware of this trick, think that they are getting good deals out of these products.

My wife and I use Grocery Coupon Network and SavingStar. Grocery Coupon Network not only provides printable grocery coupons but also grocery discounts and gift cards.

What’s better is that it provides valuable information on grocery shopping, cooking, healthy eating, coupon clipping, saving money,  and more.

With SavingStar,  you don’t have to clip coupons to save. You can save money as long as your store card is connected with your SavingStar App.

With these two great networks, I find a lot of coupons here that I don’t find in other sites like Coupons.com. Here are some offers from SavingStar.

SavingStar

My wife and I always wait when the products are on sale and when we have coupons for them. If we miss the sale, we know that there’s another sale that will come in the near future.

So, we wait until the sale comes around and we have coupons for those products we like to purchase. We  don’t become impulsive buyers when these so-called “Sales”, “Promotions”, or something else come up.

Some stores will double your coupons’ value. When the products are on sale and you have coupons that can be doubled, then, you are looking at great savings.

If you want to learn how to coupon, I recommend you check out these books:

Read: Is Blogging For You? The Truths About Blogging

 

7. Plant even if it means throwing the seed aimlessly.

Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

If you have space in your backyard, then, use it for planting veggies and fruits. Many times, you don’t necessarily have to plant. You can just throw the seeds and let the nature take care of the rest.

By doing this, you are becoming self-sustaining when it comes to veggies and fruits and you get endless produce for months to come.

My family likes to plant. We just harvested a couple of big squashes and several pounds of Okra. The picture you see below is my daughter in our garden.

If you happen to have a space, then, do it. Seeds only cost a dollar at the Dollar Store or similar stores.

You know the best benefit of planting your own veggies? The best benefit is that you exactly know what you use to help your plants grow. You can call them organic veggies and fruits if you choose to let nature doe its own magic. 🙂

plants and vegetables

 

8. Re-invent and use leftovers.

Effectiveness Level: High

As much as we want to eat everything that my wife cooks, we just end up having leftovers. We sometimes intentionally do this because it’s much cheaper, more convenient, and easier to cook more than less.

When we have leftovers, we either re-invent them to create a new dish and/or use them as my lunch for the next day.

For example, when we have baked chicken leftover, we create chicken pot pie using such leftover. Good for me because I get to the chicken pot pie to work as lunch. Or just take the baked chicken for my lunch and I’m still ok with it.

Re-inventing leftovers can be tricky but it doesn’t always have to be. Check out these recipe books for some ideas:

Try: Personal Loan Calculator

 

9. Don’t throw vegetable scraps or bones.

Effectiveness Level: Medium-High

One of the things that causes a big jump in your grocery budget is likely food waste. In America, 50% of all produce is thrown away. Yikes, that’s big percentage by any standard.

Be creative with your food and don’t just throw them away because they are leftovers, scraps, and the likes. If you are a veggie lover but don’t like the skins, you can store the skins in a zip lock bag and eventually use all the scraps you saved to make vegetable stock.

If you happen to have chicken bones, beef bones, or pork bones, use them to make chicken, beef, or pork stock or use these bones in other dishes. If you do use them in other dishes, your foods will taste even better because these bones are packed with a ton of flavor.

You paid for those veggies and meat. So, you might as well use every single part of them.

Read: One Trick That Saves My Family $250/Month on Groceries

 

10. Shop around for sales.

Effectiveness Level: High

One of the best ways to cut grocery bill is to shop when foods are on sale whether they are online or in-store.

We buy what is on sale. With so many recipes online and so many grocery stores that advertise sales every week, chances are you can find something that you like to eat.

I know we do.

If the product is on deep discount, then, we tend to buy in bulk as long as the product is non-perishable or something that don’t expire fast.

Again, you can also take advantage of the benefits of having Paribus. As you know prices of the same products change all the time. Paribus gets you money back when prices drop.

For the past couple of months, my wife and I have saved more than $500 just by using Paribus.

So, with Paribus, if the product is already discounted and gets another mark down,  Paribus will get your money when the price drops. Ain’t that cool.


11. Learn the prices of the products.

Effectiveness Level: High

We learn to cut grocery bill of ours by learning the prices of products.

Prices of grocery products may or will change from time to time. For us, when we know that the prices are high even when the products are on sale, we don’t put those products in our cart. It’s just that simple.

When you do your grocery shopping and you buy the same exact stuff almost all the time, you get to know how much they cost and when they are priced high or low.

Don’t be deceived by promotions or sales. They’re just simple and plain temptations that will suck your money away from you.[/su_pullquote]

As I explained at the beginning of this post, you can always use Paribus to help you save money by allowing it to search for price adjustments and make claims on your behalf.

Read: Earn Thousands A Year: The Most Comprehensive Survey Sites Lists You May Ever See

 

12. Avoid loading your dish with meat.

Effectiveness Level: High

Meat can be or are expensive. In order to cut grocery bill, you need to limit the amount of meat in a dish.

When you cook, try not to make the meat as your main ingredient of your dish. Use less meat in a dish. This goes to say that you should use more vegetables and less meat.

When you do this, you make the meat as an accent to your dish. Vegetables especially the in-season ones are really cheap and they are healthy, too. Better yet, put the amount of meat that meets your dietary requirements. You don’t need to overload your body with proteins.

For vegetables and fruits, we always buy in-season veggies and fruits since they are cheaper. I suggest that you consider buying in-season products.

If you think there aren’t a lot of vegetable dishes you can make with simple ingredients, think again. There are a ton out there. Check out the following recipe books dedicated to just vegetable recipes:

Read: Income Reports: How I Made Over $30,000 In A Year From Blogging

 

Example of My Family’s Weekly Food Choices:

A couple of years ago, our grocery bill for the 3 of us was around $400.00/month, which was a lot. We came from Las Vegas where food was cheap but it’s a different scenario where we live now.

But we have managed to cut down our grocery bill to $150.00/month by planning meals, finding alternatives to many expensive ingredients, planting our own veggies, among others.

When I wrote the How To Save At Least $14,000 A Year, Alexandra (one of my readers) asked me what on earth am I feeding my family on $150/month. Here’s my response to her.

“Here’s how we budget our meals (on average):
6lbs of chicken @ $1.99/lb – $11.94
4 lbs of chicken thighs/drumsticks @ $1.88/lb – $7.52
5 lbs of ground beef @ $2.89/lb – $14.45
1 lb of Shrimp – $6.00 (on and off meaning sometimes we do have shrimp every week sometimes we don’t)
Veggies and fruits – $8.00 (just because we have veggies planted)
Breakfast (i.e. oatmeal, pancake, peanut butter, egg, bread, and milk) – $7.50 (roughly because our oatmeal, peanut butter, and pancake are something that we don’t buy every week but more like every 2 weeks).
Misc food (i.e. flour and spices) – $5.00 (this is not an every week supply).

Total – $60.00ish minus coupons*

Note: We tend to have some unused foods by the end of the week and the $60 is the highest amount we budget for our family. 

Read:

We are able to feed our family for $150 or less. Do you think it will work for your family? What have you done in order to cut grocery bill?

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