(6) i drink water. i get free coffee at work. i'm sure it helps the budget that i hate pop, juice, carbonation, and flavored anything. i don't even like lemon in my water. so buy a brita filter water bottle if you need to, just switch to water.
(7) don't waste anything. if something's going to go bad, freeze it. if you're about to go shopping, your fridge, freezer, and pantry should be pretty well empty (unless you stockpile. small apartment means i don't.) try really hard for a month not to throw anything away. you'll be amazed at what you were wasting before. track your eating/food wasting habits so you can see what you actually should be buying at the grocery, not what you think you should. i can't remember the last time i thew out any scraps of food, it just doesn't happen any more.
(8) get discount gift cards. i used gift card granny and got a $50 card to my local grocery for $38. that's 12 free dollars. there's a lot of sites like that out there, and they can alert you when a new card comes in. personally, i think you should do this for any kind of shopping. the discounts add up! and use your store's loyalty program. mine mails me a 10% off coupon every week. (this is sales tax in chicago. whomp. yeah, it sucks here.) but 10% off is still money saved. i also use lozo to enter my grocery list and it emails me when coupons are available that match my items. if you can save money on your regular list, you can use extra funds to purchase one (trust me, keep it to one) splurge item each time. like oreos.
(9) look for budget meal websites. my personal favorite is budget bytes. she has a black bean burger recipe that'll make 6 burgers (toppings like the bun included) for $6. that's a week's worth of dinner for just $6, less if you already have the spices on hand. and you likely do (side note - shop ethnic food stores and dollar stores for spices.) add 1 or 2 of her side dishes if you think the portions won't be enough food for you. for dinners, i generally pick 4 of her recipes each month, and either make them all at once and freeze things so i can have it whenever, or make 1 per week and eat that for 5/6 days in a row. which leads me to:
(10) mostly, i'm a super simple, picky eater. seriously. get me 2 large bags of frozen veggies ($2), 1 box of pasta ($1), and 1 jar of sauce ($1, cheaper and way better if you make your own, my dad makes mine!), and i have lunch for a week. for $4. my other lunch go-tos (baked potato, beans and veggies; rice, beans and veggies) also come it at $4. so i spend $16 each month on lunch. half what you'd spend ordering 1 measly thing off a $1 menu somewhere. and it's even less when i price it right, like getting 2 for $1 boxes of pasta and fresh seasonal veggies on sale. not every meal needs to be some pinterest-worthy fancy gourmet looking thing. breakfast? who cares, i'm barely awake. oatmeal is fine. skinny bitch (a vegan book) recommends simply fruit. eat a piece of fruit. still hungry? eat another one. that's breakfast. don't make it complicated. (and bags of apples are incredibly cheap!) i'm good with, and generally prefer, eating the same things all the time. i was telling lauren, i have the palette of a picky 6 year old.
and that's my 10 tips, grocery trip recap to follow soon. i certainly don't think you can feed teenagers and 2+ people households on this, but it's what works for me. i also sit at a desk all day, so i don't need snacks and tons of protein like super athletic people (but i do love beans and peanut butter.) if you need snacks, you can also keep it simple and under budget - peanut butter and wheat crackers, hummus and pita, etc, etc. any questions? other tips? add them in the comments!
i pin some of my favorite recipes here (not all vegan, i mark non vegan recipes with a j, for john!) and my favorite meal planning resources are under organize.