10 Steps to Saving on Groceries [Part 2]

you can read part 1 here.  part 2 of saving on groceries:

(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.


  1. I am a pretty boring eater too. I eat mostly the same thing everyday. I will switch it up a little from week to week but one item will be dinner all week. So much simpler.

  2. I really like emeals. I've talked about it a few times but for me it's a great way to save money and still have fun meal ideas. simple food really does save money!

  3. Okay so I think in a perfect world, one would take your tips (shopping seasonally, lots of planning, etc.) and then find a genius way to reconfigure everything. For example, getting a roasted chicken at the grocery store and having a homestyle meal with sides one night, then using the leftovers for chicken quesadillas a day or two later (obviously this is neither cheap nor vegan but you get the idea). I'm not very good about eating the same thing for more than two days so I need the best of both worlds!

  4. I'm a fan of emeals as well. I had a complimentary year of their service so when they'd send me the week's menu I'd save the PDFs to a file. I now have a year's worth of recipes, for free. I'm all for H2O as well. I never drink soda and the only juice I buy, and only when sick, is orange.

    Michael @ CrazyTragic{almost}Magic

    1. free?! How'd you get a whole year for free, I'm jealous!
      Haha good call on the orange juice when sick, I just did that over the weekend. So true.

  5. I love love love to try new meals and recipes, but I'm also happy eating the same thing 4 days in a row. I'm a little in the middle. It definitely helps budget-wise if you will eat the same thing more than two days in a row. For people who don't, I think it's a little bit harder.

  6. I love Budget Bytes! I've made a few of her recipes, and they are really good and low budget. I never thought of discount cards- great idea!

  7. thank you for saying the thing about keeping it simple. sometimes i feel like pressured to make fancy meals but one of my favourite meals is rice beans and veggies (i add turkey for the husband) and its delish. oh and pasta, sauce (i need to make my own but i dont know how!) and black beans are another fave. i'm all about trying new recipes because i want to be a better cook (i need to try that black bean burger recipe) but eating the same thing for lunch for 3 weeks does not bother me. i need to eat more fruit though. i'm such a fruit diva, so annoying. i also sit at a desk all day, and i used to be the worst snacker but thankfully now as long as i have a good brekkie and lunch i'm good. and discount gift cards, d'oh of course! silly me. anyway loving learning more!

  8. I try to pick things during the week that we can eat for at least two nights. Tacos, chili, pasta, soups, meat loafs, etc. I try to stay away from the one meal only type things as much as possible to cut back on ingredients needed. Groceries are expensive!!!

  9. blogger is being weird (or I'm just dumb) but I tried to comment on both of these posts and it's not posting, so sorry if you all of a sudden get 12 comments from me. I just had to let you know how impressed I am by this! Just...HOW?! I don't really drink anything besides water and I'm fine w/ eating the same things over and over and over, so how come I don't have a sweet system like this?

  10. I've never heard of Budget Bytes but am going to have to check it out! Thanks for all the savvy money-saving tips. My bf and I have a tendency to order in a lot which is not only unhealthy, but very $ too, and I (personally) like cooking so need to incorporate more of these tips (and $6 bean burgers) into my life. Thanks for this!

  11. Thanks for sharing Steph!! I'm really bad about not being able to eat the same thing all the time, I have to have variety! I go through phases where I'll eat something all the time and then be done with it for a while, like oatmeal or tuna. I'm going to check out some of the resources you mentioned. We try to eat at least one meat-less meal a week and that certainly helps the bill. I also generally only buy a pound of meat for recipes like soups or casseroles even if they call for a 1/2 lb more, you usually can't tell a difference when there are other ingredients.