A lot of you have asked about our exact grocery budget, so today, I’m sharing our $40 weekly grocery budget for our family of four.
So guys. I was recalculating our budget at the beginning of the month as usual, and it hit me: once we get moved into our new debt-free house and therefore stop paying rent, we will easily be able to live on $1,500 a month or less – much less than we projected in how to live on $2,000 a month.
To say I’m excited about this is well, an understatement. I’ve been kind of floating on cloud nine all week.
Maybe we won’t actually live on $1,500 a month, because we’ll probably start putting the kids in more activities like homeschool group this fall, traveling more and, well you know, spending more.
But we’ll be able to, which is a big sigh of relief for me, because no matter how much money you make, I don’t think you ever lose that feeling of knowing the rug could be pulled out from under you again once you’ve had it happen, and I feel a lot safer knowing that we could live on so much less.
No more rent/mortgage, lower electric bill (smaller house), lower transportation bill since we won’t be driving from town to the farm every day, no more bill for city water/sewage, our cars are paid for…
Our biggest expense will literally be health insurance.
Our second biggest expense will be food.
We’ve been very intentional about keeping our grocery bill low, because it’s one of the biggest recurring expenses we have, but to be honest, I’ve always been a little hesitant to publish our actual food budget.
Partly because I don’t want to go to the trouble of gathering up my grocery receipts from the three different stores I shop at, and partly because I know that we don’t stick to our budget perfectly.
You see, if I showed you what I actually bought in a week, it wouldn’t help you at all, because I don’t just buy what I need for that week.
For instance, I recently went shopping and walked out of the store with 40 pounds of ground turkey, and 8 pounds of frozen broccoli.
The turkey was on sale, and since that store, which I don’t go to often, has the best price on broccoli, I figured I’d get a bunch while I was there.
That’s pretty much all I bought that week, thanks to some garden produce and frozen chicken.
So while we will eat $10 worth of ground turkey this week, I didn’t actually spend the money on it this week.
See what I mean?
So here’s a fairly accurate sampling of the groceries we go through in a week, and what they cost. This is like the $20 grocery budget, but better, because the list is shorter, and it doesn’t call for trying to find single servings of groceries. You can also find lots of budgeting and grocery tips in this article from Porch.com.
Our $40 Weekly Grocery Budget (For a Family Of Four)
- 2 5lb bags bulk chicken leg quarters – $5.90 (Walmart)
- 10 lbs ground turkey – $10 (H-E-B)
- Eggs – 1 dozen – $0.69 (Aldi)
- 1 package of corn tortillas (80 count) – $1.98 (Aldi)
- 1 lb. dry pinto beans – $0.80 (Walmart)
- Shredded cheese 1 lb – $2.99 (Aldi)
- 1 package of baby spinach – $1.98 (H-E-B)
- Yellow squash 1.21 lbs – $1.55 (H-E-B)
- Zucchini 1.68 lbs – $2.15 (H-E-B)
- Frozen Broccoli – $2.09 (H-E-B)
- Salsa – $1.49 (Aldi)
- Oatmeal – $2.39 (Aldi)
- Butter 1 lb – $2.39 (we don’t use an entire pound of butter in a week, but I’m just going to pretend we use ALL butter instead of olive oil and coconut oil and say we use a pound) – Aldi
- Bananas – 4 lbs – $1.56 (Aldi)
- Brown rice $1.50 (Walmart)
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes – $2.39 (H-E-B)
You’ll probably notice that I buy most Produce at H-E-B – a Texas grocery chain similar to Kroger – and most everything else at Aldi. Walmart is pretty much my back-up plan for when I can’t make it out to Aldi.
I want to make it clear that we don’t always by the same things every time, especially when it comes to produce. We will often mix it up, and buy what’s in season or on sale.
For instance, we ate a LOT of asparagus this spring! but right now, squash and zucchini are coming out of the gardens by the bucket load, so we’re using it a lot. This winter, I’m sure we’ll eat a lot more cabbage.
But you get the idea, things like the chicken, turkey, eggs, beans, cheese, salsa (yes, salsa), oatmeal, rice, and potatoes, are staples for us, so we do our best to get stocked up on them when they go on sale.
And yes, our day-to-day meals are pretty darn basic.
we have bean and cheese quesadillas using homemade refried beans, with salsa for lunch a LOT, and we have other forms of tacos – chicken tacos, ground turkey tacos – at least once a week, because we genuinely love Mexican food, and since it’s cheap, why not?
I personally eat a lot of stir-fried veggies and chicken.
Chicken and rice with broccoli or another veggie in the instant pot is an easy, and super cheap dinner we often have.
And of course, many weeks we don’t buy salsa, or tortillas, because c’mon, who eats 80 tortillas in one week?! So maybe on those weeks we buy pasta and sauce, or baking flour to make casseroles with.
Certainly we don’t need a container of oatmeal every week, so that money may go toward a 5 lb bag of grits (which will last at least a month!), or a jug of milk, or baking ingredients.
During July, I bought a lot of peaches. Because Texas peaches straight off the trees are Ahmaaaazing!
Again, you get the idea.
So now you have a rough list, and some substitution ideas.
I know that you’re not going to want to eat or shop exactly the way we do, but I hope this list gives you some inspiration about how YOU can make your grocery budget cheaper.
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This is how we shop as well. Sometimes things go on sale seasonally as well. Baking supplies and cheap turkeys around Thanksgiving, so a good time to stock up on those things. You can make quite a few meals from a turkey. I will buy as many as the budget will allow at this time of year and cook them with lots of liquid (for broth) and then can it or freeze it, great for quick meals on busy nights.
Around Christmas and Easter boneless hams are cheap, so I will buy as many as the budget will allow here as well. I slice them into ham steaks and freeze, or cube some and freeze for use in casseroles, eggs or pizza topping, I will also ask the meat dept at the store where I buy them to slice them for me (they will do it for free) and use it for lunchmeat.
So awesome Teri! I have wondered if I could take a ham from a refrigerator and get it sliced in the deli section – now I know!
I’ve considered doing a grocery hail but when you work out of your pantry, garden, and livestock it gets tricky. I might take pictures of what I use in a day and collage them and factor costs. I’m blessed in that some weeks I can spend 100 and get bulk items and then other weeks my costs are offset each time I use from the pantry. I also am lucky to be able to have extra cash set aside to take advantage of last-minute super deals like quick sale bison meat i got for $1.5 a pound vs $10/# I pressure canned 20 pint of bison chili that day and had 20 quick meal makers:tacos, nachos, baked potato, over rice..
Tejas Prairie Hen says
I am aiming for $200 a month for 4 adults (hubby and I, a 27 yr. old physically disabled daughter, a 21 yr. old college student.) In order for us to get our 5 a day servings of veggies and fruits, it takes a very large portion of our budget, even though I buy mainly dollar produce baskets from our local produce store. I make all our breads, desserts, and snacks.We are ok with very little meat. I have recently calculated 2 full days of our menus, and with no meat or dairy, we averaged at least 50 grams protein a day per person. We are feeling great on this diet. I am greatly inspired by the British during WW2. With very little meat or dairy, their population was healthier than it had/has ever been. It has been fun trying many authentic recipes, too.
Anastasia Marchese says
there are so many amazing recipes on your website but making amazing mwals requires more variety then this shopping plan. i want to stick to these basic meals but end up baking muffins or cookies, or having colecut sandwiches foe lunches, buying chips and just generally winging meals based on the fun factor.
i dont know how to change that really.
Where is the $40 week meal plan?
Wanda In Georgia says
Shes writing what shes buys mainly
I get its confusing. What she does is makes different meals with the chicken and ground turkey .she chooses the cheapest meat or the meat on sale .extra. There is a wide variety of cheap meals to cook online .she wrote a list of groceries as a example .read it again unless its not showing up on your phone
clara butler says
i am trying get the 20 dollars meal plan. i would like to print it . please. i believe i may havehad one emailed to me but the grandson got into my email and deleted some email. tank you, sincerely, clara butler
Amy R. says
Great tips! You guys definitely don’t shop aim San Diego, CA…. a dozen eggs for $1 ????. Butter for less than $3.50 per pound, very rare! Ground turkey and even chicken leg quarters are still so much more than that. Usually double at least. Seems like there’s not anymore good coupons these days too. Any legitimate coupon source suggestions?
Trader Joe’s is a good place for eggs (regularly $1.49) and butter (regularly $2.99)
Wait….where is the $40/week plan??
And where is a sample of what your meals for the week look like You dont expect me to believe you only eat refried beans burritos for lunch and chicken and broccoli for supper Every Single Day?
I am confused by the title and the content of this post…
Hi Many, Check out the meal plan here: The $20 Meal Plan (Yes, You Really Can Eat Healthy For $20 A Week)
I live in australia and there are 2 of us, our weekly shop without meat is 150 AUSTRALIAN.
Our cost off food here is very high-for example a dozen eggs is 5 dollars, butter 10 dollars for a pound.
We do not hve coupens etc here.
Wish our grocery bill was as small as yours
I like this! I’m curious how this looks in a menu plan. I could use ideas :). Thank you for all you are sharing!
I try to do the same things. My problem is with my Autoimmune disease, it cost a little more at times. Especially, if I buy premade snacks to eat on the go.
Holly Whiteside says
I did a vegetable garden this year with the intent of canning, freezing, and dehydrating to see how it goes. I’m making snacks, sauces, etc. Obviously I’m trading time for money, but it’s not that much time and we’re eating better. and I think saving about half!
I liked seeing your list! And your explanation was great, because I also buy some things in very large amounts to get a deal, so I know what you mean. I’ve noticed a lot of people struggling with their grocery budget still don’t do this, and I try to gently hint… “when you see a ham at 99 cents a pound, buy the whole thing, divide it into ten meals)… but they don’t. So I’m glad to see someone who also does that kind of thing! Freezers can save you money or lose you money, it all depends on what you put in it.
I’m curious… do you folk not do wheat? I’m buying a 25lb bag of flour cheap and using sourdough for yeast. Our 13 inch long sandwich loaves cost about30 cents unless I throw in other grains or ingredients.
Alice Roof says
How much are you spending now with this inflation?
Elise New says
Unfortunately, it’s almost doubled this year. Eggs alone have increased 5x.