A new grocery budget and a new way to shop.

September marks the first full month that I only have to feed three.  I’m anticipating that my food bill will be much lower, and not because I have one less person to feed.  I’ve decided to take a whole new approach to grocery shopping.

Starting this month, I’ve decided to only purchase food that I will use in the month that I purchase it.  No stocking up.  I want to see if this will save me money in the long run, as opposed to buying things ‘on sale’ and buying large amounts.  I found out very quickly that I bought WAY too much food over the last couple of months, as I’ve been trying to eat down the freezer and pantry.  I still have a nice supply.

Here is my menu for the week.  Below the menu is my grocery list.  (I’ve already purchased some food over the weekend, so this is just what I need left to have the dinners I’ve planned.)


  • Chicken Soup w/crusty bread
  • Steak Quesadillas w/tortilla chips
  • Meatball Calzones, tossed salad
  • Chicken Gyros, Rice, Greek Salad
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Grilled pork chops w/baked potatoes and asparagus

Grocery List:

  • cilantro
  • lemons
  • carrots
  • corn on cob
  • green onions
  • asparagus
  • potatoes
  • flour tortillas
  • tortilla chips
  • Naan bread
  • Tri-tip steak
  • Whole Chicken
  • (3) Pork Chops
  • mozzarella cheese
  • colby jack cheese
  • taziki sauce
  • sour cream
  • skim milk

My new food budget for the month will be: $500.00.  ($300 less than what I’ve been averaging.)  Let’s hope this works!

How do you grocery shop?  Week by week? Monthly?  Stock up?

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  1. We tend to do shopping week to week and do not stock up too much any more, unless it is paper goods. I also buy all my paper products at Target, because they are cheaper than the grocery store. It has lowered our bill. Your meatball calzones sound really good BTW!

  2. Basically we shop once a week. I do stock up when I see a good buy and we have a nice pantry. It really does save money.

  3. We go shopping weekly – to Costco & the local produce stand. Our list remains consistent week over week (for the most part), and we stick to the same items. It helps that weekday lunches for the adults are covered through our employer. But, it also helps so much to have a fixed inventory in the house of all of our basic things: pasta, various meat, rice, eggs, cheese, milk, produce, etc. I used to buy a ton of random ingredients for recipes, but I don’t really do that anymore. If it’s not one of our fixed items, I try to skip it in the recipe.

    We buy *a ton* of produce, and spend around $500/month. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. My husband is a bit more of a splurger (on fruit & veggies, so hard to complain ;-)) than I am. Otherwise, we could limit it to $475 or so.

  4. I think every food budget is as unique as the family makeup. Some buy organic products, alcohol, paper supplies, or diapers and others do not. We are a family of five. 2 adults, 1 teenage daughter and two elementary kids. I spend between $140-$160 a week. We live in Southern CA. We take lunch to school, but eat out for adult lunches. I make dinner every night although Friday is frozen pizza night :-).
    Some week’s it’s less, on the week I got to both Costco and the grocery store, it’s more. I try to include paper and feminine products as well as personal supplies like razors and shampoo in this budget, but usually I have to dip into the personal supplies budget. As my teenage daughter gets older that personal budget is going up!
    I try to plan meals we like and that cost the least without sacrificing quality. We don’t buy much organic. I buy some processed pre-packaged food for lunches. Some junk food, crackers, and a bit of frozen food for snacks.
    I work and it’s hard to make too much from scratch. Our meals are pretty regular common things like tacos, spaghetti, pork chops, crockpot, sandwiches, hamburgers, etc.

    • Hi Shay!
      Yes, you are right. Everyone is different and their needs are different. We are trying to add more organic, less processed foods to our diets, and really they don’t cost much more than processed foods. I just have to learn to cook for 3 instead of 6. There are a lot of leftovers here lately. I only work part time and it seems like I never have time to make from scratch. i would LOVE to make homemade granola bars, baked goods etc., but I never seem to have the time. Hopefully I can make the time to save some $$

      • Maybe slowly work your way into homemade. Instead of buying granola bars in a box at the store, work your way towards buying items in bulk and making mixes and storing the mixes so that you can “make from scratch” fast later, by making a mix ahead of time. Their are lots of recipes for basic biscuit and cake type mixes that you can make ahead and store and then later add mix ins like fruit or chocolate to make many different items.
        I personally don’t have time or really the urge to make things completely from scratch. I will in a pinch make something from scratch. I made chili last night instead of opening a can since I had ground beef, beans and all the spices. It was quite good actually and the whole family loved it. It saved me money, because I didn’t run to the store. I know when I go to the store mid-week for one item, I always come out with at least 4 other things I hadn’t planned on buying!

  5. Sharon: I have been trying to shop weekly also. The problem is that sometimes hubby will also either come with me or he’ll hit a pricey “Whole Foods” kind of place on his own and completely blow the budget. His thought is that pork roasts or chicken, etc is on sale, “let’s buy 5 for the chest freezer.” I still have 2 whole chickens and a 14 pound turkey in the freezer at the moment. They’ve been there for months. He has agreed to eat everything we currently have and then stock up again as things are on sale. There are only three of us now too, but our food costs are crazy!!!!!

    • Yeah, when I shopped at multiple stores and stocked up, I forgot what I had, and then I would have to throw stuff out. I like it when I have space in the freezer. Makes me think we are eating things up and not wasting. Hopefully I’ll save some $$

  6. I’m having to relearn how to grocery shop/cook for just the 2 of us. We’re 2 weeks into it and I can see that the grocery dollars spent are lower. Last week we were at $79, this week was $107 but I bought some meat and last week I didn’t. I’m working my way through a few things in the pantry and freezer to whittle down my stock. I have a turkey breast cooking this morning in the Crockpot. Will chop/shred the meat and package in 2 cup portions for the freezer so it’s ready to use in soups and casseroles. Hoping by the end of September I have a better handle on our grocery shopping/cooking for 2. Last week we were good at taking our lunch to work with us each day; we managed 4 out of the 5 days.

    • Oh Nancy, I’ve been thinking about you! How’s the empty nest? I told my husband I probably won’t even cook dinner when it is just the two of us. LOL. I’m hoping to whittle our food bill even further this year. (Then I’ll be able to afford to send the kids to college! :)!)

  7. I am week by week lately. It saves me so much money and I am not wasting anything. I found that I spend less even buying things that aren’t on sale because I use it. When I would coupon & stock up, I wasted so much and ended up spending so much more ! Proud of you! Hope you find this way successful :)

    • I was constantly wasting and throwing out, mainly because I didn’t realize what I had. It feels so much better to use things up rather than throw things out.

  8. I shop every two weeks or so. I stock up if I see a good sale but it is usually just a few at a time unless it is meat. We are down to just three most of the time now also. I budget $200 every two weeks and have been having money left over most of the time. The key really has been spending cash and menu planning .

    • $400 a month? Hmmmm. I’m hoping that’s all I’ll need too. That would be quite the improvement to what I had been spending.

  9. I do a little bit of both – we try to buy for a week and stock up here and there when things are on sale (but only really good ones). I do stock up on canned stuff every six months during case lot sales, and I buy chicken from Zaycon (40 lbs split with my sister). We’ve been trying to keep our food budget under $350. it will be a challenge in September because I want to make some freezer meals, preferably, without increasing our budget…

  10. I shop weekly. Very rarely more than that.

    • I’m thinking weekly will work better for me, although I went to BJ’s for meat today, and I may not need to go at all next week.

  11. Why not make your own Tzatziki Sauce? Yogurt, garlic, a cuke, lemon juice, olive oil, dill, salt and pepper. Just be sure to salt the cuke to remove moisture before adding it to the Sauce. If you have most of this already it’s probably cheaper and better than store bought.
    And it’s fairly easy too. 😎

    Good Luck on that $500 food budget going forward!
    We are down to 2 adults & a dog now, and I am hoping to get mine down under $300.
    A girl can dream, right? lolz

    • I was wondering if I could make Tzatziki sauce (thanks for spelling it right!). I would still need to buy yogurt, dill and a cucumber. I would like to try and make my own sometime. Just you and hubby? $300 may be doable! :)!

  12. While I do stock up a little, I find buying only what I need works better for me. I have less waste that way which saves money in the long run. I grocery shop about once a week–usually.

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