Per a request from a friend, I’m posting the article I wrote back in August 2010 for Suite101.com. After they closed up shop, this article came back to me…there is some solid advice here for grocery shopping on a budget. Not necessarily for writers, but totally appropriate for anyone living on a budget. I updated it with a few ideas I’ve come into contact with since then.
If payday is a week away and there is only a few dollars in the bank, how can those few dollars be stretched to make ends meet? A lot of preparation and a little know-how will ensure that there are tasty and satisfying meals on the dinner table. Hey, I’m Darlene. My mom was a chef. I grew up with one foot in the kitchen…my first job was in a restaurant as a salad girl. Since then, I’ve done everything from barista to sous chef. I’d like to share a few tips.
3-step grocery shopping with $50 in the bank
You will need
- Shopping List
- Grocery Fliers
It’s challenging to put food on the table when you’re not rushed and having to work a 40-hour work week. But you can go grocery shopping even when you have $50 in the bank.
Shop alone and stick to your shopping list.
Get ready to plan your shopping trip. This will take just as much effort as the shopping itself. Put the grocery fliers and coupons in the kitchen. Now take a look at what you have in your pantry.
Consider the items you already have on hand. You might have a bottle of roasted red peppers in the pantry or five cans of cream of mushroom soup from the last sale.
Stick to staples and only purchase things you know will be eaten.
Sample shopping list:
1 bag carrots
1 bunch scallions
1 bunch celery
2 heads lettuce
1 bag potatoes
1 dozen eggs 1
package ground meat or frozen chicken
1 loaf bread
1 bag rice
1 bag egg noodles
2 cans green beans
Coffee or Tea
Shop in season and locally whenever possible it will save you money.
Go over your list again. Compare the list to your coupons and fliers and make any adjustments. Take your list to the grocery store and stick to the outer edges wherever possible.
Bring your own shopping bags. Fred Meyer issues a 5-cent savings for each of the reusable shopping bags you bring.
You don’t have to give up your coffee – if your usual brand is a little expensive, try a different brand. Consider this an adventure – search for the type of coffee you want and compare them.
Cooking doesn’t have to be boring. Have fun with it – pretend you’re on Chopped and the only things you’re allowed to use are in your house or on your list!
The first self-service grocery store was a Piggly Wiggly opened in 1916.