Cooking for a family is hard enough. But, the real challenge begins before meal prep, at the grocery store. Have you ever aimlessly wandered the store aisles and filled up your cart?
You arrive at the checkout over budget and confused. How did that add up so quickly? Avoid this sinking feeling of spending too much money and plan ahead.
A cheap grocery list can guide your next shopping trip and maintain your budget. Sticking to a list is hard. But, just because you are on a budget does not mean you will have to sacrifice filling up that cart or buying your favorite things.
A diverse list can give you access to all food groups and promote your family’s health. The key is to incorporate multiple food items and different price points. This helps to properly stock your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Budget grocery shopping can help change your spending habits in the long run. Imagine having more income to spend on leisure, activities, or whatever is important for you and your family.
How to buy cheap groceries? Read on to discover an easy and cheap grocery list you can take to the store.
Stock Your Pantry
A cheap grocery shopping list should begin with the basics. Pantry items are a budget shopper’s best friend because of longer expiration dates and bulk buying abilities. Pantry items, while not fresh, are often the least expensive food purchases in-store.
These items are also great for families that may have irregular eating schedules and worry about food going bad. Pantry staples can help reduce food waste.
If you think about a cheap grocery list as a food pyramid, consider a well-stocked pantry your foundation. Here are some examples of pantry staples that can become a quick meal for your family:
- Grains like cereals, rice, quinoa, and couscous
- Canned vegetables
- Canned tuna
- Oil and vinegar
- Peanut Butter
Fill the Freezer
For the budget grocery shopper, freezer food is a must. Resist the prepared foods and entrees in the frozen section of your grocery store. These items are often over-priced and are smaller portions that won’t provide financial value for your family.
Creative freezer food staples can help stretch your budget. For example, your family may love frozen pizza but the cost is prohibitive. Instead, buy a frozen crust that is typically less than half the price.
Finally, add your favorite toppings from your pantry staples. Just remember to store your freezer food correctly. These are some other freezer ideas:
- Pastry dough
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen fruit
- Frozen shrimp
- Frozen chicken breasts or other meat cuts
Meat and Fish
You may have an assumption that cheap grocery shopping can’t include more expensive food items like fresh meat or fish. Think again! Meat and fish can be plentiful and budget-friendly additions to your grocery list.
And remember if there is a sale or promotion on fresh meat or fish, consider buying an extra pack (if budget allows). You can add this item to your freezer rotation meals.
Meat cuts that are cleaned and prepared like thinly sliced chicken breasts or pork fillets are more expensive. Instead, choose cuts like bone-in chicken breasts or pork loin. While these are larger meats that require you to trim or section them, they are most budget-friendly and the portions will go a long way.
Ground meat is also a great cheap grocery shopping item because it is versatile. Ground meats like pork, beef, chicken, or turkey are used in dishes like meatballs, chili, or burgers. You can also “beef up” these items by adding pantry staples like flour, grains, or beans to add nutritional value.
Fish fillets like salmon or tuna steaks can be some of the most costly items in a supermarket. But, if these expensive fish are a family favorite, there are ways to use them without breaking the bank.
For example, purchase one large salmon fillet or tuna steak. Next, chop it into smaller pieces or slices. You can use the chopped fish in different dishes like curries, soups, stews, or salads.
To stretch your cheap grocery list even further, shop for less expensive fish varieties. Examples include cod or halibut. These are basic white fish that can be prepared in different ways.
Add Something Fresh
Avoiding the fresh fruit and vegetable section of the grocery store is a mistake. Did you know, according to the CDC, only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables?
Just because you are on a budget does not mean that your family can’t enjoy healthy and flavorful fresh food items. The key to buying fresh food is to choose items that pack a lot of flavor for a low price.
These items should also hold up well in your refrigerator, so you can stretch your budget and food purchases even longer. These are some examples of fresh food additions:
Buy Discount Groceries
You may have noticed a discount groceries section in your store. Items like produce, meat, bread, and cakes are typically found in this area. These items are either about to expire or discontinued brands.
Discount groceries are an economical way to take advantage of expensive items. For example, keep your eyes on the bakery section of your grocery store. While a fresh cake, pastry, or bread is usually not on your cheap grocery list, discounted items can make it happen.
You can also check out the dollar general penny list for additional discount offers and coupons. Using these offers or coupons is a creative way to buy your family’s favorite food items that normally may be out of budget.
A Cheap Grocery List Helps You Save and Live Better
A cheap grocery list is the ultimate planning tool to feed your family. Depending on your tastes and cooking abilities, a list of your favorite items and most cost-effective food groups can help stretch your budget.
Remember that the key is to mix these different food groups and try to get creative in the kitchen. If you found these budget grocery tips helpful, then check out our other food-related stories.