I did some research on how much the average american spends on food and the USDA states, those with incomes of $75,000 or more per year are averaging $180 per week, compared with $144 for those with incomes of $30,000 to $74,999, and $127 for the lowest income group. I almost fell out of my bed when I read this. What could Americans be possibly buying. I have found lots of way to slice this amount to $100 per person. Please understand as I do live in the midwest (oklahoma) and prices may differ(according to USDA the midwest is $60 cheaper a month compared to the east and south), but the actions I take are more on principle than on price. Now some of you will say I like my name brand I love whole foods, and what not. I understand, in my
dreams I go grocery shopping at whole foods I don’t look a price, I buy new spices every week. If your looking to do this on a budget then you will be highly disappointed. The point of saving and building wealth is to get to those goals but first by sacrificing; so let’s dig in and see what steps you can take to lower your bill.
No more leftover dinners for lunch the next day. Have you notice when you go out to eat the lunch menu is cheaper. When you eat what you cooked for dinner for lunch you have just had a really pricey lunch. Opt for what I call a no meat lunch. You will be surprised by how much cheaper it is to not buy meat and how healthy it is for your diet. Below Is what I cooked my husband for a week (recipe).
My husband loves his meatless lunches and he still has all the energy he needs if not more. Now I am breastfeeding and my pediatrician wants me to keep my weight up so I eat hot dogs, chicken salad, or chicken with mac and cheese.
2. Plan your meals by sales
I don’t get ads but I have this app (here) that shows me all the sales going on in my area and at my favorite stores. I love trying new things and with making a meal list catered to sales I can not only save money but my family gets new, and different foods all the time. Are mango’s on sale, then google meals with mangos and maybe make a mango salsa, “you get the point.”
3.Go in with a plan
Are you walking into the store without a list, did the list you make start out with meals first. So yes I will admit meal planning takes forever. But it will save you time during the week when you need ideas on what to cook. So first start out by writing down the meals you want to cook then all the ingredients needed to make those meals. Scratch off what you have then create a list of the things you need to get from the store. This tip is the most important as we are going to these stores with no plan, no strategy. Grocery shopping is a serious things you have to look at it as such. Plus when you make a meal list it gets the whole family involved. Here is the meal board I have in my kitchen (here), My husband loves knowing whats on the menu. Normally he will be like oh drea Thursday night can we have wings it’s a big football game on. Or hey I really like this meal lets put it on the schedule. Get the whole family involve mark certain days as daddy cook days.
No juice– We don’t need soda or juice to survive so don’t waste money purchasing it. Not feeling this, then buy yourself the packets of tea and make your own juice. Its cheaper and you can control how much sugar you put in each batch.
No water bottles– Buy a brita filter and just filter the tap water you already have. My husband loves bottle water so I allow 1 case of 24 from aldi only $2.19 and it has to last the whole month.
Frozen Meals/Pizza– I usually have a few frozen pizzas or pre-cooked meals in the freezer. At aldi they run from $3-$4.00. These are my cheat days for when I dont feel like cooking and it keeps us from going out to eat. Pair the pizza with a salad and your good to go. Also after I spend all day at the store carrying a 10 month old while putting 2 weeks of food in the cart I am way to tired to cook that. Grocery day is usually pre cooked meal day!!!
Homemade– I don’t buy ragu or pre-made pasta I make my own, that also goes for Alfredo sauce, and when I am feeling fancy I make my own salsa.
Less Is More– As American’s we already have over-sized proportions, try increase vegetables and decreasing the main dish.
Pantry– You must I mean must have a pantry, I have mine stocked with pasta, rice and black beans. Build one on the needs of your family and you will always have food.
No Name Brand– opt for the off brand, unless it makes your skin react or you physically cannot have it, buy it. My kitchen is full of the aldi brand and sprouts brands and my meals still taste great.
Slice Chicken In half– I buy chicken breast when they go on sale for $1.99 or less a pound at sprouts. I then slice them in half. They are usually super big and thick so 1 can easily fill up a grown man and breastfeeding woman on 1 chicken breast.
Meals & Prices for the month
Here is what we had for breakfast, Lunch and dinner. I linked a few recipes that I tried and were cost efficient.
Breakfast Meals- Waffle, Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, hash browns, Yogurt with granola, Cereal, Malt-o-meal, Oats with fruit.
Lunch Meals- Chili dogs, Quinoa and sweet potato mix, Homemade pizza rolls, Chicken salad, quinoa and sausage with bell peppers.
Dinner Meals- Chicken spaghetti, tacos with corn, beef spaghetti with Brussels sprouts, baked drumsticks, Crock-pot barbecue sauce drumsticks, skillet chicken with brown rice and veggies. Chicken tortilla Soup, Chicken with fresh cooked asparagus, Baked chicken with brown rice and veggies, Frozen pizza (3), Chicken pesto with mash potatoes and veggies. Hamburgers with homemade fries, Quesadillas with black beans,
Snacks- Chips and salsa, Chips and queso, Ice cream, Cookie mix
As you can see, we eat alot of chicken, I try to only have 1-2 meals with ground beef (its not healthy to eat red meat all the time). Seafood only gets on the list when its on sale at $6.99 a pound (I get only 1 pound). I dont get crazy with coupons unless I go to target. As for this month we only went to sprouts and aldi. Jeremiahs food runs around $40 a month. I puree and cook all his solids its cheaper and I know exactly whats in his food. Plus I can make combinations that Gerber may not sell.
It will take some time to get to $100 a person a month but its worth the savings. Focus on meal planning and whats on sale for the week then go from there. Take baby steps and try cutting $50 off a month until you get to your destination! Comment below on how you save on food a month or how you are trying some of the hot tips from the blog post!