The Ultimate Guide To A Better Grocery Budget: Week 1


Anyone else ready to tackle their grocery budget this month? 


You're not alone!


After Christmas I always feel like it's a great time to reign our grocery budget in, so today is the perfect day to start.


Each Tuesday for the rest of the month (going right up until February 1st), I'll be sharing the Ultimate Guide to a Better Grocery Budget, including tips to help busy families transform their grocery budget (even if you don't have tons of time to clip coupons.) I'll also include pics of what we actually buy, so you hold me accountable too. 🙂

My biggest tip?

Start with a great menu plan.

(THIS is the one I've been use and I. love. it. Highly recommend if you're looking for one! AND, starting next Monday we'll be doing the Countertop Cooking Challenge with this program. Use the code EARLYBIRD at checkout to get the lowest price!)


Let's get started . . .



1. First things first ~ determine your grocery budget.

Before you start really tackling your grocery budget, look at what you’ve spent over the last few months on groceries and decide how much you’d like to cut your grocery budget.  Expect to save about 20% on your grocery bill over the next month as you’re building your pantry with basic staples, and you should see significantly larger savings in the next six months.




2. Decide how much you want to spend each week on “stockpile” items.

Remember that just about every item in the grocery store will go on sale within six to twelve weeks, so purchase enough non-perishable items when they’re on sale so that you won’t have to purchase those items again at full price. When I see a great price on something I'll purchase as much as my grocery budget can afford, so I'm not paying full price when it's not on sale. 




3. Know your prices.

Goodness, this is probably my biggest frustration ever when talking to folks who spend too much on groceries!  So many people naively go blindly into the grocery store with a list in hand (or maybe worse, with no list at all), without even considering what’s on sale. This is the easiest way to spend way too much at the grocery store, and you can easily save big if you just put a little forethought into shopping!


Can I just tell you the easiest thing you can do EVER to reduce your grocery budget is to know what really is a good price? By determining a stock up price (at the very least just for produce, dairy and meat products?) and only buying items at their stock up price, I’m betting you can cut your grocery bill by at least 1/3 each week.


And above all else . . . 


shop with a grocery list and menu plan. 

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When I'm completely on track, I use Tiffany from Eat at Home Cook's Menu Plan and love. it. Before shopping I go through her list, shop my stockpile, and mark off what I can by shopping my pantry before heading to the store. It's quick, easy, and I get my grocery shopping done in record time.

Head on over HERE and check out Tiffany's Menu Plans ~ through next week they cost as little as 1.13 per week when you use the code EARLYBIRD at checkout, and I really do just love mine. If you've tried them out in the past I'd love to know if they've worked for you!

eat at home

Here's what our grocery shopping looked like this week . . . 


(My big splurge this week was on those pre-sliced apples for $4.98. I know it's WAY too much to pay, but my kids gobble them down like candy and I love that they have an easy healthy snack ready whenever they need it!) 

I followed Tiffany's Menu Plan exactly, shopped my pantry before heading out, shopped at Walmart (gasp!) and spent $45.99 for all the groceries I'll need to make 5 meals + 1 dessert.


(Note, I'm using the Whole Foods option this week ~ made the Chicken Florentine Quesadillas last night and they were fantastic, and her slow cooker beef tacos are cooking up in Mrs. Potts right now. Success!)




So, start with your grocery budget, know your prices, and make a menu plan and grocery list ~ I know you can do this. 

And starting next Monday (2/6/17), we're starting a Countertop Cooking Challenge and I would just love for you to join me.

My friend Tiffany from Eat at Home Cooks is offering us her VERY best prices for a few days only to the very first people to sign up using the code EARLYBIRD at checkout, and I want you to be included! 


  • Weekly menu plans for the entire month
  • A set of slow cooker menu plans
  • A set of whole foods menu plans (those are the ones we're using right now)
  • A set of traditional menu plans
  • One quick click to download all 3 sets of menus (in color or black and white ink)
  • This month, because there are 5 weeks in the month, you'll actually get access to FIVE WEEKS of menu plans for as low as $1.13 per week!


Decide today to really transform what you're spending, and I promise you'll see success. Leave a comment if you're joining us, and (if you feel comfortable) let me know what you're spending so we can all decide to stick together and transform our finances in 2017.


Happy penny pinching! 


Looking for more ways to change your grocery budget?

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  1. So excited for this series! Been doing so much reading on saving for grocery budgets and working on decreasing ours. My husband lost his job back in November. I had been working on decreasing our food budget before this (realizing it was out of control), but trying for a bigger decrease now. Started with roughly $300 per week a year ago and was down to $250 per week before DH lost his job. Now hoping to get down to the $150 (or less) per week for my family of 3 + dog. I have been including all personal care products and cleaning products in this budget. We pack all of our lunches as well, which seems to be one place that most sites I have read seem to ignore.

    • I’m so excited you’re joining us Rhonda – so fun! I think you TOTALLY can do this (it sounds like you’re already doing amazing), but I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you this month. Keep me posted – I’m cheering for you!

  2. Joni barth says

    I just printed up the stock up pricelist. Thank you very much for providing this information. My husband is always looking at the grocery store sale papers and asking is this a good price and I’m always like” I don’t know “… No more! I am informed . Thanks for all your hard work keep it up .

  3. Joni barth says

    I just printed up the stock up pricelist. Thank you very much for providing this information. My husband is always looking at the grocery store sale papers and asking is this a good price and I’m always like” I don’t know “… No more! I am informed . Thanks for all your hard work keep it up .

  4. A few years ago when you did something similar I was spending about $50/week. With the coupons not being as good, Kroger stopping double coupins, and our Publix no longer taking Target coupons my budget has increased dramatically. We are spending $130/week for 4 adults and 2 kids. My son works second shift so he isn’t home for dinner most nights though. My granddaughter isn’t here every night for dinner either so really its more like 3 adults and a 6 year old. I miss my cheaper budget.

    • It definitely changes as stores change their policies (I feel your pain!) and families change Shannon – we used to spend $50-$60, now we’re up to $90-$100. I think keep looking at ways to pay less, but also know you’re not alone!

  5. Cindy Farrell says

    Signed up01/10/17 order #700379 and couldn’t print out anything. Can you cancel that order so I can try again Please.

  6. Hey, Laurie! Thanks for sharing this!! We’re a family of 6 (kids 11,9,5,2). I aim to buy mainly organic (meats, veggies, etc.). My budget is around $800 a month but would love to get it down as we’re working on some financial goals. Would you encourage someone to trim the budget for a season, even if that means veering from some organic stuff in order to put that extra $ elsewhere and meet those goals?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the warehouse bulk paper products? Worth it?? Thanks!!

    • Hi Lauren! Honestly, I think you need to know which organic foods are really worth it, and making sure to stock up on those when you can (read #11 on this post – it was an eye opener for me!)

      As far as warehouse products, ALWAYS do the math. Most of the time I feel like they’re more expensive than I can get on Amazon or at my local grocery store with a sale, so definitely work towards making sure to figure out if you’re getting the best price (and when you see a good deal, stock up so you don’t have to buy it again!) I think if you’re just really mindful about how to save on things that are on sale you’re going to see such success – can’t wait to hear how it goes for you (keep me updated!)

  7. I’m also excited for these. I absolutely hate grocery shopping, and I live in a very small town, so when I need to get a larger amount I usually drive an hour so I can shop aldis, along with the bigger Walmart. I tend to put the grocery shopping at the end of the trip, so I’m exhausted & ready to get home. Last time I had a list but didn’t end up using it & throwing stuff in the buggy, costing me $500!! I never spend that much! But we were out of everything! Food, paper products, personal. Now I’m trying to see how long I can make it without grocery shopping(besides milk/bread). It’s been 3 weeks now. I usually spend about $200 for a family of 5, sometimes when I see meat marked down I buy it up lasting two weeks. I just need to get more organized and set a budget. We are moving states in may and I’m trying to pay down as much of our debt as I can.

    • I”m so glad you’re joining us Rachel! I definitely think it can be harder in a smaller town, but hopefully you will become really purposeful in your purchases so that you see continued success. I think you just have to decide to go in with a plan in place (it makes such a difference!) and my bet is you’ll be amazed at how much you can save just by some good planning. The benefit for us is not having too many stores probably nearby to tempt you with “deals” so maybe if you can get a really good list together shopping every few weeks will work for you. Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

  8. Any tips for shopping for a large family? We are going from a family of 3 to a family of 8 next week, 2 adults, 6 kids age 2-11. I don’t know where to begin.

    • Hi Sandy! DEFINITELY start with a menu plan – I don’t know where I’d even start without a menu plan with a large family! Begin with that, then really focus on shopping the sales ads – learn your prices and KNOW that you’re always getting the best price on whatever you’re looking for. I think just deciding to do it will make a huge difference – hopefully the next few weeks will help you get started!

  9. HI! I’m so glad you are doing this series! When my 4 kids lived at home I was very purposeful with meals, coupons, menu plans, stock piling, etc… Since they have all gone off to college I have gotten bad about shopping sales and coupons, have a terrible time with meal planning due to my schedule and hubby’s, and my husband thinks we shouldn’t need to stock pile since it is just us. My grocery bill varies between $50-100 per week but I would like it to be more consistent and have the food I buy be more purposeful instead of “lets see what we have.” I am finding it difficult to transition to a 2 person meal plan and also if I should still be stock piling (which I think is great but hubby says is no longer necessary).

  10. Thank you! I will be following along. I just told my family that I had to get back on track with our grocery spending. We blew so much money last year on food simply because I get busy at work and don’t make the time to plan.

  11. I loved this post. We are a family of five (kids aged 16, 13 and 12.) All 3 kids and myself have celiac disease and have a dairy allergy. Also, myself and my 12 year old have type 1 diabetes and eat fairly low carb. So I find it very hard to stick to even a $300 per week budget – that includes toiletries, cleaners, laundry detergent and dog food. I am really looking to lower that as we are a one income family – I homeschool my kids. We are home for most meals and so I know I can realistically lower it to $220 a week. That is my goal and if I get below that – bonus!! Looking at your tips and making notes for sure 🙂

  12. I’m excited to know more about this and will stay tuned in. For a family of 3, (a baby) we usually spend like $150-200 a week on groceries which I think is ridiculous. I hope to be able to learn more on what I can do to somehow reduce it.

  13. Is there anywhere we can see some sample menu plans?

  14. Hi! I am excited for this series on grocery savings! With husband, myself and a one year old we spend about $300/month on groceries. Not bad…but we eat out too much and I would like ideas on how to shop for groceries and meals that allow us to eat at home more creatively.

    • So glad you’re joining us Kelli – I think just deciding to really focus on it will help so much – it’s amazing how much you really can save! Best of luck as you get started!

  15. I’m soooo in! I would love to get my grocery budget under control! I feel I spend way too much! I shop with a list, but not necessarily with a budget in mind! I’m very excited to get started!

    • So glad you’re joining us Dara – I think just deciding to change your grocery budget will make such a difference. Good luck to you as you get started! 🙂

  16. So happy I found this! I am so mad about how much I spend on groceries, it isn’t even funny. It helps if I don’t take my husband with me, but when he goes with me we spend at the least 2 times more than I would alone. I really would like to spend $25-$30 a week on groceries. Lately I have been more towards the $50 range. We raise our own beef, so I really only need to buy the stuff to go with it. I have been focusing on buying what is on sale. And have been working on a meal plan. Staying on track is my goal!

  17. I love Shopping at Aldi. I go there first and finish at Walmart. I do notice that the produce at our Aldi is not to the standards it was when it first opened. Some is good but some I buy elsewhere. But 75% of our groceries come from there.

  18. I’m gonna try this for my family of 3 hope I can do it tired of having no money left at the end of the month.


  1. […] to laugh when I had scheduled the first post for today and then saw that my friend, Laurie, from Passionate Penny Pincher just started her own series called The Ultimate Guide to a Better Grocery Budget. She does such a […]

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