Another Look at Weekly Groceries for $30

Another Look at Weekly Groceries for $30

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weekly groceries for $30
What $30 worth of groceries looks like.

Here is a normal sampling of my weekly groceries for $30. This isn’t part of a challenge, this is just all the food I can typically eat in one week as one person who lives alone. By the end of the week, the produce is gone and I’ll re-supply Monday evenings. Instead of stocking up on food and running the risk of wasting it, I buy food as I need it. With eating home 5 days a week, $30 a week of groceries gets me more than enough food to keep me going.

Week 3 – $29.36

  • Beef Loin Boneless – $4.64 // 0.96 lb @ 4.99/lb
  • Evaporated Milk – $0.75
  • Peanut Butter – $3.99
  • Yogurt – $0.69 (4)
  • Royal Gala Apples – $1.97 // 0.99lb @ 1.99/lb
  • Soy Sauce – $2.19
  • Green Peppers – $1.55 // 1.04lb @ 1.49/lb
  • Carrots 2lb bag – $1.69
  • Kale – $0.64 // 0.54lb @ 1.19/lb
  • Tomatoes on the Vine – $2.22 // 1.5lb @ 1.48/lb
  • Dressing – $2.50 (2)
  • Kiwi – $0.80 // 2 @ 5/1.99
  • Idaho Potatoes – $1.52 // 1.18lb @ 1.29/lb

There were comments previously about the lack of meat. I do buy meat sometimes, just not every week, and only when it’s on sale. I saw beef sirloin for $4.99/lb and decided to try it. I marinated it in soy sauce + honey.

I use evaporated milk in my mac + cheese. Yogurt is breakfast. PB is a snack. Salads are lunch. Soy sauce was for the marinade. Apples are a snack. All of this except the carrots and peanut butter were gone by the end of the week.

Week 4: $33.65

  • Chicken Cutlet – $2.75
  • Chicken Cutlet – $2.90
  • Ice Cream – $3.00 (2)
  • Parmesan Cheese – $3.99
  • Yogurt – $.39 (4)
  • Kosher Salt – $1.19
  • Can Stewed Tomatoes – $0.89
  • Kale – $1.99 // 2.01lb @ 0.99/lb
  • Slivered Almonds – $4.49
  • Bread – $2.50
  • Grape Tomatoes – $2.50
  • Green Peppers – $2.90 // 1.02lb @ 1.79/lb

I bought chicken on sale for $2.99/lb and ingredients to make pesto. The parmesan and nuts drove up the price some. As much as I don’t want to admit to buying ice cream, it was on sale 2/$6 and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s summer! It’s hot out! And it makes a good snack.

Yogurt for breakfast. Salad for lunch. Chicken + kale pesto was dinner then leftovers for lunch. I ate at home 5 days. At the end of the week I had 1 chicken (frozen), salt (of course), stewed tomatoes, bread, almonds, parmesan, and ice cream leftover. I like keeping a can of tomatoes on hand for my quick homemade tomato sauce.

How Do Your Groceries Compare?

It seems that I’m on the low-end for grocery spending so I am curious how others plan their grocery shopping routine. Do you make a list? Meal plan? Look at the circular? Only buy items on sale?

My limiting factors are still general storage in my apartment and having to physically carry groceries home. Prior to living without a car, I went grocery shopping once a month spending $150-$200 per trip. Even though I would stock up on sale items and buy in bulk then, I still was spending close to the same amount as I do now, just all at once.

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12 Replies to “Another Look at Weekly Groceries for $30”

  1. I’m still getting the hang of regularly grocery shopping and eating at home. I am probably up to eating at home 4 nights a week, and most lunches/breakfasts.

    I bought about two weeks’ worth of food yesterday, which came out to $45. (I say this is two weeks’ worth, but in reality it is what I needed in addition to what was already in my cabinets to make two weeks worth of food — so this was for all produce, some perishables like bread, and a couple of items we had run out of like black beans. I would say I probably actually spend about $40 – $50 per week. We have very little cabinet space, but slightly more than you.) Breakfasts for me are yogurt or cereal, lunches are sandwiches or leftovers, and dinners are usually vegetarian (maybe meat 1x/week). This week I will make fresh pasta with homemade sauce, homemade veggie burgers made from sweet potato/black beans/adobo peppers, and an indian dish with spinach and rice. And roasted broccoli with every dinner, basically, because that’s how I roll.

    There is a cheap supermarket about a mile from my place, so I usually limit to what I can carry in one reusable shopping bag, and there is a Whole Foods much closer. I usually buy a couple of items at Whole Foods that I cannot get at the supermarket easily, which I know makes my food bills a little more expensive than they could be, but still much cheaper to buy a few things there than eat out a crap ton.

    I do not think your $30/week for a single person is unreasonable — I think you shop smart, but you’re not nutso with worrying about every single penny, which is awesome. I am slightly higher but in the same ballpark. It does not really help my costs much that I live with BF because we overlap very little in what we eat, and might eat dinner in together once per week. Often I will buy items for him when I am shopping, and then he pays me back, or vice versa. Things that we share we split the price of. When I am debt-free, I hope to be less anal about splitting the cost of a loaf of bread down the middle, but right now that’s what I do. :)

    1. Sounds like it works for you two! I’ve never thought about groceries other than splitting straight down the middle, but if one person isn’t eating something, it makes sense to me to not split that cost. It doesn’t sound like you’re getting too petty about it, so no worries. I would be interested in learning some Indian recipes if you’re willing to share. I have several markets right near me and would like to be able to shop there without feeling totally clueless.

  2. I usually make a list of things that aren’t my usual items. I also found out that a lot of times don’t bypass things just cause you THINK they’ll be more expensive. For example, when I was living in Philly, I used to assume the fresh made bread was way too expensive, so always bought the packaged bread, turned out the fresh made bread was sometimes a $1 or so cheaper.

    Also I had the convenience of having two shops right next to each other, so I’d split up my list after comparing prices and get certain items from each store, whichever had the cheaper ones.

    1. Interesting about the fresh bread – I definitely would have thought that’d be expensive! I know I fall into that trap a lot and will try to keep more of an open mind. It really would help because sometimes I feel like I keep buying the same exact grocery items over and over and over.

    1. Thanks, friend! I still feel like I don’t cook anything fancy. Some pasta dishes, rice + broccoli, kale in everything… but it’s enough for me!

  3. My wife and I are still very new to this whole budgeting thing and just recently realized that we do spend a lot less if we have a shopping list and we stick to it. We also do our shopping weekly or bi-weekly as we want to have most products as fresh as possible and we totally understand you with the physical carrying – we had to do the same until recently and indeed adds a new level of difficulty to the whole thing :)

    1. Keeping a list is a great tip! I would definitely spend more money and time in the grocery store before I started making a list/food plan. Thinking about food ahead of time keeps you from giving into expensive cravings!

  4. We spend way too much on food. If I took your cost @ $30/week per person, we should be at $480, which is what I budget for groceries for us for the month. However, the sticky point is eating out. We are easily tempted…so our restaurant budget is around the same as our grocery budget. $50 twice a week is easy to do with a family of 4 unfortunately.

    I am going to definitely start to meal plan again like you do. Great job!

    1. I actually think it’s reasonable to spend as much on eating out as you do on groceries for a month. Breaking down my spending, $35/week of groceries is about $150/month. If I eat out once per week at about $35/dinner+drinks, that’s another $150 then add in eating lunch out once per week at about $7 and there’s $180 spent on eating out. Lunch can easily be taken out but dinner out once a week is a nice treat and since it is something I can afford, I’m okay with that expense.

  5. I would say that’s a pretty good amount of groceries for what you spent. I am currently working on lowering my budget for groceries and eventually learning how to coupon better.

  6. I spend $39 a week on average for my husband and I. I don’t make everything from scratch, but I use a bread machine to make bread for PB&Js or the occasional grilled cheese. I also make yogurt for myself.

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