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Is it possible for two adults to eat for $50 a week? Yes, with this cheap grocery list it is…read on to learn how to eat cheap while still having delicious meals.
If you are living on a tight budget, then one of the easiest ways to help make ends meet is to reduce your grocery budget.
Since groceries are the most flexible expense in just about everybody’s budget, it can easily be modified to save money every month.
I recently got hit with a $17K unexpected expense and needed to find ways to cut costs to pay it off. So I thought it would be fun to experiment to see if it was possible for two adults to eat for $50 a week without having to eat beans and rice (yuck!).
What I realized is that it’s not only pretty easy to stick to a $50 a week grocery budget but also that you can still eat some really good meals.
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(spoiler alert: no cooking from scratch required)
A Cheap Grocery List For When You’re On A Tight Budget
Now there are many factors that determine how much you spend while shopping such as location, available retailers, food allergies/restrictions and others which will affect how much you actually spend.
So to be fair, neither my husband nor I have dietary restrictions or allergies. We live in a very small town which means we don’t have any national chains such as Costco’s or Aldi.
All we have is one grocery store and it’s locally owned so most of what I bought for the week wasn’t on sale at rock bottom prices.
I didn’t sale shop or use any coupons or grocery saving apps, nor any other method to save money on groceries expect to be intentional about what I bought and how I would use it in my weekly meal plan.
This cheap grocery list was just me thinking of some frugal meal ideas, making a grocery list of what I’d need and then going to purchase the items without using any grocery saving strategies.
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My Cheap Grocery List $49.87
iceberg – 1 head
32 oz box
3 lb bag
16 oz block
9 oz package
16 oz box
16 oz bag
1 box of your choice
16 oz jar
4 – 5 bunch
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$50 Budget Meal Plan
As you can see, I spend a total of $49.87 on my grocery shopping trip. Now let’s take a look at what we ate during the weeks with these items.
Cheap Dinner Ideas
I’ll start by showing you what we had for dinner first since it’s typically the most expensive meal of the day.
Shepards Pie – hamburger, potatoes and canned corn
Roasted chicken – baked potatoes or rice
Vegetable stirfry – frozen mixed veggies, leftover chicken, rice
Tacos – hamburger, taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes
Hot hamburger – with mashed potatoes
Chicken alfredo – Rotini, leftover roasted chicken, alfredo sauce
Baked mac and cheese casserole – Rotini, block cheese (grated) milk (here’s the recipe I use)
(I substituted the macaroni for rotini but you can use any pasta you’d like for this dish and the chicken alfredo dish)
Budget-Friendly Lunch Options
Lunch is always a free-for-all type of meal at our house. We typically either make a quick meal or eat leftovers. Any time I can save both time and money is a win-win.
Burgers & Fries (this is also a great option for a quick dinner)
Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches
Taco salad – lettuce, leftover taco meat, grated cheese, tomato
Chicken salad sandwiches using leftover chicken
Leftovers – Since most of the cheap dinner options listed above feed more than just two people, there are plenty of lunch options to choose from.
Chicken vegetable stir fry
Baked mac and cheese casserole
Cheap Breakfast Options
My cheap meal plan included four breakfast options that we could choose from including…
Eggs and Sausage
Ham and Cheese Omelet
Pancakes with fruit
Toast with fruit
You can mix and match just about any of these cheap breakfast options to fit your needs and taste buds.
Tips To Create a Cheap Grocery List On a Budget
As you can see, eating well on a tight budget is possible, it just takes a little bit of planning and being intentional on what you buy at the grocery store.
This meal plan consisted of many meals that we love. But you can easily create a cheap meal plan around the foods you love.
Here are some tips to help you make your own personal budget grocery list.
Often times generic labeled food is made by the same manufacturer as brand name foods, but you just aren’t paying for the fancy packaging and advertising.
Meal plan around what’s on sale
Meal planning around items that are on sale is a quick and easy strategy to save money on groceries.
Buy in bulk
Buying bulk grocery items that you use regularly is a great way to save money on food. Just make sure you don’t overbuy and let items go to waste because they expired before you get a chance to use them.
Create a food stockpile of grocery staples
Stock up on food items when they are on sale for rock bottom prices. When you come across a great priced sale item, buy enough to last until that item goes on sale again so you never have to pay full price again.
Use coupons and grocery apps
Couponing and using grocery apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 are easy ways to save more money grocery shopping. You don’t need to go overboard and spend hours clipping coupons to save a few extra dollars.
Create a master meal plan
Find a dozen or so frugal meal ideas that your family loves and create your weekly meal plan around those dinner ideas.
Check out these frugal meal ideas for inspiration…