How to grocery shop and cook frugally

I know many of us live on tight household budgets so I recently asked friends of the Childhood 101 Facebook page to share their favourite tips for saving on shopping and cooking when the budget is really tight. The result is a fabulous list of 50 simple tips for making your money go as far as possible.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

31 Tips for Saving When Shopping

1. The biggest budget buster is shopping without a meal plan and without a list.

2. Before I make a meal plan for the week, I write down everything that I already have. Then I start by putting those things together to make meals.

3. Plan your menu according to the sales.

4. I tend to do my meal planning around the BOGOs (Buy One, Get One Free), plus I use coupons.

5. Stock up when there’s buy one get one free sales! Check expiry dates closely on those as well.

6. Shop at different places to get the best prices, so we shop at a few different stores.

7. I meal plan and use recipes which is key so I know exactly how much meat to buy. I then write a list of items I need to make meals, so if I choose Beef Stroganoff I will then make sure we have another meal to double up on using the remaining sour cream.

8. Menu planning and online shopping, so you can see exactly how much it costs and adjust as you go. It makes me much less likely to buy things I could do without.

9. Buy meat in bulk and cut it yourself.

10. I find meat that’s on special is often cut too large for our family, so if it is I will go halves with our neighbour. We also sometimes share a 10kg bag of spuds (potatoes).

11. Try where possible not to buy pre-packaged meat as it’s usually more expensive than in the deli window.

12. Stick to cheaper cuts of meat – so mince, chicken, sausages, chuck streak, or anything that’s on sale or reduced because it’s close to it’s use by date. That way I have something in the freezer I can use for next weeks meal plan.

13. My local supermarket marks their meat down first thing in the morning and that is when I shop and get some great deals.

14. Check the nearly expired bin. It is greatly reduced. I find dairy products marked to a third. Ask your grocer when they mark it down.

15. I buy meat in bulk when it goes on sale and get enough to freeze for a couple months. Then I make meals from my pantry and only buy the fresh ingredients.

16. Sometimes the fresh ‘catch of the day’ can be cheaper than frozen ones.

17. Scratch cookies, canned drinks, chips and other junk food off the shopping list. Live only on vegetables, pulses, grains and seasonal fruits.

18. I go a lot more healthier such as loads of vegetables, sometimes frozen when I’m really skint and usually chicken/ turkey or sausages.

19. We found that buying the no frills brands really made a difference, you may lose out on quality a bit but you just have to deal with that when you’re on a budget.

20. Have a look at cheaper brands, some you can’t tell the taste difference and sometimes they are nutritionally better than name brands.

21. Cut out unneeded things, like paper towel.

22. We buy in bulk for each month, and try to make sure there are no leftover meals that might get wasted.

23. Coupons and utilising Flybuys and Rewards points to my advantage.

24. I do online surveys for vouchers.

25. We try to use a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables.

26. Make double of as much as possible to freeze, reduces the number of visits to shops!

27. After the 20th of any month, I cook with whatever is on my shelves and fridge/freezer and I may buy one- two extra ingredients only if needed.

28. Make sure you shop when you have time so you can compare products on the shelves.

29. Shop farmers markets.

30. Take only cash so you can’t grab extras.

31. Never shop hungry.

19 Ways to Save on Family Meals

32. I try to make sure I always have stuff like flour, butter, yeast, milk, eggs to be able to make breads, pancakes, biscuits, tortillas, etc that goes along way to be able to have a base to go on. If money is super tight I try to make sure I have rice, potatoes, frozen veggies, cheese, fresh fruit, oatmeal and cheap cuts of meat. With my list above, it may not be fancy but it is healthy and it will keep everyone full.

33. I make a large pot of homemade soup. Leave it to cool then pour it into mug sized tupperware type containers I bought in Asda (80p each) then freeze them.

34. Make big soups, casseroles or pastas so you get 2 meals, or 1 meal and a few lunches.

35. Make your own muffin, breads, desserts, things of that nature – healthier and less expensive.

36. Carbohydrates are your friend for filling out meals – pasta, rice, potatoes, corn, polenta, bread.

37. We also found that sticking to really basic recipes that were cheap and had a lot of vegetables meant we could make double batches and freeze some meals. Things like Vegetable Bakes and Pasta Bakes.

38. Slow cookers are a godsend when you’re on a budget.

39. Cook everything from scratch; pasta, sauces, baking, breads; rolls, wraps, naan, tortilla, passata sauce and tomato pasta etc, and always have a full pantry and freezer!

40. When it gets to the end, meaning no money till the next paycheck, sometimes it’s just grilled cheese, cereal, or waffles or soup for dinner.

41. I also like to make double batches of lasagna or pasta and freeze half for later in the week or up to a month later.

42. One thing we do to save money is we grind our own flour. My family is gluten free, rice flour is expensive but rice is really cheap. We find jasmine rice makes the best flour, especially for baking and frying.

43. I made my own spaghetti sauce, easy and cheap. Make pasta sauce and freeze it.

44. Buy fryer chicken (a whole chicken). Cook for stock first – 1. Stock immediately becomes base for meal , soup etc. 2. Pull meat from cooked chicken and divide – creates options for more meals, chicken casserole, tacos, chicken salad, etc depending on how many your feeding.

45. Grow your own fruit and vegetables. If you have limited space look up options and ideas online, or go to a hardware store.

46. Grow a vegetable garden and know what is in season. Grow or buy in bulk and store in freezer or bottle for later use.

47. Legumes/pulses are often cheaper than meat – try some soups, bakes, curries & stews where you can often use whatever you have.

48. I chop/grate any left over veg and pop them into freezer bags for the next time.

49. Peel, cut up & freeze over ripe bananas or any other fruit on the way out, use for cooking, smoothies, ice blocks etc.

50. Bulk up recipes with cheap, in season vegetables and don’t use as much meat.

What is your #1 tip for shopping and eating frugally as a family?

Christie Burnett is a teacher, presenter, writer and the mother of two. She created Childhood 101 as a place for teachers and parents to access engaging, high quality learning ideas.

On a budget? You've come to the right place! Here at Allrecipes, we love a good money-saving hack. But so many of these tips can feel repetitive, uninspiring even. We put our minds together and rounded up our very best frugal grocery shopping tips. Here's what we came up with: 

Ride Your Bike

Here's a tip for all you active, bike-riding, multi-tasking shoppers out there: "We ride our bikes to the co-op and can't carry much, which helps focus the mind on what we truly need," says Senior Editor Carl Hanson. "Otherwise, I'd be walking out with 10 bags of Juanita's tortilla chips every week."

Shop at Aldi

If you live near an Aldi, according to Executive Editor Susan Hall, shop there as much as you can to save money.

"They have lots of organic, high-quality items at a fraction of the price of, say, a Publix," according to Susan. "They don't always have everything I need, but you can count on staples and a sprinkling of fun tems, too."

Don’t Shop Hungry

OK, OK — this probably isn't the first time you've heard this piece of advice. But it's true (and Content Marketing Manager Frances Crouter says she never seems to remember it until it's too late)! 

When you shop hungry, you're more likely to fill your cart with unnecessary items that catch your eye (or, rather, your appetite) in the moment. Make sure to head to the grocery store after a satisfying meal to avoid purchasing things you don't really need. 

Skip the Shopping Cart

Associate Editor Sarra Sedghi knows how to avoid temptation on Target runs: Skip the cart unless it's absolutely necessary. Get in, get what you need, and get out. If you need to carry more than your arms will allow, opt for a basket.

Fill Your Bags First

If you shop with reusable bags (you should!), you'll love this money-saving hack from Editorial Fellow Bailey Fink: "When I'm shopping I put my two reusable bags in the cart and once they're too heavy or full, I have to stop shopping and check out." That way, you'll avoid buying unnecessary items and you won't accidentally purchase more than you can carry. 

Sometimes the simple things in life are the best things.

Like getting outside on a nice day, sharing a home-cooked meal or curling up with a good book.

The simple things also tend to be inexpensive, which is great for those of us trying to live more frugally — whether to save money, help the environment or both.

If that sounds like you, then stick around. Here are 20 ABC Everyday articles jam-packed with tips and advice for living a more frugal and fulfilling life.

Cheap meals and food shopping on a budget

If you're finding your grocery bill is higher than you'd like, check out these ways to buy, cook and store food on a budget.

Looking to use up the food in your pantry, like pasta, beans, rice or potatoes?

We have 26 recipes that will help you do that from cooks and food writers including Hetty McKinnon and Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

Gardening and growing your own food

It takes time and some money to get started with a garden, but it can really pay off. And you don't necessarily need to have a lot of space, either.

No garden at all? Here are some ideas for vegetables and herbs you can grow without one.

Fertiliser and plant food can cost a lot. But you can make your own for free by starting a compost or a worm farm.

Do you have any frugal living tips to share? We've love to hear from you. Email [email protected]

Saving money around the house

One of the simplest ways to keep your bills down is to select a cold wash instead of warm or hot on your washing machine and hang your clothes out to dry rather than using a dryer.

Exercise bands are one good option, and with this simple band workout, you can build strength at home — without having to fork out for weights.

If you have a project you'd like to do around the house, why not try to do it yourself? You might find unexpected mental health benefits.

And before you run out to buy a new tool or piece of equipment, have a think about whether you really need it.

Perhaps you could borrow it from friends or family, or maybe you live near a tool library.

Stay warm without breaking the bank this winter

From finding the right heater to cheap solutions for dealing with draughts, here are some options for staying warm in winter.

Treading lighter

When it comes to living sustainably, there's a lot to learn from our grandparents. We collected some ideas on everything from repairing clothes to reducing food waste.

You can also take some inspiration from Jo, who has lived without money for five years.

If it's an option for you, consider alternatives to using the car. Walking or cycling is good for your health, your wallet and the environment.

Of course, one of the best things to do for you wallet is to buy less. Here are some tips for being a more mindful shopper online.

Tips for saving and investing

A common question we have from readers is how to get better with saving. Here are five simple tips.

Maybe you're feeling like Bridget, who wanted to get better with her money, but didn't know where to start. There are a few things we can take from psychology that can help.

And, if you've scraped some savings together, you might be wondering what to do with it besides keeping in the bank. Here are some ideas for investing in shares, super or in property.

Going grocery shopping on a budget can be very stressful and discouraging. It can be demoralizing to realize that you cannot buy all of the fresh foods you want, just because they are so expensive. Also, people who live on a tight budget are often very busy with part-time jobs, making it hard to cook meals from scratch.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Here are some pointers for how to grocery shop on a budget.

Cheap Grocery List – Avoid Impulse Buys

To build a cheap grocery list, you need to plan your menu. This takes the guesswork out of your grocery shopping and is a great deterrent for impulse buys. Sure, Ramen noodles may be cheap, but does everyone in the house eat Ramen noodles, or does just the college student?

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Make a grocery list based on sale items

Build your menu and your grocery list after perusing the grocery store ads. You can see what is on sale and plan your menu accordingly. Do not forget to check for specials on spices, because spices will make simple meals more special.

Your cheap grocery list should focus, as much as possible, on items found around the perimeter of the store. Most items in the middle of the store are unnecessary for meals and everyday functioning of your household, with the exception, of course, of cleaning and toiletry items. These mystical inner isles also tempt you to impulse buys and to fill your pantry with non-essential items.

In addition, you will be amazed at how expensive some of our necessities are. Here are some items to add to your grocery list that will save you money.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Crackers are cheaper than chips.

  1. Cereal in a sack. Boxed cereal costs more than a good cut of steak. A $5 box of cereal has only about 10 ounces of food.
  2. Crackers, not chips. Chips are as big a waste of money as boxed cereal. Either buy them at the Dollar Store or switch to crackers.
  3. No soda. Brew tea or drink coffee, instead.
  4. Buy frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables cost a little less than fresh, but will keep in the freezer. If you ever find yourself throwing away vegetables because you didn’t use them in time, frozen may be the way to go.
  5. Buy detergent and toiletries at the dollar store. It is almost always 20% cheaper than you will find at the grocery store.
  6. Make your own detergent. There are numerous recipes available that will cut your laundry detergent bill in half. I have made my own for 2 years, now, and have spent no more than $80 in that entire time.

Grocery Coupons

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Look for special discounts and deals.

Where do you find coupons, and where do they work? Well, there are often coupons available at the grocery store, and they are certainly in the newspaper and online.

You can enter the search word in a browser window for coupons for a particular grocery item, and find many links to useful coupons. Many people save tremendous amounts of money on their purchases by shopping only double coupon stores and buying in bulk.

But, maybe you have had the same experience as me. The coupons I get are always for items that I never buy. Why would I want to buy something we will never eat, just because I can get it for a few pennies?

I also learned a lesson about hoarding. I would buy in bulk, just so I would have it, and it would sit in the pantry for weeks to months at a time. I did not save any money, because Every month I would buy in bulk and use all of my budgets.

Grocery coupons will save you TONS of money if you eat those foods. If not, skip the coupons. They will help you more when it comes to toiletries, clothing, and household items.

Printable Manufacturer Coupons

You will find printable manufacturer coupons on the internet. Make sure they are within the expiration date and are authentic coupons. Beware of companies that will try to charge you for coupons, some are not authentic.

Cheap Groceries Online

There are several places where you can find cheap groceries online. You can find groceries on Amazon, and order them for a 15% discount with a subscription. In addition, orders over $25 are free shipping.

Netgrocer is another online grocery store. It has been around for a long time and has a good reputation as well as a good selection. Shipping rates are not too bad, but always figure this in to make sure you are saving money.

MyBrands is another great source for online groceries. Just watch out for minimum orders.

Family Meals On A Budget

I have seen the time in my life when I had to put a 99 cent bottle of ketchup back on the shelf because we couldn’t afford it. Here are some tips for family meals:

1. Grow Your Own Vegetables

Any article on grocery shopping on a budget should include the benefits of raising your own food. Check with zoning, but you will find that even in suburban and urban areas, you can have your own chickens, harvesting fresh eggs every day. Plus, a kitchen garden is a great source of fresh vegetables.

2. Assemble Meals Ahead of Time

There are a lot of sites that have recipes that show you how to place all of the ingredients for a family meal in one ziplock bag in the freezer. When a meal is easier to assemble, you will be less tempted to stop for fast food on the way home in the evening.

3. Cook Breakfast

A hot, cooked breakfast is cheaper than a pre-packed breakfast and usually healthier. And Jimny Dean egg and cheese biscuits do not count.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Cooking breakfast is one way to save money on family meals.

Summary of Our Budget Grocery Shopping Tips

Through my experiences, I have learned that planning family meals on a budget will save time and money in the long run. Children who have been raised to eat what has been set before them are, of course, easier to feed on a budget, but with careful planning, you can make everybody happy.

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Prices for anything from groceries to gas have been soaring the past few ones and our hard-earned dollars are challenged to stretch further. Now, we may be able to ride a bicycle around town if we can’t put gas in our cars. But, we have to eat. There’s no getting around that. So, we have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families. Here are six money saving tips to try the next time you go grocery shopping.

1. Clip coupons. They put those in the newspaper for a reason. If there are new items you want to try, use a coupon to get it at a discount. If you like it, you have saved some money. On the other hand, if you don’t take a liking to it, you didn’t pay full price. For me, coupons save an average of ten or more dollars per visit. That’s money in my pocket that I can put towards gas for the car.

2. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a box of macaroni and cheese, but is it more economical? A large box of macaroni and a block of cheese will make more servings for your family than one box of prepared macaroni and cheese. The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.

3. Buy in bulk. Consider the food items that you use most often. Cereals, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart. If you have a coupon, you’ll save even more money.

4. Don’t shop when you are hungry. This is a definite no-no. Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that bag of chocolate chip cookies or that box of donuts when the growling gets underway.

5. Take a grocery list with you. This is another protection against picking up things that are too costly. Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down. Remember, the goal is to stick to the list as much as possible.

6. Shop at the same stores. This is more of a frustration reliever. In a new store, you spend most of your time looking for things and walking up and down every aisle, which oftentimes leads to forgetting an item or two. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list.

Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to implement the ideas listed above as well as others of your own, you’ll see savings each and every time you shop.

To support the blog, check out the HBHW eBooks available on Amazon. Thank you!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affilate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Saving money has never been easier with the help of these 10 grocery shopping tips.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

There's a wealth of information about ways to save money on groceries. We've done the work by sorting through the information for you! We've assembled this guide, The Frugal Foodie: How to Save Money on Groceries, so you can get the most for your hard-earned money. Below you'll find 10 grocery shopping tips as well as some of our favorite budget-friendly meals. If you've ever felt overwhelmed at the grocery store, then this guide is for you. The best way to save money is to make a list and stick to it – just like Mom always said. For more money-saving ideas, scroll down and learn the best ways to be a frugal foodie!

Buying fresh herbs every time a recipe calls for them can be an expensive habit. Learn how to get the most use out of your herbs with our guide, How to Store Fresh Herbs

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

How to Save Money on Groceries

Make a list – Taking the time to plan out a list will help you save money because you’ll be less likely to add impulse items to your cart if you have a plan. If you return home after a shopping trip only to find that you don’t know what to make with those ingredients, never fear! A great way to avoid this is to choose the recipes you want to make that week and buy those particular ingredients.

Read the grocery store flyer – It’s the easiest way to know what’s on sale for a given week. Make your grocery list as you look though the flyer for deals. It’s also a convenient way to find coupons.

Don’t shop hungry – Your eyes really are bigger than your stomach, which is why shopping on an empty stomach will cost you. It’s a good idea to go grocery shopping shortly after you’ve eaten a meal. If that doesn’t work with your schedule, eating a quick snack before you go would also help.

For easy snack ideas, check out these On-the-Go Snacks!

  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Cut and slice your own produce – While not as convenient, cutting up your own fruits and vegetables is much cheaper than buying them precut. Produce will also be fresher!

Learn the best way to cut a pepper with our how-to video, How to Cut a Pepper.

  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Don’t assume buying in bulk is better – Some items like spices and nuts can get stale rather quickly. Unless you have a plan for how to use that item, you may end up throwing that food away down the line. It depends on the item and your usage of the product if it will actually save you money to buy in bulk.

Buy produce when it’s in season – Produce that’s out of season costs more because it came from a further distance and you’re paying for the transportation. Fruits and vegetables are also fresher and taste better when you buy them in season.

Avoid the inner aisles – The inner aisles are where you’ll find packaged foods, which can be pricey. Around the perimeter of a grocery store, you will find the essentials like milk, bread, meat, and fresh produce. You’re more likely to buy wholesome ingredients, while also avoiding the high prices of packaged foods, if you shop along the perimeter.

Save even more money by making your own bread at home! Try one of these Southern Recipes for Bread: 15 Easy Bread Recipes.

  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Consider generic options – Generic brands are often comparable to their brand name counterparts, which can save you a lot of money. Sometimes, generic brands even use the name-brand items, but package them with generic labels. However, you may still want to compare the labels so you know exactly what you’re buying.

Know where to look – Did you know that grocery stores place the most expensive items on shelves that are at eye level? Grocery stores know that that is the first place shoppers look. To find cheaper items, look at the shelves that are above and below eye level.

Pay attention at the register – As you’re checking out, pay attention to prices as your items are being rung up. Make sure that the items you thought were on sale are ringing up as such. It can also remind you of coupons you might have forgotten to give the cashier.

Budget-Friendly Recipes

Now that you’ve learned the best ways to save money when shopping for groceries, try these budget-friendly recipes. These recipes taste delicious, but won’t break the bank.

  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally
  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally
  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally
  • How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Knowing how to properly store baking ingredients can save you a lot of money. Learn all about baking ingredients in our guide, How to Store Your Baking Ingredients

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

I’m on vacation this week, so I’m posting a series about food shopping on a budget with a twist. Many of the grocery-saving tips I see rely on heavy coupon use and packaged foods. My husband and I could never eat that way. Instead, this series will focus on incorporating all the standard tips into a frugal grocery shopping strategy that allows you to eat well for less.

Several years ago I read an article in Money magazine that discussed how people often waste money by grocery shopping several times a week. The writer described how her child’s friend was amazed the amount of food the writer bought on her weekly grocery trip. The friend’s mom shopped every night and bought little at one time. This is a strategy for eating well, but not for saving money.

People in other countries shop daily, but American don’t do it the way the French do. The French go to the market, buy what’s fresh, and then decide what to make. Or they decide what to make, then go to market. Either way, they are able to buy much smaller portions and don’t have much left over. Americans who shop daily usually decide what to make on the way home and don’t check their fridges and freezers to see what’s they already have. Thus they end up with multiple half-full tubs of everything and freezer-burned meat.

How to buy groceries on a budget?

Menu Planning: Good Meals, Affordable Ingredients

There are two keys to eating well and saving money on groceries: home-cooking and menu planning. Instead of showing up at the store hungry every night or opening the freezer and staring into its depths before ordering out, set aside an hour or so at the end of the week to plan the next week’s menu. Here’s how I do it:

1. Keep a magnetic grocery list pad on the fridge so we can note things as we run out. This is especially important because I don’t look inside the opaque containers of foods only my husband eats, therefore I don’t know if something is low.

2. Each Friday night I sit down with my cookbooks, grocery pad, and mini menu book. This is a little notebook where I write the week’s dinner menus. I can usually fit four weeks per page and each notebook holds about 80 week’s worth of menus (I write small). I get the notebooks free at conferences, but you can use hotel notepads, Realtor notepads, or even buy a notebook. For each night I list the main course, the side dish, and the type of salad. For example, “Tue: Chix marsala, red pot, wal gorg.” That means chicken marsala with roasted red potatoes and a walnut gorgonzola salad.

By planning ahead, I can be sure we eat fish at least twice, chicken three times, and beef no more than once. I can also avoid serving potatoes too often. If one of us will be out one night, I can plan to make extra the night before or plan an easy one person dish. I also make sure to use things that are already in the fridge or freezer. For example, if I made crème fraiche for a dish last week, I plan a dish that will use it up this week.

3. I list everything I need that I might not have already on the grocery list. I ask my husband if there’s anything he needs or any cleaning supplies we’re low on. Then I check my cabinets for supplies, frozen foods, and raw ingredients. I either add or delete items as I go. I also check our breakfast, lunch, and snack foods to make sure we have enough.

4. I check my list against my coupons and store circulars, and then set aside any coupons I can use. If something we usually buy is on special, I consider stocking up. Some people look at the circular first and plan meals around what’s on sale, but I don’t buy most of my groceries from stores with circulars or specials.

5. Sunday morning I head to the farmer’s market for produce, bagels, beef, and pork (both naturally fed). From there, I proceed to Trader Joe’s for eggs, dairy, chicken, cheese, fish, wine, and most canned/boxed goods. Finally, I head to Ralph’s to pick up the last of the items I need, usually deli meat, bread, rice, dried beans, some household goods, and anything the market or TK didn’t have.

6. After each stop, my husband takes the groceries inside and puts them away. When I get home from the last trip, I divide and freeze anything that won’t keep in the fridge.

7. Each night before bed I check the menu book and put whatever needs to defrost into the fridge.

Food Shopping on a budget: Planning Saves Time, Money, and Hassle


First, I’m not buying duplicate items because I check what I have against my list before I go to the store. Second, I can use coupons, which I wouldn’t have with me if I stopped every night. Third, I can shop wisely.


Menu planning and grocery list prep takes me 30 minutes and I usually do it while watching TV. Shopping takes me about two hours, depending on how much I need to buy and how long it takes to find it at the farmer’s market. So that’s 2 ½ hours a week (max, sometimes less). If I shopped daily, I would need to spend at least 15 minutes wandering the aisles, then another 10-15 minutes in the checkout line, plus daily travel time to and from the store. That’s also three hours a week, assuming shopping only six days.


I don’t like grocery shopping. I especially don’t like grocery shopping when there are tons of people there and the lines are long and slow. I don’t like arriving at the store only to discover the produce is sold out or the deli is closed. Plus, once I get home, then I’ve still got to start cooking. I know none of those things will happen on Sunday morning when I can get my errands out of the way and then have the rest of my day to enjoy.

Menu planning also has a health bonus. Prepackaged food is often high in calories and sodium, even if it’s supposedly healthy. By planning my menu and cooking from scratch, I can ensure that we eat a healthy, balanced diet.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

Doesn’t it seem like the price of groceries just keep going up and up while wages…well, not so much?

It can be hard to feed your family healthy meals on a tight budget.

Every. Single. Day.

Meals that the whole family will like.

That don’t cost a fortune.

And that don’t take ages to prepare.

So how do you balance all of this: your budget, your family’s tastes, and your time – and stay one step ahead of the hungry hoard?

As a busy mum of two kids, I know how hard it is to balance eating well with time and money.

I know what it’s like to look into an empty fridge and then peer into an empty purse and wonder what we’re going to eat for the rest of the week.

Over the years, I’ve always returned to the one strategy that never fails to work. That allows me to feed my family healthy meals and stick to our grocery budget.

And that strategy is meal planning.

After nearly 20 years of meal planning (gosh, that just made me feel old), I’ve tried all the meal planning strategies out there. I’ve taken the best strategies I’ve learned, streamlined them to make them easier, and I’m sharing these strategies in my book: Plan Cook Save.

If you prefer a PDF version of the eBook, you can get your copy by clicking the add to cart button below:

In this book I share:

  • How to work out the right grocery budget for your circumstances
  • How to significantly cut your grocery spending while still eating well
  • How to get organised so you spend less time shopping and cooking while still eating healthy, whole foods
  • How to create a meal plan without spending ages staring at a blank page, wondering what to write on it.

This eBook is short and to the point with actionable steps.

Each chapter clearly outlines what you need to do for successful meal planning.

And as a bonus, there are FREE printable worksheets to help you create your grocery budget and meal plans without fuss – making the whole process even easier.

I need to tell you though… this isn’t a recipe book.

It’s also different from other meal planning books because it’s not a bunch of set meal plans that you have to follow.

Because you may not like what I eat. Or you may have special dietary needs. Or the ingredients might not be in season where you live. Or your local supermarket may have awesome specials that you’re better off making the most of.

You can see why a set meal plan that someone else gives you isn’t going to work.

Instead, this eBook is a complete meal planning strategy. You implement it based on your tastes, your needs and your budget.

The book takes you step-by-step through the meal planning process so that you can tailor make your meal plans so they are 100% perfect for you and your family.

The Plan Cook Save strategy is for the tiny price of $8.

Grab your copy from Amazon by clicking the button below.

(for the PDF Version)

Once you start meal planning, based on meals you enjoy, you’ll be one step ahead of feeding the family healthy meals and you’ll save money on the groceries every week of the year. Instead of being just another thing to do, meal planning will free up time and help you stick to your grocery budget.


1. Do I need a Kindle Device to read the book?

No. You can read the book on your computer, tablet or smartphone using the free Amazon app. Or if you prefer, you can read the PDF version on any device.

2. Do I need to buy my Kindle copy from the US Amazon store?

The link above goes to the US store. If your Amazon account is registered in another country, simply click the option on the right that will take you to your local store. Alternatively, search for Plan Cook Save in the search bar of your local Amazon store.

3. It says your book is not available on Amazon.

This happens if you’ve clicked through on a mobile device to a country you’re not registered in. Use the Amazon Kindle App to search for, download and read the eBook or go to your local Amazon store and search from there.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to email.

Download the eBook and get started on creating meal plans that will save you money and time.

How to save money for groceries is one of the biggest frugal tips to help your family and exactly what you need to develop budget meals and create frugal meals you can stretch over several days for even more savings! Here’s how to save money on food while shopping.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally


How can I spend less money on groceries?

Saving money on groceries takes a little planning. Here’s how to save money on groceries without coupons!

To spend less money on groceries:

  • Create a meal plan for the week (or month).
  • Take into account special dietary needs.
  • Check your pantry so you don’t buy duplicates.
  • What’s in the refrigerator and freezer that you can use for your meals?
  • Check the sales ads BEFORE you go.
  • Download the store’s app and join their loyalty program for savings.
  • Make a list (and stick to it!).
  • Don’t be afraid to substitute generic brands.
  • Buy less meat, unless it’s on sale.
  • Shop seasonal items.
  • Avoid the high price aisles (snacks, candy, processed foods, etc.) that add nothing to your meals, but cost you more money.

Learning how to save money with groceries takes time, patience and planning! (So don’t give up!)

Let’s get into how to save money for groceries, without even using coupons!

Tips For Saving Money On Groceries

Frugal Grocery Tips #1: Eat Before You Go

This may sound crazy, but one of the easiest ways that you can save money on groceries is to eat before you go!

(My mom always told me this and I thought she was crazy! Turns out? She was right! SHOCKING!)

If you go to the grocery store hungry, you’re going to spend more money because everything looks good.

(That’s why you sometimes run into the store to get one thing and you end up $150 dollars later!)

So, be sure you eat before you go, even if it’s just a light snack to fill you up!

Frugal Grocery Tips #2: Shop Your Pantry FIRST

You should always plan meals from what you have in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer FIRST, before you do anything else.

What can you make to go with that giganto box of macaroni noodles?

You have 2 pounds of ground beef. How can you stretch that into four meals (and what do you need to shop at the store to do that)?

Shopping your stocked pantry will help you save money (and keep you on track for cheap meals for the week or month).

Frugal Grocery Tips #3: Plan With The Store App

While meal planning, use the store app to see what’s on sale at the grocery store for the week. Then, do your meal planning around what you can buy for cheaper.

Frugal Grocery Tips #4: Give Up Convenience

Yes those precut vegetables and pre-packaged meals are super convenient, but they are also more costly. Pass up those “convenient time savers” when grocery shopping.

(I see you bagged salads!)

REMEMBER: You pay for convenience. Be willing to put in a little more time and effort to save the cash.

Frugal Grocery Tips #5: Stock Up On BOGO

Look for the BOGO (Buy One, Get One) or 10 for $10 sales to help you stock up your pantry and also stretch meals during the week.

TIP: Watch out for BOGO or 10 for 10 sales. Only stock up using those sales if you need/will use the groceries. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting money and taking up room in your pantry with things you’ll have to throw out eventually!

Frugal Grocery Tips #6: Be Willing To Cook and Bake From Scratch

This is one of those frugal living tips that goes hand-and-hand with letting go of convenience.

In general, buying prepackaged and prepared items cost a lot more than cooking or baking from scratch. Learning how to cook from scratch can be a huge money saver.

Not only that, cooking and baking this way allows you to cook and bake in batches so you can freeze meals and baked goods for later use.

Frugal Grocery Tips #7: Bake Bread (Especially If You Need Special Bread)

Bread can get expensive, especially if you need a specialty bread (like gluten-free bread, which can run $6 and up for one small loaf!).

So, learn to bake your own bread.

And, you don’t have to start with the intimidating sourdough bread process (although it is fun!) Instead, you can start with a regular bread recipe. (You may be surprised that it’s easier than you think!)

You can also bake several loaves at a time and freeze them for future use!

Frugal Grocery Tips #8: Substitute Generic Brands

Don’t be tricked into thinking that on brand groceries are better than generic brands.

In many cases, you can substitute generic brands for name brands. Don’t be afraid to try them out for your grocery list and see what works for you!

You can cut your grocery bill significantly by using generic brands.

Frugal Grocery Tips #9: Plan Ahead For Special Dietary Needs

If you have special dietary needs in your family, it can increase your grocery bill.

List those specific groceries at the top of your grocery list so you don’t forget to factor those into your food budget.

Frugal Grocery Tips #10: Plan for Meatless Mondays (Or More!)

Meat is expensive! So, eating less meat in your family can also help you save money on groceries.

Plan at least one meatless meal a week (or more!).

But, meatless meals don’t have to be boring!

Think: veggie stuffed potatoes, pasta with vegetables, lentil tacos, quiche, rice bowls, and so much more!

Frugal Grocery Tips #11: Use Fillers to Stretch Meat

When you do use meat, use fillers to stetch your meats and get more bang for your buck

You can easily stretch a pound of ground beef (or turkey) into two meals by adding in extra fillers that probably won’t even be noticed in pastas, lasagna, chili, tacos and more.

TIP: Use finely chopped butternut squash or beans as fillers mixed in with cooked ground beef to add more “meat” texture to your recipe.

Frugal Grocery Tips #12: Buy In Bulk

If you find great sales (especially on meat), but in bulk and vacuum seal and freeze.

But, buying in bulk is not just for meat. If you find great deals on vegetables and fruits, buy in bulk and freeze them, too! They’re great for recipes, cooking, and baking.

How to grocery shop and cook frugally

I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful, a lot of my weekly budget can be spent on food. I love cooking and trying out new restaurants and cafes around town. But food can get pricey, especially if you shop at expensive groceries stores and eat out all the time. That’s why I want to tell you how to eat healthy on a budget!

There are certain things you can do on a weekly basis to ensure that you’re not spending the bulk of your pay cheque on food. From batch cooking to buying in season and making a grocery list before going to the store, all you have to do is be more mindful.

Thinking about what foods your body really needs and how you can get these foods more frugally is all it takes. There are a number of ways to eat healthy on a budget, and I’m sharing by best tips with you!

1. Batch cooking

Batch cooking is one of the best ways to eat healthy, save money, and have more time at the end of the day! You can batch cook and freeze a week’s or month’s worth of food so all you have to do each night is heat it up. This way you can make sure you’re getting the right amount of protein, veggies and everything else you need in your future meals, and stops you from eating out on the way home or popping in a microwave dinner.

Batch cooking does require some planning and prepping, but it’s totally worth it! The Batch Cookbook not only provides you with awesome recipes, but will also give you tips and techniques for batching your meals.

2. Eat out less

When you eat out often, it accounts for lots of your hard earned money being spent on food. And it’s not always the healthiest foods, either. Making your meals at home is much more cost efficient, and you’ll know exactly what your putting into the meals you prepare.

If you’re someone who eats out for the majority of your meals, think about how you can change this. Is time the problem? Try batch cooking your meals on Sunday night. Do you think you’re an awful cook? The 15-Minute Meals Cookbook will help you out with that – it’s filled with delicious and easy meals that anyone can make!

3. Cut out expensive grocery stores

Do you know that grocery stores change their prices depending on where they’re located? So if you shop at a grocery store in a nicer, more expensive area, they jack the prices up. My jaw hits the floor when I see how expensive groceries are sometimes. $6.99 for a ½ pint of raspberries? It’s bonkers!

Then I visit Chinatown, which is right down the street, and the prices are so much more affordable, and the quality is just as good, if not better. There’s no need to waste your money at expensive grocery stores that inflate the prices. Finding local groceries is one of the best ways to live more frugally.

4. Buy in season

Buying out of season fruits and veggies always costs more, due to the costs of transportation and energy. If you’re not sure when certain foods are in season, do some research in order to spend less and stay on budget.

Plus, in season foods always taste better anyways, so it’s a win-win.

5. Skip premade foods

I’ve definitely been guilty of this one. Popping into the grocery store and picking up a container of pre-cut fruits or a premade pasta for $11. Then I get home and think to myself, I could have bought ingredients to make this for less than that and then had some left over.

Sometimes premade foods seem like the best option because we’re feeling really hungry or lazy, but you can save a lot of money by making it yourself. Plus, it will taste better.

6. Eat lots of fiber and protein

Foods packed with fiber and protein are not only good for your health, but they help you stay full for longer, which means you don’t have to eat as much. Whereas foods like cheese, pastries, and sodas offer empty calories with little nutrients, fiber and protein rich foods ensure you aren’t hungry ten minutes after you eat.

Do an analysis of the foods you eat most. If you find yourself hungry after most of your meals, you probably need to eat more foods that are nutrient rich and keep you satisfied for longer. This will keep you healthier overall and ensure you’re not snacking on junk foods throughout the day.

7 .Make a shopping list

Without a shopping list, you’re more likely to pick up random foods you don’t need. Figure out what you need for specific recipes or batch meals for the week. Make sure to check your fridge, cupboards and freezer to ensure you don’t buy doubles. You can also budget your shopping trips more easily this way.

Stick to your shopping list at the store and resist the urge to buy things you want but don’t need. Another tip I’ve found to be very helpful is going grocery shopping when you’re full. Whenever I’m hungry at the grocery store, I end up buying unnecessary things and spending more money.

8. Stock up on sales

If you see one of your favorite healthy foods go on sale, stock up! It may feel like you’re spending a lot of money, but it will save you money in the long run. For example, if you love blueberries and see them on sale for $1.99 and they’re usually $4.99, you can buy them in bulk and freeze them!

9. Visit your local farmer market…and go late

Buying local is so much healthier than buying at the grocery store, and while sometimes local foods can come at a higher price point, waiting until the end of the day at the farmer’s market can work in your favor. At this point, vendors are more likely to negotiate a bit more because they want to share their products rather than have a big stock back at home.

Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be hard! Start implementing these tips and start living more frugally today!

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How to grocery shop and cook frugally

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