How to Keep Your Family’s Grocery Bill Under $400 a Month

by Alexa Mason · 5 comments

Between myself and my two kids, ages 4 and 5, I rarely spend more than $400 a month on groceries.

I don’t use coupons, I don’t search the sales fliers, and I’m not particularly fond of cooking everything from scratch. Ever since I decided to tackle my grocery budget — and quit eating out — I’ve developed a super simple system for keeping myself in check.

Below, I reveal how I keep my grocery bill low — so you can do the same:

Stock Up on Staples Once a Month

I love Sam’s Club; I always have. But now that I have a little one in school who packs her lunch every single day, I love it even more.

I make a trip to Sam’s Club about once a month to stock up on the things my family uses on a consistent basis: juice, Powerade, kids snacks, and generic household items.

I’ve done my homework and compared prices between our normal grocery store and Sam’s Club. Buying in bulk at Sam’s Club is the winner about fifty percent of the time — especially when they’re running promotions.

Plus buying in bulk prevents me from having to run to the grocery store each week, which is another cost saver.

Keep a Super Simple Meal Plan

I’m going be totally honest: I don’t particularly like cooking, and because of this, my family eats a LOT of crockpot meals.

The crockpot is the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t want to cook or doesn’t have time to. All you have to do is dump ingredients into the pot and let them simmer all day.

Breakfasts are either fruit, cereal, toast, or oatmeal, all of which are extremely simple to make. And lunches are a bit of a toss-up; some days we have snack-y lunches, while other days I whip up a hot meal. Nevertheless, I always keep something easy on hand.

Quit Eating Out

There was one point when I was eating out far more than I liked to admit. After working and then spending time with my kids, the last thing I wanted to do was cook. Instead, I’d hit up the drive-thru.

I got rid of this habit a few months ago and haven’t looked back. Not only do I feel better, but I am saving money.

Be Repetitive

You can be repetitive in what you buy without being totally boring. There are tons of ways you can mix and match 10-15 different foods.

The beauty of repetition is that you’ll quickly learn when items are priced well. And when you see those low prices, you can stock up on your favorites and save a substantial amount of money.

Keeping a grocery bill under control doesn’t have to be time consuming. You don’t have to clip coupons, visit ten different stores, or build a stockpile of 100 different foods. If you keep things simple and learn where to shop for which items, keeping your food budget in check will become second nature.

How much do you spend each month on groceries? Do you wish it were less?

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  • lana says:

    I try to cook large batches of meat and then repackage it in one pound bags. I make shredded chicken, shredded pork, spicy ground italian sausage, chopped chicken, ground beef. That way I can save myself time and dishes. I keep it simple and add meat to veggies and a starch with some seasoning. Helps my bottom line.

  • Steve Economides says:

    Love your ideas. Having a plan, limiting trips to the store and using a crockpot are all great ways to save time and money. Have you tried bulk cooking or doubled cooking? We wrote about it, and lots of other ideas in our book, “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family.” Whenever you cook a meal, make a double batch, then afterwards wrap up what remains and freeze it for next week. You’re doing great – Keep leading the way to frugality.

  • Bert says:

    Good post. All I would add here, is there are alternatives to Sam’s Club , of which I have been a satisfied fan/member since 1979. On occasion, Costco will beat Sam’s (and vice versa) by a significant margin. Although there are none near me, I have heard good things about BJ’s. A big objection to the warehouse clubs are the annual fees, but those concerns are unwarranted in the greater scheme of things. A couple of tires can absorb any fees and then some. My latest key to shopping is to sign up for the various email alerts, especially the local groceries, and then to stock up during the sales. I have beaten both Sam’s and Costco at my local Albertson’s during their promotions. Also, both Walmart and Target will honor competitor’s fliers (no buy one get one), which could save gas by shortening your outing.

  • CheapMom@SimpleCheapMom says:

    We have a pretty similar system going now! I like that you keep is simple. I used to be a big couponer and travel to 5 different grocery stores. I found it just made things way more complicated than they needed to be!

  • Simon Cave says:

    What I like to do is use the most basic ingredients that are inexpensive (pasta, rice, vegetables…) and mix them together. It’s cheap to cook and good to eat 😉

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