RICHES: One Week of Groceries for only $15

There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there giving advice on cutting back and saving money at the grocery store. However, a lot of articles don’t show you any real life  examples for when you actually have the need to slash your bill: an emergency, a savings goal, a smaller than expected check. I was always frustrated when I would find a new article on how to save on my grocery bill, only to later learn that the article was the same old information with no actual real life examples. Check out what I’ve learned through my years of practice and how to score a week of groceries for $15 for one.

RICHES: One Week of Groceries for $15

Shop Your Pantry

Always shop your own pantry before going to the grocery store. ALWAYS! If you know what your panty has in it then you can build meals around what you already own! Smart consistent shopping can build up a small stockpile, but don’t go crazy if you’re just one person. Buying items like rice, pasta, dry beans, canned goods, soups, and frozen foods like veggies and meat are great stockpile items that last a good while. Pick these up when you have an extra $5.

Real Life Example: I looked in my pantry before heading to the store and I found a half full box of pasta and a surplus of oatmeal, my refrigerator had a package of bacon and 8 eggs, and my freezer had frozen meat and onions in it. I thought about what I had and decided that pasta should be on the menu this week!

Make a List

Making a shopping list before heading out will keep you focused and eliminate impulse buys. People that meander around or buy things that “sound good” overspend every time.

Real Life Example: I made a list based off of how I eat every day after I Shopped My Pantry in Step 1. I’ll need to fill these holes: breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner.

Here’s my shopping list:
(Pasta) sauce, bell pepper, and cheese
(Enchilada Casserole) white corn tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup
(Fruit) 5-8 pieces of fruit

Shop Smart

Now that you have a list, it’s time to head to the store! When shopping, check your list and shop for the best deal. I personally don’t shop the store flyer and I rarely use coupons. A $0.50 off coupon for an item that is name brand and $2.49 isn’t as good of a deal as the same item that isn’t name brand for $1.49. Make sense?

Shopping smart should also include this bit of advice: Find a cheaper grocery store! I love Kroger and HEB. I never set foot in a Whole Foods or Natural Grocers. I also frequent the same store and know the floor plan which means no aimless wandering.

Real Life Example 1: Don’t fall for the Buy # for $X deals! I shop at Kroger and I regularly get only 1 of the items for the sale price instead of multiples.

Method 1: Only buy what you need, when you need it. If you are tight on money or really trying to save, this is the best option.

Real Life Example 2: If you see a great deal on a staple or an item that you buy often, grab the deal! I love the clearance sections at my Kroger. I regularly find ground beef and chicken on clearance. When I get home I throw it in the freezer for later when I need/want to save more money. The dry goods clearance bins frequently have beer and wine in them (perfect for trying something new or taking to a dinner party), packaged dried foods (like granola), canned veggies that may have a dent, and more.

Method 2: Grab great deals for later. If you are preparing for a no spend month or can stock up, this is a great option. Store extras in the freezer or pantry! An extra $5 here and there can really help you out in an emergency later.

I have personally found a good balance between option 1 and 2! I buy what I need, when I need it but I won’t pass up a steal of a deal on meat, canned foods, or frozen foods I buy often.

Remember, this food will never go to waste if you always follow Step 1: Shop Your Pantry!

Take Your Time

A lot of article tell you to get in and out as fast as possible. I disagree! I prefer to shop my list carefully and buy the best deal possible. You might see a product for $1.25 with a deal for 2 for $2 and think “Wow! What a deal!” But the can next to it is $.79 for 1. If you only needed one and grabbed 2 then you already wasted $1.21… If you bought 1 for $1 that’s good, but $0.79 is even better! If you spring for 2 you’re still saving!

“It’s only $1.21! WHO CARES!” I hear you and I get it! It is only $1.21… but if you save on 4 things this way then you just covered that Starbucks you shouldn’t have bought on the way in… Or you have almost $5 to throw at savings, debt, or investing. Added with all the other smart moves you can make, it adds up over time.

Real Life Example: Today at the store I saw a deal on strawberries. A container was $1.88. What a deal! And it would fill my need for a few servings of fruit. At 4 servings that comes to $0.47 a serving. But I thought I could do better! I then found 3 apples for $1. Now I was down to $0.33 a serving. But then I found a fantastic deal: 5 oranges for $1! That’s $0.20 a serving! Sold! If I would’ve just grabbed the strawberries I would’ve spent $1.08 more.

Avoid Aisles You Don’t Need to go Down

You don’t have to walk down every single aisle in the store! Try to stay on the perimeter and only go on the aisles you need to avoid impulse buys.

Use Your Rewards Card

Most grocery stores have a rewards card. You can easily sign up at the Customer Service desk and it’s FREE. I actually use my parent’s card. The reason is simple: I save money on my groceries and I accrue points for them to use at the Kroger gas station. I do this because I don’t have a Kroger gas station by me in Dallas but they have one outside their neighborhood in Houston. Everyone wins!

Use Your Coupons

If you’re into coupons, don’t forget to use them when you check out! This isn’t really my thing but if you have coupons then don’t forget to use them!

Use Your Apps!

Don’t forget to use your Rebate Apps after you shop! There are a lot of apps out there such as Ibotta and Checkout51.

Stay Flexible

Sometimes I eat cheap (like this week) and sometimes I eat very healthy with a Paleo diet. No matter how I am eating that week, I stay vigilant in my pursuit of saving!

COMING SOON: A Week of Paleo for Cheap

So… What Did I Buy Anyway?

On my $15 grocery trip I bought pasta sauce, frozen diced bell peppers, (2) bags of shredded cheese, 1 can of enchilada sauce, 2 cans of soup, corn tortillas, bananas, oranges, avocados, cake mix, and frosting.

One Week of Groceries for $15

Meal Plan!

Sunday
Breakfast: Oatmeal*
Lunch: Leftovers* from last week of rice, beans, and sausage
Dinner: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom

Monday
Breakfast: Oatmeal* and coffee**
Lunch: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and a banana
Snack: Orange
Dinner: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and avocado with a glass of wine* and a piece of cake.

Tuesday
Breakfast: Oatmeal*, coffee**, and a banana
Lunch: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom and avocado
Snack: Orange
Dinner: Pasta with ground beef*, onions*, bell pepper, sauce, cheese, and noodles*

Wednesday
Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs*, 4 strips bacon*
Lunch: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Pasta with ground beef*, onions*, bell pepper, sauce, cheese, and noodles*

Thursday
Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs*, 4 strips bacon*
Lunch: Enchilada Casserole with ground beef*, onions*, tortillas, cheese, enchilada sauce, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom
Snack: Orange
Dinner: Pasta with ground beef*, onions*, bell pepper, sauce, cheese, and noodles*

Friday
Breakfast: Oatmeal* and banana
Lunch: Company Lunch**
Snack: Orange
Dinner: Pasta with ground beef*, onions*, bell pepper, sauce, cheese, and noodles*

Saturday
Breakfast: Oatmeal* and banana
Lunch: Leftovers from Company Lunch**
Dinner: Dinner with Friends!

Sunday
Breakfast: Oatmeal*

*Denotes items that were “shopped” from my own pantry before going to the grocery store.
**Denotes free item.

Want my recipe for Enchilada Casserole? Check it out here!

I hope these tips, grocery list, and meal plan schedule helped to show how you can get by on a $15 shopping trip.

Once you get really, really good you’ll be able to skip grocery shopping for the week like I am this week!

What tips and tricks are your favorites? Please comment below to share with others!

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