How to save money on groceries every month – without fail
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Everybody has to spend money on groceries. (Click here to see what we did to bring our grocery spending from $1,000/month to less than $300/month.) Everybody has to eat, and unfortunately, food isn’t free.
How much time do you spend every week in your kitchen planning, prepping, and making meals? (Too much? This article will show you exactly how to save money on groceries (and TIME) – with the exact steps that we took to go from a $1,000/month grocery budget to a $300/month grocery budget. This stuff WORKS.)
How much time do you spend every week just trying to think of something to make for dinner?
Planning meals used to be one of the biggest time (and money) suckers in my life. I would spend more than an hour each and every day just trying to think of something to make for dinner, using the ingredients we had in our house.
Then, after scrolling through Pinterest and scavenging my cookbooks, I would end up finding a tasty looking dinner idea and would end up making a last-minute trip to the grocery store to pick up one or two ingredients.
Have you ever found yourself making last-minute trips to the grocery store for just one thing? If you have… I’m sure you can relate to this –
I would get to the grocery store, grab a basket, and by the time I got to the checkout I would have a basket full of items and a bill that was over $50, when in reality the couple of ingredients that I had originally gone to the store to pick up should have only cost me $10. Let’s face it. When was the last time you were able to go to the grocery store and get just one thing?
Planning meals the day of, rather than planning them in advance, was a massive money suck, and it required a ridiculous amount of time. But, I was too stubborn to change anything. (I had heard of meal planning, but I thought it would take away my creativity in the kitchen. Ha.)
It wasn’t until I was going over my husband’s and my bills for the month that I realized we had spent MORE money on groceries for ONE MONTH than we were spending on rent for a month.
For TWO people.
(Okay – I can’t say “we”. I was the one who did all of the cooking and grocery shopping, so it was entirely on me.)
It was just my husband and me at home eating this food I was buying. And I spent more on groceries one month than we did on a place to live (and that excludes eating out – we spent money eating out ON TOP of our massive grocery bill, too).
In all honesty, this isn’t something I love talking about, because I talk non-stop about how frugal we are and how we’re managing to live off of one income and all these things we’ve been doing to cut costs, and remembering how careless I was with our money is kind of like pouring salt in an open wound.
I can only imagine how much more money we would have saved up by now if I hadn’t been so careless with our grocery budget (or lack of) back then.
But, even though it’s something that I don’t love to talk about, I do believe it is something that needs to be talked about.
Maybe you’re in a similar boat as we were. Maybe you don’t remember the last time you compared prices or checked your grocery bill. Maybe you’re spending massive amounts of money on groceries and don’t know how to change that.
The reason I’m sharing my story of extreme (and embarrassing) overspending with you is because I want you to know that if you’re in the same situation that we were in, there IS a way to turn it around!
And I’m the proof.
How we were able to cut $700 out of our grocery budget
In short, doing this is exactly what got us on track to cutting our grocery budget and saving hundreds of dollars a month on food.
For the longer version:
It was shortly after I had quit my job and become a stay at home wife that I realized how much money we were spending on groceries every single month. When I realized this I knew that someway, somehow, we needed to make a change.
I wasn’t sure what to do – like I said before, I had heard of meal planning, but I was always too darn stubborn to give it a shot.
That was, until the real numbers were in front of my face. Then I was willing to give just about anything a shot.
So, I read a couple articles on meal planning and decided to give it a try. I didn’t even last a week before I was on my way back to the grocery store several times a week to overspend on groceries. Again and again and again.
After another couple of months of crazy high grocery bills had passed, I realized that if we were going to continue to be a single income family and I was going to continue to stay home, I really needed to change something – whether I liked it or not.
So I gave meal planning another go. In all honesty, I hated it at first. I couldn’t get the hang of it and I was still overspending, though this time around I wasn’t overspending quite as much.
It was a small win.
I didn’t invest in a meal planning product or system (like this one that I wholeheartedly recommend!) when I started using meal planning to get ahold of my bad spending habits – I did it all with a good old fashioned piece of paper, pen, and RESEARCH.
But – it took me a LOT longer to break my overspending habit than it should have.
(And I really believe that is because I chose to do it on my own – I refused to invest in a meal planning product that does all the hard work for you and allows you to reap the benefits right away. Looking back now, I would have invested in this product right away if I had known that it would save us so much money from the get-go.)
How to save money on groceries – what worked?
I can wholeheartedly say that meal planning is one of the biggest reasons that I am able to be a stay at home wife and mom.
Meal planning HAS changed our lives (not to sound dramatic or anything…).
If we wouldn’t have started meal planning, I would have had to go back to work to cover our enormous grocery bill every month. If I had gone back to work I wouldn’t have started this blog. If I wouldn’t have started this blog, I wouldn’t be able to share the things I’ve learned with people like you, and I wouldn’t have been able to find a passion that allows me to make money from home.
It does all the hard work of meal planning for you, so you can take it and start saving money instantly on groceries (rather than being like me and wasting money spending months trying to figure out how to make it work).
If you are a wife or mom who is longing to stay home and raise her kids and nourish her family through homemaking but isn’t able to because of financial reasons, the Eat at Home Meal Plan can really make that possible for you.
I believe that there are MANY ways to cut costs so you can become a single income family, but I also believe that curating a smart grocery budget is the #1 thing that has made being a single income family possible for my family.
Here are a few frequently asked questions regarding the Eat at Home Meal Plans:
How does this meal planning method work?
With the Eat at Home Meal Plans, you will get given recipes, shopping lists, and ready-to-use meal plans for each month. But – they created it in a way for REAL families, and they know that real families have real opinions, likes, and dislikes.
So, you can build your very own meal plan by picking through the recipes provided and finding ones that your family likes, and they will do the rest of the work for you.
I can attest that meal planning CAN be a lot of work (trust me, I did it the hard way at first and it took me much longer than it should have to get the hang of), but the Eat at Home Meal Plan is pretty much doing all the hard work for you, and giving you all the tools you need to save money on groceries month after month after month.
Each month you will get access to four different meal plan options –
- Traditional. The traditional plan is family friendly and includes a variety of meats and veggies, along with the occasional meatless meal (which helps keep costs low). This plan incorporates the largest variety of recipes – and they’re all kid-approved. Even the pickiest of eaters will find meals to enjoy.
- Wholesome Traditional. If you like to incorporate more wholesome, traditional foods into your family’s lifestyle, this plan uses common ingredients with an emphasis on natural foods – including a variety of meats, veggies, fruits, and whole grains.
- Slow Cooker. Slow cookers and instant pots are any busy mom’s best friends. The Slow Cooker plan provides the variety of the Traditional Plan, except every recipe can cook in your slow cooker and many include Instant Pot options, too. BONUS: Each month’s plan also includes one week of slow cooker freezer meals that can be assembled in one hour.
- No Flour/No Sugar. Healthy foods can be delicious, too. The No Flour/No Sugar meal plan includes easy-to-prepare, hearty, healthy recipes that everyone will enjoy. These meals are big on veggies and protein from whole foods that you can find in any supermarket. Enjoy a salad of the week and an optional easy protein of the week with no flour or artificial sugars added.
When you get the Eat at Home Meal Plans you get access to all four meal planning options (mentioned above), so you don’t have to worry about choosing one.
You will also get color-coded grocery lists along with the meal plans (which help cut down significantly on the time spent at the grocery store), and all the recipes that you want for that month.
(My husband and I have tried MANY of the Eat at Home recipes and I can say that none of them have failed to please us. I haven’t come across one recipe that we haven’t liked, yet!)
After you get your meal plan, the recipes, and your grocery list – you’ll go grocery shopping, then you will go ahead and make the recipe that you have chosen for that night.
You can choose to make the meal ahead of time, make freezer meals, a slow cooker meal, or go the traditional route.
Then – you can sit back and enjoy dinner with your family without having to leave the house.
What kind of recipes are included?
You will get access to over 75 NEW recipes each and every month (they don’t repeat a single recipe within three months), as well as side dish and dessert recipes.
For me, choosing side dishes to serve with dinner is one part of making dinner that I have always struggled with. There are countless side dish options, but some of them just aren’t practical, and it’s so hard to choose out of the ones that are.
The Eat at Home Meal Plan offers side dish suggestions (along with the recipe, and if you desire, includes the ingredients on your shopping list for you) for the meals you are having – so if you’re like me and you struggle to choose a dish to go with your main meal, you don’t have to anymore.
I’m not very good at cooking – will this be too advanced for me?
Not at all. You can head over to the details page here to read about other members who weren’t much for cooks, or didn’t even enjoy cooking, who have loved using the Eat at Home meal plans.
The recipes you get in these meal plans are straight forward, quick to make, and easy to follow (again – I’ve tried a lot of them, and not only are they easy to follow and make, they’re also some of the best dinners I’ve ever eaten) – which is great for those of you who don’t necessarily like cooking, or maybe aren’t the best at it (you can only get better from here!).
I’m living paycheck to paycheck – is this a good investment for me to make?
Since each person’s situation is unique and I don’t love telling people where or how to spend their money, I know this to be true: meal planning is one of the biggest things my husband and I have to thank for our ability to live as a single income family.
We went from spending more money each month on groceries than we paid for rent (it was painful), to cutting our monthly grocery budget by hundreds of dollars (yes – hundreds) EACH and every month.
If I were in your shoes I would confidently make this purchase knowing that meal planning is one of the most powerful tools you can use that will help you save money month after month, without fail.
If these meal plans are able to stop you and your family from eating dinner or lunch out even just ONCE a month, these plans will be more than paying for themselves.
What about side dishes and dessert recipes?
Don’t worry – side dish recipes (and even suggestions of which side dishes go best with which meals) AND dessert recipes are also included with these meal plans.
You will get one dessert recipe option each week, on each plan type (so you could make all FOUR desserts in one week if you’re feeling rambunctious!).
I have kids in the house and they can be PICKY eaters – will they like these recipes?
While I can’t speak for kids, I can say that my husband and I have tried many of these recipes and we have LOVED every.single.one of them. I even make these dishes when we have guests over, and I’ve had several people ask for the recipe themselves.
However, for kids, here’s what Tiffany (the creator of Eat at Home Meal Plans) has to say:
“Trust me, with four children, I’m very used to picky eaters! The recipes included in all three of our plans are tested on real families with real tastebuds. The Traditional plan, in particular, is aimed at pleasing picky palates.”
How can I know that meal planning really saves money?
Think about this – you’re standing in your kitchen and it’s 5 pm. The kids are all hungry and everyone in the house is asking the same question. “What’s for dinner? And WHEN are we going to be eating?!”
Your husband is going to be home from work soon, and you know he will be hungry, too.
You stand there without a clue of what you’re going to be making for dinner. You end up thinking of a dish to make, but you don’t have all the ingredients at home, so you have to load everyone up and make a “quick” trip to the grocery store to get a couple ingredients for dinner.
One of two things happen –
- You all end up eating out at a restaurant for dinner. You’re all loaded up in the vehicle already, anyway, and it’s getting late – so going to a restaurant (or getting fast food) sounds a lot easier than going to the store, getting ingredients, and having to go back home to make dinner. Or,
- You go to the grocery store to get 2 or 3 ingredients for dinner. By the time you get to the checkout you’ve filled a small basket full of food (you saw some sales that you couldn’t pass up on, or just saw some food that looked good, or you can’t remember whether or not you have that food at home so you grab it just to be safe). The grocery bill that should have been less than $10 is now more than $50. You beat yourself up on the inside a little bit, then go home to start cooking dinner, already exhausted and a bit grumpy.
I have personally been in both of these situations. I used to make many many trips to the grocery store in one week. I didn’t bother stocking up on food because I never knew what I would want to make for dinner tomorrow or the next day.
I liked to wait for the creativity to hit me before I decided what to make for dinner.
Well, as it turns out, waiting for creativity to hit me, and not planning ahead, are the very two things that made me spend more than $1,000 on groceries for one month. For TWO people.
It was just my husband and me eating, and I spent THAT much money on food.
(And that doesn’t include the times that we went out to eat that month, which we did at least three or four times.)
It was when I realized how out of control my spending on groceries was that I finally decided to try my hand at meal planning.
(Remember how I was telling you that I chose to figure meal planning out on my own? Well, that caused me to fail and spend another couple months overspending on groceries before I was finally able to get my butt in gear and ready to meal plan.)
After successfully starting meal planning, I was able to cut our grocery bill down to $300 a month, or $75 a week.
So yes – I truly believe in meal planning, and this is why I promote and speak so highly of meal planning because it has been an important factor that has made it possible for me to continue to be a stay at home wife.
I am the walking, talking proof that meal planning WORKS. It worked for us and I am confident it can work for you, too.
How much does the Eat at Home Meal Plan cost?
You can choose from three different payment plans (the good news is, all three plans include FULL access to the same meal plans and recipes, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on anything).
- Monthly plan – $14/month. This plan is billed every month until canceled
- Quarterly plan – $10.33/month (25% savings). This plan is billed every 3 months until canceled.
- Yearly plan – $7/month (50% savings). This plan is billed every 12 months until canceled.
What if I sign up and don’t end up liking it? Is there a return policy?
There absolutely is. Eat at Home Meal Plans was created for real families, and they know that real families all have different opinions, different likes, and different dislikes. So, they’ve set it up so you can try the Eat at Home Meal Plans risk-free for the first month.
If you sign up and find that you and your family aren’t loving it, you can simply send them an email within the first 30 days to get a full refund.
If you sign up for the quarterly or yearly plans and want to cancel further down the road, you can email them at any time to cancel those plans, too.
9 more reasons why you’ll love the Eat at Home Meal Plans
- 15-minute meals. Perfect for those particularly busy nights (when you’d normally just eat out – but not anymore).
- Get all four plans (Traditional, Wholesome Traditional, Slow Cooker, No Flour/No Sugar) with any payment plan.
- Get the whole month’s plans so you can plan ahead and only make a couple trips to the grocery store a month.
- Serving options are available for small families (3 – 4 servings), and large families (6 – 8 servings). This helps you avoid food waste and allows you to play for any leftovers you might have.
- 1-hour freezer stash. Save time (and money) by stocking your freezer with 6 meals prepped in ONE hour. (You’ll get a new freezer-stash plan every month.)
- Color-coded lists make it easy to swap out ingredients or whole meals.
- Printable recipes for easy cooking (and so you can add your favorite recipes to your homemade cookbook so you always have them on hand).
- Printable menus that you can hang on your fridge or near your calendar so you, and everyone in your family, can easily see what’s for dinner. (No more need to dread the “What’s for dinner?!” question.)
- Instant pot recipes are included for some recipes in each of the plans.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (because I seriously LOVE meal planning!) – meal planning is the number one way that we save money on groceries month after month, without fail.
Learn more ways how to save money on groceries:
20 Things we Took Off Our Grocery List to Save Money
18 Clever Ways to Save Money on Groceries