There’s never been a bad time to try and save money. Groceries are one of your most important outgoings, and you can’t live without them! However, as essential as they are, you needn’t be breaking the bank when going grocery shopping. How do you do this? By using a cheap grocery list, of course.
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- Cheap Eats
- Budget Grocery List FAQs
- Your Budget Grocery List Template
There may be many reasons you want to reduce your grocery budget. Maybe you’re in a situation where you need to tighten your belt a little. You might even be trying to put as much cash away as possible for a big life change, like buying a house or getting married!
Regardless of the “why”, what’s more important is the “how”. That’s what we’re going to give you through answering some frequently asked questions. That’s because making your grocery bill smaller is not just about following instructions, it’s also about being savvy when it comes to spending.
We’ll also provide you with a budget grocery list template you can use in the grocery store. However, you can skip straight to the free printable cheap shopping list template if you wish to.
Cheap Grocery List FAQs
Should I put frozen food on my cheap shopping list?
Did you know that frozen food is generally cheaper than fresh? Not only that, but it’s just as healthy as fresh! This means that you can still make a healthy grocery list on a budget when opting for frozen food.
But why is this?
It’s because the food is frozen close to their source at their peak ripeness. This means that they lose little to no nutrients in the process. Also, because they don’t have to be rushed over land and sea to your supermarket. This means transport costs are lower: a saving that is then passed on to you.
However, whilst frozen food is generally cheaper, it’s not always the case. You’ll want to avoid fruit and vegetable “mixes” or marinated meat. These cost considerably more than your standard frozen versions or combination of fresh ingredients. Prepared products are also more expensive than buying fresh and doing the preparation yourself. Do you really need to be spending extra money on frozen chopped onions when fresh ones are cheaper? They’re convenient but costly.
Should I buy canned food?
Just like with frozen food, it can be just as healthy as fresh food. This makes it a must-have when building a grocery shopping list on a budget. Canned goods are excellent for certain products, especially legumes. However, you’ll need to exact a little bit more caution if you’re looking to make a cheap healthy grocery list.
This is because some canned food can have added salt, saturated fat, and sugar. Whilst the food loses no nutrients during the canning process, these additives can make them not as healthy as they can be. But, a little investigation and label checking before you buy can help you avoid this.
To find out more about why you should be adding canned food to your low budget grocery list, read our guide to buying canned food.
Is fresh food ever good to put on a budget grocery list?
There are times when fresh food is actually cheaper than frozen or canned varieties: such as when they’re in season.
This is because a lot of products suddenly becomes available locally, meaning even lower transport costs. So, be sure to keep track of what produce is in season, and buy these fresh accordingly.
Also, sometimes fresh is best for what you want to use items for. You’re going to want fresh spinach for a salad, not frozen. Also, frozen raspberries and strawberries are great for smoothies, but not in a fruit salad as they’ll go mushy once they thaw.
Creating a cheap grocery list is not about shunning fresh food altogether. You certainly will end up buying more frozen and canned food, but you’ll certainly still be needing to visit the fresh section of the supermarket.
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Should I buy things in bulk?
Yes, buying in bulk is cheaper. But not all bulk buys are best. It depends on what you’re going to buy and whether you’ve got the space and equipment to store it and the knowledge about how to store it properly.
Fresh food can be frozen at home if there’s a good bulk deal on it. But you need to know how to freeze it properly, and also have a big enough freezer in order to do so.
Dried food, particularly grains, can be kept in a cupboard or in the pantry. But not only do you need the space to do this, but you’ll also need equipment like large food containers or food clips. Otherwise, you could risk insects or moisture getting into your food, causing it to become spoiled and therefore thrown away prematurely. This will cost you more in the long run.
How can I save money on basics, like milk, eggs, and bread?
It’s quite difficult to save money on these. It mostly boils down to where you shop and the prices they charge.
You can make some savings on bread by shopping towards the end of the day where bread baked in-store gets reduced for a quick sale.
Milk is another thing you could potentially save on. Buying UHT milk instead of fresh is generally a cheaper option. Also, because it won’t start to go bad quickly until you open it, you can make a saving by buying it in bulk and storing it until you need it. The same can be said for UHT juice, too.
What is a good budget for groceries?
It’s not really possible to give an answer to this.
Your grocery budget is dependent on 2 main factors:
- Where you live
- You personal circumstances
Regarding where you live, we’re not just talking about the country or state. We’re talking about your immediate locality. For example, groceries in New York are probably going to cost more than shopping for them in Birmingham, Alabama. This is due to the differences in the cost of living between the 2 cities. It also depends on what types and brands of stores you are able to access easily from your home in your neighborhood.
As for personal circumstances, your salary, bills, and other outgoings you have. Then, you may have dietary requirements or health issues you need to accommodate. Halal or kosher meat might be more expensive or cheaper depending on where you live. If you’re gluten intolerant, buying gluten-free products means probably having a more generous budget, even though it still needs to be “cheap”.
Put these together, and everyone’s “budget” is going to be unique and, in some cases, very different to someone else’s. So, take the time to figure out a good budget for groceries that works for you and for what’s available to you.
What else can I do to shop for groceries cheap?
There’s a whole host of tips, tricks, hacks, and advice on the internet to help you save money when grocery shopping. You can start by reading our guide on how to save money on groceries or learning what sneaky psychological tricks supermarkets like to use to get you to spend more so you can avoid them.
Your Budget Grocery List Template
Now that you’re a little more clued up as to how to shop cheaper, we’ll let you head to the shops with our free printable cheap shopping list template. But remember, it’s only a guide. So, make sure you make any adjustments as you see fit to make it your very own fabulously frugal low budget grocery list.
- Green Beans
Frozen Meat & Fish
Dairy & Eggs
- UHT Milk
- Black Eyed Peas
- Red Kidney Beans
- White Beans
Grains & Pasta
- UHT Juice
Do you have any tips for saving money doing your groceries? Do you find that fresh food is cheaper than frozen where you are? What’d your favorite type of frozen food that you like to buy? Let us know in the comments.