10 Tips to Keep Food Spending at Under $100 per Week


Hitting the grocery store for under $100 per week to feed the entire family for the entire week seems – admittedly – absolutely laughable. I can’t run to the store for milk without spending $100, especially with 11-month-old twins who add at least $75 to every shopping trip because of formula, wipes and diapers. And that doesn’t even count the minimum $100 a week it costs me to send my kids to school with lunches that are reasonably healthy and acceptable to them. It’s impossible. I can’t even get out of the supermarket for under twice that budget, and that’s just one trip. That doesn’t even count the fact that I’m the worst shopper in the world who goes to the store at least four times a week – usually more – and spends at least $75 each trip. I know, I hate it. I wish I could stop, but I can’t seem to figure out how. So I’m going to take some advice from the pros and see how I can get my shopping bill down as low as possible without making my family suffer and without sacrificing. I already know $100 a week or less for a family of 6 is never going to happen and still make us happy – so I’m not going there. However, I can still apply these tips that will help you get your shopping bill down to $100 or less per week to my own shopping habits to save, save, save. It is possible for those who really are dedicated to making it happen.

Make a Menu

The simplest way to keep your budget low and your spending lower is to make a meal plan. This means planning in advance everything that you will eat the entire week. That’s breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Plan it well in advance so that you can have a full menu that provides all the necessary nutrition needed to keep your family healthy and happy. Then you will not buy useless stuff or need to make multiple trips to the store.

Go Through Your Pantry

Now that you have a menu, go through the pantry. Figure out what it is you need to buy to complete your menu for the week. Most people just assume they need this and that or don’t need this and that’s what gets them in trouble with the budget. Every year I make pies for the holiday and I always buy all the ingredients when I’m at the store instead of looking to see if I have what I need already, and I now have 12 containers of ginger – all full because I buy a new one or two every year.

Buy in Bulk

If there is something you know your family eats regularly, go ahead and buy it in bulk. This is what’s going to save you significantly when you shop for the groceries. For example, if your kids like to eat Raisin Bran for breakfast, buy it in bulk since it doesn’t go bad very quickly. This is going to help you save a lot in the long run.

Shop the Sales

Do your research. Your favorite supermarket and stores offer sales regularly, and you can look ahead to see when things will go on sale. Your job is to try and shop those sales to the bet of your ability so that you never have to pay full price for the things that you need the most throughout the year. For example, our twins drink Enfamil formula and we’ve learned that it goes on sale every few weeks at our store, so we stock up then so we don’t have to buy it at all – or at least much – in between.

Stock up During BOGO Sales

We love BOGO sales at our favorite store; because it’s always the stuff our kids like the most. It’s goldfish for their lunches and their favorite cereal. And we make it our goal to buy as much of that as we can get in the cart – and as they will allow – when it’s BOGO so that we don’t have to add it to our list other weeks. It really does help to know that if we buy three boxes of cereal and get three free, our kids will go through about a box a week and the sale happens roughly every 6 weeks. It’s big savings.

Use Coupons

Coupons are always available, and you should use them. You should use them even if they are small. Even if you only get a quarter off your bill, that quarter adds up when you have a big grocery cart filled with items you need for your family. Search the coupons online, in the paper and in the stores to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

Comparison Shop

If you know something is less expensive at one store, go there. Do your shopping using comparisons. You might be able to save significantly using this method since most places offer different sales at different times. It’s best so shop comparatively for precisely this reason.

Ignore Brands

Don’t be brand specific, and you will save a lot of money shopping every week. All things are made pretty much the same way, and you can save tremendously when you take the time to buy the brand that has the smallest price tag. It’s the best way to save.

Go with Cheap Meat

You don’t have to have the best, most expensive meat when you shop. In fact, you will be able to doctor up certain meats so that you can eat meals you love anyway without spending too much money. Cheaper steaks, for example, will taste better with marinade and other spices and flavors. You don’t have to spend the money on the expensive stuff.

Learn to Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is always the least expensive way to eat. The better you eat, the less you eat for. Many people think that eating healthy is more expensive, but it’s not. The more fresh food you buy, the more good nutrition you give yourself, the more you can save when you shop for your family each week.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images


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