It’s so expensive to feed the family these days, I get it. Maybe you don’t have enough money at the end of the month to buy groceries. If you look at it, eating and grocery shopping on a shoestring budget isn’t always easy, but it can be done.
It’s hard to know how to eat when you’re on a budget. As the cost of items in the USA rises, the grocery budget of Americans tends to shrink. No matter what part of the USA you live in, it’s possible to shop on a shoestring budget.
Grocery Shopping on a Shoestring Budget
While meal planning and grocery shopping are hard on a tight budget, it’s not impossible. However, if you’re going to grocery shop, you need to know the best things to buy on that tight budget.
#1. Buy in Season Produce
One of the biggest money-saving ways to shop on a shoestring budget is to buy produce that is in season. When you buy it in season, you can then freeze it and have it for the offseason.
#2. Buy Cheaper Meats
Listen, when you’re on a budget, you just can’t afford to buy the more expensive meat. You can grocery shop at the grocery store for cheaper meats by buying the less expensive meat cuts. It’s hard to say no to those steaks, but when you’re on a budget, you gotta do what you gotta do. There are ways to prepare and cook the cheaper cuts of meat, like using a pressure cooker to make them more tender. Try some new approaches to meal preparation, it can save lots of money over the long term.
#3. Choose Frozen Veggies
As much as you may like fresh produce, it’s sometimes way more expensive. I would suggest buying frozen veggies, if money is really tight. If you can get veggies on sale, you can also freeze or can your own veggies.
#4. Buy More Beans and Rice
Think about it, when you’re trying to shrink your grocery bill, you need to think of more filling items to buy to feed the family. Beans and rice are super cheap, but filling. Think of the possibilities, when it comes to the types of foods you can make with these two ingredients.
#5. Buy Marked Down Items
A shoestring budget can go far if you use your money wisely. One area in which you can stretch your money further is by buying marked down items. Any major grocery chain marks down items. Just be sure to check the “best used by” dates so you don’t have to throw them out.
#6. Buy Items on Sale
This is a no brainer, but you can stretch your budget by buying items on sale. Buying boxed pasta and canned fruits and veggies are a great start. Before you head to the store next time, check out the ads! This will help you determine what’s going to be on sale.
#7. Shop at a Discount Store
If there is a discount store near you, then it’s worth checking out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve saved money by shopping at a store that offers discounted goods! You will really be able to stretch your budget this way.
#8. Buy Marked Down Meat
As soon as you get home, you can always freeze the marked down packages of meat that you buy. It’s important to get food as cheap as possible and most of the time meat is more expensive than not. Marked down meat can help you save a lot of money.
#9. Buy Canned Foods
I know we have become a “fresh is the best” society. However, if you can’t afford fresh fruits and veggies, then canned is the next best thing. Buying canned foods will help your budget go further than you ever imagined.
#10. Shop for Unconventional Foods
I know this will be weird to some, but sometimes a shoestring budget means you have to think outside of the box. One way of thinking outside the box is buying foods that are unconventional.
- Lamb shoulder chops
- Ground chicken
- Chuck roast
- Flank steak
- Pig’s feet
#11. Head to the Farmer’s Market
Although I understand that some Farmer’s Markets are no longer cheap, it does make sense to buy some of your items there. Buying local and buying in season is one way we always make our budget stretch as far as possible. Head to your local market and see what you can get there. Be sure to check the prices vs what is charged at your usual grocery store.
#12. Buy the Store Brand
I know what it’s like to want to buy the brand named items for groceries. They sometimes taste better and it seems that everyone else can tell you that they don’t always like the off-brand. However, a shoestring budget requires buying the cheapest possible. The cheapest possible is usually the store brand.
Cheapest Veggies to Buy
Are you looking for the cheapest veggies to buy? There are several you can buy and still stay within a meager budget.
- Canned tomatoes
- Sweet potatoes
Which cheap veggies would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your preferences.
Least Expensive Fruit to Buy
When you’re on a shoestring budget, what kind of fruit do you eat? The fruit isn’t always seen as a cheap item to buy at the store. Stick to small amounts, so they don’t go bad. Fruits are the cheapest to buy frozen or canned, but fresh is nice too! Our family eats a lot of bananas every week.
Keep in mind that the secret to fruit that is cheap is to buy in season.
What’s a Shoestring Budget?
Have you ever thought about what a shoestring budget is? When someone is talking about a shoestring budget, they are talking about a budget that is tiny.
A shoestring budget is just enough to suit its purpose. A shoestring grocery budget can be hard because this is the least amount that will work. There are no frills and nothing fancy!
What’s Living on a Shoestring Budget Like?
I would think that living on a shoestring grocery budget is hard. A lot of grilled cheese is eaten, right along with other meals that are very easy and cheap.
It can be hard to buy fruits and veggies on a shoestring budget. However, there are ways to get it done. Just like buying meat can be hard on a shoestring budget, but there are ways to make it happen!
What are the Best Meals to Make on a Shoestring Budget?
After you have gone grocery shopping, you may be wondering what the best meals are to make on a shoestring budget. Here are some of the best meals to make on a shoestring grocery budget. One thing I would suggest is to make out a menu for your meals ahead of time. That means you’ll then plan your shopping around the list of foods you plan to buy to prepare those menu meals. If you go to the store without a plan/list, you’ll for sure spend more than otherwise.
- Rice and vegetables
- Black beans and rice
- Mac n cheese
- Pasta of any kind
- Soup of any kind
- Homemade pizzas
- Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches
Looking for some lunch ideas? Check out these 25 lunch ideas on a budget.
What are the Cheapest Carbs to have on Hand?
It’s no secret that carbs are the most filling thing to have on hand when it comes to a shoestring budget. Rice, pasta, beans, potatoes, are all very inexpensive. If you have a lot of people to feed and not a lot of money, these items are always wise to buy.
When it comes to grocery shopping on a shoestring budget, these tips will help you get there. Grocery shopping isn’t always easy, especially when you don’t have money. However, if you don’t have money, don’t forget you can always apply for help!
No one should go without food. Take a look at the local food banks in your area too, this may help you get the foods you need to survive. Hunger is a real issue in some areas, get help if you need it.