How to make a Grocery List on a Budget

With constant price increases at the grocery store a shopping trip can leave you down-right discouraged.  Our grocery bills are becoming larger and larger, and we seem to be coming home with less and less food.  If you are struggling to keep within your grocery budget, you’ll want to keep reading.

grocery list on a budget

What you need is a budget grocery list.  A cheap grocery list that has healthy foods, yet the best prices you can find.  

Today, we’re diving into the world of budget-friendly grocery shopping with a focus on practicality. I’m going to give you some straightforward tips to keep your grocery list easy on the wallet while maintaining a level of enjoyment when it comes to eating and cooking. 

Because, let’s be honest, there is something absolutely wonderful about eating the things that taste good, am I right?

First we are going to talk about some of the best ways you can lower your grocery bill.  You only have so much room in your food budget, and so you will want to learn how to staying within your means while you shop at your local grocery store.

How to Lower your Grocery Bill


Plan Ahead.

Start your shopping journey with a game plan. Take stock of your pantry, list out the essentials, and strategize your meals for the week.  Meal planning is a HUGE money saver.  This isn’t about being fancy—it’s about being smart and avoiding unnecessary spending.

Opt for Seasonal produce.  

Whatever fruits and vegetables are in season are usually the cheapest.  For example,  in the fall where I live it’s apple and peach season, along with root vegetables like carrots and squash.  

Those are the vegetables I want to buy because it’s the cheaper option.  You won’t see me buying strawberries in October, as much as I love them.  They are just too expensive.   Plus, produce tastes better when it’s fresher.  If it’s not in season it had to travel a LONG way to get to your grocery store and it just doesn’t taste as good.

Bulk Buying Basics. 

Save money by purchasing staples in bulk. Items like rice, pasta, and oats can be cost-effective when bought in larger quantities. Invest in some sturdy storage food-safe containers to keep your pantry organized.  

Be a Savvy Shopper. 

Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and special offers. Store brands are often just as good, and loyalty cards can be handy for extra savings. Take a moment to compare prices and make practical choices.  Buy the store brand and plan your meals around the sales in the flier that week.  This will keep your food spending down.

Start incorporating Meatless Monday into your schedule. 

When shopping for a great deal you can buy cheaper cuts of meat (preparing them in the slow-cooker helps with making them tender) but you can go one step further and take one day a week where whatever you make for dinner doesn’t have meat in it.  

Meat is SUPER expensive, even if it’s a cheaper cut.  Making dishes without beans go a long way in helping you keep within your tight budget.  Make some black beans and brown rice with salsa and a bit of cheese, or a homemade cheese pizza, or some bean soup.  There’s so many great ideas you can add to your menu plan that don’t include meat.

Add less meat.  

When eating meat, don’t make it the main event.  Add it to your food in less quantities.  For example, use ground beef as an addition your pasta sauce.  

Add sliced up chicken breast to a rice dish instead of having a whole chicken breast per person for dinner.  Make stews and soups where you are adding so many other items that you only need to add a little meat.  Think of meat as an addition or side dish, not the main course.

Avoid impulse buys.

Stay disciplined and stick to your list . Resist the temptation to make impulse purchases. Those spontaneous purchases can quickly add up and derail your budget.  Stick to whatever you have on your grocery shopping list and don’t stray from it.

Consider generic and store brands. 

Brand loyalty can come at a cost. Experiment with generic and store-brand products; many match the quality of pricier options without hitting your wallet hard.

Buy more than one if a grocery item is on sale.  You can avoid paying full price on many grocery items by making sure you are stocked up on it until it goes on sale again.  For example, I might buy 4 containers of cooking oil, or 6 jars of mayonnaise when it’s on sale.

That prevents me from running out of the item and having to replace it at full price.  It’s a great way to save money.  Of course, you’ll want cheap groceries that have a long shelf life.  If it’s going to go bad in your cupboard or fridge you don’t want to buy too many.  However, the more you can stock up on staple items at a reduced price, the better.

So, what are some of the cheapest groceries you can buy?  Well, it’s going to depend on where you live, but I’m going to give you some suggestions based on what I know as to be some great cheap food where I live.  

grocery shopping on a budget

Grocery List on a Budget


  • Whole Chicken – I buy a whole chicken but then I stretch it for 2-3 meals, as well as making some broth from the bones to reduce food waste and save money.
  • Rice
  • Dry beans
  • Lentils
  • Pasta
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Bread
  • Pork chops
  • Peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Flour – this will allow you to bake snacks, and even make homemade bread to save money if you choose to do that
  • Broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

To keep yourself focused on budget-friendly grocery shopping, remember it’s all about practical choices. Plan your meals, shop the sales, and make informed decisions in the store.

With the above grocery list I’m working under the assumption you have other things at home – things like condiments, etc.  When shopping, you’d want to add to this list things that are on sale in the flier that week as well.  

Look and see what fresh fruit or vegetables that are cheap during your trip to the grocery store.  And then see what cheap meals you can make with those items.  

If bacon was on sale you could buy some and have bacon and eggs.  Oatmeal, pasta, and chicken noodle soup are all good options.  Meal plan around the grocery prices of that week.

It is possible to make a grocery list on a budget.  I hope these tips will help you.

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