How to Save Money on Groceries with Teenagers in the House

Food prices are constantly rising, especially right now with so much uncertainty in the world.  Keeping your fridge and pantry stocked is hard enough as it is, but what about if you have teenagers in the house?  Can you feed teens on a budget?

It’s no secret that teenagers eat a lot.  And they need to.  They are growing and burn a lot of calories.  But does that mean you have to be destined to take out a huge loan to pay for your groceries throughout the teen years?

The answer is a resounding “NO!”

As we’ve entered the teen years in my house I’m in awe of how it is such a different season in our lives than all the years before.  I’m loving these years.  I can hold adult conversations with my kids – no more talking about CandyLand, gold fish crackers, and Dora.  

But, keeping up with the hollow legs they now have is proving to be quite a job in itself.

On top of that, we recently moved to the north in Ontario where food prices are higher than where we lived before. This requires a lot of creativity and budgeting on my part to keep our grocery bill in check.

Today I’m going to share with you some ideas on how to keep teens well-fed and happy while not breaking the bank.


Make a lot of hearty soups, stews, and chilis and pair them with bread.

These kinds of meals S-T-R-E-T-C-H.   You can make large quantities for the family and you might even get lucky and find your teen is full before the pot is empty.  Add bread to it and you’ve got a match made in heaven.  Try this loaded potato soup, one of our favorites.

Speaking of bread, make lots of bread, all the time.

Homemade bread products are one of my favorite ways to help fill people.  Add these Rosemary Garlic Skillet Rolls to any dinner and your family will love you for it.  Worried you don’t have time to make bread?  Try this ridiculously easy 4 ingredient artisan style bread.  While it does need to sit for at least 8 hours, the mixing of the dough takes less than ten minutes and doesn’t require a whole lot of hands-on effort.

Make pasta dishes your new best friend as well.

Pasta is CHEAP, and it stretches.  I love to throw in some ground beef to our pasta dishes to add some protein in there.  You can also add vegetables to many pasta dishes.

Grow a garden.

Okay, what does growing a garden have to do with feeding teens?  It will help you get some vegetables in your teens for a very affordable price.  You don’t need to grow some massive garden.  Even just growing a bunch of tomatoes and cucumbers can help.  Not sure where to start when it comes to gardening?  Try this post on tips about starting from scratch.

Bake snacks that stretch.

Teens LOVE to snack.  That can get costly if it’s all store bought.  If you are able, consider baking things like muffins, banana or pumpkin bread, coffee cake, or granola bars.  

Buy popcorn, the ultimate cheap snack.

Popcorn is one of those snacks that is SO ridiculously cheap, you don’t mind your kids eating lots of it.  However, the one caveat with this one is to make sure it isn’t microwave popcorn which is not super cheap.  Purchase an air popper like this one and you can even buy some popcorn seasonings and whenever your teens say they are hungry direct them to the popcorn cupboard.

Serve cheap fruits and vegetables.

We are huge apple eaters in this house as they are affordable.  We also like to eat a lot of carrots and cucumber slices.  You can pair this with some homemade hummus.  Healthy and cheap! Also keep an eye out for what fruits and vegetables are on sale that week and snack according to the flyers.

Limit snack times.

Okay, this one might be controversial, but I’m going to say it anyways.  You are allowed to tell your teens they can’t snack anytime they feel like it.  

In our house we have designated snack times -10:30 and 2:30.  I had to set these because if I didn’t I would find my kids in the cupboards constantly.  Kids, and teens especially need a lot of calories but there does come a point where they are just eating for the sake of eating.  They may be bored, they may struggle with self control, they may just love snacking.  

If you know they’ve had enough to eat, it’s okay to say no more snacks.

Sometimes if my kids seem like they want to eat in between snack times I tell them to have an apple.  The rule in my house is, if you aren’t hungry enough for an apple, you aren’t hungry.  There are times I’ve seen them turn their nose up at my apple offer, but other times they really are hungry and will go for that apple.  That tells me they did need a little more food and we were able to meet that need with a healthy snack, so it’s a win-win!


I know it can feel overwhelming to feed your family with rising food costs, but there are ways to feed teens on a budget.  Consider the above ideas and incorporate them into your food prep and meals in the kitchen.  You may just see a decrease in your grocery bill and I don’t know about you, but any time I can bring down food costs I am all for it.


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