How to Stretch your Grocery Budget

I am super passionate about saving money on groceries. Over the years I’ve discovered tips on how to stretch our grocery budget.

stretch your grocery budget

My kids are growing at rapid speeds. With my oldest now 12 I am astonished at how much they can eat. As I am amazed at how they can put all that food away I am also always thinking about how the teenage years are coming.

And whether you have teenagers or not, it’s a well known fact that no one can eat like teenagers can.

Really, I should be stockpiling now to prepare for those years.

That should be a thing. Instead of building a stockpile in case of emergency, you’d build a whole pantry and name it the “teenage years” pantry.

They should build special pantries onto houses for that purpose alone.

Anyways, all that to say, I’ve noticed our grocery bill creeping up. Part of it is the kids growing, and part of it is the ever increasing prices in the grocery store.

So I am often using what I like to call “meal time hacks” to stretch our budget. I need to make a lot of food for the least amount of money that I can do it for.

So today I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks you can use to stretch that grocery budget. These aren’t grocery store tips – you can find out specifically how to save money at the grocery store in this post over here. These hacks are more about what you can do at home.


Soups, stews and chilis are the ultimate stretching food.

Recently we had a bunch of people from our church just show up to cut wood for us for our wood stove because my husband had a back injury that left him unable to do it. As I stared out the window amazed at all these guys coming to help us, my mind quickly turned to panic as I realized I should be feeding them – it’s the least I could do! A quick scan of my cupboards and I pulled together a huge pot of chili. I was able to feed a bunch of guys for cheap, and everyone walked away with full bellies.

In the colder months we live off of soups, stews, and chilis because they are ridiculously cheap to make, they are filling, and they are often healthy. There’s usually leftovers, too. If you are looking for some delicious recipes try my loaded potato soup recipe, chili recipe, or beef stew recipe.

We also pair them with homemade bread, which leads me to my next point.

Bread can be your new best friend.

Aside from the fact that bread is soooo tasty, it’s so cheap to make, and again, a filling food. We make a ton of rolls, buns, breads, you name it! Not all of us can tolerate bread in this house but for the ones that can it’s a great food to stretch the grocery budget.  These rosemary garlic skillet rolls are a favorite in this house.

Save your bread ends for meals

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on what to do with bread ends. You know the ones I’m talking about – the bread heels that are left in the bread bag with no one to love them. Well, there are a ton of things you can do with them. You can basically make a whole meal of a french toast casserole with them by saving them in the freezer until you have enough.

Start a soup bucket

What’s a soup bucket, you ask? It’s a bucket with a lid you store in your freezer where you put in all the odds and ends leftover from meals. I’m talking about those bits and pieces that aren’t enough for leftovers, but it’s a shame to throw out. This could be extra veggies, extra meal, bits of rice, etc. Put it in the soup bucket and then once you have saved enough make a big pot of soup. There are some things you will want to avoid putting in the soup bucket like any seafood as it ruins it.

Eat through your pantry every once in awhile

It happens to the best of us. We buy things we mean to use and they get lost in the deep, dark corners of the pantry. Like Jell-O. I’ve talked before about my habit of hoarding Jell-O. Every once in awhile it’s time to dig through your pantry and actually USE those boxes of Jell-O. And whatever else you can find in there. Create meals around what you have lurking in the back of the pantry.

Have a weekly leftover night

If you routinely have leftovers that don’t get eaten, it’s time to have a a weekly leftover night. Once a week pull out all the leftovers out of the fridge and eat them for dinner. This will reduce waste and decrease your grocery bill.

Use up the veggies

How many times have you opened up the fridge to find vegetables past their prime? If you have veggies that aren’t looking so great anymore, but haven’t reached the rotten stage, you can still use them! Run them through a juicer, toss greens in a smoothie, or roast them up for dinner.

Use up the fruit

Does the same thing happen to the fruit in your home as the veggies? If you find some fruit that isn’t looking as fresh anymore, bake something with them. Use old browning bananas for banana bread, old apples for apple crisp, or berries for muffins. You can also toss them into smoothies.

Make more food from scratch

Convenience food can add up quickly. Start making your food from scratch. You don’t have to make everything from scratch, but even making a few things from scratch can help cut back on your grocery expenses.

Make up some freezer meals

Often we hit up a drive thru when we’ve had a busy day and are coming home late with no plan for dinner. It’s a lot easier to avoid grabbing pizza on the way home if you have a homemade pizza in the freezer. You can make a double batch of food when you are cooking dinner and freeze the extra portions for a busy night.

Freeze foods before they go bad

If you have food in the fridge that may be nearing the end of it’s life, you may be able to freeze it so you can eat it later. Check out this list of 21 foods you can freeze – you may be surprised at some of the foods on this list! You can freeze more than you probably think you can.

Use cheaper cuts of meat

One of the aisles that discourages me the most when I go grocery shopping is the meat aisle. Meat has gotten so expensive. However, there are ways you can enjoy your meat and not break the bank. Buying cheaper cuts of meat can help reduce the cost. Cheaper cuts of meat can be just as delicious as long as you cook them well. Marinating them or cooking them in the slow cooker can tenderize them.

Add cheaper, simpler meals to your weekly meal plan

While we enjoy heartier meals like chili, roasted chicken, or grilled pork chops for dinner, we also like to add in simpler meals that are cheaper like grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. Another cheap and simple meal we eat for dinner sometimes is bacon and eggs. Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy and huge all the time.

Add root vegetables to your meals

Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes are super cheap, and so good for you. My favorite way to make them is to roast them, but you can make them a variety of ways. In the fall they are even less expensive to buy.


These are some ways you can save on your grocery budget at home, but if you are looking for even more ideas, check out these posts:

15 ways to save at the grocery store

Ways to save on meat at the grocery store

cheap foods that aren’t beans

Cheap meals to eat when you are broke


2 thoughts on “How to Stretch your Grocery Budget”

  1. I think you are doing great and are right on track to do everything you can to keep feeding those hollow legs! I fed five kids and I don’t how we would have kept them filled up without homemade biscuits and cornbread. Cereal just disappears and costs way too much. Our kids would not eat oatmeal. Pancakes are a great way to fill them up at breakfast and eggs on the side are cheaper than breakfast meat. We often put meat in the eggs and that way it did not take a whole pound of bacon or sausage for breakfast. I had two waffle irons when the kids were growing up so that I could make enough to feed us all. Waffles make a quick and easy emergency supper when you just need to eat and are not prepared or don’t have much energy. I also only made enough meat for a 4 ounce serving each. If I had a large piece of meat like a roast I put away what was planned for another meal instead of putting it on the table. I made hamburger gravy with only one pound of meat for the seven of us and lots of mashed potatoes. I did not make menus back then and I think I could have really saved by doing so and would have wasted a lot less produce. Something I would have tried if I had thought of it back then is to have fed everyone a salad first. My husband and I find that we just eat less if we start most meals with a salad. I would have even been willing to let them eat it as I finished cooking just to get the greens and fiber down them since some were salad resistant. Believe it or not the girls can eat circles around the boys! In some ways I miss those days of being able to make a big meal and not having a ton of leftovers.

    1. Yes, my daughter can eat a lot too, sometimes definitely more than the boys. lol. I like your salad first idea. I should try that. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *