How to Make a Grocery List on a Budget: 8 Tips

By Willow Breckenridge | Apr 19, 2021

When you run a tight food budget, it’s challenging to get your family the nutrition you all need to thrive. However, you can make wise choices to keep everyone healthy. 

How can you make a grocery list on a budget? Here are eight tips to reduce costs while still serving up nourishing meals. 

1. Clip Paper Coupons

Even if you no longer subscribe to a daily paper, you should still spend the dough on a Sunday edition if you want to save at least that much when you shop. Manufacturers still issue paper coupons, and using them can save cash off your grocery budget each week. 

Don’t stick to circulars only from your accustomed stores. Even if you never intend to step foot in a competitor’s shop, some retailers still accept their coupons, adding to your savings. While it doesn’t happen frequently, some will even let you use BOGO coupons with BOGO sales, netting you both items for free. 

2. Double Up Electronic

You probably know that unless your coupon says “cannot be combined with any other,” you can double up on those bad boys. Did you know that you can save trees while doing so by going electronic? 

Most grocery store chains issue electronic circulars. Ensure that you download these and connect them with your rewards club card before heading to the store. You can also check out websites dedicated to all things coupons.  

3. Join Rewards Clubs

Please don’t shy away from rewards clubs out of privacy concerns. Yes, your retailer now has your email address and date of birth, but you shouldn’t have to reveal information like your social security number to get one. 

Rewards club memberships save you an immediate percentage at the point of purchase. Additionally, you’ll also get special discounts on items you regularly use once you rack up enough history for the retailer’s software to gauge your preferences. As a result, you enjoy deals on things like butter that you buy week after week. 

4. Take Inventory

Did you ever run to the grocers to gather ingredients for a recipe, only to realize you were out of something basic like olive oil when you started cooking? Please take inventory before you head to the store. 

Transform making your grocery list on a budget into a game. Pretend that you are a contestant on the hit Food Network show “Chopped” and see what you need to add to your “basket ingredients” to impress the toughest judges’ panel — your kids. 

5. Grow at Home 

Did you get into the new and improved “victory garden” craze during the pandemic? Gardening becomes popular in tough times because you can shave your grocery budget by supplying your beans and tomatoes needs at home. 

Learn how to save your seeds from the produce you buy at the store, and you’ll save even more. Plus, you know the varieties you plant are ones you and your family will enjoy. 

6. Snag Nonperishable Sales

When you try to make a grocery list on a budget, you can only stock up so much on milk. Unfortunately, buying in bulk only saves cash if you use everything you purchase before it goes bad. 

However, when you see a hot sale on toilet paper or aluminum foil, take advantage if you have the extra cash. Consider renovating your pantry with inexpensive storage bins to hold bulk purchases. 

7. Team Up

Even if you don’t have a community garden, there’s no law against bartering with your neighbors. If you have a bumper crop of peas and they have green beans, why not arrange a trade and double your produce variety for free? 

You can also use the team approach to take advantage of bulk purchasing if you and your family don’t need two 24-packs of mega-ply bath tissue. Coordinate your warehouse store runs with other family members, friends or neighbors. Make a master list and split the booty. 

8. Go Generic 

Did you know that you could be spending way more than necessary if you insist on your favorite brand? Many of the store-brand products you’ll find come from the same manufacturer — the only difference is the label. 

It makes sense if you think about it. After all, it costs manufacturers enormous money to keep one factory running, let alone two separate facilities. The bottom line? Do your homework through trial and error. While you might find a few generic products with a unique and unpleasant flavor, the only difference you’ll find with most is the price tag. 

Make a Grocery List on a Budget With These 8 Tips 

It can seem daunting to make a grocery list on a tight budget. However, the eight tips above will leave you with enough extra spending cash to delight your little one with a candy bar. 

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