Groceries on a Budget for 2
Cutting back on your grocery spending isn’t always easy – even if you have a small family.
But finding ways to cut your grocery budget is one of the best ways to save money from month to month.
With this helpful grocery list for 2 on a budget, you’ll be able to start saving right away!
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How to Budget Groceries for 2
Creating a grocery budget is one of the best ways to help balance your household budget.
That’s because your grocery category is one of the easiest places to cut when you need to save money.
But if you’re not sure how to get started creating a grocery budget for your family of two, it can sometimes be difficult to take that first step!
Use these tips and tricks for budgeting groceries for two to help you get your food spending on track once and for all.
Figure out what you’re spending now
Before you can create a grocery budget, you’ll need to learn how much money you’re currently spending on food.
That means you need to take some time to add up how much money you spend every time you go to the grocery store.
For the next month, make sure to keep your grocery receipts to help you track your spending.
After each shopping trip, write down the total amount spent.
At the end of the month, add up all the money you spent to learn your total grocery spending for the month.
If you’re ready to take it a step further, go through your receipt line by line and total how much you spent within each grocery subcategory.
Most grocery receipts are already separated into subcategories e.g. frozen, natural foods, produce, bakery etc.
Just sum up what you’re spending in each subcategory so that you can see what areas you’re mostly spending money within at the end of the month.
Doing this extra step will make it easier once you start thinking about where you might be overspending or overindulging.
Create a budget
Now that you know how much you’re currently spending on groceries, you’ll have a base number for your first grocery budget.
But before you start calculating your weekly spending, take some time to decide what you will include in your household’s grocery budget.
While some families consider only store-bought food in the grocery category of their budget, others lump all household purchases into this category.
Figuring out what a grocery budget means to you is the first step toward outlining your monthly spending.
As you consider what items will be included in your grocery budget, there are a few things to think about.
Tracking food and household supplies together makes tracking your spending a little easier.
Since there’s no need to go through your receipts line by line separating food from household supplies after each shopping trip, you can spend less time tracking your monthly spending.
Separating food and other household supplies into separate subcategories helps you track your spending more closely.
The more categories you include in your monthly budget, the faster you’ll be able to pinpoint where you’re overspending.
That’s because you’ll be able to look more closely at each purchase, helping you narrow down budget anomalies more quickly and easily.
Whatever method you choose to use for your grocery budget, make sure to stick with it from month to month to help keep your budget consistent.
Track your spending.
Keeping track of your grocery expenses is the best way to ensure you’re staying on budget after each shopping trip.
One of the easiest ways to track your purchases is to account for your spending on a weekly basis. Start by dividing your monthly grocery spending stipend by four.
This will give you your weekly grocery budget.
After that, set a day in your week where you go through your receipts or your bank statements and add all your expenses into your budget.
Then, subtract that number from your weekly budget.
If you came in under budget for the week, transfer the overage to next week’s budget.
But if you overspend on your groceries this week, you’ll need to adjust the budget for your remaining weeks to reflect that extra spending.
Cut your grocery budget little by little.
When you first start using a grocery budget, your goal should be to not spend more than your regular monthly spending amount.
After a month or two of using that figure as your monthly budget, you’ll be able to more easily evaluate areas in your budget that can be cut.
After successfully sticking to your budget for at least two months, start cutting your overall spending goal by $25 to $50 per month.
Continue cutting the amount until you reach your desired spending goal.
What Should My Weekly Grocery Budget Be?
Figuring out what you should be spending on groceries is a must when you’re planning out your grocery budget.
But designating one set budget figure for every family can be difficult!
Grocery spending will vary from family to family based on a variety of factors, including:
Dietary needs and eating habits
As you’re planning your budget, keep your own eating habits in mind.
Purchasing diet-specific foods, like gluten or dairy free products, or eating exclusively organic ingredients, for example, could cause your grocery budget to be higher than average.
The cost of living in your area
Food costs can vary greatly from region to region, which means a family living in one area of the country could spend much more on groceries than a family in another area.
Keep the average cost of groceries in mind when planning your own monthly budget.
The number of people in your family
A family of two will spend much less than a larger family, which means the number of people in the household is a big factor to consider when outlining your monthly food expenses.
While using these factors to come up with a budget for your own family is helpful, it can also be helpful to have a starting point in mind.
According to the USDA Food Plan Spending, a family of two often spends between $602.69-$942.15 per month on groceries.
If your family grows in the future, the plan shows that adding around $100-$200 per person per month is what you should expect.
I was surprised when I saw these figures as we often spend under $500 per month on food with a family of 4 (2 people are kids 5 and under).
It’s good to start with a realistic number and then work to decrease your budget slowly and attainably.
Groceries on a Budget for 2
Whether you’re a family of 2 or 10, buying groceries can get expensive if you’re not careful!
That’s why it’s important to figure out what foods are the best to buy when you’re on a budget.
As you’re planning your meals for this week, consider these budget-friendly food options at the grocery store.
Pantry Items on a Budget
Keeping a stocked pantry is a great way to help you save money on your family’s food.
Make sure to have these pantry items on hand to ensure you have everything you need to cook delicious meals at home.
Dry beans like black beans are a great choice when you’re on a budget.
On top of being a great source of protein and fiber, they also have a long shelf-life, which means you can save even more by buying in bulk.
Dry rice is another budget-friendly option when grocery shopping.
In addition to being cheap to buy, a little bit goes a long way in most recipes.
Like rice, pasta is a great budget-friendly food option when making a grocery list for two.
When shopping on a budget, dried pasta is the best way to get the biggest bang for your buck.
With lentils, you can easily add some protein to your meals without spending a ton of money.
And since they’re shelf-stable, you can keep lentils on hand for all your budget-friendly meals.
Since oatmeal is a cheap breakfast food, a large container will last your family of two a while.
And since it’s packed with fiber, it’s also a healthy option to start your day.
Thanks to its high protein content, peanut butter is always a good choice to add to your grocery list when you’re on a budget.
Purchasing fresh tomatoes may be out of the question when they’re not in season.
But canned tomatoes are a great option because there are so many different choices, from diced tomatoes to tomato sauces.
With the help of some flour, you can make your own baked goods at home to save money.
While broth can sometimes get expensive, bouillon is a great budget-friendly option for adding flavor to your meals.
Although most snack food isn’t a great option when you’re watching your spending, popcorn kernels are a great way to enjoy a snack while on a budget.
Just use a little bit of oil to pop it on the stove for an easy and budget-friendly snack.
There’s no reason to eat bland food just because you’re on a budget.
With the help of spices, you can enjoy flavorful food without spending a ton of money.
Make sure to have pantry staples, like salt and pepper, on hand, along with other common spices, like garlic powder, basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley.
And all-in-one spice mixes, like all purpose seasoning, are also great choices, eliminating the need to purchase several spices at a time.
Sandwiches and toast make easy budget meal options, which means a loaf of bread is a great choice when grocery shopping.
If you slice up your loaf so that there are thinner bread slices, you’ll make more meals and stretch out your grocery budget.
Produce on a Budget
You don’t have to give up fresh foods when you’re watching your grocery spending.
With these cheap produce options, you can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables without overspending.
Fresh onions are a pantry staple that last a long time and can be used in a variety of dishes, making them a great choice when grocery shopping on a budget.
From baking them to frying them, fresh potatoes are one of the best budget-friendly ingredients to have in your kitchen.
In addition to white potatoes, sweet potatoes are a simple way to add a filling side to your dinner without going over budget.
Another budget-friendly way to add flavor to your meals is with fresh garlic.
When stored properly fresh garlic will last for weeks in your pantry.
While purchasing fresh fruit can get expensive, bananas are always a budget-friendly choice.
That’s because they’re in season year-round.
With so many apple varieties, you’ll often be able to find a budget-friendly option in the produce aisle no matter what time of year it is.
That makes this healthy fruit a good choice when you’re shopping for two on a budget.
While not all fresh vegetables are an option when you’re on a budget, carrots are often the exception. You can usually find great deals on carrots in the produce section of your grocery store.
Salads are a great budget-friendly lunch option, so having lettuce on hand is always a good choice when you’re watching your grocery spending.
Frozen vegetables and fruit
When you’re on a tight budget, fresh produce may be out of the question.
But you can often get frozen vegetables and fruit for a good price at your grocery store – especially if you find them on sale.
Protein on a Budget
Incorporating protein into your diet is the best way to stay full longer.
That means your grocery budget will stretch even further if you find the right budget-friendly proteins to add to your shopping list!
Fresh eggs are one of the best ways to add some protein to your diet when you’re watching your spending.
That’s because eggs can be used on their own or mixed with other ingredients to create a variety of delicious meals.
Fresh meat can quickly get expensive, so it’s a good idea to find some budget-friendly protein options to add to your shopping list.
Luckily, you can typically buy canned tuna or sardines on sale, making it a great choice for your budget.
There’s no reason to give up dairy when you’re tracking your spending.
Milk is often the cheapest dairy option in the store, so it’s a great ingredient to keep in your fridge when you’re on a budget.
Another budget-friendly option in the dairy section is cottage cheese. It’s a filling snack that’s also healthy and cheap.
Example of a Grocery List for 2 on a Budget
If you’re looking for ideas, here’s an example of a grocery list for 2 on a budget:
If you’d like to use this template and customize the food and household items to reflect your needs, here’s the grocery list editable PDF template.
How to Save Money on Groceries
Adding budget-friendly foods to your shopping list is one way to help you cut down on your grocery spending.
But there’s a good chance you’re going to want to add a few more items to your weekly grocery list.
With the help of these tips and tricks, you can save even more on your food purchases, allowing you to cut back your grocery budget even further.
Make a grocery list
Starting your shopping trip with a detailed list is one of the best ways to help you stay on budget as you shop.
Make sure not to stray from your list to avoid making impulse purchases and going over budget.
Shop for your kitchen
Before purchasing new food at the grocery store, take a look inside your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer to see what you already have on hand.
Once you know what ingredients you have at home, you can start planning meals using those ingredients.
After that, add only the items you don’t have on hand to your shopping list to help you save money and prevent the food you already have from going bad.
Check the sales each week
The best way to save money on your groceries is to watch the sales.
To know what’s on sale at each store in your area, all you have to do is check each store’s weekly ad.
Most weekly circulars can be found on the store’s website and are often released on Wednesdays or Sundays, depending on the store.
Scan each circular to find the best deals on the items you’ll need, then buy only what’s on sale at each store.
Compare prices at different stores
Prices vary from store to store, so if you have several grocery stores in your area you can benefit from shopping around.
As you’re shopping, make a note of the store’s prices on various items.
You could even make a price comparison sheet for items you commonly buy so you’ll know what items are cheaper at each store.
As you’re making your grocery list, reference your pricing guide to help you save money when the ingredients you need aren’t on sale.
Shop for produce when it’s in-season
Fresh produce can be expensive – especially if the items you’re buying aren’t in season at the time.
But if you purchase items during the season they grow, you can find great deals on fruits and vegetables.
Use this seasonal cycle to save money on produce:
- Spring: mushrooms, pineapple, artichokes, lettuce, peas, asparagus, cherries, mangoes, and okra
- Summer: zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, berries, apricots, corn, peaches, cucumbers, green beans, kiwi, eggplant, and plums
- Fall: acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, beets, cabbage, cranberries, grapes, mushrooms, spinach, oranges, and tangerines
- Winter: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and turnips
Watch for sales on meat
When you’re grocery shopping, meat can often be the biggest expense.
To save money on meat, always check the weekly sales to see what cuts of meat are marked down.
Use those sales to help you plan your meals for the week.
Bake from scratch instead of purchasing premade items
All you need are some basic baking staples, like flour and sugar, to provide you with everything you need to make homemade treats.
In addition to helping you save money by making your own snacks and breads, you’ll also be able to control exactly what you’re eating.
Purchase dried goods in bulk
Even if you’re only shopping for two, buying in bulk sometimes makes sense.
Budget-friendly dried goods, like beans and rice, are shelf stable for long periods of time.
That means you can easily save more money on these purchases by buying in bulk.
Try meatless meals
Since fresh meat is often one of the biggest grocery expenses in your budget, it makes sense to reduce the amount of meat you purchase to help you save money.
Although protein is an essential element of a healthy diet, it’s easy to incorporate more budget-friendly sources of protein, like lentils and beans, into your weekly meal plan.
Use coupons to save money
Combining coupons with sales is a great way to save even more money on your grocery bill each week.
You can often find coupons to use at the grocery store in the Sunday newspaper or download printable coupons online.
Sign up for your store’s loyalty card
If you want to get the best deals on your groceries, signing up for your store’s loyalty card is a must.
On top of getting exclusive deals, you’ll typically have access to store coupons and special sales, too.
Make sure to get cash back
With the help of cash back apps, like Rakuten or iBotta, you can get money back on the items you purchase while grocery shopping.
To earn cash back, just scan the qualifying items you purchased at the grocery store, then scan your receipt in the app to earn your rewards.
Related Ideas for Groceries for 2 on a Budget
- No Spend Challenge: How to Not Spend Money for 30 days or More
- Best Money Saving Tips to Save You $1000’s
- 18 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money Every Day
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