How do you grocery shop on a very tight budget? You know what, it is challenging to grocery shop when your budget is tight and it requires thinking through everything you buy. Especially when the cost of food has gone up so much (Thanks inflation!)
Here are some ideas to get you started.
The $50 Weekly Shop
The $50 Weekly Shop by Jody Allen was first published in 2017. This book is based on Jody Allen’s own experience over a four year period. The Allen family went from living on a double income to having two babies in quick succession and only one income. After adding up all their expenses, they only had about $50 leftover in their weekly budget for food.
Now I don’t know about you, but I think I would just panic in that situation.
So in The $50 Weekly Shop, Allen shares the tips and recipes she used to save money on their weekly grocery shop while living on a tight budget. I love how the author is insistent and passionate that any person or family, can do similar.
Is it really possible to do a $50 weekly grocery shop in 2022?
Allen does emphasis that the minimum budget amount would vary for YOUR family, depending on the age and number of people in your household.
Also, the weekly grocery budget as described in The $50 Weekly Shop is only talking about food and does not include things such as toiletries, cleaning products, pet food etc.
Still the idea is the same, when you need to, it is possible to spend LESS on groceries than you might think you can.
It does talk about your minimum grocery spend as a goal. To be successful in reaching your goal, you start with small steps.
In the first week my goal was to spend $150 on groceries instead of $200. And to my surprise, it was pretty easy! … so the next week I aimed for $100. To be honest, that was a lot harder, but I was just so determined- there was no way we were going to lose the house!Jody Allen, The $50 Weekly Shop
How do you do it? Well here’s my summary of the steps Allen says to take to reduce your grocery budget to $50 a week.
How Can I live Off $50 a week for groceries in 2022?
Make sure to check out my best tips for how to save on groceries each week.
Here are some practical suggestions for what grocery items to buy on a $50 budget for a family of 4. (Doesn’t include toiletries, cleaning products etc.)
Porridge & Fruit – Use sugar for sweetness rather than honey and include fruit (banana or apple) for variety. Cook with half milk and half water.
Pikelets – A once a week treat with egg, flour, milk and a small amount of sugar.
Cheese Sandwiches – We go through about 4 loaves of bread a week for a cost of $6.40.
Soup – There are some many yummy soups to try. Carrot soup, pumpkin soup, minestrone, chicken and vegetable soup. Add plenty of vegetables, a small amount of meat occasionally, and rice or pasta.
Egg, Vegetables & Noodles – Eggs are still an affordable protein to eat. Add some veggies and different noodles for a complete meal.
Wraps – Want something different? Grab a packet of Lebanese bread for $0.99 from smaller supermarkets.
I would only buy meat if it’s $6 kg or less. Look for markdowns in the deli section. Otherwise use eggs, beans and lentils for protein.
Dal & rice – A basic lentil curry with added vegetables. My kids favourite!
Carbonara – Egg and pasta with a little bit of bacon. Another favourite!
Fried Rice – Really easy to make. Chop up any veggies you have on hand and add to leftover rice. We often have this with tofu marinated and cooked till crispy.
Chickpea Curry – Any curry is easy to make with a base of onion, garlic, tomato and spices. Add a tin of beans or cook your own from scratch. It is cheaper and it will have even more flavour.
Look out for 5kg bags of rice at half price!
Mince & Beans – Make any meat dish go further by adding veggies (grated carrot and zucchini) and a tin of beans or lentils.
Homemade Popcorn, toast, carrot sticks (at $1 kg carrot is the way to go), homemade muffins, 2 min noodles, fruit.
How I Applied The $50 Weekly Shop
Recently hubby’s work hours cut back unexpectedly to 2 1/2 days a week. Our weekly grocery shop was one of the few expenses in our budget that I could reduce.
Our usual food budget is about $170-$200 a week for 2 adults, 3 growing kids and 3 cats. That includes non-food items as well (July 2018). (
Comparison – In 2022 our grocery budget for 2 adults, 3 teenagers, and 3 cats is $250 a week.
My goal was to reduce our grocery spend to just $100 a week, plus cat food. That was still double the amount Jody Allen allocated for their weekly groceries.
- Week 1 – $90 (I was very pleased with my shopping skills)
- Week 2 – $123 (Ended up with more meat in the shopping trolley that week)
- Week 3 – $130 (Creeping up…)
- Week 4 – $118
- Week 5 – $129
In the end, I just wasn’t able to meet my goal of $100 a week for our groceries. But it was still worthwhile, in that just 5 weeks we saved $170 or more.