We Went From $1,500/month on Groceries to $233/month

Our family of six in southern California had been spending $1500/month on groceries.
We changed that to $233/month. And we’ve never eaten food that is as tasty!  So no, this is not a plan that is advocating eating beans and rice to achieve that low of a number.
Also, we are a family who likes our meat, so that isn’t going to be cut out of our meals. It hasn’t even been reduced.

The Reverse Meal Plan

CALL your local grocery store.

ASK what time they daily clearance meat, bakery and produce items.

SHOP from clearance.

THEN meal plan from those purchases. Happy shopping!

SuperCook.com is one of many helpful sites that allows you to enter the ingredients you have and it will generate recipes from those ingredients.

How We Use This Plan To Save $$$

One time a week we generally have a wonky meal night – that might be French toast for dinner or garlic butter noodles or something meat free, but generally, it’s meat every night.

What’s the secret?

Call your grocer, and ask each department what time they clearance food. Shop as near to that time of day (I recommend one to two times per week to make this plan work best). THEN plan what your meals will be that week.

How It Works for Me

Be sure to not waste food. Re-use leftovers. Amazing how many leftovers can be stretched or repurposed with added vegetables, rice, tortillas, pasta, grains, etc.

Clearance, clearance, clearance is huge.
A couple times a week, I swing by my grocery store (Ralph’s – a Kroger national chain store) and grab a loaf of clearanced bread or specialty bakery items for 59 to 99 cents (or you can grab many loaves and freeze them).
I grab dozens and dozens of eggs from Walmart (which, other than Aldi, has proved to consistently have the least expensive eggs. All of a sudden, that cheat night, when you’re too tired to cook, doesn’t have to be an expensive dinner night, it can be French toast til everyone’s stuffed for under $2 to feed the whole family. Add a bag of clearanced salad for 79 cents, and it’s cheap, easy and fast for those nights when you have no energy or time.

(Every grocery store I’ve been to has a clearance section for bags of salad, vegetables and other produce. It doesn’t look shiny and gorgeous perhaps, but it tastes fine. If you ever buy it and it’s off, grocery stores as a general rule easily accept returns of bad produce. This is also how I buy organic pears and apples and bell peppers for 99 cents per bag – it’s clearanced.)

What’s the Question You’re Asking Yourself?

Don’t ask what we want that night, but what we have. Maybe I’m not in the *mood* for chicken tonight but that’s what I took out to defrost for tonight’s meal. Make it into something delicious! The Food Network has some great recipe ideas for making delicious meals.

There are meals my husband cooks up for under $3 to feed all 6 of us. He makes such scrumptious food! We reverse meal plan, so instead of planning what we want to make and then buying the food for it, we buy the cuts of meat and vegetables that have been clearanced and THEN meal plan around that.

It’s dirt cheap!
6 of us for $233/month has been such a dream. Commonly, I can get one pound of bacon for 99 cents. Loaves of bread commonly clearanced for 59 cents per loaf.

Finally, don’t waste leftovers. Don’t throw away food. Re-purpose, reuse.
You can do this or you can do some version of this – whatever suits your family! Even if it’s a tiny version of this, it can save you a lot on your grocery budget each month regardless of most dietary restrictions – I’ve seen organic meats and produce, etc. just as frequently as I’ve seen non-organic items being clearanced.
You can do this! What’s been the most exhilarating take away for our family is that by saving money on something as forgettable as groceries, we can save money to spend on much more unforgettable things like family travels. What’s the reason you find WORTH it to say NO to what you want NOW in order to say YES to what you want MOST?

Click here to learn how much money you have available to spend on groceries each month!

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessica says:

    Love this! I honestly never thought to call to ask about clearance items!

    We’ve been doing something similar at home – taking inventory of the refrigerator — leftovers and perishables especially — and planning meals on what is going to go bad.

    We’re moving soon and our goal is to strategically eat everything in the house before we do. This way nothing will go to waste since we won’t be able to move it. It’s like an episode of “Chopped” all the time.

    Thanks for your tips! Will be sure to subscribe

  2. Katherine Daneluk says:

    From what I’m reading this helps with produce, meat, dairy and bakery items. What about staple items like rice, beans, spices, baking goods, etc?

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