The Frugal Mom's Guide to Meal Planning on a Budget

In a recent survey I sent to my audience, one of the top complaints was that meal planning and healthy eating is just too darn expensive.

  • Do you think healthy eating is too expensive?

  • Does the cost of food hold you back from eating your best?

  • Are you not sure exactly how to budget for groceries or let alone stay in your budget?

You’re in the right place! I have spent years helping people learn to eat healthy no matter what their budget and, being on a tight budget personally, I follow it myself. But, I still feed my family a healthy, delicious dinner every night and don’t feel deprived of anything.


“Teach me your ways!”


I thought you would never ask! Come along frugal momma. I’m on a mission to help you save more at the grocery store this week. But, before we begin, grab your money saving checklist. It’s packed with the steps you must follow to save some serious cash at the grocery store.

Start by knowing your budget

If you don’t know how much you have to spend, it makes things extra difficult.

  • First, find out how much you can spend. Add up all your expenses and then you’ll have a number to work with.

  • Find how how much you already spend.

  • Compare your budget with the USDA’s food cost plans for your demographics. See if you can stick to the thrifty plan!

  • And lastly, determine a budget. Ask yourself:

Are you eating out a lot?

Are leftovers going to waste?

Could you include a few more meatless meals in the week's menu and stay under budget?


It may take a little practice to adjust your budget as you figure things out, but keep sticking to your budget. You’ll discover many creative ways to save money!

Did you grab your checklist yet? If not, here it is again. It’s filled with more information than I can pack into this blog post.

Plan meals around sales

This is my #1 tip for saving money. If grapes aren’t on sale, find another fruit that is. Yes, I’ve had to say no to some things I love, but I know they ALWAYS go back on sale soon! Sales at the grocery store rotate, so if it’s not on sale now, it will likely be in the next few weeks.

  • Spend 5-10 minutes looking over your local grocery store ad

  • Plan your meals around the food that is on sale

  • Batch ingredients (use the same ingredients for more than 1 meal during the week)

  • Try to avoid buying food at full price


Have a price list

Get a little notebook specific to your grocery shopping and when you get a good deal on something, write it down. Next time you’ll be able to reference when you’re wondering if it’s on a good enough sale. You can also compare common prices for food in your area. Just look for food price lists specific to your state. Chances are, someone has already created a food price list for you!

  • Stock up when the price of an item you use regularly reaches its lowest


Avoid the middle aisles

Truthfully, the middle section of the grocery store is primarily packed with snacks you probably don’t need. Chips, crackers, snack bags, etc… are they REALLY necessary? Maybe you have one snack you really love (my toddler can’t go a day without a ritz cracker), but for the most part, you can avoid these. They tend to rack up your grocery bill without giving you any nutrition. See if you can cut back on these items the next time you go shopping.

  • Stick to the perimeter of the store for fresh fruits and veggies to eat as snacks

  • Find ways to make homemade snack bars and energy bites

  • Hit up the bulk bins for snack items as they tend to be cheaper.


There you have it. Some great places to save some serious dollars at the grocery store. Because I don’t know about you, but I’d love to some extra cash in my pocket at the end of the week.

If you want some more tips for saving money at the grocery store, grab the checklist! I’m excited for you and know healthy eating is completely within reach for you!