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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

A Millennial's Guide to Budget Grocery Shopping: Week 1 [June 28-July 5th]

This is a transparent tracking of my continuous journey to decrease our grocery budget in an effort to actually afford to eat.

If you're reading this send help. Send the budget geeks, send the coupon queens, and send all your favorite thrifty moms. Your girl is good, but being good may not cut it this month.

I'm currently looking at my monthly budget, grinding my teeth. After all the bills and monthly debts are paid off, we are looking at about $208 to live off of for the month. Now, to some this could be manageable, to others it looks impossible. I'm one of the 'looks impossible' people. Mostly because I know that I need just shy of $200 in gas money per month. So. I'm down to about $8.

Let's ignore the fact that I know I'm going to be extremely cramped for money this month. I'm not going to live my life on chance, I'll try and side hustle one way or another, but I do have to say this. God really does provide, and right in the nick of time. The last few months have proven that. We've been saved over and over again from accumulating more debt through unexpected checks in the mail, finally being able to cash in rewards, finding lost gift cards, the government somehow owing us money, and bills being suddenly reduced. I'm not expecting anything this month, but I am thankful and amazed by how much we've been blessed recently. And I do have faith that if we are in need, eventually God will provide.

For those of you who don't know this, I get paid monthly. Weird, I know. However, because of this I budget religiously. I used to use Excel spreadsheets or Google Doc templates but recently my friend recommended an app called "EveryDollar". I use the free version right now and it's been very convenient and intuitive to use. Now that I have this app, my budgeting is quicker and much more organized. When planning my grocery budget specifically, I use a few more apps to help. I love "Ibotta". It is essentially a rebate based app that often has rebates on items found on coupons for that week, so technically you could save double if you coupon. I tend to use it for its "Any Brand" items. They typically have a $0.10-$0.50 back for Any Receipt, so I'm a big fan. You can also earn cash back for online stores like Amazon or movie tickets for AMC and Regal Cinemas. It takes me a while to cash out (since I can't afford main brands most of the time), but after you earn $20+ you have the option of getting your money through Venmo, PayPal, or various giftcards.

When organizing my grocery list, I like to hunt for deals. I live near Atlanta, which means we have access to Kroger. The Kroger app had a coupon section which can really come in handy. Especially if you have a coupon on top of the Kroger coupon or are getting cash back on a Kroger discounted item. I'll also frequently check Cartwheel for Target's discounts. This month I'll be saving even more there after I get a debit REDcard. The top way I save when it comes to groceries however, is not through apps or coupons. It's simply shopping at stores that suit a lower price range but don't skimp on quality. For this reason, I do 80% of my shopping at Aldi. I know that if I'm spending $50 at Aldi, I'll be fed for the week, sometimes more. When you're broke like me, this means everything. Also, bonus, Aldi was recently added to Ibotta's list of grocers! Woot woot! Savings here we come!


We actually have already received a blessing! A lovely individual sent us an Aldi giftcard in the mail! Sometimes God really does provide folks!!!

 

The Menu

Breakfast:

  • Coffee (half caff)

  • Smoothie

Lunch:

  • Thai Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup

  • PB&J's on homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Dinner:

  • Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

  • Fried Brown Rice with Vegetarian Summer Rolls & Dipping Sauce

  • Greek Quinoa Salad with homemade Hummus, Tapenade, and Naan

  • Greek Pizza with Corn, Tomato, Feta, Avocado Quinoa Salad

If you're interested in the recipes for this week, I'll be posting them on my Recipes page.


 

Alright. So Week One. Here's how I did. It wasn't the best. I had to buy dog food. I also bought a pack of hot dogs because IT WAS A STEAL and sometime you just have to get things while they're hot!


What What!!

I only spent $35.64 of my own money!

The total weekly was $80.44

That is not that bad folks.

Is $80 what I'm looking to spend every week on groceries?

No flipping way!

Is that way better than most Americans spend on groceries? Heck Yes!


So I found my starting block. Next week I'm going to aim for less than $80. Hopefully between exploring some delivery jobs and maybe selling some clothes second hand, we can expect some money down the road. Who knows, maybe Cody will get a gig!

That's the fun part about life. You get to stress out like hell, and then every once in a blue moon you get a good break. Right now, its just my time to hustle. And honestly, besides being kinda down due to the stress. I'm actually pretty game. Bring it on Life!

Let me show you what I've got!

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