Groceries for a Family of 5 with a $100 per Week Budget

When I first started buying groceries for a family of 5 I was dropping $500 in the first-week grocery shopping. Not a good idea when you’re a stay at home mom and your husband only gets paid once a month. No sir, no it’s not. Looking back I can tell a few major things that got in my way:

  1. Got swept away with “super foods”
  2. Shopped too much in bulk
  3. Bought whatever I wanted
  4. Overly concerned with the healthiest options

Now it’s crazy to me after living on a budget how we are spending only $100 on groceries for a family of 5. I swear it’s possible to not only feed everyone, but eat healthy too! Here’s how we made it happen.

*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Planning your budget

My absolute best tip for sticking to a grocery budget, especially if you are feeding a large family is to plan a budget and stick to it!

In my Fun Sized Budget Bundle there is a Basic Budget to get started with your over-all budget, plus printouts to help you organize and save more on your groceries.

Shop your pantry first

Before you even get to the grocery store, take a look at the food that you already have in your cupboards and refrigerator!

This is the best way to get an idea of what meals you could make for the week and helps reduce the amount of items you add to your grocery list.

5 tips for shopping your pantry

  • Check your starches first – Do you have items like rice, noodles or potatoes? These items can be the building blocks of meals and can require very little ingredients! Things like cereal and oats might be able to tide you over for breakfasts too! 3 Ingredient Waffles.
  • What proteins do you have left? If you have some proteins like chicken or beef left in your fridge, you may be able to come up with a stir fry or pasta dish to go along with rice or noodles you may have found
  • Check the frozen stock – Keeping frozen fruits and veggies stocked is another way our family of 5 reduces our grocery costs. Because frozen fruits and veggies don’t go bad as quickly, they last longer throughout the month
  • What fresh foods could you use? Now check for easy-grab healthy snacks like apples, bananas or carrot sticks. Remember you don’t need all these things. If you still have some left from before make sure to make a note on your grocery list so you don’t over-stock.
  • Now what do you need? After checking these 4 areas, you should be able to come up with some idea of what breakfast, lunches and dinners you may be able to come up with. NOW is when you create your grocery list by adding to what you already have.
Need groceries for a family of 5 but are shopping on a budget? Here are 6 tips we swear by to spend only $100 per week on groceries and still eat healthy!

Shop in season

It is crazy how much I let my obsession with strawberries held me back for so long. I know I can’t be the only one!

Whether strawberries were $2 or $6, I would buy them! I would buy a lot of them! 

Cheaper, healthier and lasts longer!

Not only is shopping in season a big money saver but it also means there is less handling and traveling for your produce! That means there is less likelihood of contamination and lowers the chances of far travel for your food.

Why would travel time matter?

If you consider that your food has been picked and then takes even longer to get to you, there is a better chance it is going to spoil sooner (and cost you more)!

In season = trying new foods

Now I find myself branching out in the grocery stores.

Instead of always going for the berries, our family eats things like pears and pomegranates in the winter.

How do I know what’s in season?

When I first heard about the concept of grocery shopping for what was in season, I was totally overwhelmed.

How in the world was I supposed to know what was in season and what wasn’t?

I tried to study charts and remember when I got to the store but it all became too much. Well, I’m about to drop a truth bomb for ya’ll.

BASIC IN-SEASON RULE: If it’s cheaper…it’s in season. Boom! Easy as that!

Oh, and avocados and apples are a free for all. They are good all year round.

Need groceries for a family of 5 but are shopping on a budget? Here are 6 tips we swear by to spend only $100 per week on groceries and still eat healthy!
Good news! Avocados and apples are always good to grab year round!

You don’t have to go organic

Like I said, one of my biggest mistakes when starting to eat a healthier diet was that I thought it all had to be organic. So much so that I bought whatever was organic without even looking at the ingredients!

Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean it’s something you should be consuming on a daily basis. A lot of organic foods are still heavily processed which isn’t a good idea if you are trying to get healthy groceries for a family of 5!

Organic/non-organic swaps

Beyond avoiding processed foods, there are a few swaps you can make from organic to non-organic if you are trying to shop on a budget. Here are a few of the little swaps we have done.

Organic eggs for eating and non-organic for baking

In the stores, non-organic eggs are generally 1/4 the cost of organic eggs. You can also save a ton by shopping in bulk at Costco. The price of 2 dozen eggs is similar to the cost of 1 dozen at most other grocery stores.

Buy “protected” non-organic fruits and vegetables.

There are veggies known as “the dirty dozen” that are the most filled with pesticides when they aren’t organic.

Reading about these was similar to in-season produce for me; it was too hard to remember all the details.

Then I realized how easy it was. Basically, if your produce is “protected” like pineapple, mangos, bananas and melons it’s a safer bet than those that aren’t.

Avoid organic “junk food”

There is a good chance you aren’t saving yourself much “health” by buying an organic pizza for $8 versus a non-organic one for $2. A basic rule for our family of 5 is, if we’re eating junky, we’re not going to waste too much money on it!

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Cut back on protein

People are consuming far more protein than necessary these days, especially when it comes to animal proteins.

Things like meat and cheese are things our family has majorly cut back on in order to get right with our health and our budget. I know not everyone consumes animal proteins, but this could easily go for vegan cheeses, beans, lentils and tofu as well.

  • Cut back on the cheese.
    • We have found ways to add additional flavors into our meals so that we aren’t using dairy heavy products like cheese or cream as the main flavor source.
  • Spread out the meat (or beans)
    • Create burgers with wild rice – this is especially great for meal prepping and it adds additional flavor.
    • Combine your proteins with large stir-fries of vegetables – this makes a little bit go a long way.
    • Create pasta dishes, stews or chowder – you can feed an entire family for 2 days with 2 chicken breasts if you toss in some noodles, veggies, and broth!

5 Frugal Meals to Make with One Turkey

Shop with discounts

Before I start shopping, I browse all my coupon and discount recourses. Some places don’t have a wide range of coupons, but there are places like Target that offer coupons, take manufacturer coupons and also have a discount app you can use.

The best discount apps:

  • BeFrugal – BeFrugal is an online resource for the best coupons around. Get a $10 credit here!
  • Drop – Drop is an app that links to your cards and gives you cash back on some of the places you spend the most. My personal choices are Target, Trader Joe’s, Chipotle, Whole Foods, and Starbucks. Link a card and get $3!
  • Ibotta – With Ibotta you get paid for the things you already plan on buying in stores and online! Just select your purchases and snap a picture of your receipt when you’re done. Ibotta will instantly refund you your money! Get $10 right now.

I also like to use my Fun Sized Budget Bundle to plan my savings ahead of time so I can be super organized when it comes to grocery shopping.

Shop bulk for things you eat a lot

Bulk shopping can be people’s mortal enemy simply because they get carried away and buy everything.

Instead, if you have a bulk buy membership like Costco or Sam’s Club, get a strategy down for buying bulk items that you use a lot of.

Great things to buy in bulk:

  • Oats or cereal (especially for a family of 5!)
  • Proteins like chicken, beef, and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Frozen fruits and veggies
  • Bread, noodles or rice
  • Quick grab snack packs for kids

Buyings things in bulk (especially items that won’t go bad quickly) is a great way to keep your food supply up and save yourself a ton of money!

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Need groceries for a family of 5 but are shopping on a budget? Here are 6 tips we swear by to spend only $100 per week on groceries and still eat healthy!

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Emily | 28th Dec 17

    Great information and inspiration here! I completely agree with you about seasonal produce and spread my money out even more by utilizing the farmers market all spring, summer and fall!! I love the idea of a more plant/based menu and look forward to incorporating that on hot date dinner in the New Year!!?

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      YES! We love the Farmer’s Market! I can’t believe I didn’t mention that.

  2. Paula @ I'm Busy Being Awesome | 28th Dec 17

    These are such great tips. I’m embarrassed to admit that I spend about that much on a family of two! It’s one of my goals to budget more wisely with food this year, and your prep-ahead suggestions are so important. Do you have any favorite/ go-to quick-and-easy weeknight meals?

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      Don’t be embarrassed! We used to spend $300 a week on a family of three, then $500 on a family of 5! Talk about embarrassing. As far as quick and easy meals I often turn to whatever few leftovers we might have. I also like to have a jar of spaghetti sauce on hand to whip up spaghetti. I’ve also let go of the idea of needing to have beautiful meals all the time. Sometimes dinner is rice cakes with peanut butter, an apple, a full carrot and an egg. Haha. Whatever random things I can pull together!

  3. candy | 28th Dec 17

    I go to the grocery store once every three months. We grow, hunt or raise almost all of our food. We eat many different bean meals.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      That is so great! I have attempted a garden 3 times and failed miserably each time. I’m so jealous of those who have that green thumb!

  4. Angie | 28th Dec 17

    Girl, you nailed it all. This is the route I had to go as well.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      Thanks! It’s kind tough to really break down what steps we took but I’m sure glad we took em!

  5. Anissa | 28th Dec 17

    This was a very useful and informative post. I pinned it so I can refer back to it. I’m trying to cut back on my grocery bill as well and I’m considering cutting back on meat. I agree on not always focusing on organic food as it seems to be overpriced. Thank you for sharing.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      So glad you enjoyed it Anissa! I hope you can enter this new year with some serious awesomeness!

  6. Stephanie Eiler | 28th Dec 17

    Okay I feel like “shopping in season” is such a no-brainer for saving money yet still I don’t do it!! I have my staples of produce that I NEED to buy no matter the price each time I go to the store, and it’s just so silly!! I love this tip and will definitely be keeping this in mind!! Thank you!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      It’s definitely tough when you know what you like!

  7. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-Ups | 28th Dec 17

    Great tips! Shopping in season is such a good tip, it’s cheaper and I think fruit and veggies tend to taste better when they are in season.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      Yes! They definitely do!

  8. Denise | 28th Dec 17

    grocery is the biggest part of our spending I even stopped tracking because it was depressing lol, I have put it on my new resolution to start tracking again and see where to trim a little, these are all great idea, especially ibotta one I got to give it a try and see.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      Ibotta is my latest obsession! Definitely recommend giving it a try. Every little bit helps!

  9. Sarah | 28th Dec 17

    This is very helpful! I always buy grapes, and I recently had an incident whee I bought like 2lbs of grapes and it cost me almost 10$. I was devastated. Now I buy in season too. These are eeally great tips to help with helath and $$ for the new year.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      Yup…have no shame in returning those grapes! Haha.

  10. Natasha | 28th Dec 17

    Thank you for this post! I carry some guilt with me all of the time about not feeding my family organic food 100% of the time. Staying away from the dirty dozen is a good way to cut the expense of organic food! Also, I LOVE IBOTTA too! It’s such a great app.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      I have definitely been there. I had to let go of a little bit. So glad you’re using Ibotta! I try not to be pushy with but it’s just unbelievable how great it is!

  11. Karrie Frost | 28th Dec 17

    Great tips! I have recently started meal planning and can tell you that shopping in season and planning ahead makes a world of difference. It’s inspiring to know you can feed a family of 5 for $100. I’m not quite there yet, but certainly working on it.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 28th Dec 17

      It really does! Thanks Karrie!

  12. Jenna | 29th Dec 17

    Thanks so much for these tips. Our grocery bill is out of hand lately and we talk about eating healthier all the time. I’m going to keeps your tips in mind like shopping in season when picking our food next time and see how much of a change it makes. I can’t wait to spend less. Thanks so much!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 29th Dec 17

      Good luck Jenna! Hope you can find little ways to cut back!

  13. Angela Maria | 29th Dec 17

    Love this! People forgot how easy it is to eat well and it really doesn’t have to be expensive. I love a good lentil stew over some brown rice. I have at least 3 vegan meals a week and it really is a money saver. Thanks for the great post!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 29th Dec 17

      I was just dreaming about that exact meal today! How funny!

  14. anne-onedeterminedlife | 29th Dec 17

    These are all great tips. I am trying to use more beans in our diet, but seem to be having a hard time actually doing it.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 29th Dec 17

      It is tricky to make the switch but they are so beneficial in so many ways!

  15. Elle | 31st Dec 17

    Wow! I am impressed! We are looking st cutting back on our grocery bill as well. These are excellent tips. Thanks!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 31st Dec 17

      Thanks Elle! Hope you took some new ideas out of it!

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