Over the next few weeks we’ll look at how Des Plaines residents have been cutting back on spending, and we’ll show you three grocery budgets that can help save a few dollars every month. Read all the stories here.
One day a few months ago Shay Wilson, a 25-year old Des Plaines resident, woke up and realized she was spending far too much money on dining out.
She tallied up her receipts and in just one week, had spent more than $100 on meals she could have prepared herself for much cheaper.
“You never realize how much you’re wasting until it’s laid out right in front of you,” Wilson said.
Wilson said developing a grocery-shopping budget gave her more money to spend on other things she enjoys, and added to her dwindling savings.
“The $20 to $30 I might spend on just one meal at a restaurant stretched way farther at the grocery store,” Wilson said.
In 2011 Americans were spending less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This percentage includes eating out and the money spent on purchasing groceries.
Sample Grocery List
Whether you find yourself over-spending while eating out or you are interested in saving money at the grocery store this week, this sample grocery list of nutritious, low-cost items can help you get the most for your money.
Sample grocery list for one person for under $20 a week:
- Brown rice $1.75/bag
- Eggs $1.50/carton
- Whole wheat bread $2/loaf
- Potatoes $1.50/pound
- Lunch meat $2/package
- Apples $2/pound
- Milk $2.50/gallon
- Flour $2/bag
- Hamburger $3/package
- Tuna $1/can
By adding a few items you may already have around the house, such as baking powder, sugar or salt, you can mix and match list items like the flour and eggs to make tasty snacks like donut muffins (adding apples to this recipe can enhance the taste) and scrambled eggs for breakfast.
You can also create a full meal by slicing the potatoes and making baked french fries, and making a simple burger. Lunch meat and tuna fish are also perfect to use for lunch and dinner.
The flour, one of the most versatile items on the list, can be used to create items like buscuits for breakfast or dinner, hamburger buns for lunch or dinner, and coupled with peanut butter and sugar for cookies.
Freezing some of your meals can also help you get the most from the money you spend on groceries.
If you’re budgeting for $30 to $40 a week you can add lean meats to this list or other staple items such as hot cereal, cheese and other proteins.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner for a week, all for the price of a meal or two eating out. In addition to the extra cash in your wallet, you may just learn how to prepare a new dish or two.