Grocery shopping doesn’t need to break the bank!
To prove it, we enlisted the help of cookbook author and a thrifty mom of two, Danielle Kartes.
We joined Danielle (and her selfie stick!) at the store to see how she shopped for a weeks’ worth of meals for a family of four—with a budget of only $100! Here are her top tips for slashing your grocery bill no matter how many you’re feeding.
1. Always Check What You Have Before You Leave The House
How many times have you come back from the grocery store and realized you’ve bought multiples of ingredients you already have? Danielle always checks out her pantry before she leaves, “I take some inventory of what exactly I have and what we feel like eating during the week.”
2. Start In the Produce Aisle and Build Your Meals There
Once you’ve come up with a list, hit the produce section first (there are often deals to be found!), and consider keeping your ingredients flexible. For example, for a stir-fry, if bell peppers are on sale, swap them in for the broccoli you were considering, or wait to decide on fruit for a cobbler until you see what’s there. After scoping heaps of onions which were $.99 each, Danielle came upon 4 pound bags for just $2, which she sliced up throughout the week for Thai curry, roast chicken and more.
3. Don’t Skimp on Herbs, They Go A Long Way
Danielle grabbed bunches of multi-purpose herbs parsley and cilantro, which she sprinkled in to boost her meals. Not only are they relatively cheap per serving when purchased in large bunches, but they add tons of flavor to your dishes. Win win!
4. Think Outside the (Plastic) Box
This tip applies to all kinds of grocery store goods—Danielle found that a container of jasmine rice was $3.99, but just $1.79 a pound in the bulk section. “All you have to do is put it in your own bag!” Instead of buying a whole 1-pound package of bacon, Danielle got just a couple of slices from the deli for just $1.65. And she and Rachael both agree, skip the salad clamshell! “Stop buying greens in those stupid plastic boxes”, says Rach, “you’re paying for the box!” Instead, get your lettuces in the bulk section, bag and rinse them yourself, and skip the extra price!
5. Let Your Ingredients Do Double (and Triple!) Duty
Danielle used her onions and herbs all week, and added leftover baked chicken to a hearty chicken noodle soup. She also showed us even more tricks for re-using ingredients in the kitchen: as a binder for the meatballs she cooked with Rach, she substituted crushed up pretzel crumbs from the bottom of the bag for breadcrumbs!
6. Grind Your Own Meat
When Danielle joined Rach in the kitchen, she showed us one of her favorite price-cutting tricks: grinding your own meat in a food processor. Instead of paying extra for ground turkey, beef, or chicken, she just pulses the boneless meat herself—ready for meatloaf, burgers, and more!
Rach and Danielle whipped up a super-simple budget-friendly feast of chimichurri chicken meatballs, red quinoa, and an herbed yogurt sauce—and it tasted as gorgeous as it looked!