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Save on Groceries: Try the $20 Grocery Challenge

Save on Groceries $20 Grocery Challenge

Tired of living off fast food? Have you ever attempted to spend less on groceries, but you’re stumped on what to eat? Or you can’t manage to save on groceries?

A reader wrote in to Ask Carly to find out new ideas on what to eat for breakfast and lunch.

Ask Carly is a way for us to stay connected and support one another on our journey to gaining financial independence. It’s a judgement-free place to get some solid advice, because you don’t need to figure this money stuff on your own.

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I’ve been doing the $20 dollar a week grocery challenge for the last couple of weeks. I’m proud of myself for going shopping for groceries. As a single person it’s a lot easier to just pick up fast food. I like taking my lunch to work, but I’ve run out of ideas of what to eat. I’m going to try peanut butter and jelly for lunch this week and maybe do yogurt and granola for breakfast. What other ideas do you have?

-Delia


First off, congrats to Delia for taking her lunch to work. Here I estimate the average person can save almost $4,000 a year by taking their lunch to work versus eating out. Here’s my exact grocery shopping system to get groceries for $20-$40 a week per person. A huge part of spending less on groceries is to take a set amount of cash out for weekly day-to-day purchases like groceries. Weekly cash it too legit to quit: once you start it’s a brilliant way to pace your spending in the month.  

Here’s two ideas on how to save on groceries and try the $20 grocery challenge.

1. Recipe Reverse Engineer your Favorite Fast Food

Whatever you like to eat for fast food, search Allrecipes.com to find an easy recipe that you can make at home. For example, I liked a restaurants buffalo chicken salad, so I made my own Buffalo Chicken Salad, for $1.67 per serving.

If you’ve got a fast food burritos addiction here are two recipes I came up with. The first is called The Green Monster Wrap, that’s $1.25 per serving.

This is a Roast Beef Wrap, that’s $1.45 per serving.

2. Stick with the Classics for Breakfast and Lunch

Bagels with butter or cream cheese is great for breakfast or lunch. My favorite for breakfast is oatmeal, and cereal is another classic breakfast option. You can make a smoothie, here are 50 smoothie recipes from the Food Network.

For a while I was hooked on yogurt parfaits. Make a parfait by adding fruit and sprinkle oats or granola on top of yogurt.  

For lunch go with a meat and cheese sandwich. You can jazz sandwiches up by getting a low-cost panini machine like this one for $18. Or instead of regular bread you can use pita bread.

Classic sides are fruits and veggies (here are my favorite):

  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Apples or applesauce
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Peaches
  • Salad
  • Broccoli roasted
  • Brussel sprouts roasted
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus

 Other classic sides:

  • Granola bars
  • Cheese sticks
  • Pretzels
  • Cheese crackers
  • Wheat crackers
  • Chips
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Popcorn

You don’t have to live off PB &J to save on groceries. Try the $20 grocery challenge and let me know how it goes!

Those are two ideas on how to save on groceries and try the $20 grocery challenge.

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Hi! I'm Carly

I’m a Finance grad and creator of Best Money Class Ever, a 4-week live virtual personal finance class. I paid off $35,000 of debt and saved a nest egg of over $100,000 by age 26 (earning only around the median household income!).

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