Grocery Shopping on a Budget For One Person
Budgeting,  Saving Money

7 Grocery Shopping on a Tight Budget For One Person Tips

How to do your grocery shopping on a budget for one person.


Grocery shopping on a budget for one person is not always as easy as it may seem.

When you’re living alone or traveling for work, grocery shopping can become an expensive chore.

If you don’t get it right, you can end up spending way more on groceries than you should for one person.

Not to mention the fact you will then need to prepare & cook the food. Oh, and then you have to wash the dishes. That’s a lot of effort to feed one person, don’t you agree?

There are times when eating out or ordering fast food sounds so much easier. The problem is, eating out every day will get expensive, quickly!

If you’re on a tight budget or if you’re savvy with your grocery spending, understanding how to shop on a budget can help you to save hundreds per year!

Over the years I’ve learned many grocery shopping tips that have helped me to save a lot of money & time; hopefully, these tips will help you too.

You should also read my post on how to drastically cut expenses, for more money-saving ideas.



How much should grocery shopping on a budget for one person cost?

The average American spends over 6% of their yearly income on food.

On a ‘normal’ budget for one person, it cost’s around $250 per month.

For one person on a ‘tight’ budget, using the advice shared in this post, it costs between $100-$150 per month.

In extreme budgeting cases, it’s possible to spend under $100 on groceries per month.

Now, of course, this will depend on your circumstances. How much you earn, where you live, and your diet will all have an impact on how much your monthly food budget will be.


How to do Grocery Shopping on a Budget for One Person.

If you’re looking for ways to save money on your grocery bill, here are seven useful tips to help you do your grocery shopping on a tight budget for one person:

1. Be prepared to shop on a budget

If you’re serious about grocery shopping on a budget, then it’s important to know how much you’re going to spend and what you’re going to buy, before you set out to the store.

Create a shopping list

There is nothing worse than turning up to a supermarket or grocery store without a shopping list.

Preparing a detailed shopping list will help you to stick to your budget and avoid those impulse purchases. It will also help you not to forget anything.

Forgetting something will mean you will have to make a second trip to the store, increasing your chances of overspending.

Research for the best prices

Once you have written out your grocery list, use google to find the best prices for all the items on your list. You may see that different grocery stores have the same items for a lower price. You may also discover a cheaper brand that your store sells that you didn’t know about.

Eat before you go grocery shopping

When you’re on a tight budget, it’s never a good idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.

You’ll be surrounded by temptation; delicious desserts, cakes, chocolate, sweets, pastry & more! I’m feeling hungry just talking about it!

Going shopping on a fully satisfied stomach will help you to resist the expensive junk foods that you crave when you’re hungry.


2. Stock up with the grocery staples

Pasta - stock up with the grocery staples

You should always stay stocked with the food staples (the main foods & condiments you should always have in your kitchen). Here are a few food staples to consider:

  • Cooking oil: vegetable oil, coconut oil or cooking spray
  • Sauces: Ketchup, mustard, barbecue, siracha
  • Rice: White rice, brown rice quinoa, or couscous.
  • Pasta
  • Spices & seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, etc.
  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc.

Not only are these food staples used regularly for cooking, they usually have a long life-span; which means you can buy in bulk and store in your kitchen for months.

Stock up on these food staples every 3-6 months. This will bring down the time and bill cost of your monthly grocery shopping.

Suggested Read: 10 Grocery Store Staples


3. Buy groceries in bulk when you can

Grocery shopping on a budget for one person can sound easy. I mean surely shopping for one person is cheaper than shopping for a family. Well, that’s not always the case.

Most supermarkets & grocery stores will offer discounts for bulk buying products.

You’ll often see offers such as; buy 1 get 1 free. Or, family size packaging that works out to be a much better deal than the single size packaging.

Because of this, shopping for a family can be way more cost-effective.

So, what’s one to do when grocery shopping on a budget for one?

Find the largest bulk savings

Well, you should aim to buy in bulk where possible. Prioritize food with the most significant bulk savings; this will help you to save as much money as possible.

Foods such as meat & fish will usually have the largest bulk discounts.

Find friends & family members who also live alone. Make a plan to buy your meat & fish together. This will allow the two of you to benefit from the bulk savings.

Freeze your food

When you’re on a tight budget, your freezer is your best friend.

Find the best freezer-friendly foods and then buy quantities in bulk to get a discounted price. Be careful not to buy more food than your freezer can store. Wasted food will eat into your savings.

Here are you are a few freezer-friendly foods that have substantial bulk savings:

  • Salmon
  • Whitefish; such as cod or tilapia
  • Ground chicken, beef or turkey
  • Frozen vegetables; such as broccoli, peas, corn & spinach
  • Frozen fruits; such as berries & mango.

Watch this video for more grocery bulk-buying tips:


4. Spend more on groceries to save more

When you’re on a tight budget, sacrificing on quality & taste to save a few bucks may sound like a wise idea, but it’s not always the case.

The reason being is that you need to enjoy the food you buy. It needs to satisfy your tastebuds and your hunger.

If it doesn’t, you’ll be tempted to eat out more often; which will eliminate any savings you made. You could even end up spending more on fast food.

This is why it’s important sometimes to splash out those extra few dollars on the foods that taste better and keep you satisfied.


5. Always treat yourself

Doughnuts - Don't forget to treat yourself - grocery shopping

There’s a difference between being on a tight budget and being tight.

Saving money should be a lifestyle, an enjoyable one at that! Spending a few extra bucks on a delicious doughnut or slice of chocolate cake can make all the difference.

It will stop you from spending unnecessary money in a dessert parlor, plus it gives you something to look forward to.

The key to grocery shopping on a budget is to make it as effortless and enjoyable as possible.


6. Watch grocery hauls for tips

If you shop at the same store, buying the same brands every month, you could be missing out on some significant savings. That’s why I suggest watching grocery hauls.

You can find many awesome grocery haul videos on Youtube.

This is great for picking up new tips, hacks & supermarkets; as well as finding those lowkey brands you didn’t even know existed.

Here is an example of a grocery haul video:


7. Stay away from convenient foods

When grocery shopping on a budget for one person, it’s tempting to buy ready-made meals for one. They’re super convenient, quick and require minimal effort.

However, you’ll often find that you’ll be paying a premium cost for this convenience.

If you’re on a tight budget, stick to simple, versatile foods that you can make into a tasty dish within minutes.

Here are my favorite versatile foods:

  • Eggs: scrambled, poach, fried, omelets, pancakes, etc.
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Rolled Oats
  • Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
  • Tofu

Suggested Read: The 10 Most Versatile Foods


Grocery Shopping For One FAQ

How much should I budget for groceries?

If you follow the advice above, you should be able to budget $100 per month for groceries ($50 every two weeks).

I suggest budgeting for an extra $20 emergency fund (call it a grocery buffer).

This will come in handy for those months you happen to go over your budget; or for when you see a great saving deal that you can’t miss.

By having this buffer, it will help you to avoid any financial overspend and provide you with a peace of mind when walking around the supermarkets.

How can I spend less money on groceries?

With the tips in this post, you should be able to bring down your spending on groceries. If you want to spend even less money on groceries, try the following:

  • Swap big brand names to store brand names.
  • Go bargain hunting. Most grocery stores will reduce their food to make room for new stock.
  • Use coupons.

I hope this information helps you when it comes to grocery shopping on a tight budget for one person.

I will continue to update this post with my thoughts and ideas, so revisit this post in the future.


Grocery Shopping on a Budget For One Person


Thank you for reading ‘The Complete Guide to Grocery Shopping on a Budget For One Person.’

What do you think? Did you find these tips useful?

Is there anything you think I should add? Or, maybe you have a question. Comment below, and I’ll respond as soon as I can.

Hi, I'm Liz Holmes. A full-time blogger and entrepreneur.

4 Comments

  • Rebecca

    These are some great ideas, but unfortunately most store-brand items are so cheap because they are made with unsustainable ingredients, or via inhumane or unhealthy practices. Do you have any tips for staying on a budget while being conscientious about sustainability and humane livestock practices?

    • Liz Holmes

      Hey Rebecca, I agree not all cheap products are the healthiest. In an ideal situation, I hope anyone following my blog will soon reach the stage of financial freedom. Which will enable them to replace these cheaper options with more healthier sustainable alternatives; as I’m aware healthy ingredients can sometimes be expensive.
      That being said, it’s a good suggestion to create a post on healthy grocery shopping on a budget; and it’s something I’ll consider writing in the future. Liz x

  • Bonnie Shugart

    I learned something from one of my favorite cookbooks, “More With Less,” by a Mennonite whose name I cannot recall. She said to save all your veggie scraps, even the papery peelings from onions (I throw mine in a baggy in the freezer) and then boil them to make a nutritious broth. I be done this for years. Last year after Christmas I bought a frozen turkey for fifty cents on the dollar, cooked it, sliced off all the meat I could, then simmered the carcass with my veggie scraps till all the meat fell off the bones, then stored my turkey soup in containers that I later took out and added dried beans and spices to and made a delicious turkey soup that lasted several days. And that was w/o any salt (I can’t have salt for high bp, or sugar and fat for diabetes). I still have a lot of basic turkey soup left and a variety of dried beans so groceries will last this month!

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