Food is absolutely one of the most natural things to spend money on. Everyone loves treating themselves to tasty snacks, exotic dishes, luscious desserts, etc. However, when you are forced to live frugally, you sometimes have to make adjustments on how you spend your money on food. Grocery shopping every few days or ordering takeout every other day begins to add up real quick. Before you know it you are on a money crunch and can barely afford your next meal. That is why creating a frugal food budget is necessary for curbing such costly spending habits.

Here are some simple adjustments that you can make to spend less money on food until you get out of the red, or if you just want to find more ways to save money:

Avoid Food Waste With Soup

Soups are some of the best and healthiest options when it comes to creating a frugal food budget and finding cheap ways to feed a lot of people (or feed yourself for multiple meals). If you have any veggies or meats that are close to expiration, you can just toss them into a soup with some grains and seasonings.

You can freeze the extra soup for months or keep it in the fridge for about a week and keep reheating it. There’s really no limit to how big of a batch of soup you can make and it’s a great way to make sure you’re eating any leftovers or food close to spoiling.

If you’re interested in turning your scraps into delicious soup, then check out this 200 recipe book. But for now, here are some easy soups you can make in no time:

  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Tomato Soup
  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • Creamy Herbed Tomato Soup
  • Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Don’t Buy Pre-Packaged Foods

You can save a lot of money preparing things yourself rather than buying them pre-packaged. If you like peanut butter crackers, for example, instead of buying sleeves pre-prepared and packaged, you could make your own in bulk at a cheaper price. Plus, many of these pre-packaged snacks are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, salt, and just extra empty calories.

Take a look at all the snacks and meals you love and throw them together yourself rather than buying them already made. You could meal-prep these sorts of things once a week, which brings us to our next tip:


It’s already cheaper to make larger amounts of meals at once and save the rest for later, so why not systemise this by meal-prepping? If you just cook on Sundays, for example, you can ration food for the entire week into glass containers which you can take with you or eat whenever you’re hungry. And if you are no chef, no problem because you are only choosing the dishes you can make.

Here is a quick breakdown of how this whole process works:

  • Choose the meals you want to make this week
  • Create a focused grocery list – list only the items you need for the week based on your chosen recipes
  • Don’t stray from the list at the store – if it is not on the list, SKIP it
  • Cut up all vegetables and fruits and store properly based on the produce
  • Cook any whole grains or protein ahead of time
  • If you are having the same meal or dish multiple times in a week, cook in large quantities at once
  • Store prepped meals in glass containers and cook the necessary dishes on the day

This is also perfect because you don’t have to think about what you’ll eat. It’s going to save you a lot of time that you can devote to other things. It’s certainly a commitment. But if you do it, it will make saving money on food so much easier.

Stick to a Pre-Planned Shopping List

This goes hand-in-hand with meal-prep. If you’re going to meal-prep for the week, you are going to need to make sure you have the right amount of ingredients to do it.

It is best to go grocery shopping with a list when you are not hungry because it prevents you from making impulse buys. Impulse buys may look and be really tasty, but they will cost you more money. They could potentially lead you to waste other things that you did not eat because you ate the impulse buy instead.

Next time you’re out shopping and get tempted by all those tasty unnecessary items, just remember to stick to the list!

Buy the Store Brand to Easily Adjust to a Frugal Food Budget

Often, the store’s brand of food and supplies is way cheaper than more well-known competitor brands. Their items are also around the same quality as the more reputable brands. There may be some slight deviations, but if you’re really penny-pinching, the few dollars saved is worth it most of the time. Here are some brands to keep in mind:

  • Kroger – Kroger
  • Costco – Kirkland Signature
  • Walmart – Great Value
  • Target – Good and Gather
  • Whole Foods – 365

Grow Your Own Herbs

Herbs, among other things, could be pretty cost-effective to grow on your own. You can use cuttings of veggies, fruits, and herbs to grow your own. All you need is some sun and soil.

For a fantastic how-to video on how to do this, check out Buzzfeed’s Nifty. The herbs seem to be the easiest thing to grow. All you need is some cuttings of them to start regrowing. And then you replant them into little pots with soil. The best thing about them is you can grow them indoors! No need to wait for a house with a backyard, start growing herbs in your tiny apartment right now.

Some herbs you can easily grow in your home:

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro

Use Coupons

Many grocery stores such as Whole Foods or Kroger send out magazines to their customers with various deals and coupons in them. Always keep a lookout for these magazines because they can save you a few bucks here and there. And yes it might sound silly, but trust us those few bucks will add up with weeks of grocery shopping. You can also check the store’s app or website and mark the coupons or deals you will benefit from.

Interested in more money saving tips?