frugal recipes frugal kitchen

15 Items that Always Make Our Frugal Grocery List

By in , , , , , ,


We’ve slashed our grocery budget to $225/month for two adults, and I’m excited to share with all of you the fifteen items that we consistently buy to make this possible! These foods help us save money on groceries, and get our shopping done quickly.

Grocery Shopping tips to save money
A recent trip to the grocery store: almond flour (cheapest in the bulk aisle), almonds, red beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, green beans, and nutritional yeast

We were originally spending $700/month on groceries to feed our household! I never thought twice about that spending, because you gotta eat, right? Wrong, yes, you have to eat, but no it doesn’t have to be expensive!

I know that there are a million different diets out there, and they have different reputations for being expensive. During our three years of tracking our spending, we’ve tried almost all of them: keto, paleo, vegan (FTW), autoimmune, headache diet (thanks chronic illness)! And it wasn’t the diet that influenced the amount of money we were spending, it was our shopping habits!

Grocery Costs

Grocery Shopping tips to save money
Another grocery haul!

I’ve also included the typical price I pay for each of the items! I live in the Midwest, in a relatively low cost of living area, so I benefit from having access to reasonably priced groceries. I’ve found that Aldi consistently has the lowest prices and their aesthetic (read zero aesthetic) doesn’t encourage me to add impulse items to my cart.

I typically buy groceries every 1.5 weeks, and primarily shop at Aldi, the farmers’ market, and a local store that has great prices on produce. We also have our frugal garden to supplement our groceries!

I’m one of those weirdos who loves going to the grocery store, looking through the grocery sales ads, and optimizing my shopping (time matters too!). And the nice thing with this list is that the items normal prices are low, so you don’t have to spend time to hunt for sales!

Dry Pantry Goods

Grocery Shopping tips to save money
Loaded savory waffles for dinner!
  1. Oats! ($0.69/lb)
  2. Dry Pinto Beans ($0.65/lb)
  3. Popcorn Kernels ($0.60/lb)
  4. Corn Tortillas ($2/30 pack)
  5. Lentils ($0.60/lb)
  6. Dry Roasted Peanuts (You can make homemade peanut butter with this!) ($1.80/lb)
  7. Dried Figs ($1.89/7 oz)
  8. Sunflower Seeds ($2/lb)
  9. Chia Seeds ( We find this on sale for $3/lb)

Refrigerated Section

  1. Almond Milk (Aldi Vanilla Unsweetened) ($2/half gallon)


Grocery Shopping tips to save money
Celery isn’t our favorite, so we make ants on a log using carrots!
  1. Sweet Potatoes ($0.40/lb)
  2. Jalapeños ($1/lb)
  3. Bananas ($0.44/lb)
  4. Carrots ($0.50/lb)
  5. Onions ($0.60/lb)

Bonus Items

Grocery Shopping tips to save money

We also add whatever produce (i.e. kiwi!) is on sale to our cart, but that changes with the seasons!

  • Broccoli, cauliflower, apples and pears in the fall,
  • Kale and citrus in the winter,
  • Strawberries, broccoli, peas, and beets in the spring, and
  • Melons and berries (almost all produce) in the summer.

So, there you have it! This is what we are consistently throwing in our shopping cart!

Thank you so much for joining the frugal pack! You encourage me to stay focused on simplicity and frugality.


Mrs. Kiwi

And if you have a couple of splurge items you like, I highly recommend requesting those items as gifts! Consumable gifts are some of my favorites, check out my frugal holiday gift guide for more gift giving/receiving ideas!

Grocery Shopping tips to save money
Spring vegetable soup!

Psst: I love writing about groceries – if you like reading about them, check out my other information on how we’ve slashed our grocery spending:


What are your favorite items to buy at the grocery store? Do you have any frugal grocery shopping tricks and tips?

16 comments on “15 Items that Always Make Our Frugal Grocery List”

  1. That’s a really impressive budget amount for two adults for a month – nice work. We just actually bought a few of the items on this list – corn tortillas, in particular – to make a number of different dishes.

    Mrs. BD and I haven’t made as many things at home, but the home-made peanut better looks like a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Mike! And yes, fresh ground pb is so tasty!

  2. Hey, another plant based frugal weirdo!

    Great list, we try to buy in bulk as well, especially dry pantry things like oats, chickpeas and flour. We still have a way to go until we’re as frugal as you guys (way to go!), but eating plant based decidedly makes our grocery bill a lot easier to manage. ^^

    1. Reply

      Yay! Money Babe is another plant based PF lady (! I go so crazy when people say plant based is expensive! It doesn’t have to be!

      And it took us a few years to get our spending down. We are averaging $100 less/month this year than last.

  3. Reply

    I’m intrigued by the savory waffles. Would like to see some recipe ideas on that one!

    1. Reply

      Oh, yes, I will definitely write those up sometime! Thanks for the idea!

  4. Ooh, thank you for sharing this! It’s good to know what’s in other people’s pantries. 🙂 For us, whole foods are always cheap staples. You can’t find a healthier cheap snack than a banana!

    1. Reply

      Yep, each banana costs about a dime and is a super quick snack!

    • V
    • 2017-12-06

    Love this! After reading Early Retirement Extreme, my goal was to spend $100/month on groceries for two. That didn’t happen (we aren’t satisfied with rice and beans and PB&Js). Our typical month is now $200- $300, depending on the month (we like to host dinners more during the holidays and summers). Since we don’t have an Aldi near us, we do all of our shopping at Costco, which has cheap produce. We also buy black beans, chickpeas, and rice in bulk, which lasts us over a year (score!). Bananas and potatoes are always staples because they’re always cheap and we try to make everything from scratch.

    1. Reply

      Nice! Yeah ERE is a bit extreme for me, I like having a variety of fruits and veggies to eat at all times! Your spending is awesome! We just got a Costco near us, we have been debating joining!

    • Rebecca
    • 2017-12-06

    Great to see a vegan frugal site! Organic oatmeal for refrigerator oatmeal, dried beans to cook a large amount at once (eating for several days and freezing the rest), sweet potatoes, organic popcorn to pop, canned organic chick peas to roast as a snack and fresh or frozen veggies and fruits (in season and/or on sale ) are my go to staples. People who complain that a vegan diet is expensive are probably buying processed meat and cheese substitutes rather than cooking whole foods.

    1. Reply

      Yay! Vegan is such a frugal diet! I was nervous about the costs when we switched in January (due to it’s reputation), but I have found it to be the easiest diet to do healthily and affordably. Refrigerator oatmeal has been Mr. Kiwi’s breakfast of choice all fall: applesauce, oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and chia seeds!

  5. We do buy the celery (and no jalapenos for us, as we’re still catering to a 7 year old’s palate.) We also tend to keep mushrooms on hand and an enormous amount of dairy…I think I buy 5 gallons of milk a week. I do need to work on being more seasonal with our produce purchases, though.

  6. Reply

    This is totally cool – I need to do my own “15” list of regular groceries – thanks for the idea 🙂

  7. If you eat a lot of kale, I would highly suggest growing your own. It is SO easy to grow and even survives some snow. We just picked some for our dinner last night 🙂

  8. Reply

    $225 per month on groceries is so little for two adults. I look at our food spending (also for two adults) and I’m like “No way.” I try to tell myself that the secret is in learning to cook, but it’s not something I enjoy. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.