Frugal grocery indulgences to save more money overall

Frugal Grocery Indulgences

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A big secret to lowering our grocery bill so substantially is that we indulge. Yep, a frugal grocery list has room for a few splurges too! Grocery Shopping tips to save money

Getting ourselves to stop going out to eat randomly, give up our Qdoba habit has been learning to cook food we love at home. That starts with buying groceries we love. So how do we fit splurge items into our $225/month grocery budget?

  • We shop the sales ad and splurge on things that are on good sale already
  • Splurge items rotate throughout the year, following the seasons, so we never tire of them
  • Fancy produce is a favorite splurge (no guilt when you are buying healthy foods)

What We’ve Been Splurging on Lately

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

In the summer I posted a picture on instagram of some chocolate covered coffee beans that were my big splurge! They cost a whole $4. I basically think they are the perfect splurge item for me, since the caffeine actually works, so I can only eat 2 or 3 at a time, or I risk having a major coffee buzz for the next hour.


Grocery Shopping tips to save money
Loaded sweet potato savory waffles with avocado for dinner!

Yum, berries, maybe the most magical fruit. I picked a couple of gallons of blueberries this summer, and still have enough in our freezer to make it until blueberry season this year. But sometimes I like a fresh, non-frozen berry. When they go on sale in the winter I definitely splurge and buy some raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.


I love guacamole, and every once in a while (even in Michigan) I can get avocados for $0.60! So, I indulge a little and stock up. This past year I learned that I can let them ripen on my counter, than throw them in the fridge. They last another month in the fridge without turning brown! The trick is to get them in there before they are too far past ripe.

A friend of mine also freezes avocado mush and says it works great! I don’t seem to buy enough avocados to need to try that out (or I don’t have as much self control as her), so the fridge works for me.

Grocery Indulgences
Some berries and peanut butter in my oats! BTW one of my good friends gave me that mug in fifth grade!

Organic Produce

This past month we’ve stocked up on organic apples, leafy greens, and carrots. I’m not fully decided on where I stand with organic food. I would love to go fully organic, but can’t justify paying the extra price always. I pay attention to the dirty dozen and clean fifteen. It’s pretty counter intuitive that apples are in the dirty dozen. And I’m happy to report that kiwi is in the clean fifteen!

For now we try to grow and freeze lots of our own food. And as we grow our wealth we’ve been buying more organic foods.

Freshly Ground Peanut Butter 

I love to bring my own jar and watch my peanut butter be freshly ground when it goes on sale! I still haven’t learned how to make my own PB at home (for the same price as store bought), so this works for now! Peanuts = $1.80/lb; freshly ground grocery store PB = $1.80/lb – I don’t see any savings there.

Last week both the no sugar added PB and the freshly ground stuff went on sale! So we stocked up, and now I feel like I’m living a life of luxury. (As I’m writing this, I’m eating my organic apple with some fresh pb for dessert.)

Baking day with family
The aforementioned egg nog

Maple Syrup 

Over the holidays I made my family’s favorite chocolate paleo pie and Mr. Kiwi made his traditional egg nog. After trying a few non-vegan recipes out, he decided that we would break vegan and buy 1 dozen eggs and 1 container of whipping cream to indulge on his favorite holiday tradition.

Both of the pie and egg nog require maple syrup (since we don’t eat the white granulated stuff). So, now we have a bit extra in the house, and I’m dreaming up what goodie I’ll make for my 30th birthday with the leftovers. I’ve got a couple of months to plan ahead and really enjoy the indulgence. 🙂 Half the fun is in the planning, right?

Also, even if you do eat sugar (no judgement), maple syrup is just so much better and you need so much less than the other syrup requires!

The Regular Groceries

If you are curious about our non-grocery splurges, check out the 15 items that always make our frugal grocery list! In 2017 we averaged spending less than $225/month on groceries to feed our family of two adults. That also includes random grocery items such as toilet paper, so we spend even less than that on food!

We didn’t always see these things as indulgences. But as we simplified the food we put in our bodies, and eliminated most of the processed foods, a simple thing like a blueberry became much more satiating. And, trust me, we have a lot of room to improve on the healthy eating front, but splurging on some healthy groceries helps keep us happy and our wallet a lot more full!

It helps us waste less food, grow a better garden, and cut out a lot of restaurant spending.

What are your favorite grocery indulgence? How do you avoid food waste? 

20 comments on “Frugal Grocery Indulgences”

  1. Reply

    Groceries are one thing I don’t consider a splurge. No matter what I buy! I love eating.
    No wonder food is our No 1 expense.

    1. Reply

      Haha, yeah you gotta eat! It was definitely one of the last areas of our monthly spending that we focused on lowering.

  2. Reply

    Have you ever tried “Maple syrup salmon”? So goood:)
    You put me to shame with $225/month! Great job

    1. Reply

      I’ll tell my best friend who loves salmon!

  3. Hmmm. I’m curious about the idea of freezing avocado mash. What does she use it for? I’d say this this point our big splurge is buying bulk local meat (and eating meat in general). We could always get it cheaper but local, ethically raised choices are super important to us.

    1. Reply

      And local/ethical meat normally tastes better too! My friend is a big freezer meal maker. So she’ll make breakfast tacos/sandwiches and throw avocado in them, then the whole thing in the freezer. Or she’ll freeze just the avocado mush use it on sandwiches and turns it into guacamole, if I ever try it out I’ll let you know!

  4. Can I just say I love that your splurge items are whole foods? I would have said, “Cake, cake, and more cake, guys!” 😉

    1. Reply

      Haha, Mr. Kiwi can’t eat refined sugar, stupid headaches! So that has completely changed our splurge items and we’ve both lost some weight!

  5. This is great! Sometimes I feel a bit guilty as salmon costs like 8 times as much as chicken per pound, but it’s healthy and delicious… Need to get over food guilt haha.

    1. Reply

      Yeah, it’s healthier than chicken, but all in moderation? No guilt over healthy food 🙂

    • GYM
    • 2018-01-20

    $225 a month is so good for buying a lot of organic produce!! That’s amazing actually. I like to buy organic too if it’s on sale.

    Salmon is expensive but so good for you! We can get a filet for around $10 here, and when it’s that price i usually buy. But if it’s over $10 I hold off. haha.

    1. Reply

      Thanks! Yeah, we live in a LCOL area, so it helps! And yes, figuring out the sale price is such a good strategy!

  6. We do buy organic foods and grass-fed meats and our grocery spending shows it. Mangoes are one of my favorite indulgences. And blueberries, love blueberries. Splurging is a bottle of red wine.

    1. Reply

      I love mangoes, but Mr. Kiwi is allergic to mango skin, so I only buy them sometimes since I have to be careful with that they touch. Wine is always a good splurge!

  7. Ohh you have a great list there! Chocolate covered coffee beans are one of my favs! But I usually don’t buy them unless I’m making a birthday cake for friends who are chocolate/coffee lovers (decorate with them on top…it’s the best!).
    I’m so disappointed with fruit in the winter; I buy a giant bag of frozen strawberries and blueberries in bulk and then make smoothies with bananas, yogurt, etc…toddler thinks he’s getting an ice cream shake. Mom win!

    1. Reply

      What a great mom win! And good tip on the cake topping, I’ll try that out sometime 🙂

  8. Reply

    Trader Joe’s has chocolate covered expresso beans. When I’m tired and need the motivation to workout, I just pop a few of those. Does that make me a druggie?

    1. Reply

      Haha, nice use for motivation!

  9. So impressed with the quality of your grocery splurges-most of mine are dessert-related and/or bad for you!

    Avocados are definitely a splurge, though. I managed to find some for $1/each (as opposed to the normal $1.33-$1.66 they tend to be) and bought four because who could resist? I realized a few months ago that refrigerating them keeps them for MUCH longer, and it’s been a game-changer. No more sad scenes in my kitchen where I cut open expensive avocados only to find they’re completely brown and mushy!

    1. Reply

      Refrigerating avocados has changed the game completely! Now I buy a dozen when they go on sale 🙂

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