How to Slash Your Summer Grocery Budget

Summer has always had a special place in my heart.

From the balmy temperatures to my flip-flopped feet, I love it all, and try to enjoy every ounce of my summer that I can before it’s gone.

Yet I’ve noticed over the years, my grocery budget tends to sky-rocket from May through August, but my need to be a frugal mom stays the same.

How to Slash Your Summer Food Budget Faith Along the Way

This year I am being proactive and taking drastic measures to guard my allotted food money during the summer months, and am implementing these painless ways to slash your summer grocery budget.

Cook lighter meals with less side dishes

In our family, cook outs usually mean more food than we can eat in a few days, let alone one meal.  I’m cutting the menu to save money {and my waistline} this summer.  After all, do we really need six side dishes, a main course, and dessert?  Ahhh….. no.

Plan ahead for when you need to eat on the run

Those lazy, hazy days of summer often include life on the run and lots of festivities.  But instead of eating out all the time, plan ahead and pack a picnic.  The kids will have a blast stopping at a local park to eat and then have some after dinner fun!

Perfect a budget-friendly side dish to take to cook outs

Our friends love to host pot luck cookouts, but the extra expense on top of usual groceries can add up fast.  Over the years, I’ve learned to make one or two tasty side dishes that are not only delicious, but are frugal for a crowd.

I usually steer away from the expensive sides, such as a fruit bowl or something made with meat, and have a favorite go-to-dish that won’t break the bank, especially if I have to make it many times over the course of the summer.

Add fresh ingredients to meals to bulk them up and cut down on meat costs

Another reason I love summer so much, is the abundance of fresh produce at discounted prices.  It’s easy and frugal to throw together a delicious salad as a side dish or add vegetables to the main course.  Plus, I love that my children are getting their veggie allotment in the process.

My friends at Grounded & Surrounded have compiled their favorite salad recipes into one delicious eBook.

PicMonkey Collage

You can sign up to receive their salad recipes in this post so you can enjoy them all summer long!

Keep an inventory

Confession time.  Over the years, I’ve let many food items go to waste or simply unused simply because I had no idea what I had.

That stops now.

Laura Sue, from Laura Sue Shaw, has created a simple and easy way to keep inventory of your pantry and freezer. Planning meals around what you have on hand saves money and time at the store from shopping for ingredients.

The best part is, the printable is FREE, so print, it laminate it, and hang it in a place of prominence to use over and over again.  Grab the printable here.

Plan at least one budget friendly meal per week

My husband is a carnivore.  Seriously, he could eat large portions of meat at each meal and be in heaven.  However, all that meat wrecks havoc on our budget!

At least once a week I plan a meal where the meat is either cut and mixed with another protein source, or not the star of the show.

I try to plan a meal that’s less than $2.00 a person, and while it can be a challenge, some of those meals have become favorites.

They include: breakfast for dinner, taco salad {with homemade refried beans}, sloppy joes, and southwest shredded chicken {with black beans, corn, rice, and salsa}.

Although the weather is warmer and the days are longer, doesn’t mean that your grocery budget has to suffer.  Find creative ways to save where you can and enjoy the challenge to cut food costs as possible.

How do you save money on food?  What’s your favorite way to keep food costs low during the summer months?

Want a FREE Summer Survival Guide for busy mom?  It’s packed with ways to help a mom thrive and make memories over the summer! Learn more here!


    1. Yes! Coupons can be huge money savers if you know the couponing game!

  1. I so get this ! I have two teen boys and during the summer when they are home .. We go through so much food. I think the key for me is to plan ahead and keep cost in mind

    1. Those boys would eat a family out of house and home, especially during the summer months. I’m sure planning ahead is key!

  2. I keep food costs low in the summer by growing a lot of our fresh produce and planning ahead like you mentioned! I also buy most of our meat in bulk. Thanks for sharing our Summer FULL of Salads program. These salad recipes are BOSS and we are excited to share them with our subscribers this summer.

    1. I wish I had a green thumb, because I LOVE fresh produce and know it’s so much better for you! Great idea, Sarah!

  3. Thanks for these great ideas! I especially like the inventory one. I hate it when I buy something thinking I don’t have it only to discover I do. I’ve discovered that if I plan ahead, scheduling what meals I plan to serve then buying what I need for them, I save money by not buying things I won’t need right away. My “schedule” has to be flexible, and I have to keep emergency meal supplies on hand for the unexpected, but it still helps me to start with a plan.

    1. I am same way, Janet. I used to waste money because I didn’t realize what I had or didn’t shop my own pantry. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!

  4. These are great tips! I love the idea of cooking lighter and easier foods. And planning ahead is SO important.

    1. It is so important and I didn’t realize it was so important until lately. I am more on top of the game when I plan ahead!

  5. These are all great ideas. I try my best to cook food that is “in season”…not only does it taste freshest, but it is always on sale, too!

    1. Absolutely! Plus, who likes to feel overstuffed in summer {or anytime!} anyways?

  6. Oh man yes I have to learn to take better inventory! That would save me so much! I don’t eat much meat, it really does save a ton of money!

  7. I love these. I tend to get summer food happy and buy more than I should! Such great reminders!

    1. I do too and it saddens me to have to throw fresh produce away. What a waste!

  8. Oh those are GREAT TIPS Sarah! I need to plan my meals better… I HATE to waste food, and when I shop the sales I buy a TON of stuff to save on the cost (and I use coupons!) My biggest failure is when I make a bunch of food and no one wants the leftovers the next day. Gah!

    I need to pace the portions and the food I buy in a timely manner.

    Thanks for this advice!

    1. Thank you! I am with you on the failed leftovers part. We’ve eaten many meals the next day we weren’t thrilled about. 🙂

  9. Oh, man. I used to be so good at being organized about groceries, but I’ve really been slacking in that area lately. Thanks for all the good resources and tips! Looking forward to lots of fresh produce this summer. Hopefully from my own garden!

    1. I’ve been a little slack too, so no worries. I’m all about restarting again and again!

  10. Garden. I feel the difference the years I don’t keep a garden. I let the kids snack when they are outside…. fresh beans and strawberries keep them happy (even now that they are older) and I tend to TRY and find ways to use my produce so it isn’t wasted. Zucchini bread which is a cheap and yummy snack, fried or baked squash, fresh beans and home-made salsa. I miss the savings when my produce runs out!!

    You have great tips here, especially the planning ahead part. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I LOVE the ideas of having the kids snack outside in the garden! If only I can get past my brown thumb….

  11. Unfortunately our grocery bill is about to go through the roof with both sons home from college for the summer. But at least it’s under $100 August to May! Great tips! #MommyMondayHop

    1. I bet! Those boys certainly know how to destroy a grocery budget!

  12. Great tips! We love summer cooking, but with everything going on, the cost can add up quick. Thanks for sharing your suggestions!

    1. Oh yes it does rise over the summer! Cutting our grocery budget takes intentional planning!

  13. Totally agree with these tips as a frugal grocery saver blogger and shopper. When I am planning our meal menus I try to go for the main dish to include protein and veggies and then offer fruits as a side! The farmer’s market is a great time to get an awesome price on fruits and veggies! It really does help cut back the grocery budget when you stop and think ‘Do I really need all these side dishes?” Love your post as always!

    1. We LOVE the farmer’s market! I love buying local and from many natural farmers, too. Great suggestion!

  14. I’ve gotten into the good habit of planning my meals around what’s on sale on the grocery store. I might have lots of one item, but it will last until the next time it’s on sale. I’m also starting my own garden so I can cut down on produce.

    1. I need to be better about planning my meals around what’s on sale. That would save so much!

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