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Woman shopping, examining apple in grocery store

Source: Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury / Getty

No one knows how to shop for the week ahead quite like meal-preppers. They know exactly what they’re eating for each meal, and how much they’ll be having each time. It’s down to a science for them in the kitchen, but that precision starts with their grocery list.

While meal prep is an incredibly efficient way to watch what to figure out what’s for dinner (and every other meal), you can also use it to easily stick to a set budget. In fact, we’ll show you how to eat well on less than $50.

To start, there are 5 basic rules when looking to save money at the store.

  1. Shop in-season – To buy the healthiest and freshest options, you’ll want to stick to the perimeter of the store. But that can add up quickly if you’re buying fruits and veggies out of season. Also keep in mind to not waste money by buying too many fresh items beyond what you need.
  2. Know When to Buy in Bulk – Getting bigger packs of things you need more throughout the week (like meats and starches) is a good way to budget. However, you should only buy as much produce as you need for the week because those are more likely to perish within a few days. This goes a long way to getting your money’s worth.
  3. Buy Store Brand – When watching your coins, generic is the way to go.
  4. Look for Deals and/or Use Your Store Card – Pay close attention to the specials of the week and be prepared to do a little basic math. Sometimes, store specials will offer you a better deal on items you need than coupons offer. To take advantage of those specials, though, you will likely need to have a store card, which is free.
  5. Buy to Make Meals That Will Stretch – Meal preppers know all about thinking ahead and cooking a lot. Plan your menu before you head to the store and plot out your week to cook large meals that can be portioned out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner throughout the rest of the week.

Assuming that you already have cooking oil and spices in your pantry, here is a grocery list that will keep you fed for a week on just $50.

Veggies

Carrots: $2.00

Celery: $2.79

Frozen Spinach: $ 1.50/lb

Fresh Spinach: $3.29

Frozen Broccoli Florets: $ 1.50 lb

Frozen Green Beans 16oz: $ 1.50

Green Leaf Lettuce: $ 1.49/lb

Green Onions/Scallions: $ .99/bunch

Tomato Sauce (29 oz): $ 1.99

Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz ): $ 1.69

Protein

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (3lbs): $ 4.47

Ground Beef (1 lb): $ 5.24

Ground Turkey (1 lb): $ 3.99

Peanut Butter: $2.99

Dairy

Milk (quart) – 2.19

Butter 8 oz – 2.79

Shredded Cheese (8 oz) – $ 2.50

Starches

Spaghetti: $ 1.00

Egg Noodles: $ 1.79

Rice (32 oz bag): $ 3.29

TOTAL: $ 48.99

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