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Save on Groceries When Living Alone

Updated on August 23, 2010

 If you're anything like me, going grocery shopping when you live by yourself could sometimes feel like you're throwing money away. Let's face it, most foods and products found in grocery stores aren't packaged to be very friendly to the person that's living solo. More often than not, I have found that food I purchase ends up spoiling or going stale before I even getting around to making it. Cooking good meals for one person can be a tricky thing. Portions found in supermarkets usually leave me making a large meal, which then forces me to eat those leftovers for the next 3 or 4 meals! Use these tips to help you get the most for your dollar when shopping for yourself.

  • The freezer and Ziploc bags are your friends. Now, I don't know why it took me so long to realize this. I used to find myself cooking a pound of chicken at a time, and throwing the leftovers away a few days later. It felt like throwing money right into the trash! Now, as soon as I get home from the grocery store, I put individual size portions of meat and even vegetables into Ziploc bags, and freeze them. They stay fresh a lot longer, and all I have to do is pull the bags I want when I'm ready to cook them. Or, you can often find chicken and other meats individually portioned at grocery stores, but be prepared to shell out a few extra bucks.
  • Long-lasting foods. There are some foods out there that are very friendly to the person living alone...meaning they have a long shelf life. Try to incorporate these into your cooking to save some extra cash. Potatoes, eggs, lemons, and garlic just to name a few. And don't forget about the basics like canned tuna, soups, dry noodles, peanut butter, rice and nuts.
  • Make a list. You've heard it a million times. Or maybe you've already made a million lists like me, but just don't follow it for some reason. Plan a menu ahead of time and have a list ready so you can go in and out of the supermarket getting only what you need. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've ended up with an outrageous grocery bill when I only ran in for a few things. These "impulse buys" certainly add up over time.
  • Set a shopping date. Pick a day of the week when you can go grocery shopping every week. Create that list and this will eliminate the random stops throughout the week that can leave your wallet empty. I know it can be hard since you have other bills to pay and you may not always have that extra money laying around to spend at once...but try it out and you will save money.
  • Discount stores. You ever wonder what happens to all those dented cans and somewhat crushed boxes? There are a lot more discount stores out there than you may be aware of. The stores themselves are usually smaller in size and ran locally. The products are exactly the same and are in no way different. So maybe the can has a dent, but you could save more than 50% of the regular price. Check out stores like these before you make that big trip the grocery store.
  • Go local. I absolutely love my local farmer's market. The produce is extremely fresh since it comes straight from the different farms...and better yet, it's extremely cheap! Granted, most are only during the summer months, but there are farmer's markets open all year around in some areas. I always head to my farmer's market before the store for my fruit, vegetables and even meat in some cases. You won't believe how much money I save!! Plus, you'll be supporting your local farmers.
  • If all else fails... you can always invite friends over for dinner. If you didn't freeze your foods in smaller portions or have to cook those veggies because they're on the brink of your trash can, invite friends over for a meal. Grab a bottle of wine and make a night of it!

 I know how difficult and costly it can be to live alone, while trying to avoid eating frozen dinners all the time. I hope these tips help you save time and money, in addition to throwing your hard-earned money away.


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    • Marie Pinschmidt profile image

      Marie Pinschmidt 7 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens

      I live alone and do a lot of stir fry using fresh vegetables, nuts, and a small amount of meat (except red meat)and seafood. I make enough for two meals, careful not to overcook, so I can heat it up later. Easy to do and very healthy. I use only olive oil and add various herbs and spices incl. turmeric. Much healthier than salt. I dropped my cholesterol 40 points using this method.

      Happy eating.

    • rayman21 profile image

      rayman21 7 years ago

      Wonderful suggestions, I will take you up on some of them. keep up the good work on your hubs.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      I need to find one of those slighted items discount alone I usualy cook from anything canned,that lasts only a coupla days...thanks for the tips MSal;)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Although I don't live alone the kids have gone a long time ago. I follow much of this advice, but since we are not great on cooking the fare gets rather limited.

      I have always found it useful to cook roast or chicken and save the leftovers for sanwiches, soups etc.

    • fetty profile image

      fetty 7 years ago from South Jersey

      Very useful tips your writing style is smooth and easy to read. Great hub. Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination.

    • MSal2185 profile image

      MSal2185 7 years ago from PA

      Thank you all very much for the comments!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wonderful tips. COngratulations on your HUbnuggets nomination.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      great info - my husband and I have noticed a big difference since our children moved out and we were in the habit of cooking lots of food - now we have to adjust.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Super tips. I have a lady that lives up the road from me who is blind and not too well off so I drop off a couple of ready made meals to her every week.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • MSal2185 profile image

      MSal2185 7 years ago from PA

      Thanks. I find myself inviting friends over more often than not just so my food doesn't go to waste! They appreciate it, and usually invite me over in return. We have a nice little system! haha

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 7 years ago

      Great tips for those living alone. I like your idea of inviting friends over for a meal.