Top Grocery Budgeting Tips + Free Pantry & Freezer Inventory Printable!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM4


When I wrote tips on budgeting for summer fun, one of the most asked questions were in regards to how I budget groceries. Since it’s the main focus in my house currently, it is one that I have a lot of tips and tricks to share with you!

Use What You Have in Hand

Literally, you have your phone with you all the time! In my last post about budgeting, I talked about cutting your cell phone bill but keeping your data and service quality by switching to Walmart Family Mobile. They now have the $49.88 TRULY Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data◊ Plan on T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE network, which has improved the experience so much more! I love this plan for budgeters, because you don’t have to have a contract, there are no activation fees, and no late charges.

The cherry on top is that you will receive a free VUDU** movie rental credit valued at $7.00 each time you renew your service. That’s an awesome FREE thing to add to your entertainment budget! If you want to see the awesome ways I use my Walmart Family Mobile Grace to help with grocery budgeting, see below!


Set Your Budget

The biggest obstacle in any type of budgeting is knowing what you actually do spend and what you can afford to spend. Take a look back at your grocery spending habits over the last few months and see how much you’re spending on average. You can try to reduce the average by a little in conjunction with the other tips I have (below) to ease yourself into it, if you want!

I decided to go a bit more of a drastic route and make a strict budget and fit my meal planning around the budget I set in place. When I did some Internet browsing, I found that a good guideline for grocery budgeting is $100 per person per month. Since there are two people in my household, we budgeted $200 per month and then broke it down per week since I do weekly grocery shopping.

We use the popular envelope method to keep track of the spending per week. I pop in the receipts and coupons I want to use in there as well. We actually use our debit card, but we started with cash in the envelopes to get used to it! If you’re a super-swiper, then you may want to put the card away. Try cash and then graduate to using a card if you can handle it.


Build Your Menu

Having a game plan is SO important when you are going into the grocery store. I like to work on my meal plan throughout each week. It’s always a thing that can change a little bit or evolve as plans start to be penciled in. I personally like to have a mix of “oldies but goodies” and new recipes to try out. I’ve been a Pinterest lover for recipes forever, but am LOVING using cookbooks lately. I made a list from each of my newer or favorite cookbooks of new recipes I want to try, and I pepper them in throughout the week on days where I know I have the extra time to dedicate to something new.

I go through each day and take a quick inventory of the things I will need for the meals, and this leads me to my next point, which is to make sure to shop from a list.


Learn to Shop from a List

When I make my list, I write down EACH ingredient I will need for a dish. I then refer to my Pantry & Freezer Inventory (see below) to see if I have them or need to pick them up. If I have the ingredient, I simply cross it off the list, but usually look to see if there is a sale on that thing still when I am at the store since it will need replacing soon anyway (if it’s a pantry staple.)

When you’re at the store, making this list can be the saving grace you need. If you have eyes that are bigger than your belly and want to throw ALL THE THINGS in your cart because they look delicious, this can help you limit that issue. You can grab some things that look good, but make sure you add their price in at the end. You might need to make tough decisions at the end, but you don’t have to go over budget!


Utilize Apps to Save

I’m a paper and pen gal for certain, but the fact of the matter is that carrying your cell phone is convenient. I’ve found that there are certain apps I can whip out at the store that really help me to save money. The most basic one is honestly the calculator. I mean, you can know the price of things you’re putting in your cart and get up to the cashier and STILL be surprised. To avoid that, just whip out your calculator and add as you go! I also use a memo or notes app to keep my grocery list digital and delete things off there as I go.

When I get home, there are a few apps that help me to save money too. I love the Walmart Savings Catcher app to make sure you get the best price on your groceries and household items, and there are a few “coupon” apps and apps that house the ads from the different stores you shop as well! I’ll be doing a post dedicated to saving money through apps at another time, but apps are so helpful!


Keep Track of What’s in Your Pantry

How many times do you go to the store and just forget whether or not you have a certain basic ingredient in your pantry to make a dish you want to make? I used to do this ALL THE TIME, but now I utilize a Freezer & Pantry inventory. I update it weekly and make sure I keep a copy of it on my phone so I can pull it up at the store. I like writing the list and taking a picture of it, but if you’re really savvy, you can always use an app to edit it on your phone!

Here is a link to download my template so you can use it for yourself!


Remember, you can snag a phone to fit your budget at Walmart with Walmart Family Mobile‘s new $49.88 TRULY Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data◊ plan.  Head there today to pick up an awesome new phone!


  • Does not include tethering. Video typically streams at DVD quality. During congestion, top 3% of users (>32GB/mo.) may notice reduced speeds due to deprioritization. Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at
  • **Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU’s website:
  • Disclaimer:All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing.
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  • Reply Stephanie

    Great tips! I love the pantry and freezer tracker. I always forget what I have in my freezer and probably waste money. That and the phone plan are such a great way to save! #client

    08/25/2017 at 10:11 am
  • Reply Theresa Pacek

    Does the $100 a month grocery budget include things like toilet paper, detergent, soap, etc. or just food items?

    08/30/2017 at 12:16 am
    • Reply The Pretty Plus

      I actually do $50/week, so $200-250 per month- not $100. And yes, it includes household items! I usually make one week my household items week and get them all at once, then use things from my freezer or stocked pantry for meals that week.

      08/30/2017 at 10:13 am
  • Reply Peggy Baggenstoss

    I have done the envelope system since about 1985, at first it was hard to stick to a budget but as time has passed it is now second nature. I keep food and household items in separate enveloped. I make my laundry detergent about every 6 months, I also use or make natural cleaners using vinegar, baking soda, peroxide and Dawn dishwashing detergent. Bleach and Pine Sol are also staples. Another way to save is to cut open shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, any thing that is liqiud etc and see how much is left when you can”t squeeze any more out. I have baby food and other small jars I put these in and label it. My family was amazed when they saw how much they wasted. I also use Coconut oil [ a little goes a LONG way] for a moisturizer, eye makeup remover and hand/body cream…… never buying lotion that has chemicals in it. There are tons of ways to save and be healthy.

    09/02/2017 at 3:08 pm
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