$30 grocery budget: recipe ideas and shopping list
When you’re living alone and trying to save, you might only have $30 a week to spend on your groceries. That’s just $130 a month for food. Stretching your budget to last the whole week can be challenging, but it’s doable with the right attitude and a few tricks.
To help make it happen, we’ve put together a $30 weekly shopping list for one person, which you can find below.
How much food can I get for $30 a week?
A single adult needs to spend between $59 and $69 a week on groceries to maintain a balanced and nutritionally complete diet, according to the University of Otago. So, $30 a week isn’t an ideal budget. That said, sometimes financial circumstances mean we need to make $30 a week work — so what can you realistically afford on this budget?
Here are a few tips to make $30 last the week:
Buy cheap meat like frozen chicken and beef mince
The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation says you need just one serving of lean protein a day, which is equivalent to two drumsticks or ¾ cup of cooked mince.
Buying a whole frozen chicken and about 300 grams of beef mince is a good way to save on meat while getting a good variety.
Roast the chicken whole and strip the meat off the bones. Eat some for dinner, then use the rest for lunches throughout the week.
Meanwhile, cook up your beef mince in a chilli or casserole with an equal quantity of lentils. This mince and lentil casserole can last you through the week — just divide it into portions and freeze it until needed for each meal.
Get recipe inspiration with our Budget Meal Planners
How to cook a perfect chicken
When you’re eating on such a tight grocery budget, your best bet is to plan your meals a week in advance and do plenty of meal prep.
Tinned tuna (or chicken) for lunches
A big tin of tuna (185 grams) can be a great way to include protein for a few lunches. Mix your tuna with grated carrot and shredded cabbage and enjoy as a tuna salad sandwich for lunch. If you don’t like tuna, tinned chicken is just as good.
You can make a large tin last for up to three meals, just be sure to put the leftover tuna into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
Cabbage: the hardy green veg
Lettuce and salad leaves, while ideal for a healthy diet, can be both expensive and prone to going bad before the end of the week. Cabbage, on the other hand, often holds up a bit better in the fridge, especially when wrapped in cling film.
You can buy a whole cabbage or just a half, making it easy to fit into any budget. Plus, cabbage is delicious cooked or raw, so you can enjoy some variety throughout the week.
Try making a simple coleslaw with shredded cabbage, grated carrot and apple, and your favourite mayonnaise.
Root for root vegetables
Root vegetables like onions, carrots and potatoes fit easily in a budget diet.
Onions are an easy way to add savoury flavour to any dish. Simply slice and fry off before adding other ingredients. Or, if you’re doing a roast, cut into wedges and place around your chicken.
Carrots can also be roasted, or grated and added to any dish to add sweetness and earthiness.
Potatoes are infinitely versatile — roast them, boil them, mash them or stick them in a stew.
Oats for breakfast
One 750 gram bag of rolled oats can cost as little as $2.50 and provide enough for 18 breakfasts. That’s value!
Just mix ½ cup rolled oats and ½ cup water, microwave for 90 seconds, then add ½ cup UHT milk to cook the porridge and make it creamy.
Serve with half a sliced banana. You can peel, portion and slice your banana, then freeze it in separate bags to make it last well for the whole week.
Example $30 budget weekly shopping list
Ready to try eating on a $30 weekly food budget? Print out this shopping list and bring it with you the next time you do your weekly food shop. Or, use it as a guide to see what you could afford on $30 and build your own list.
All prices are indicative only, and may vary according to seasonality, sales and demand. Product, price and limits may vary between store.
Download the $30 budget shopping list.
Looking for more ways to save?
Check out our tips on food budgeting or take a look at our other food budget guides.
- Food budget and shopping list for one person
- Food budget and shopping list for two people
- Food budget and shopping list for family of 3
- Food budget and shopping list for family of 4
- $20 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $50 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $100 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $150 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list
- $200 Grocery Budget: Recipe ideas & shopping list