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5 Money Saving Tips for a Single Person Grocery Budget

by Kevin Sun

Figuring out a single person grocery budget that’s good for your wallet and stomach can be tricky. While there are plenty of grocery shopping tips that work for any household, living alone has its own quirks. So how much should a single person budget for groceries? The average cost of food per month for one person in Canada used to range from $225-$250, but can be much higher now due to rising living costs. Here are 5 tips to help keep that cost down when you’re by yourself:

1. Waste Less Food by Buying the Food You Like

Single Person Grocery BudgetLiving with others often involves compromise, and this could include buying food you don’t like. But when you’re living alone and your groceries are just for you, you can buy exactly what you want (keeping a healthy and budget-conscious diet in mind, of course). This helps you get the most value out of your money. After all, you’ll enjoy what you like more, and will be less likely to have waste left over. You can also more easily experiment with your grocery list when you feel like tasting something different. For a fun challenge, try replacing one or two meals you eat every month with a cheaper or same-cost alternative. If you don’t like it, just go back!

2. Buy Groceries in Bulk When Shopping for One

Think that bulk grocery shopping is something only families can do? Think again! Taking advantage of big package deals is one of the best ways to save money on groceries. Of course, neither your stomach nor food budget will match a family of 4, but a monthly bulk buy could end up lasting you several months. Even without much space, a single person can still stock up on non-perishable foods like rice and pasta, canned and dried goods, nuts and seeds, sugar and spices, snacks and more snacks, etc. If you have a freezer, you can also bulk buy meats and veggies and separate them into smaller portions to freeze. Just remember that bigger packages don’t always cost less. Always double-check the math to confirm that buying something in bulk will actually end up saving you money.

Why Meal Planning Is Important

3. Get a Grocery Shopping Buddy to Save on Bulk Buys

Just because you live alone doesn’t mean you have to grocery shop alone. By teaming up with a friend of family member who lives close by, you could bulk buy more perishable items you both want and split the cost as well as the product. This saves money and can also be a fun bonding experience. Just make sure you’re helping each other spend less, not pushing yourselves to spend more. Instead of shopping together, you could also take turns buying groceries and “delivering” them to each other, saving time, energy, and cash!

When Is a Sale Not a Good Deal?

4. Save On Delivery Costs by Ordering Extra

Speaking of delivery, so long as you account for it in your budget, there’s nothing wrong with ordering restaurant food to your door. However, in a single person household, this can be less cost-effective due to costs outside of the food itself. Popular apps like DoorDash and UberEats impose small order fees that charge you extra when you buy less, which can often be the case when you just want one meal for yourself. Rather than go for more expensive items to avoid the fee, consider ordering enough food for two meals and then saving the leftovers for later. You can also save on the delivery costs of additional orders this way. For example, if you like to eat takeout twice a week, then instead of making 2 separate orders, make a single order that will last for 2 meals. Some foods like curry can taste even better the next day!

5. Keep Your Grocery Budget Stable

Without anyone watching what you do or don’t do at home, it’s easier to make impulsive choices like skipping a lunch, shopping without a plan, or eating ice cream for breakfast. But this isn’t just bad for your body – it’s dangerous for your budget as well. Without a steady routine and grocery shopping plan, you might go slightly under your budget one month and blow way past it in another. Some deviation might be inevitable if you work irregular shifts, but try as best as possible to stick to the meal plan you set for yourself. Rather than risk overspending, keep a consistent range for how much groceries per week or month you need. Remember that you can use grocery money for future weeks in one bulk shopping trip if that will cover your food for the weeks you’re drawing money from.

The average food budget for a single person is between $250 and $300 a month, but that’s just a guideline. If you can buy meals at a discount or visit family and eat with them, you might be able to spend less. Figure out the budget that works for you. If needed, have regular check-ins with a friend or family member so that you’re still accountable to someone else even when you’re living by yourself.

Budgeting Guidelines: Cost of Living by Category

How to Get Help with Building a Single Person Budget that Includes Enough Money for Groceries

With the costs of food, housing, and other living expenses rising, it’s not easy to stay on top of you finances when you’re just by yourself. But living alone doesn’t mean you have to build your budget alone. If you’re having trouble making a single person budget that lets you experience the lifestyle you want while still working towards your financial goals, consider booking a free and confidential appointment with a non-profit credit counselling agency in your area. A professional counsellor can help you find solutions for your challenges and make a clear plan to overcome them.


Can a person in Canada or the USA actually feed themselves $50.00 a week? The short answer is maybe. To actually do this, one would have to shop at one of the large "discount" supermarkets. For accuracy, you have to average in the cost of fuel to get to and from the store and to store, cook, and otherwise preserve and prepare the food. For a point of reference, lets factor the cheapest average cost of a dozen eggs at $1.72, loaf of bread $1.32, pound of butter $3.98, half gallon of milk $1.84, and a gallon of gas at $2.95. For a minimally nourishing day of 3 minimal meals, lets calculate out 2 eggs, 2 slices of bread, 2 patties of butter, and a 16 ounce beverage for breakfast. 2 slices of bread, 1/4 pound of lunchmeat, 1 slice of cheese, mayo and mustard, 2 lettuce leafs, 1 apple, and a beverage for lunch. 1/3 pound of chicken, a 16 ounce portion of steamed vegetables, one small potato, 2 dinner rolls, 2 pads of butter, some mayo, and a beverage for dinner. Not much but enough to survive on. What would the average weekly cost be today (6/28/2023 USA)? About $55.00. Again, that is using the cheapest and probably the least nourishing ingredients available and certainly no prepared or packaged food other than the lunchmeat which based on the cost of bologna, not the best of choices (so for sliced meat add another $5.00 per week). So realistically, no one is going to be able to maintain a healthy diet on even $60.00 a week, especially if you account for variety. My wife and I, as retired seniors on a fixed income, budget $20.00 per day per person for food, fuel, and necessary essentials which is really a tight budget with the cost of food and fuel these days. On average this has worked out, mostly. But that is still about $120.00 per week - a far cry from $50.00. Forty-five years ago my mother said you were shopping right if you spent about $10.00 per bag of groceries. What will $10.00 get you today?

If there was ever a time to learn how to garden, this is it. I supplement my groceries with vegetables from the garden. Things are pickable right now are mixed greens, kale, collard and lettuce. I picked a few onions as well. Gas here in Oregon is $4.49 - $4.85 a gallon. Back in 2016 I could do $50 a week in groceries or less. I checked and a running 30 day (July 11-Aug 10) of groceries was $411 for me which is wild. However I have been sick for a few months so some abnormal purchasing has been ticking up the cost. Hoping to get to $300 a month so $150 for large box store and $37.50 a week for regular items. Now is a good time to bucket my budget!

Your article lists bread at $1,39 and eggs at $3.×9. Where I live in Canada eggs are ,$5.49 and bread is $3.99. A huge budgetary difference. It is impossible to eat healthy for $50.00 a week in Canada.

I totally agree. You cannot eat to be well as $50 can only cover basics and on this you get sick! You need all the healthy foods and vitamins as well as paper and cleaning products and pet food . A pet is necessary for emotional health when older and living alone. For all of this my budget 20 years ago was $65 a week . I kept it to that by reducing and not buying things like paper products or slowly cutting out some essential for several years .About 5 years ago I had to raise it to $75. But now it is all over the board and I just cannot buy everything I need not to get sick on less than $100 a week. If I keep it low I have no larder so cannot make use of sales and bulk but only the basics of what I need. On a senior pension it is impossible . Eggs yesterday in Mb went to $4.09 and breat is $2.49 for a small loaf . But it is vegetables and meat that are very challenging .