Prices will vary depending on where you live and these are the prices if none of the items are on sale that week, at my grocery stores.
- Potatoes $2.50
- Pasta $1.00
- Canned tomatoes $1.00 for 28oz can at Aldi
- celery $1.19
- onions $1.99 for 2lb
- carrots $0.99 for 1lb
- rice about $2.00
- meat (chicken, beef, or pork, whatever is on sale that week)
- eggs $1.68/dozen
- bread $0.79 at Aldi
When we lived in Tennessee, my husband's job depended a lot on the weather, if it rained he didn't work so we never knew how much money we were actually going to have at the end of the week. Obviously we couldn't not pay our electric or rent so we cut costs where we could, groceries. During those weeks I had this go to list in my mind. If it was on sale I would always buy boneless skinless chicken breast because I can use it in more ways than any other meat, but that's just me.
Potatoes of any kind, mashed, roasted, fried, wedges, homemade French fries, or baked. I'd change it up each night but we ate a lot of potatoes. If you have canned tomatoes you can add them to almost anything, pasta, over rice, or pour a can of diced tomatoes over a few chicken breast and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes and you have a yummy main dish. I try to stock up on them every time they are on sale or I have a coupon, and keep various kinds, crushed, diced, whole, and tomato sauce. Celery, onions, and carrots are the 3 items you can add to about anything to add flavor, rice to make fried rice, meatloaf, chicken pot pie or chicken-less pot pie, throw them in the crockpot with a beef or pork roast and some potatoes, sauté them with chicken chunks and add to rice.
Eggs were always a must because in the worst case scenario we could always have scrambled eggs and toast, French toast, or omelets with just cheese (if we had any) or whatever veggies we had in the fridge or freezer. These basic items will get you through at least a weeks worth of simple meals. Remember we aren't looking for a knock your socks off dinner for your in-laws, just some simple meals to get you through a tough week spending as little as possible.