How to Get $50-plus Worth of Groceries for Only $25

You'll save big bucks and reduce food waste, too.

A grocery receipt, $20 bill, and change with canned food and a loaf of bread in the background

Getty/DDM digital design

Whether you’re back to weekly grocery store runs or still having them delivered, there’s no escaping the reality of rising food costs. It seems like every week there’s a new shopping-cart staple making headlines for bloating the bottom lines of receipts around the country.

And in tandem, hacks for saving money while you shop, whether it’s by scoping under-$5 deals or learning how to decode price tags to get the best bargain possible. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food-at-home prices went up by 11.4% last year, including bread, milk, flour, beef, coffee, potato chips, the chicken … and the egg (seemingly at the same time).

Meet Ruby’s Pantry, a Pop-up Food-Share Program

It's no wonder families are looking for ways to save while stocking their pantries. And in the Upper Midwest, many savvy shoppers have found the answer in Ruby’s Pantry—a food-share program through which, for a mere $25 donation, shoppers can take home a trunk load of groceries easily worth at least twice that dollar figure. 

It started in 2003, when minister Lyn Sahr was awaiting a shipment of toys donated by a Minneapolis organization to take on a mission trip to Mexico. When the haul arrived, instead of toys, it was filled with food. Sahr decided to take the perishables back to his Minnesota church and give it away. Ruby’s Pantry (named after Sahr’s grandmother) was officially open. 

How to Shop at Ruby’s Pantry

Today, Ruby’s is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that conducts pop-up pantries in participating churches, communities, and other locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Iowa. Since it’s not government-funded, there is no income or residency requirement. You simply go to the website, find the pop-up location of your choice, and either set up an account and reserve your bundle or show up as a walk-in during the designated day and time. 

All the items—mostly foodstuffs, but occasionally nonperishables like napkins, cleaning supplies, or paper plates—are surpluses, overages, and bumper crops from corporate food donors. Your $25 donation covers operational costs, including shipping, gas, and warehouse workers.

The Bountiful Food Haul You Can Expect from Ruby’s Pantry

For example, this TikToker got two shares for $50 and brought home a bonanza including a box full of individual chocolate milk cartons, two bags of oranges, packages of giant spinach tortillas, two whole chickens, disposal latex gloves, packaged potato salads, beef broth, pumpkin loaves, cherry tomatoes, two dozen eggs, chef salads, four bags of pita chips, four boxes of granola bars, two gallons of milk, and more.

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