TikToker Rebecca Chobat is well-known on the web for providing thrifty recipes ideas, and even has an entire account, @dollartreedinners, dedicated to providing her followers with different meal options made from ingredients solely purchased in the Dollar Tree’s grocery aisle.
On her channel she also showed examples of how folks can purchase enough groceries for a single individual with pre-set amounts of money. In a recently viral clip, she capped her amount at $35 to see if she was able to get enough items to feed herself for a week, and her followers were impressed with the haul she was able to take back home with just $5 a day.
“I have a $35 budget to see if I can buy a week’s worth of groceries at Dollar Tree,” she says in the beginning of the video.
The TikToker enters the store and begins perusing the aisles in search of the best bang for her buck. “I did a similar string of videos last month, but that time I spent $27.50, and this time I’m spending $35. This way I have more wiggle room to incorporate more snacks as that’s what I missed most last time. Plus $35 equals out to about $5 a day, and I still feel like that’s a relatively reasonable price to feed a single individual,” she says.
She then delineates the stipulations that she sets on these budget grocery shopping clips: All of the products must be purchased at the same store during the same trip, meaning no multiple stops throughout the week. “Now as is common practice with all of my budget grocery videos, I only shop at one Dollar Tree on one given day, and the only things I can use from home are oil, salt, and pepper. One other thing that I do differently from other budget content creators is I try to keep in mind that not everyone that’s on a budget necessarily has hours on end to spend in the kitchen cooking food,” she adds.
Toward the end of the video, she stresses how she is mindful of the nomenclature she uses when creating these TikToks, “And one final note is that I don’t like calling these videos a challenge because someone out there only has $35 a week to spend on groceries, and this is geared to help those individuals, so I feel like calling it a challenge sometimes makes a game out of someone’s lifestyle. With all that being said welcome to budget grocery week no. 2,” she says.
At the end of the video she displays all of the food items she was able to pack away, and the grand total came out to $36.61. The 16-ounce can of Diet Coke at the end of the clip was something of a reward that she gives herself at the end of a shopping run, and minus that she would’ve been right at the $35 mark for a solid 28 items that included beef patties, mozzarella cheese, string beans, mixed vegetables, breakfast sausage rolls, black beans, corn tortillas, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning mix, soup bouillon cubes, hazelnut spread, pasta, light lemonade powdered mix, rice, and a bunch of other food stuffs.
Many commenters applauded the TikToker for reinforcing the idea that “accessible” food isn’t necessarily bad and thanked her for attempting to remove the stigma of shopping for groceries at the Dollar Tree.
“These videos bring tears to my eyes. $35 to some is dinner at Chilis while some might have to make it stretch a week or longer. thank you for this,” one commenter wrote. Another said, “You are always just so thoughtful about how you speak about people. I really appreciate that.”
@dollartreedinners also said that after creating videos about buying groceries on a budget, it’s made eating out at restaurants much more difficult, especially when she sees how much more food she can buy at home as opposed to dining out, writing, “I now very sincerely struggle with the concept of eating out. This channel has changed my perspective on it drastically.”
For other TikTokers, her content’s perfectly timed with the rising costs of inflation that have upped the prices of groceries.
The Daily Dot reached out to Dollar Tree via email and @dollartreedinners via TikTok comment.