This summer I read a book on how “America’s Cheapest Family” saved money on their grocery budget. I was encouraged to find out that a lot of the tips were pretty practical things I already do. I don’t take it quite to the extreme they do, but I can save a significant amount. Couponing is not a system I’ve been able to get into as well (for where we’re at right now), so if you have questions on that Courtney is our expert. Otherwise, here’s some things that I do to feed our family of six economically.
1. Eat at home! As much as I love to eat out, it is a luxury for us. The majority of our meals are at home and homemade. By doing so we can spend $5 for a meal to feed all six of us instead of $30 or more. We live in the country so take-out isn’t really much of an option…unless you want pizza every night (which I’m sure my son would NOT mind.) If this is a stretch for you consider learning just one or two dishes and start with that.
2. PLAN! (I know! I hate that word sometimes…but it works. So I put on my “big girl pants” and make a plan). My plans are not super detailed…just guidelines. Breakfast is usually toast or cereal, lunch is fruit and yogurt or PB&J’s, so dinner is what varies and that’s what I plan out for a week. (I used to do a whole month at a time, but for now I’m just going week by week.) Courtney or I will post our weekly menu on Mondays if you want any ideas. With my plan I will always have an answer to that dreaded question: what’s for dinner?
3. Stretch your meals. This is part of the planning process. For instance, Sunday’s meal was a crockpot chicken. I used leftover chicken and the broth from this meal for Monday’s meal of chicken and wild rice. I have a lot of chicken and wild rice left and that will become soup by adding some cream. I’ll also use chicken from Sunday’s meal and cream I bought for soup to make chicken alfredo on friday night. That’s four meals from one chicken and two using the cream. That’s what I call stretching your meals. By doing this I buy less ingredients and take full advantage of the things I do buy.
4. Think about what foods are in season and take advantage of sale items. When making your dinner plan it might be helpful to have your local grocery store flier or ad at hand. Look to see what foods are on sale and tailor your meals to include those items. I like to include a lot of fresh fruit and veggies which can be expensive, but I know the best time to buy apples are in the fall, oranges are usually cheap in the winter, strawberries in the summer…you get the idea!
Check back tomorrow to see the other ways we save money on groceries in Part 2!
How do you save money on your grocery budget?