So other than the twins teething and sleep being few and far between these past few nights. Saving on our grocery bills has been something we have been working on. As the boys are growing and eating more of what we have we are starting to just get a glimse of what our future holds. I bought a nice lasagna on sale the other day for $10.99 (with bonus airmiles too!) and I read the label and it said it was a party size lasagna! I was shocked because it looked like a normal sized one. I mean sure we used to get buy on those smaller ones, but I didn’t know they were a “standard” size one. So wow we are already into the party sized meals, hmm this is going to get expensive. And unless you have an unlimited income this is something just about every family deals with. Some families have to look at both parents working to help put food on the table, some families find ways to cut back and budget and sadly some families go with out. Here some things aside from my coupon clipping madness that have been helping us out and saving us money.
- If it’s not on sale, you don’t buy it. Unless you cannot find a way to live with out it for the week that is. Like Milk, eggs, etc.
- Try and budget a little extra money for good sales on items you know you consume lots of or things that are normally expensive to begin with.
- Create a meal plan. You are less likely to buy extras if you have a set plan and list of what you need.
- Use cash. Everyone hears this, but it is true if you count out what you have and only take so much you will only spend so much.
- Sometimes if you can it is worth going to a few different stores for the really good deals. It can be a hassle but if you space it out or get a good chunk of time to just go and get it done you can sometimes score some really good deals. Even better if they are coupon deals!
- Really check around your freezer and cupboards for creative meal ideas. Or ask your friends for some ideas on things you can make with your odds and ends. We all freeze stuff with the intention of eating later, well it’s later put it to use.
- Buy double duty meals. If you purchase a nice cut of meat a little larger than what you might normally buy you can sometimes make another meal out of it. Left over roast make nice beef dip sandwiches.
- Make breakfast from scratch, it is one of the most expensive things we buy for. How long does a $5.00 box of cereal last? And unless you got that box on sale it isn’t very big. Oatmeal is a great alternative and here is a link to Mrs. January she has a great recipe for making your own instant oatmeal which cuts the savings by half! http://www.mrsjanuary.com/easy-recipes/homemade-instant-oatmeal-packets/
- Find ways to DIY other things, like laundry soap (I mention this in my laundry blog) or rice sidekicks, or pasta side dishes. Most of the time those are easy to recreate and quick too.
- Don’t shop while hungry and if you can avoid it don’t shop with kids! You will either end up frazzled and spending more than necessary since you just want to rush and get out, and forget half your list in the mean time. Or you won’t end up with anything at all because you will just walk out of the store. If it isn’t easy why not ask a mom friend in the same situation and watch each others kids so you can shop with ease.
- Portion your meals out. Or try to serve things like whole grain bread and butter with or a fresh loaf of homemade bread to help with bigger eaters in your family. It is far cheaper than extra meat.
- Make sure to look at the price per item in a package. Sometimes buying smaller quanities is cheaper than buying in bulk, like the no name cheese and crackers. Also sometimes things like store brand granola bars and quaker have different quanities in the boxes. Make sure the buy the one with the lower price and most in it. Taking that extra time to figure out how much each item costs in a box can be worth quiet a bit of savings in the end.
- Did you know you could grate cheese and freeze it to use for pizza, sauces and other things later? I did not until I met a lady at the store buying a ton of cheese since it was on sale. Good to know!
These are things that have been helpful to us. We can usually keep our food budget to about $100 – $150 a week by following those guidelines for our family of six. Now ask me in another 10 years when I’m dealing with preteens and teens. I’ll need more than one party sized lasagna that is for sure!