Sticking to a budget when you have a large family can seem nearly impossible. With so many mouths to feed, how can you possibly save money on groceries? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make your dollars stretch a little further. Here are some tips on how to save on meals for a large family.
- Come up with a meal plan. One of the biggest mistakes that can break the bank is not having a meal plan in place and then ordering in Chinese or pizza. Take one day of the week to plan out all of your meals and then stick to it. Seriously, I cut my grocery bill by almost half by meal planning!
- Go grocery shopping without your kids. When you have children in tow, you are more likely to be convinced to add unnecessary items to your grocery cart. Have to bring the kids, bring an activity for them to do or have them play a game while shopping ‘find’ the ‘peanut butter’ and check it off their list when they find it. Finish the list and they’re rewarded with opening a snack from the cart once back in the car.
- Consider joining a wholesale savings club, such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco. You will need to pay a membership cost, but the amount of money that you can save on purchasing high-priced items (such as meat) in bulk will be worth it in the long run. BJ’s allows for coupons on multi packs. eg; if you buy a colgate 3pk you can use 3 coupons!
- Stock up on canned foods. Canned soups, tuna fish, and beans can all play a role in your meals at a low cost. Since canned foods have a longer lifespan than fresh foods, you can purchase them and use them at a much later time. My favorite canned item to stock on is tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to make my own sauce at home. I can never have enough of these, so I buy as large as I can, make large batches of sauce and freeze (yes, back to meal planning #1).
- Learn new ways to make pasta. Pasta and rice are very inexpensive and can be a great way to feed a large family. There are also so many different ways you can prepare rice and pasta. Serving it with vegetables and a protein can help you create a well-balanced meal. Whole Chicken is a great way to get a lot of meals too. Leftovers easily go into a soup, pot pie, salads.
- Think about purchasing wholesale fruits and vegetables. Many people avoid purchasing fruits and vegetables in bulk, but it can help you save money in the long run if you can your vegetables or freeze them. You can even make homemade soups to freeze. The possibilities are endless! I like to buy from the ‘dinged’ up vegetable and fruits for freezing or preparing. Green peppers are my favorite, just cut and freeze! Rinse when you’re ready to use. As local farm stands if they have an ‘unperfect’ bin somewhere. You’d be surprised at how many people won’t buy anything but a perfectly red round tomato! Around my town, apples are sold in large quantities this time of year at local garden shops.
- Don’t toss your leftovers! There are so many different ways you can use them. If you have a roast turkey, for example, you can make a casserole with the leftovers or make turkey salad sandwiches that your family members can take for lunch.
- Consider starting a garden. Aside from the cost of seeds and fertilizer, the vegetables and fruits that you are able to produce in your own backyard are free! I personally cook enough zucchini baked goods to eat for a year, it’s chaos around here in August!
- Make wise choices when eating out. Find out which restaurants are offering specials, use coupons, and consider eating out at lunch instead of dinner to save money. If you like to order pizza, find out what days your favorite pizza parlor offers deals and commit to only ordering on those days. Also, consider eating out for Birthdays and check your local restaurants for ‘Eat Free’ on your Birthday specials. Sign up for apps at chains like Chili’s and get promo’s.
- Buy ‘day old’. Seriously do you use two loaves at once? So, you’re already eating day old bread, right? Freeze the bread, rolls. My daughter taught me a trick, put a paper towel in bag with bread and it keeps it fresher when defrosted, no frosty edges.
- Have a baking day once a month. Cookies, cupcakes, and muffins freeze nicely in freezer bags and make for easy ‘out’ snacks and defrost quickly. Invest in having a few cupcake tins, they’re worth it!
Don’t forget, check places like Groupon for eating out, use your Ebates when purchasing your Groupon! Remember to check your stores for sales, clearance and always load your store apps for added savings. Add additional apps for savings just makes it all that much better!
These are just a few tips on how to save money on meals for a large family. Why spend more on food than you need to? How do you feed your crowd?
Thanks Barefoot Budgeting for these great tips!