House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cutting the grocery bill down by half! 10 tips for saving BIG TIME!

I am not posting this to upset anyone, but to let you know how we do it here, in our tiny house with our big family. 

Posted in Frugal Mama
Large families, like mine really have felt the rising costs of food lately. We have 7 children ages 17 down to 4 yrs old and they all are blessed with a hearty appetite!
I thought I would share with you all some things we have done around here that has literally cut my grocery bill down by half.  These are simple things that have made a huge difference , and my husband and I are thrilled and we are also a bit frustrated that we had not done this before! 
For some of you , this may not be anything new to you. Kuddos to you for your frugality!
Our family has gone from spending approximately $600 to 800 for food items!!
Here are 10 easy "tips" for cutting back on the food bill without really sacrificing the quality of meals or your health and nutrition.
1. PLAN YOUR MENU!!!    I can not emphasize how this has helped!!!  I plan my menu for the week and print it down and then keep a copy in the kitchen.  This has been a help not only for saving so much on  $$ but it helps with being more organized with meal time prep. I don't feel as stressed around the dinner making hour anymore. My menu is planned and my ingredients are purchased and ready to go!
2. MAKE A MASTER GROCERY LIST FOR THE WEEK. Some of you may do a master list for the week or 2 weeks or even month or more. I place all my needed ingredients on the list and take that with me to the grocery store.
3. CUT BACK ON MEAT AND MAKE MEATLESS MAIN DISHES!!  Not only is this good for your body's health but great on your pocket book too!! There are so many meatless dishes out there that are delicious and healthy too! One of my families favorite is rice & bean burritos,  or baked potatoes. Healthy & yummy! With spring coming more fresh foods will be available, but with cooler weather coming around the corner (back and forth), legumes, soups & chilis will also be on the menu.
4. GO TO THE GROCERY ONCE AND DO NOT RETURN!!  Even if I forget an item I do not return to the grocery store -- reason being is I will usually end up purchasing more than the "one item" I went for!! Going to the grocery just once a week has also helped cut back on the gas bill for my burb.
5. GIVE UP EATING OUT !!  Nothing destroys the budget faster than eating out!! That includes fast foods and drive thrus.  Send your husband a packed lunch from home -- or prepare him a plate of leftovers from dinner to send with him.  It will be better for his health overall and save you so much $$!! If you do eat out -- PLAN IT - into your budget. We purposely choose to eat out on nights where kids can eat free out our favorite restraunt or we don't take the kids, and really we don't eat out hardly at all. It is a SPLURGE to eat out - so we really do it sparingly.
6. Consider GIVING  UP shopping at Sam's Club or Costco -- I for years shopped costco and Sam's club. I would average spending about $300-400 a month there and then I would need to go to the local grocery store as well!  I have successfully given up shopping at Sam's club! I didn't think I could do it -- but we are doing it and saving hundreds of $$ each month!  It is hard to shop Sam's and Costco and not spend a bundle. It is tempting to purchase things that are not needed. I do still get peanut butter and gas at Costco.
7. GO NO NAME BRAND on cleaning products and canned goods:   I Purchase all my cleaning products and paper products from the dollar store and save $$ each month.  I do not calculate cleaning products into the monthly grocery/food bill. It is seperate.   When I purchase canned goods like honey or canned veggies I look for no name brands or what is on sale.
8. CHECK YOUR PAPER AND SEE WHAT YOUR GROCERY HAS ON SALE AND BUILD YOUR MENU AROUND SALE ITEMS : You will save so much $$ by doing this!! If hamburger is on sale -- purchase hamburger or if chicken is on sale go for that! Sticking to sale items and building your weekly menu around that will save you $$!!
9. USE WHOLE GRAINS VS. REFINED GRAINS:  Reason being if your family consumes whole grains, like brown rice, or whole wheat breads vs. white they will be satisfied and not go hungry away from the table!   Consider making your own breads and baked goods , if you are not doing so already.
10. AVOID PACKAGED FOODS LIKE COLD CEREALS, FROZEN FOODS, ETC. :  Not only are they not healthy for you or your family, they do not fill your kid's tummy up like a pot of hot oats or creamy wheat cereal! Consider making your own granola and save  $$$ .  We eat oats and wheat cereals. It is rare to see cold cereals around here. Frozen foods are not only hazerdous for your health, they are $$ and usually do not include large portions or servings.
I hope this is helpful to some of you struggling with getting a grip on your grocery bill!
We got to the point in our family where we were "forced" to take a good hard look at what we were doing and make some major changes and adjustments.  We are so pleased with the results, we only wish we would have done this sooner!
Like I shared earlier, many of you may already be doing this , but it's new to me because we have not had to do this before, financially speaking.
We are down to feeding a family of 9 for $300 a month and I am thrilled!
I hope this helps someone else who is struggling with keeping a lid on the food budget!

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