Frugal Tips to Feed the Family
After repeated requests for more tips on how to feed my large family on a strict budget, I have put together an encore post! Believe me, I understand the demand of needing to make every penny count when it comes to buying groceries because the price of groceries seems to be on the rise continuously, but I just have no wiggle room in my budget. This means I need to find more creative ways to feel my family. Maybe you do, too? If you are looking for the original frugal post, you can find that here.
I have really been watching my cooking and shopping habits the past few weeks and have come up with 15 more tips for you!
- The most important thing is to get your family on board. Make sure that they know that you will buy things when they are within your price range, and that is it. Once you have drilled this concept in, your life becomes so much easier because they can stop asking.
- Make a list of the price points of everything that you buy. This will take some time, but make it a good/better/best list. Update it as needed, and keep it with you when you are planning your shopping lists and then when you go shopping, too.
- Be aware of what goes on sale when, and stock up at those times to capitalize on these sale items. You can find that list here, in The Sale Calendar of Grocery Items Throughout the Year.
- Check your receipts for accuracy. It is amazing at how often something rings up wrong whether by computer error or human error. Be sure to visit the customer service counter for any descrepencies. You can also carefully watch the prices as your groceries are being scanned. According to 2010 figures, shoppers lost between $1 billion and $2.5 billion. Don’t be one of those shoppers!
- Shop less often. This seems kind of obvious, but it wasn’t to me. If you are not at the store, you can’t spend money.
- If you like name brand or more expensive things such as coffee, cereal, or even soups, sauces, or a variety of other items, mix less expensive, generic options with the expensive ones you prefer. You can also transition your taste for the expensive items in this way, adjusting the ratio to include less and less of the expensive option over time.
- Make substitutions in receipes for less expensive options that will go unnoticed. An easy substitution that I find often works is substituting vitamin D milk instead of half and half or heavy cream. Margerine for butter often works as well.
- Be selective on what recipes you save. If you are going to be tempted to make recipes that call for expensive ingredients that can’t be avoided, just don’t pin, save, or print them. Choose recipes that have affordable ingredients.
- Serve only what you need. In order to be efficient in the kitchen as I shared with meal prep tips, I make extra when I can, but when I do this I am quick to get the extra in the freezer. For example, if you brown three pounds of ground beef but are only using one at the moment, freeze the other two before serving dinner. If you have extra meat around, people will use it. The people in my family are famous for doing this with things like tacos where they tend to make their own.
- Serve two or more vegetables and two or more fruits at every meal. In this way, the healthy and generally cheaper options far outnumber the meat portion of the meal.
- In order to maintain control over portion control on expensive items like meat, you put the meat on everyone’s plate. No matter how many times I preach portion control with expensive items, certain people have no idea how to actually do this in my family.
- Keep your refrigerators and freezers clean, neat, and organized in order to avoid losing food that goes bad and therefore has to be thrown away.
- Use ground turkey instead of found beef whenever necessary. You can often find ground turkey on sale, and there are often coupons available for ground turkey as well. Almost always, ground turkey will be much less expensive.
- Avoid pre-made snack foods for snacks. Healthy, homemade options like fruits and vegetables, homemade granola bars, or air popped popcorn for snacks will save you a ton of money over the prepackaged crackers, chips, or sweet snack options.
- Start your day with a healthy, homemade, and filing breakfast. Your family will consume less food if they are well fed from the get-go than they would if they found themselves hungry after only an hour or two. If you follow my menu plan, you will see that this is a regular occurrence in my home.
If you are looking to feed your family on a shoestring, knowing a few tried and true tips can make all the difference. These tips don’t require much, but they do allow me to feed my family on the cheap without having to sacrifice eating things we enjoy. You can save thousands by using them, too.
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