Feeding a large family certainly means you will need more food, but it does not mean it needs to break the bank. I have implemented some great money-saving tips around my house. I am able to feed my family of 8 (the baby doesn’t count at this point) on $250 a month on average. I say on average because when things are on sale, I stock up so that month would be higher. On average for the year, it is $250. Here’s some of the ways I do that.
- Eat real food. Convenience foods are expensive, period. When you are making real food you are also serving a healthier meal than anything that is processed.
- We have a bread item at every meal, usually homemade. When bread is made from scratch I can control what goes in it, and I can pack it full of good stuff like flaxseed.
- Potatoes are another great way to inexpensively feed a large group, we have potatoes of some kind at most every dinner.
- Choose vegetables wisely. We eat regular carrots instead of the more expensive baby carrot variety, and for salad we like the healthier options like romaine or butter and bib lettuce, but we also combine in an equal amount of iceberg into the mix lettuce because it is the most cost-effective variety.
- Protein comes from more than just meat so meat doesn’t need to be eaten as often. We also eat plenty of eggs and tuna among other things. When making tuna we also help that stretch by adding in celery, onions, and dill pickles in addition to a little mustard and mayonnaise.
- When we do eat meat we make that stretch at times, too. For instance, taco meat gets some refried beans added in, and when making chili we have many more beans, tomatoes, and vegetables than we do meat.
- When we eat chicken pounding it into cutlets makes it stretch because everyone feels like they are eating a larger portion than they actually are.
- Dishes made with meat as opposed to just having a chicken breast for instance helps it stretch further, too. Shredded chicken in a stew or chopped grilled chicken in Alfredo gives everyone an ample amount of meat along with everything else that is in the dish.
- Water. Seems simple, but often when we think we are hungry our bodies are actually needing water. Making sure that everyone is properly hydrated during the day means people will not be overeating.
- Only eat fruits and vegetables in season, and when they are in season take advantage of canning or freezing them. We pick blueberries, strawberries, and apples to enjoy in various forms throughout the year.
- Buy milk when it is on sale and freeze it. It freezes well, all you have to do is take a cupful out of it to allow for expansion.
- Make your own whenever possible, this includes everything from salad dressings and sauces to french fries, mixes of all kinds, and baked goods.
- Soups. We eat a lot of soups since they are a great way of getting everyone their vegetables, often including ones they wouldn’t eat if they were just on their plate.
- Grow what you can on your own. Not only can you grace your own table with what you produce, but you can often swap with friends or neighbors who also grow different vegetables. Herbs are easy to grow as well.
- Combining coupons with sales is the only way I shop. My goal is to always save at least 50% on everything I buy. Most stores have receipts that provide your savings right on there so it is easy to figure out. When there is a good sale, stock up. I have had more than 130 boxes or bags of cereal at my house at one time. Find creative ways to store it if need be, but stock up when really great sales come along. I have much, much more to say on shopping, but this couldn’t be left off this list.
- An added bonus to this list would be a weekly menu plan. When you know what you are making in advance you are not tempted to just run up to the store to grab something that isn’t cost effective. You can always find my weekly menu plan here, in the Intentional Home, In the Kitchen Tab like this.
What would you add to this list?
UPDATE: You can find PART TWO – 15 MORE frugal tips, here in 15 More Frugal Tips for Feeding a Large Family.
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