I think we’re all looking for more ways to save on groceries right now. I’m finding that we are flying through groceries faster than ever with our growing family. And it won’t slow down! Our littles will turn into bigs and then we will really be eating through the grocery store.
Even with grocery prices on the rise, I’ve been challenging myself to stay under our $1,200/month budget. I’m not sure that I can and I’ve found that I have to get a little bit creative to try and make it happen. Some specifics about how I shop right now:
- With so many little ones, I don’t have time or ability to shop lots of deals at several different stores. I know I’m missing out on lots of savings (loss leader sales) because of this, but I can get creative in other ways, right?
- I stick with once-a-month trips to Sam’s and Costco, plus a Walmart pickup order every week or so as needed. (I’m looking into adjusting this though because I’m finding I might need to go to the warehouses every two weeks so I can keep up.)
- We get some groceries from Azure Standard every couple of months, plus a few from Amazon.
- We get milk and eggs from local farmers and friends.
Who I’m Feeding for $1,200/Month
- 3 adults
- 5 kids
- 3 toddlers
Here are some of the littlest of our crew:
- some of our adult kids who don’t live with us anymore (Elias comes home from the University to grab food; Justus and Kelsey are over a few times a week)
- babysitters (a variety of help at our house almost daily)
- my kids’ friend
- college students (Sunday lunches and then some)
I used to take meals to people often as needed, but that’s not something I’m able to do right now. Eventually, I hope to get back to being able to do that!
I’m thankful to be able to feed so many people every day. I delight in it and sometimes don’t care how much it costs, simply because feeding, nourishing, and loving people is such a joy. But at the same time, I have to care about the cost, especially when feeding so many.
Recently, I’ve been trying to share some great ways I’ve found to save on food costs. Like these:
- How to Save Money on Coffee
- How to Save Money on Meat
- Ten Easy Food Items You Can Make at Home to Save Money
- What to Add to Meat to Make it Stretch
- How Eating Fruits and Vegetables Isn’t Expensive
- Four Inexpensive Meals I Made from Costco Groceries
- Why Did I Spend $8 on a Watermelon?
I’ve been working on more ways to save…
More Ways to Save on Groceries
1. Skip the pre-packaged snacks.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but during this season in my life, I found that I was falling back on buying cases of little packages of crackers or other snacks at Sam’s or Costco. After all, I truly do need grab-and-go snacks for our kids to eat during walks, at the soccer field, or in the car.
Instead, though, I’ve been purchasing boxes of snack-sized ziplock baggies and letting my 6 and 8-year-olds help me package up snacks for these purposes. This is saving us a lot of money plus helping us choose healthier snacks overall.
Also, because of some extra helpers I’ve had during the past few months, I’ve also been a little bit more able to make snacks from scratch again. It feels so good to make more homemade goodies again!
2. Pack a lunch instead of buying a school lunch.
This might seem silly because the school lunch is very reasonably priced. But I can easily pack our kids’ school lunch for much less than the $3.20 that they charge. (Here are lots of ideas.) Plus, my kids don’t make great school lunch choices (eat the cookie, skip the veggies). ;) So packing a nourishing lunch for them saves quite a bit and helps them be healthier too.
3. Make meat a side dish instead of a main dish.
Instead of planning my meals around meat, I’ve started planning my meals around my fruits and vegetables and other sides. We have been eating a plateful of rice or potatoes, steamed veggie, bowl of fruit, and a little meat. Some meals we don’t have meat at all if we eat beans for protein.
4. Eat more fruits and veggies.
This truly is a money saver!!!!! Meat is $3-$8 per pound while fresh produce is between $0.19-$4.00/pound – with a lot in between. I love that we can eat such nourishing foods at such low cost. I’ve learned to fill my cart and not hold back, knowing that fruits and vegetables are much needed and extremely reasonable in price.
5. Do a little math.
If you take the time to do a price breakdown of some of your favorite meals, you might find, like I have, that many homemade meals cost very little to make. This doesn’t save money, necessarily. It’s just encouraging!! It helps me know that I really am feeding my family well for a very low cost per person!
Here are some examples I’ve shared here:
- Ham and Potato Meal, $2.00/plate
- Chicken, Potatoes, Veggie, and Fruit Meal, $0.99/plate
- Sunday Roast Dinner, $1.62/plate
- Smoked Sausage Meal, $1.48/plate
- Tortelloni Meal, $1.41/plate
- Salmon Meal, $2.20/plate
6. Buy turkeys on sale at holiday time.
I was shocked when I realized that I could make ten meals with just one turkey! I used that bird to feed company, to make soup, to create easy lunches – all for such a low cost! If we can take advantage of holiday sales on turkeys, then thaw and bake them throughout the year, we can really save a lot on great meat.
7. Don’t waste produce.
Here are details about how I buy and use all of our produce before it goes bad. This is a huge money saver!
8. Drink more water.
Ok, but don’t take away my coffee!! (<— which I make at home for only $0.35!)
Many of you probably already do this, and I used to be better at sticking with only water at our house. But as our older boys got older, I found that having Body Armor, Izzes, Bubblys and a few other fun drinks on hand was nice for when their friends came over.
I still plan to get some cases of drinks from Costco and Sam’s here and there, but it will save my grocery budget if I buy them less frequently.
9. Don’t overthink it.
We need to eat and we want to eat well. So sometimes I just have to ignore the rising price and know that I need to buy it anyway, especially when it’s a nourishing need for our family. There are many of us, we eat a lot of food, and that’s that. (Still, it’s good that I’m considering splurges that I might be able to cut out while not worrying about the necessities.)
10. Recognize the huge cost savings compared to eating out.
Even when we’re eating something that has been pre-packaged for convenience, we are still saving an incredible amount of money by eating at home compared to eating out. Here’s what works for us and how much we save by eating at home!
Share your best grocery saving tips!
April Hutchens says
GREAT tips, and a great perspective.
Number 4 and number 9 are my favorites.