There are many joys to raising one big happy family. But, let’s get real, feeding one big happy family is another story. Parent’s of one or multiples can relate to this blog post. There are many ways to maintain a daily, weekly, or monthly grocery shopping budget. We are going to explore some of these areas as a means of learning more options when it comes to grocery shopping for your family.
One strategy is to meal plan. If you’re anything like me, your car wheels are spinning from sun up until sun down, most days. Meal planning eliminates the temptation of stopping at local fast food restaurants and provides a health meal alternative for you and your family. To successfully meal plan, it is suggested that the “planner” and “meal prepper” arrange all of the meal items on Sunday prior to the week.
Now let’s look at Meal Planning On A Budget. This simply involves the core components of a meal- the protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate. The simplest and cheapest way to accomplish this is by sticking to one protein (chicken, fish, broccoli-for vegan families), one choice of carb (rice, sweet potato), and mix up the vegetables throughout the week. Boring right?! You’re encouraged to get creative when fixing these items for your family. Change up the spices blends and cooking styles. Instead of grilling the chicken, place a few pieces in the oven or boil them.
Tips for Meal Planning On A Budget
- Create a menu in advance
- Purchase meals around sale items
- Plan one meatless meal a week
- Check your inventory at home, first
- Make a meal that your family loves
- Utilize those leftovers
- Integrate grains and veggies
- Make extras-when possible
Keeping Your Grocery Bill at $120 and Under
Living on a Cheap provides some very reasonable solutions to maintaining a $4 day grocery bill. This averages to about $120 a month. For larger families, the budget might need to be adjusted, however, the same concepts can be applied. These tips, along with my personal experience tips will be given:
- Eliminate Bottled Water- Purchase a water diffuser pitcher or faucet attachment one time versus constantly purchasing a $4 case of bottled water weekly.
- Eliminate Fruit Juices and Sodas- Fruit juices tend to cause dental health. Sodas are packed with sugar. Eliminating this item will help your pockets in more than one way.
- Eliminate Coffee- One cup of coffee at Starbucks ranges from $4-$6. Making coffee at home can add up as well. There is creamer, sugar, coffee grains, and filters. This one will be hard for coffee drinkers.
- Eliminate Alcoholic Beverages- Eliminate or save these items for a special occasion.
- Purchase Fresh or Frozen Fruits- Many times, the frozen fruit are much cheaper than fresh fruit. It may not be a first preference for most, however, it gets the job done.
- Purchase Fresh or Frozen Vegetables- The same concept applies to vegetables. However, frozen store brand vegetables are significantly cheaper. One bag of Great Value brand (Walmart) broccoli is $.99 compared to other $2.99 brands.
- Keep Snacks Simple- Snacks need to stay simple, plain and simple. At most homes, snacks go FAST. I suggest keeping these items simple when possible. Rather than purchasing an already made cheese and cracker for $3.29, purchase a $.99 cent box of crackers and $.99 cent cheese. This is just an example. All families have their own favorite snacks. See if you can re-create them cheaper!
- Purchase Beans and Grains in Bulk- I always, always, always have some sort of rice on hand. Rice is a simple go-to and easily purchased in bulk. The same for beans. When searching, purchase these items in larger bags and portion them out when cooking for the week.
- Purchase Raw Foods Over Already Prepared- This goes for chicken, fish, beef, steak, and even some vegetables and pastry’s. Kroger is currently selling a “Meal Kit” for a family of 4 for $19.99. This only feeds your family for one night versus purchasing raw items and portioning them out for much cheaper.
- Focus On Nutrition- Focusing on nutrition while shopping will eliminate MOST of the store items, trust me.
- Milk, Milk, Milk- I tend to find myself buying two gallons per week. That’s a lot of milk! When possible, replace the milk drinking with water.
Grocery Shopping Tips
- Shop On A Full Stomach- Yes, everything looks delicious when you’re hungry. Just don’t do it.
- Create a List and Be Prepared to Say No- Your children will go find the largest box (64 OZ) of cereal when you already have some at home. Just create a list and be prepared.
- Buy Non-Grocery Related Items at Dollar Store- This includes laundry detergent, washing powder, soap, and bleach, etc. These items are much cheaper outside of the grocery store.
- Shop Store Brands- Not all store brands are created equally, I know. Shop around. There are some really great buys in store brand.
- Don’t Fall for the 10 for 10- Only use this purchase, if you are truly going to use 10 items of the same thing. These sales are a quick way to rack up you total.
- Learn to Bake or Cook- When in doubt, just cook it at home. The frozen chicken alfredo lasts one night versus purchasing the items at and cooking 2 days worth.