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money saving in a large family

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It’s no small feat to feed a large family on a small budget. Even harder was trying to keep a low budget. But it can be done! I used to waste so much money every week before I figured out a plan. I was spending about $150.00 or more per week when we were just a family of four with toddlers! Yikes! We were really struggling back then. My husband was getting his MBA and working a small part time job for $9.25/hr and I had just stopped working at 6 months pregnant with baby #3. We were hurting and bad! I had to think of something quick! I figured out that something we can control was our grocery budget. Realizing we were throwing food out every week I came up with a plan.

First of all, for this plan to work you have to be 100% on board. And disciplined. Because it can be tough sticking to a solid plan. Don’t shop hungry.

  1. Plan your week/two weeks/month, etc in advance. However you get paid is the best way to shop. My husband is paid once per month. I buy a $400 grocery store gift card and that’s it. That’s my budget for the month. (I don’t recommend doing the gift card thing until you are secure in your budgeting.)
  2. Pinterest is your best friend. I created a board “Meals for the Week” and made it private. I pinned meals I thought my family would like and that were budget friendly. You can use Pinterest as a search engine. Try “easy crockpot meals” or “five dollar meals” or if you’re really wanting to save “dollar tree gourmet”. Pin away!
  3. Once you’ve done some planning and pinning, create your grocery list and only include the ingredients for those items. Make sure include breakfasts and lunch with snacks if your kiddos stay home during the day. Add those items to your list as well. DO NOT DEVIATE FROM YOUR LIST WHEN YOU SHOP. Basically, the day before you are scheduled to go to the grocery store your fridge and cabinets should be almost empty. happy planner budget planning money saving
  4. PRO TIP: I price the items on my list. I know how much things cost and I put the price next to the item so I can keep track of my budget. I usually end up overestimating, which is a good thing!
  5. PRO TIP: Shop seasonally. I know mangos taste good, but in January they usually don’t make it into my shopping cart.
  6. PRO TIP: Don’t be afraid to shop at discount shops. Where I live we have a King’s Fruit Stand that sells fruit at a fraction of the cost. The Egg Co is another place that sells meat and eggs at super low prices, but you buy in bulk. I usually go in half with a family member. It’s a great deal! Join a produce co-op!
  7. PRO TIP: Make your own breads. I bought a bread machine at Goodwill for six dollars. I bought it for the sole purpose of mixing dough. I make bread, cinnamon rolls, naan bread, tortillas– you name it! That saves me so much money! A packet of two naan breads from the deli costs $5.00. I can make two week’s worth of naan bread for $7.
  8. PRO TIP: Freeze your extras.
  9. PRO TIP: Always go generic if and when you can. There are some non-negotiables, of course, but try to buy store brand. Usually you can’t even taste the difference!

Here’s an example of “list pricing”:

budgeting grocery shopping money saving

{See how I put the dollar amounts to the left of each item? That’s my guide for shopping. I try to match or beat that price. Usually I end up beating it because I over estimate because I round up to the nearest dollar. For example: milk isn’t three dollars. It’s more like $2.48. You get the picture.}

10. PRO TIP: Mexican food is cheap! Picadillo, tacos, papas con carne, beans, rice, etc. It’s inexpensive. It’s filling. And it’s not too unhealthy. I try to do one meatless night per week and that’s the night I cook with beans. They’re so versatile! Add different spices and seasonings. The same goes with rice. You can get very creative! Remember, whole beans for dinner can easily be made into refried beans for breakfast!
11. Pasta dishes are cheap!
12. PRO TIP: Make your own cream of chicken. Look it up on Pinterest. It will save you so much money!

I budget $100/week or $125 every ten days, depending on our month. I usually buy sandwich bread and other “luxury” bread items at Dollar Tree and then freeze them. We also have a discount Ms.Baird’s where they sell all kinds of goodies for cheap! You can freeze those, too. If you find some good sales, don’t be afraid to freeze your goodies! Discount meat is always something that will freeze well. It might be close to it’s sell-by date, but you can freeze until you need it!

happy planner budget planner saving money large family

Once you get your budget under control, something you can do is buy a gift card so your budgeted grocery money is already allocated without already being spent. I do this with groceries, gas, baby items, etc. It’s a great way to manage our one paycheck once per month. It ensures I don’t over spend and I can only spend that money at that specific store. Unlike cash. I know a lot of people who love the cash envelop system, but cash is my nemesis! Gift cards are a perfect balance for me!

I’ll post a part 2 to show you my receipt and final total! Until then, enjoy!

 

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