Stay Within Your Grocery Budget When Feeding Your Family.
A trip to the grocery store is not the picnic it used to be. Once a month I would let my children “run” through the store and pick up whatever they wanted…within reason. The only money management you had to deal with in the grocery store before was making sure you stayed within the budget you had set for your trip beforehand.
Staying within a budget now is not such an easy task. With the prices of food soaring, it’s no wonder the trip to the grocery store is now dreaded instead of welcomed. Furthermore, if your family is more than four total, your monthly grocery bill can become the new car note.
The steady hike in food prices along with the decline in the economy has made many people take a hard look at the way they shop for their food. Every method possible is explored to make sure as much money as can be is saved. The fact that the size of families is growing creates a group in itself that is looking to save as much as possible.
If you want to save more money at the grocery store, sometimes you have to get creative. Thirty minute meals used to be the going thing, because career parents needed a way to get a good meal on the table in the least amount of time possible. Now affordable meals are what many families look for. Here are a few ways that may help you feed a small family on a budget, or create cheap meals to feed a big family.
The slow economy these days has given way to couponing, which had become a lost art for most of us. There are some people who have turned this into a delicate art, balancing coupons with store sales to get the most product for the smallest price. Couponing has become quite popular to date. Manufacturers have eliminated the ‘no expiration date’ coupon, and stores have written in new policies on their individual procedures for accepting them. This is due to consumers walking off with baskets full of merchandise for miniscule amounts of money. A seasoned pro can pay as little as $50 for hundreds of dollars worth of groceries! Even if you can’t match this success, you can never go wrong when using coupons.
Clipping coupons will definitely save you a lot of money, but the process can be very time consuming. Clipping the coupons is only the beginning. They must then be sorted, dated, and matched with the sales that will yield maximum profit. Many couponers spend the equivalent of a full time job each week, dedicated totally to their money saving venture. If you don’t have this much time to spend on one task, set aside a time during the week just for couponing. Just tell yourself there’s always time to save money.
Dinner Under Ten
If you don’t have the time to put into careful, detailed couponing, the amount of time and work it requires can be daunting. So what does a non-couponer do to save money in the grocery store? You get creative! I recall an episode on the Food Network where competing chefs had to create a family meal for no more than $10. Whereas the chefs became overwhelmed at this prospect, I began to chuckle. This is a task I tackle on a daily basis!
Preparing a meal for under $10 is a challenge in itself, but is not the total challenge of feeding your family for less. How do you prepare a meal for under $10 that will make the family members full and satisfied? This task can be very tricky, especially if you have children, like mine, who eat like adults! Here are some ideas that will fill tummies while keeping your wallet filled also.
Add some rice to your meal. As a southern belle, born and raised, and with relatives who have family roots inLouisiana, rice is a staple at our dinner table. We literally eat rice with everything! Rice is a wonderful filler, and tastes great with brown gravy, or as part of a dish. White rice is great, but you don’t want to consume a great deal in one sitting. You simply use it to add to a plate and fill stomachs, because rice is a great filler. If you’re health conscious, brown rice is better. It’s actually more filling than white rice, and the texture is better. Plus, it hasn’t been bleached, so it’s better for you.
Most dinner tables only need a meat, two vegetables, and a filler, like rice or potatoes. Challenge yourself, and see how many meals you can make for under $10.
In my house there are no fully cooked meals on Fridays and Saturdays. Those are our junk food days. Wieners are cheap and numerous. Try buying them whenever the store runs them on sale, whether you need them right then or not. This will ensure that you have wieners whenever you need them. Though we prefer Oscar Mayer and Ballpark to BarS, we normally buy where the price is right. Jennie-O has a pack of turkey franks that has twenty five in the pack.
Nachos and Frito pies are great weekend meals. A couple of bags of chips and a jar of con queso or Cheese Whiz is all it takes. Use a can of hot dog chili for Frito pies, or for those who like a little extra on their nachos. Because the preparation is so simple, children can be hands on with these types of meals, making each dish unique to their own tastes.
Sloppy Joes are yet another weekend meal. Del Monte has the best sloppy joe mix, and it costs under $1. Cook it into a pound of browned ground meat or ground turkey, and spread it between hamburger buns. Instead of buying ready made fries, be creative and cut up potatoes for homemade fries.
Eat On Sale
I did an experiment one month, and bought only the meat that was on sale each week. I was actually able to stay within my monthly grocery budget! I know those of us who are meat eaters like steaks, chops, and roast, but , but they taste even better when you don’t spend as much for them! Most grocery stores put some sort of meat on sale on a weekly basis. Watch the sales papers and buy what you like when it’s on sale. Get as much of it as you can hold if it’s a really good sale! Some stores have limits on how much you can get of an item in one trip. If necessary, break up your grocery list and get different things in separate trips in order to take advantage of the sale more than once. Or, bring someone else with you who can use the money you give them to be a “second” customer.
Feeding your family doesn’t have to be a chore. Actually, it can be fun to see how much you can get while spending less. Be creative and find different ways to capitalize on the different ways to save money on your grocery trips! What are some ways that you use to feed your family while stretching your wallet?