The following is a guest post by Connie at Smockity Frocks!
Feeding a big family on a small budget requires preparation and planning.
Just as it would cause chaos to reign to wait until 7:00pm each evening to begin thinking about what to make your family for dinner, it would be foolish to try to stay within a tight budget without planning ahead.
A little forethought will go a long way in keeping your crew fed and your checkbook balanced.
Here are some ways our family stays on budget by planning ahead:
- Use coupon match-up sites like this one to get the best deals on groceries.
- Stock up on deals. As your budget allows, buy enough of a product to last until that product will be on sale again (usually 3-6 months).
- Keep a price book. This can be a simple notepad you carry in your purse or a fancy binder with colored dividers. Take it each time you go shopping and make a note of the lowest prices for commonly purchased items.
- Use extra freezer and pantry space. If you can find a chest freezer for a good price and put extra shelving in your garage or a spare closet to hold surplus groceries, you will be able to take advantage of super sale prices when they come along.
- Take advantage of the summer gardening season to grow your own produce. Right now we are growing our own corn, beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, and melons in a raised bed garden PLUS a neighbor has generously given us a plot of his own land to garden!
- Freeze or can your excess produce for use during the winter months. Learning to can is super simple and SO rewarding! It is a great feeling to go into my pantry and pull out a beautiful jar of strawberry jam that I processed myself from fresh strawberries!
- Make your menu plan each week from what is available in your pantry and freezer. Ideally, those are the items you have stocked up on at a great price or preserved from your garden. Use those ingredients to plan your meals instead of dashing to the store to buy things you don’t have on hand for a last minute meal. (Am I the only one who finds it incredibly hard to come out with ONLY the few things I go in for???)
Taking the time to plan ahead can save you big headaches and big bucks.
The steps I mentioned above can be implemented by a family of any size, large budget or small. Who wouldn’t want to save money where you can, right? So, why not give them a try and see how much you can shave off your grocery budget!
Stay tuned next week for Part 3!!