May 19, 2011

Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 3


The following is a guest post by Connie at Smockity Frocks!

See “Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 1” and “Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 2“.

The fastest way to cut your food budget is to eat at home.

For a big family, eating out can cost anywhere from around $40 at a fast food restaurant, to well over $100 at a nicer restaurant. That is for a single meal! Consider doing that several times per week, and the costs skyrocket!

You can see why a big family on a small budget would be motivated to eat at home!

Simply buying packaged, prepared foods to eat at home can save you big bucks. For instance, for under $20 you can feed a large family frozen lasagna, store bought garlic bread, and salad in a bag at home. That same meal at Olive Garden costs around $9 per person, so for our family of 10 that would be nearly $100 when eating out.

That is a considerable savings, but if you take it one step further and learn to cook from scratch you can serve that very same meal for 10 people for around $10!

Considering I can make a delicious, restaurant quality meal for my entire family of 10 for $5-$10, restaurant prices, or even prepackaged frozen foods are just not at all practical for us, and seem downright wasteful! I could even feed each person in my big family a fancy steak dinner at home for under $25 total.

It’s true that cooking from scratch takes a little extra time, but if you consider the savings you can rack up every day, I think it is definitely worth it!

Are you thinking, “I like this idea but, I don’t know how to cook from scratch!”?

With just a little research and practice, anyone can learn to cook from scratch and save your family money!

It’s simple to get started with “from scratch” cooking with these steps:

  • Get a good basic cookbook, like this Betty Crocker Cookbook. It has definitions for cooking terms and simple step-by-step directions for even simple tasks, like boiling eggs.
  • Stock your pantry and fridge with the basics of scratch cooking like flour, sugar, vegetable oil, baking soda, baking power, tomato sauce, rice, pasta, and spices.
  • Learn a couple of recipes that you think your family will enjoy and perfect those. (My entire family loves my oven fried pork chops and chicken spaghetti.) After you find confidence in cooking those from scratch, try something new.

You can become a “from scratch” cooking expert and save your family a bundle of money while serving them delicious meals they will love!

Connie is the mom of 8 rowdy kidlets, wife of one hunky dude for 25+ years. She is a former public school teacher who currently teaches her own children at home and writes daily at Smockity Frocks. She has recently published the FREE ebook Homeschool Tips From a Homeschool Veteran and is currently finishing Cooking For a Crowd which will be released in June. You can connect with her on Twitter and on her Facebook fan page.

Stay tuned next week for Part 4!!

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  1. It seems expensive….we feed 4 right now, will be 5 soon, and we spend about $600 or so a month on food….probably more sometimes….but if you think about it…if we ate out, even at McDonald’s or something, it would be atleast $5 per person, which would be $750 or so per month! I’ll take the extra $150 wherever I can get it! LOL

  2. Not to mention eating at McD’s is icky! So much better for you – mind, body and soul, to eat a homecooked meal around the table as a family.

  3. I definitely need to eat out less, and cook more. It saves money and it definitely saves calories….but I have the opposite problem: there is only 1 of me. It can be difficult to shop for 1 person, as most items are packaged for multiple servings. I admit, most nights I really do not want to spend a lot of time cooking after working all day, and I love leftovers, but sometimes they last more days than I’d like. I don’t even know what is a reasonable dollar amount for groceries for 1….I do know that I cannot afford to eat out at work, it would probably be about $200 a month for lunch alone. Not a huge fan of freezing food. Ideas?

  4. I just wanted to chime in to say that even as a full-time working mom with a small family, cooking from scratch has been very doable and well worth the trouble. Not only does it save us a lot of money, it’s much better for us too! And it really doesn’t take that much more time than going somewhere to eat out.

  5. We only eat out for someones bday with a cpn of course….My daughter turns 20y this weekend and I’m all set with a BOGO to our favorite buffet….So we eat out 6 times a yr except on vacation…our food budget is $100 biweekly….

  6. On the chance it rains on your way to the store, make sure you have your wipers updated! 12 days left for our amazing wiper blade rebate:

  7. When I first moved out of my mother’s house I couldn’t cook a thing! My boyfriend and I lived on take out pizza and burgers for years. I tried to make fried chicken -once- didn’t know the oil had to be hot BEFORE you put the chicken in. My cats wouldn’t even eat it.

    My aunt bought me The Betty Crocker Cook Book for Christmas one year and it was the best gift I have ever gotten! It starts out SO basic…frying an egg and builds you up to meals like Chicken Cordon Bleu. Twenty five years later I am one fantastic cook (if I do say so myself! lol) and it’s all because of that book. I love to cook from scratch and save A TON of money doing it!

  8. I figured out several years ago that if the Lord was going to continue to bless us with children and I was to stay at home with them, I needed to learn to cook and eliminate the use of prepared foods. I spend $800 a month on groceries for our family of 11. Everything is made from scratch (right down to milling our own grains).

  9. I’m feeding 5 for about $300 a month, that covers soaps, paper goods, cleaners, meds, as well as actual food.  I cloth diaper and that saves a bundle, I coupon shop, and I am always on the lookout for free next to free, and I am not shy about trading with a friend if they have something and I have excess of a free deal!  Trading is alive and well people, remember that if you have trouble growing things but have a friend with a bumper crop:D

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  1. […] See Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 1, Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 2, and Feeding a BIG Family on a Small Budget – Part 3. […]