Sunday, October 20, 2013

Feeding My Family of 6 on a Tight Budget

Living on my husbands disability and what I make blogging things can get very tight around here! In today's tough economy, it's hard for most anyone to be able to afford to to eat healthy, especially when you have a family to feed. And with the price of groceries rising, it really takes a toll on our wallet. I cook every night for my family of 6 and usually at least 1 or 2 more that happen to be here at dinner time. Fortunately we do have a lot of fresh foods because we garden. What I lack, my family grows and we all work together.

 This abundance of pickles is from only 1 picking of cucumbers. I canned 19 more cans after this batch.

I know everyone is always looking for a way to save so here is a list of the top 10 ways I personally save money on my grocery bill! 

1: Buy In Bulk:  Beans is something we have nightly. You can get a 4 lb bag of beans for less than $4 and they feed my family for at least 6 nights. I only purchase family size packs of meat and separate them into gallon sized bags. If hamburger meat is on sale that week, stock up! Here, chicken is usually the cheapest so we have lots of it. There are many different chicken recipes out there.

2: Steer clear of canned goods when possible. Ex: Instead of buying 3 cans of corn at $0.99 each to feed my family of 6 for one night, I can buy 6 ears of corn if I have none in the freezer for $2.00, break them in half and make 2 nights worth of corn instead of one.

3: Stay away from fast food: Where we live (20 miles from the nearest restaurant) fast food is just not ideal. There and back I have wasted $10 in gas, plus the cost of food for 6. If you have teen boys (I have 3) you know how much they can eat. We can easily drop $30-$50 for one night eating fast food. That $40-$60 can buy my meats for the week!

4: Grow your own food if possible. I know many people do not have the space for an outside garden but you can always grow some things in containers inside or on a porch or patio. 

5: Make meals that can double! I make a lot of roasts. The first night we have roast with vegetables and what's left over goes in the freezer with BBQ sauce for BBQ sandwiches at a later date! Mix up some cole slaw and you have a quick and simple meal.

6: Do a "dinner swap". Get together a group of say 5 ladies in your community that you know and trust. Have each member buy enough food (set a budget) for 5 dishes and each one make a meal and separate them into bags. For example, if my meal choice was chili, I would make enough to fit into (5) Gallon bags and each member in the group would do the same for their meal choice. Have a get together and swap bags. You all get 5 different meals for 5 different nights. Saving you time and money!

7: Stay away from the soft drink aisle! Trust me when I tell you, I know how hard this is! I drank nothing but Dr. Pepper for many years and they are expensive! I normally paid $10 for 3 6 packs and they only last a week or less usually. That's at least $520 a year! We have swapped to tea for the most part. I buy 100 tea bags for $2.00 and that makes 10 gallons plus the cost of sweetener. Other than that it's water. 

8: Use coupons! When I was couponing steady I would walk out of the grocery store with them owing me money. It DOES take time but it is worth it. Make it a family day where everyone contributes. Have one member cut, one organize, etc. My newspaper guy always needed tires for his car, so on Monday mornings when he was going to recycle the papers that didn't sell he would drop them buy to our tire store. I would keep a record of it and when he needed a tire, we would do it free. He once brought me 96 papers and we sorted through each and every one. We got an abundance of pasta, BBQ sauce, snacks and much more free so that was more money we could put towards something else. 

9: Get those crock pots going! There are so many crock pot meals out there that you can feed a family of 6 with on a budget. I do lots of soups, chili, casseroles, etc. They get all of their meat and vegetables in one. I also have a bread maker where I make homemade bread. I grabbed it from a yard sale for $10 some years back and I use it often! One of my favorite recipe sites is Allrecipes. You can find delicious meals on a budget! 

10: Do homemade when possible! Anything you can make at home vs buying is saving you money 90% of the time. It may be a little more time and work but it's definitely worth it when you have smiling faces,full bellies and a little extra cash! 

Just these few things combined can save you a lot of cash especially when feeding a large family like mine. Have something that you do to cut down on your grocery bill? Let me know in the comments below! I'm definitely not an expert and this is just how I do things so I'm always open to suggestions and great ideas!

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