I am tightening my financial belt as I have been overspending and would like a new (to me) car. Will you give me your best tips on being reasonably frugal but still staying on plan and feeding a family, if you have one. My family is me, dh, dsd 13, dss 9, ds 17 months. The little guy eats whatever I put in front of him, but I add more fat to his meals because dietary fat is necessary for his age.
I'm ok with meatless meals all of the time, but I can only sneak them in for dh a couple of times per week.
Thanks for any tips!
09-11-2007, 10:36 AM
Holly........I only have a second, but as the mother of 5 little eaters......the only advice I have for you is to watch the sale ads. I never used to go to more than one grocery store, as time IS money.......but now, with prices on groceries sooooo high, I do the grocery store rounds and buy things that are on sale. I also shop at Aldi and/or Save a lot for many staples. Hey, I just realized that you are in missouri too :) I also purchase a lot of my meat from Sam's Club. I don't buy a lot from them, but there are a few things I do.....for instance, Tyson chicken breast is cheap there, as well as a 5lb bag of frozen brocolli. I dont' buy a ton of stuff there, as I think a lot of time is is NOT cost effective.......but I definitely shop around for my produce, as I often spend over $100.00 a week on produce alone. It is just insane :) If I think of any other tips while I am in the shower, I will get back to you later :)
09-11-2007, 10:38 AM
Holly, I have 5..... ages 7,10,12,15, and 17. plus DH and myself. here are some of the things I do.
on the things we use alot I try to get them at Sam's. Like yesterday I bought 5 lb bags of cheddar and motzarella cheese, already shredded, then I took 1 qt. sized zip lock baggies and put 4 cups in each bag. I left one bag of each in the refridgerator and put the rest in the freezer. where they will keep fine til I use them. much cheeper per pound.
I try to always make a menu for the week. it might take me an hour or two. but I sit down with my cookbooks and look for a couple new recipes for the week and also have a few stand bys, like spaghetti, or taco salad. I try to look at my week seriously. if I know a tuesday is going to be mostly on the run because of kids afterschool activities, I make sure the meal for that day is something in a crock pot, like chili, or just sandwhiches that people can grab when they are ready to eat. I also try to make my meals work together. If there is an ingredient that I need for a recipe that I know will only use like half of the package.... what ever it is... then I try to find another recipe to use the other half that same week.
I try to stay away from prepackaged processed stuff. it will almost always be cheeper to buy scratch and make it yourself.
when ever possible. make a double recipe and freeze half. then you have a quick "prepackaged" meal to pop in the oven when you are short on time or don't feel like cooking. a good one for this is cookies. make a triple or even quadrouple batch of your favorite cookies. use a scooper to drop balls of dough on a cookie sheet and freeze. once frozen solid, put them all in gallon ziplock baggie. then when you feel like having cookies you can pull out just one or as many as you want and bake them. just like having the expensive prepackaged kind but it is your homemade and much cheeper.
drink water most of the time. it is healthier, and way cheeper than pop, milk or juice. the family doesn't need pop and you should get our fruit in the whole form instead anyway.
recycle left overs...... you know that is where pizza came from right? so say you have some chicken and stuffing one night, then next night take any left over chicken and put it in soup or a casserole. say you have beans and rice one night. mix the left overs and put onions and cheese on top and now it is a casserole.
Know what is better made from scratch and what is better to buy. some things it is just way cheeper to buy than to buy all the ingredieants and make it yourself.
hmmmm hope that doesn't over load ya! I have been a SAHM for 17 years. and have had to make the $ stretch. between Nicole and I we could probably answer any question.
feel free to PM me anytime!
09-11-2007, 10:40 AM
Haha, I knew you would show up here Nicole! I was typing the same time you were. and when I got done there you were!
09-11-2007, 11:55 AM
Ha Ha Ha.......Now we just need Wendy..........between the three of us and our 15 kids (holy $h*t, apparently we felt the need to populate the earth), we should have some answers!!!! Ha Ha Ha
09-11-2007, 03:37 PM
I discovered our local vegetable market, and buy produce at a fraction of the cost of the grocery store. I also buy nuts and whole wheat flour at the health food store. Other than that, I shop sales at the grocery stores. I stock up on meats on sale, and am not squeamish about buying whole chickens and cutting them up. I eat the breast meat, and let my other family members eat the less lean parts. I really stock up on chicken breasts when they are on sale, to tide me over until the next sale.
Most people look at their trusty LAWL cookbook and set out to buy ingredients for the recipes. That is the wrong approach. We can only save money by seeing what is on sale, and making our menus fit those items.
Good luck to you!
09-12-2007, 09:09 AM
Thanks Ladies, those are all good tips. Nicole, good point about Aldi. I haven't shopped there in ages but I know they have great deals.
I find that in our area, farmer's markets may have fresher produce but they are definitely not the least expensive way to go. In the summer, we swap produce with friends. For example, I may trade some of my tomatoes for their zucchini. However, this summer my crop did not do well.
09-12-2007, 09:39 AM
Use turkey burger, the chubs at Super Wal Mart are much cheaper than hamburger. Always make a list and stick to it. Try to limit grocery day to once a week. Really check coupons and sales. They are often for brand name items, and the generics are cheaper, even with the coupon. Don't buy stuff just because it is on sale or you have a coupon unless you really do use that item at home, all of the time. Become friendly with your dollar stores. Some dollar stores sell produce for really good prices. One of ours sells Orowheat bread that is usually 3.99 a loaf at Albertsons, plus buns, Thomas english muffins, etc. Also, use the dollar store for lots of other stuff. I buy all of my cleaning supplies except for laundry soap, toothpaste, body wash, deoderant, dog treats, spices, baking stuff, my kids lunch suff, gift wrap and cards, kitchen tools, shampoo and conditioner for my kids (I buy mine at Sally's), and the list goes on and on. Also, check the reduced meat at the grocery store. Our Albertsons is amazing for marked down meat. I just throw it in the freezer, and there is nothing wrong with it.
09-12-2007, 11:24 AM
Plan your meals around weekly specials, and measure your ingredients. Eyeballing measurements usually leads to using more than called for (or at least it does for me).
Oatmeal (regular, not instant) for breakfast.
Pack lunches for work instead of buy.
Buy cheap cuts of meat and cook them in the crockpot.
Don't overbuy. It's not a bargain if you end up throwing it out.
That's all I can think of right now...
09-12-2007, 02:00 PM
Lettie - I'm impressed. There is so much I could learn from you! Thanks for sharing these tips! I know I will be using some of them :hug:
09-12-2007, 05:28 PM
I just want to add that on the new numbered plans eggs are unlimited. So that is budget friendly.
09-12-2007, 10:29 PM
Just FYI for all of you bargain hunters out there...there is this great website out there www.grocerygame.com that does all of the couponing for you! It's $10 every 8 weeks but you make that back and then some on what you save! basically, the site tracks the sales at the major stores in your area and matches them up to the coupons that came in recent Sunday papers. So all you have to do is cut out EVERY coupon and hold onto it until it shows up on the list. It'll show you things on sale that are decent buys(in black), good things to stock up on with or without a coupon (in blue) and FREE stuff (in green). It's really cool because you don't have to spend all of the time scouring the ads. It's all there for you. You should check out the website! It's really a GREAT resource!
09-13-2007, 07:07 AM
Even better, IMO, than The Grocery Game is The Coupon Mom. Same service, but free! www.couponmom.com
09-15-2007, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the link to couponmom I will check it out!