If you have a large family, planning and preparing meals can be expensive. You do not have to break the bank, however, just because you have a large family. Here are seven tips that can help you reduce your grocery budget and keep everyone fed.
1. Slowcooker meals. Slowcooker meals are easy; you can cook them while you work out of the home or in the home. They are also healthy. Cut the meat portion in 1/2 and use the least expensive cuts. Vary between beef, chicken, and pork depending on what is on sale that week. Make up the missing meats with less expensive vegetables.
2. Cut out the pre-prepared meals and ordering food/eating out. Any meal you make at home (except perhaps lobster) will be less expensive and healthier than pre-prepared meals or ordering food in. Remember to use your slowcooker if you are pressed for time in the evenings and plan out your meals for the week.
Also read: How Can I Help My Husband to Be More Frugal?
3. Cut out the sugary breakfast cereals. Oatmeal, toast, scrambled eggs – all of these are healthier and less expensive options than breakfast cereals in the box or the bag.
4. Home. Made. Chili. As with your slowcooker crockpot meal, 1/2 the recommended meat portion and instead put in extra beans. Add corn or green beans (trust me) to the chili for something a little healthier. Do not bother splurging on expensive chili mixes. Until you master your own homemade chili blend, use the cheap packets to season. Instead of purchasing chips or tortilla shells, you can make homemade cornbread to serve with the chili.
5. Have the kids (and you and your husband) put together snacks. Have no snacks out of the box. Get an air popper and pop fresh popcorn. Have bread (homemade is cheapest and often healthier), peanut butter, and jelly on hand for sandwiches. Buy fresh vegetables, such as celery, cucumber, bell pepper, and carrots, and fruits. Price your local farmer’s market vs. your grocer. Some farmer’s markets have better prices and always better quality. You want healthy snacks and no premade snacks in the house. If your family has to work for the sweet snacks, they will go with the cheaper and healthier vegetables and fruit.
Also read: How I Save At Least 50% on My Meat Budget
6. Make homemade bread over store-bought bread. Investing in a good bread maker will save you a lot of money later. You can make healthy whole grain breads that will stretch your meals. Bake on the weekend and freeze the loaf to defrost during the week, or bake early in the day to have fresh bread that evening. If you enjoy oven breads and have the time, all the better.
7. Invest in a deep freeze and bulk-buy meat when it is on sale. Buy multiple turkeys during the holidays when they are on sale and have turkey year round. When you cook up the meat, save the broth to flavor other meals (do this when you cook chicken as well). Buying any meat in bulk will help you save money, and a deep freezer will allow you to keep the meat for a very long time.
What are your favorite ways to save on feeding a large family (or a family of ANY size).
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