One thing I resist making cuts to is our grocery budget. I naturally try to be very frugal in this area, but I know I can always find more ways to save. If you are looking for a few fresh ideas to get you motivated to make some cuts, here are some ideas I use to get back in the “Money Saving” mindset.
Do not try to look at the whole budget – just tackle one small area at a time.
- Try to make one breakfast a week less expensive. Oatmeal is cheaper than cereal – make the switch for at least one breakfast.
- Dedicate one night per week to a low-cost meal night such as: baked potato bar, meatless meals, soup and bread night, garden night.
- Examine the use of beverages. Sodas are very expensive and not healthy. Can you replace that beverage entirely with homemade tea? If your family just loves their sugary fix, limit it to one special meal per week – like Friday pizza night. Juice likewise is a very expensive beverage. Eliminate it or consider watering it down. Milk can also be purchased ahead when on sale and frozen for later use.
- Switch to homemade baby foods if you currently buy them. This will be a huge cost savings. Learn how to make them in bulk to save time and energy.
- If you buy prepackaged breakfast foods, set some limits on consumption. I must admit that two of my children enjoy Pop-tarts. If I bought a box as a special treat, they would be gobbled up quickly by my two sugar-seekers and they would be asking for more! Now, when I purchase them, they know they can only eat these on Fridays.
- Talk portion size. Often we will get a special snack such as cookies or chips and the children will enjoy these for snacks. Left unattended, three children can snarf down a bag of chips in the course of one afternoon! Now, when they ask for a snack, I have them check the portion size and have them limit their use to one appropriate serving. Of course, fruits, veggies, and other very healthy snacks are offered in nearly unlimited quantities.
- When you cook extra to freeze ahead or to plan for leftovers, remove the “extra” from the serving dishes before they ever get to the table. Once it is there, it is fair game and you may find that doubling your meat in order to have an extra meal later may be doubling your cost for one meal instead.
- Eliminate the television during any meal or snack time. Studies prove that distracted eating leads to people feeling less satisfied even though they often eat quite a bit more. Make your mealtimes enjoyable without the TV and you may see your grocery budget drop, too.
Malia Russell is the blessed wife to Duncan, thankful mother to five children, ages newborn to 20 and an author, conference speaker and director of www.homemaking911.com and www.wheat-n-things.com. Visit her site for inspiration, encouragement and practical help in your roles as a godly wife, mother, homemaker or home educator.