Feeding a family can be stressful. Between picky eaters and busy schedules, it’s hard to make the time to eat healthy and create a budget friendly meal plan. While eating out can be easier at times, it definitely isn’t nice to my wallet and although I do occasionally enjoy being catered to, I much prefer to spend my money wisely. I have found a few tips and tricks to saving money on food which have helped our family tremendously.
My family used to easily spend $500 to $700 per month on groceries. With children demanding snacks at every hour, and picky eaters who make me cook three seperate dinners, we’d spend a ridiculous amount of money on food without even realizing it. After implementing a few small changes to our routine, our family food budget for a month is right around $300 for a family of five.
The thing that has turned our family’s grocery bill around the most is meal planning. Although it sounds simple, this usually takes a good portion of a day for me and takes a lot of thought and planning. I usually make a meal plan for 2 weeks and I plan every meal for all household members. While I may not know exactly what my children will be eating for breakfast every morning, planning a general meal plan for breakfast and lunch makes the shopping list more streamlined.
I like to try new recipes and I use a couple different websites and phone apps to find recipes to include into my meal plan. If I think that we will be craving sweets or want a special dessert, I plan it so there’s no spontaneous grocery trip runs for sweets. I also plan in 1-2 “leftover nights” where I don’t cook and we eat whatever is left over from other meals. Once the meal plan is complete, I then look over all the needed ingredients and create a shopping list. To this shopping list I add general food needs like snacks, fruit, milk, etc. I have cut my children down to one snack a day which has drastically cut down our food budget (as well as creating healthier habits for them!)