So now that we’ve addressed saving with Kids, the next thing I’m on to is Food savings. I had several messages after my last post asking about couponing and wondering how or if I save anything that way. Well the answer to that question can be complicated. A few years back I tried all the “extreme couponing” craze. It was very difficult, and in the end I felt like I wasted more time and money than I saved! Sure you have savings in the long run- but for households like ours who needs savings NOW, not in a month, it just didn’t work out for us. Not to mention- who really has space for all that storage!! So these are our tips on saving on food…
Coupons: Again, I like to do things that are practical with my time and money. If it is going to take up my day that I can spend with my kids and family- I don’t like it!! So I try to make this simple. No we do not save A LOT of money on coupons. Probably the MOST I’ve saved is 20-50.00 per trip- depending on what I buy and how much time I’ve spent looking for coupons for those items. I always go through the Sunday paper and I only clip out the coupons for things I KNOW we buy. I do not save things because they look like they will be a great deal etc because by doing that- I’m spending more money to buy that item! I also throw away what we do not use and do not save them like most couponers because I can’t stand paper clutter! I also sign up on Coupons.com and go to there a few times a week to print coupons that I know we will use. If there is a good one on there- like this week they have almond milk-I will go back daily and print that one coupon because you can print it several times that week until your limit is up. I also go on Target.com and check out their coupons. You can stack coupons- meaning- I get a coupon for coffee from the newspaper that says “Manufacturer” on it for 1.00 off. Then I see another coupon that says “target coupon” for the same coffee for $1.00 off, i can use BOTH coupons for the one item. So store coupon + manufacturer coupon= more savings! Also- Target has the Cartwheel app. They have percentages off certain items where you just have them scan the barcode off your phone and it gives you a percentage off. This week they had 5% off baby formula!! There is also another app I use…It is called “Checkout 51” it was free, each week they have certain items that if you purchase at the grocery store they will give you money back for those items. You just take a photo of your receipt and upload it to your phone. It’s super easy! I do not go out of my way to buy what is on the list but if I happen to buy something on the list that is a plus!
MEAL PLAN: I have learned that it is VITAL to our budget to have a meal plan. This includes ALL meals- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. This will keep you from impulse shopping and will also help you to stick to your budget. We keep a running list on a whiteboard on our fridge during the week when we run out of things so that I can incorporate them into our meal plan list for the week. Having a meal plan makes also makes it harder to order out when you already have a plan for dinner.
ONE DINNER ONLY: We do not cater to our children at dinner time, lunch time or breakfast. What we make is what they eat or they will just opt out of that meal. I refuse to make different food for each child because that not only wastes money, but my time! Making our kids eat the same dinner as everyone else helps to expand their food likes, helps them to be thankful for the food they have, and eliminates whining because they don’t like something. Our kids have learned that mom works very hard to make them good meals each night and it is disrespectful and hurtful when they complain and do not want to eat them. Our rule is, you eat your dinner or you go to bed- not very often do they opt for bedtime! I do not force them to eat everything on their plate and if they really do not like something they must at least taste it and have a few bites before they decide it is not worth eating. We do have a child who is allergic to apples, and Chicken. We do not make Chicken for the whole family and then give her something different- our entire family avoids those foods as well because we don’t want her to feel left out.
COSTCO/SAMS: We do purchase certain items at these wholesale places. We are members of Costco and we feel it is very cost effective to buy our veggies, fruits, nuts, Rice, Quinoa, Cheese, Meat and spices at Costco instead of at the grocery store. I can buy a huge thing of grapes at costco, put half in the fridge and half in the freezer for the same price I get one little bag at walmart! I like to stock up on meats and freeze them when we have a little extra to spend. NOT everything there is worth buying so make sure you keep an eye on prices cause you can overspend there quickly!!
BREAD: This one I have NOT started doing yet, but it is on my list. We go through SO MUCH BREAD!! We can easily go through 5-6 loaves a week if not more! My plan is to start making and freezing our bread because it is a lot cheaper to buy flour and the ingredients for bread making than it is to buy that many loaves of bread a week- not to mention it is way easier to pull bread out of your own freezer or pantry than to have to run to the store a few times a week!!
Well this is all the tips I can think of right now, so please feel free to send questions or comments and I will address them!! More tips coming soon!!!