Tips for Cooking for Your Family – On a Budget!
March 31, 2023
Author: Regalo Baby
If I hear the word “inflation” one more time, I’m going to throw something. Like for real. But the reality is that your family’s budget is likely feeling the pinch at the grocery store. Everything costs more. But your kids still need to eat – multiple times a day, apparently. Here are 5 tips that have helped reduce grocery costs in our household!
1. Shop around for the best deals! Aldi is a GREAT resource for cheaper groceries! Sure, the downside is that Aldi is rarely a one-stop shop. You probably won’t find everything on your list at Aldi, but you WILL find great savings and random deals that make it worth your time. Just don’t forget to pack your own bags AND bring a quarter for a cart!
There’s another grocery store in our town called Sprouts that offers “Double Sale Day” on Wednesdays. In other words, two weeks’ worth of sale ads will be honored every Wednesday! It’s another gem that absolutely makes it worth your time.
Checking your local grocery stores’ ads definitely takes extra time, but the savings adds up. Joining loyalty programs wherever you go also offers added discounts to members, if you’re willing to do it! I have both Target Circle and a Target RedCard, which gives me 5% off of every purchase, as well as random coupons/specials sent to me each week. I also have loyalty accounts with Natural Grocers, Kroger, and a locally owned grocery store in town!
2. Buy in bulk! Whether you go to a big-box store like Costco or Sam’s Club, or just buy large packages at your local grocery store, buying in bulk is always a good idea. Buying a 3-pound tray of ground beef is far cheaper than buying 3 1-pound trays, and it’s easy to separate into Ziploc bags and freeze what you don’t need immediately. Same with snacks – and if your kids are anything like mine, you’ll fly right through those snack boxes.
3. Be sure to make a meal plan and a grocery list each week. This really cuts down on “impulse buys” AND forces you to peruse your fridge and pantry each week to use up what you already have. Take note of your family’s schedule for the week and plan meals that won’t be stressful for the amount of time you’ll have each night. Leftover meat makes a great salad topping, and a quick dinner. Leftover veggies (raw or cooked!) make a great side dish AND won’t take a lot of time to prepare or reheat. Use what you’ve got and supplement as needed!
4. Buy generic and off-brand food as you’re able to. If your child has a favorite snack, they will likely notice (and revolt) if you switch to an off-brand copy of the same food. BUT they probably won’t notice if you start buying generic pasta or dairy. They’re so much cheaper and the quality is generally comparable.
5. Figure out (or just ask!) when groceries are marked down. This is especially pertinent in the bakery and meat departments – I can often find significantly discounted meats and breads either late at night or early in the morning. Meats are significantly discounted on or before their “sell by” date, and those can easily be eaten that day or frozen for later. Breads or baked goods were often just made the day before and are still very good! These, too, can be frozen for later if you’re not going to eat them right away.
I hope these tips help you stay closer to your grocery budget! What other tips do you have for mamas trying to save money while still trying to cook and eat healthy??