Monday, March 01, 2010

An Introduction to Slashing the Grocery Budget

Feeding a large family can get expensive.  Ask me how I know.  We have cut our grocery budget in half over the last few months.  My grocery budget is generally based on the amount of my husband's salary.  When his salary is high, we have the luxury of spending more money on food.  We will enjoy more variety and things that are higher priced.  It is still cheaper to eat that way than taking the whole family out to nice restaurants or even fast food places.  When Michael's salary is lower and things are tight, I can adjust the way I cook to accomodate our checkbook. 

The first thing I look at when cutting the grocery budget is the stuff that we choose not to live without.  Milk and dairy is at the top of that list for us.  In times past, meat has been at the top of the list.  However, now since we have our own meat tucked away in the freezer we don't have to worry about that. The other items that are high on the list are fresh vegetables and fruit.  We try to buy our fruit in season.  It tastes so much better that way, and it is a lot cheaper!  In the summer months, I go to the roadside stands or the farmer market to purchase our fruit.  The best way to purchase it is to go to a U-pick farm and gather the bounty.  We have a farm here that sells blueberries for $7 a gallon if you pick them.  The last thing on my list would be the items found in the baking aisle at your grocery store.  If you have flour, sugar, oil, and eggs, you can make a lot of things that will help stretch your grocery budget.  If you look at the sidebar where my daily dinner menu is located, you will notice that I almost always have homemade bread as part of the menu.  I don't even really like bread that much so I don't do this for me.  I do this because it helps stretch my main dish.  It saves money, and it is good for my family especially if it is whole wheat bread.  My kids also snack on the bread that I make.  If they want something sweet, they can toast it and add homemade jam or honey.  If they want something savory, they can add butter and garlic or fresh herbs and have garlic bread. 

Before I ever step foot into the grocery store, I take time to plan my meals.  If there are no convenience foods sitting around the house, I must plan for the fact that my kids are going to want to eat three meals plus snacks.  That means I have to cook three meals and have snacks readily available for them.  I try to keep things tucked away in the freezer so that they can have a homemade snack when needed.  We also keep popcorn kernels that can be made quickly for a good snack.  I also try to have leftovers in the refrigerator for the kids to eat when they get hungry.  That one doesn't always work, but I try. 

Over the next few weeks, I am going to write some posts sharing some specific things that I have cut from our grocery shopping to save money.  I am also going to share some things that our family keeps on hand for snacks, and some ideas for breakfast.  Did I mention that I hate to cook breakfast?  Until then...

grace and peace,


Janene said...

I am so loving your blog. I am looking forward to your future posts. With a family of 8 and only one income, I am always interested in saving money.
Until then~Janene

TnFullQuiver said...

Thanks so much for the comment. I was hoping that somebody might be able to use some of my ideas. That one income thing keeps us on our toes! Hope you have a great day!
grace and peace,

Carmen S. said...

Julie, I too am looking forward to your tips! I had to quit my part time job right before Christmas due to a back injury, so now we are getting by on one income for the time being and every penny sure helps, thanks for sharing your wonderful tips with us:)

Carmen S. said... look on Seth's face is priceless:)