Monday, March 9, 2009

Feeding a Family of 4 on $300/month

I have been working on perfecting my grocery spending for over 3 years.
It's a constant battle, but can be done on just $300/month.
Here are some of my tips.

Cooking and Baking from scratch
I have taught myself many ways to cook and bake from scratch, and this is the biggest money saver ever!
Don't buy packaged foods or baked goods. I have found these items to not only be expensive, but very unhealthy and less filling.
I set aside one day every week to bake:
2 loaves of whole wheat bread
one batch of goodies for snacks and desserts (either bars or cookies)
Breakfast goodies for my husband (usually cinnamon rolls or banana bread)
Breadsticks or rolls to go with meals

I also cook in bulk for quick meals:
Large batches of soup freeze great, and are easy to reheat
Homemade pizza is delicious, healthy and easy to freeze and reheat
Pans of lasagna, enchiladas and burritos also freeze great.

Coupons and Circular Ads
This takes some time, but if you plan carefully, it can be very effective, and save loads of money!
I always look at the weekly circular ads, and plan my meals around what's on sale. Then I go through the coupons for that week, and plan meals around those. I also use a great site called mypoints.com for extra coupons, which can be combined with store coupons for more savings.
Don't buy it if it's not on sale!
You can feed your family with items that are only on sale. Keep your eye open, and plan ahead.
If a staple item is on sale, such as milk, buy as many as the store will allow, and freeze it if you have to, you don't have to pay full price next week!

Portion, Portion, Portion!
It is great for kids to have limits. We sit down for every meal, and I dish them the portion of food I know they will eat. We have set meal times and snack times. We don't eat in between, to manage the amount of food we will need for a set amount of time. I grocery shop every 2 weeks, and I don't want to run out of food before the 2 weeks is up.
This also helps with wasting food, we rarely throw anything away, because the kids are always hungry at mealtime.

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