The struggle over the years of trying to cut back our grocery expenses.
We're down to about $100-$150 weekly for our family of 7.
That's $400-$600 a month!
Here are some basic tips and tricks that I've learned:
(1) Ask for Wisdom
Every single shopping trip, the kids and I sit in the car and ask the Lord for wisdom on how to spend the money He's given wisely and for opportunities to share the gospel with people as we do it.
(2) Costco. Period. Cheaper, larger, can't beat those prices.
Rice ($8), Potatoes ($8), Pasta ($10), Tortillas ($6), Oatmeal ($6), Bread ($3).
Chicken Breast or Whole chickens ($23), Ground Beef ($17), Pork Roast ($14)
Flour ($4), Sugar ($4), Spices ($2-$5), Vinegar ($2-4), Chocolate Chips ($10), Raisins ($10), Coffee ($10)
Apples ($6), Oranges ($6), Bananas ($3), Watermelon ($4), Frozen Berries ($9)
Spinach ($5), Broccoli ($5), Frozen Vegetable Mix ($8), Carrots ($5), Onions ($5), Cucmbers ($4), Snap Peas ($5), Bell Peppers ($6), Celery ($4)
Milk ($2), Cheese ($6), Eggs ($5), Yogurt ($3), Butter ($8), Coconut Oil ($14)
*If you grow some of this, you don't need to purchase it!!!*
With this you become versatile by simply mixing up the combination of things you're eating.
(A) Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry, Beef Stir Fry, Fried Rice, Jollof Rice, Chicken Tacos, Beef & Potato Tacos, Red Sauce Pasta, White Sauce Pasta (both with home made sauce), French Fries and Breaded Chicken Strips (home made), Meat loaf, Hamburgers, Cobb salad (home made dressing), Soups (with home made stock)... endless possibilities!
(B) Lunch: Egg wraps, veggie wraps, left over lunches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, veggies and hummus or home made ranch dressing, odds and ends platter with fruit, veggies, cheese, peanut butter ect.
(C) Breakfasts: Oatmeal, home made granola, fruit, yogurt, pancakes with fruit sauce (homemade with frozen berries), eggs, toast
You purchase these things on a rotation basis. Chicken one week, Beef the next week, pork the following. Repeat. Butter once a month, Coconut oil once a month, frozen items once a month, flour and sugar once a month ect.
(4) Grab What's Free! Our church collects the donations from Panera Bread as well as a gas station every week so there are often bagels, bread, pastries and baked goods, eggs, chips and other goods up for grabs. I bring bags to church and bring what we need home!
If you need extra help you can hit up your local food shelf or try to find a Fair For All near you.
(5) Get Creative with Snacks: Instead of buying granola bars, make a bunch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and freeze them or batches of home made granola that can be mixed with milk, yogurt, or ice-cream. Make Pancakes, Banana Bread, or Muffins so that you can grab a bag, thaw it and have snacks.
Fruit is always a great grab-and-go option. Throw together your own trail mix with peanuts, chocolate chips, and raisins.
When something goes on sale (like popcorn at Costco), sacrifice something that you'd normally get (like the usual container of yogurt, or second block of cheese) that week and stock up on the large bags of popcorn! 4 bags could last your family a month if you ate one per week.
(6) Go to Potluck Events: We know that the Man Up Show is at Sojourner's Cafe Wednesday Nights, there's a church potluck Thursday nights, usually a gathering at someone's house Friday Nights and Sunday Nights. Tuesday nights used to be Women's Bible Study and I would get sent home with the left over food. This was the same case Monday nights when we have Bible Study at our house. We never show up empty-handed (even when finances are tight), and we NEVER leave with empty stomachs!
(7) Garden and Preserve Food: This has seriously saved my family so much money! Tomatoes for pasta and pizza sauce to diced tomatoes and salsa, collard greens for large batches of cooked collards to eat with rice, oregano and other herbs for virtually free seasonings year round, cucumbers for a crunchy pickled sandwich side, and enough green beans to make casseroles for the world AND their mothers!
Once we started hard-core canning last year, my grocery bill went down to about $100 a week simply eating out of our pantry and freezer for a lot of our produce. We canned all the pasta sauce we needed for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza sauce and chilis. I canned lots of apple sauces, apple pie filling and apple butter to not need to purchase much for snacks, deserts or sandwiches. WE canned carrots, beets and green beans which meant I spent $0 on baby food during Aryeh's prime baby food eating months.
(8) The more you give, the greater your food seems to stretch: God truly comes through on His promises when He says:
Even when we're VERY low on food, we're always quick to make a meal for someone or invite them over to eat. Never once have we been so completely out of food we cannot eat. God is SO FAITHFUL!
(9) Know what's important:
We value healthy food.
We would LOVE to have an all organic diet with raw milk and pasture-raised meat. We're working our way to that with hopefully purchasing a cow and some chickens in the future.
BUT we value having a large number of children and being able to feed them little to no processed food MORE. So for us, a bag of chicken breast, even if not the healthiest meat in the world, is at least not processed, breaded and covered in poisonous oils and ingredients. A big box of oats, even though not organic, is better because we can make homemade granola and breakfast cereal with all natural ingredients rather then preservatives and unnecessary sugar ect.
I hope this makes sense.
(10) Avoid Eating Out: Here's How!
When I'm making certain meals I'll purpose to double what I already quadruple and freeze half of it. There are those times when you're out somewhere much longer then you anticipated and something that we can grab and eat.
I made chicken fried rice the other day and had two frying pans on the stove. One was for dinner that night and the other went into an aluminum tray and into the freezer. When I make soup, I'll get two pots going and freeze one pot. When I make beans or taco meat, Ill make two frying pans full and freeze half. You get the idea.
This is also great if someone you know is having a hard time and needs a meal.
We also can throw sandwiches together, grab a few cans of carrots from our basement, and some home made items to keep us full until we get back home.
Anyways, there are some of the things I've learned over the years and am really excited to have finally gotten my grocery budget to where I want it while not compromising on what's important! Yay Jesus!!