How to Save on Groceries With Hungry Kids On Board
Hello, fans of Mr. CBB, John here from Frugal Rules today!
I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my thoughts here before, but I thought I’d come back for some more.
What comes to mind when you think of Mr. CBB? I know the easy answer is budgets, I mean it IS a part of his blog name after all!
You could also say that he is known for the recipes he cooks up that make you want to lick the computer screen because they look so good – come on…I know I am not the only one out there! .
Well, what comes to mind when I think of Mr. CBB is his Grocery Game Challenge.
Mr. CBB certainly knows how to stretch his grocery budget and I applaud him for being so proactive about doing so and sharing his tips.
Well, having three growing little ones, means that we have come up with a few ways we save on groceries, which is vital when trying to stay on a budget.
Anyone who is a parent to children, especially boys, knows that they can eat a side of beef at most meals, thus making it a growing challenge to keep a tight lid on that grocery budget.
That said, I know it is possible to keep their tummies full AND keep the grocery spending at a minimum if you work at it.
Blow up your list
Virtually any post you read on saving money on groceries will tell you that you need to go with a list. I know, been there done that! Well, the crazy thing is that a list can and does work. The key is to tie it to an established meal plan and automate it as much as you can.
Not only will this save you time, but money as well. My lovely wife has a pre-printed sheet that she uses every month. It has listed all of the basics we buy on a regular basis. When we get the circulars, we compare the list with them to find what we want to match and go from there.
We take it to the next level by involving the kids when they do go so they can begin to learn the need to be purposeful with our grocery spending and not give into every boxed treat that gets marketed to them.
Bust out those envelopes
It has been said and I have experienced it on my own, but it hurts much more to part with your cash as opposed to swiping that credit card when buying something. How does this apply to feeding the kids?
Well, we have found that paying by cash forces us to truly buy what we need instead of filling the grocery cart with all sorts of non-essentials. I know that using the cash method is not for everyone and it was a challenge for us to get started with it, but it really can help you keep a better control over how much you spend on groceries.
We have seen that this forces us to buy items at the grocery store that’ll not only feed our growing kids but also think twice before buying something that may not be on that list we’re carrying.
Buying one or two things not on the list is one thing, but they add up quickly and can easily derail your wanting to keep the grocery budget in check.
Know when to go
What kid doesn’t like to go to the grocery store? I can remember wanting to go with my parents as a kid and that was largely so I could ask for things.
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret – if you don’t take them, then the problem is solved! Ok, I know it may not be as easy as that, but it does help keep the grocery costs down if you’re able to do it.
We always try to keep at least two of the three little Frugal Rules’ at home so we can shop without distraction and not mysteriously end up with 20 items we didn’t select in the shopping cart.
On top of leaving a few of the kids home, we also have cut back significantly on our number of trips to the grocery store to the point that we now go once every two weeks.
How do we do that you ask?
It’s very simple actually – we plan. We know what we go through in that amount of time and buy towards that end. This helps us stretch our grocery budget further by teaching the kids about not wasting food and eating what we have purchased.
We even try to be strategic about how we eat our fruit. We buy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and try to purchase as much that’s on sale as possible. When we bring home oranges, apples and peaches we eat the peaches first, refrigerate the apples and save the oranges for last.
When the kids want an orange, we remind them that we’re eating our way through the other produce first. It gives us all something to look forward to and teaches them the importance of delayed gratification and variety without being wasteful.
This has allowed us to shave $100 easily per month from the grocery bill without losing out on what we eat. I will say that if we do need a few items of produce, we will make a quick trip on the off week to pick up a few things, especially if it’s not summer when we are able to pull things from the garden.
Make green your kids’ favorite colour
Probably the biggest thing we’ve done with our kids over the past year or two to help fill their tummies and cut back on the grocery spending is to introduce more green into their lives.
We do that in two ways, by involving them in our gardening as they get excited about seeing the food grow and by buying more produce at the store. On the latter, we watch the circulars specifically to find items that are on sale.
We commonly find many fruits for under $1 per pound and load up on it. While we do allow them to have fruit snacks from time to time, the real fruit snacks are so much better for them and so much cheaper.
This has an added benefit that we’re teaching them to eat healthily while also being excited to eat food that’s real and not processed.
How many growing kids are you feeding at home? How are you keeping the grocery bill at bay while feeding them?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting, and frugal living. John is a father, husband, and veteran of the financial services industry who’s passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality.
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