Food expenses seem to go up and up on a daily basis and it seems to be harder and harder to feed a family on a tight budget. For my own family of eight, it takes a lot of food to keep everyone fed. Here are some of the ways we keep the expense down while feeding our family.
Know the Prices
One of the best tricks I have found for saving money on my grocery bill is to simply know the prices of the things I buy. I compare prices at multiple stores and use a calculator to determine the best prices according to size. Knowing the prices at various stores allows me to know where I can get the best deal. For example, one item my family likes to eat is 50 cents cheaper at one store over another store. Prices change frequently so making a price book doesn’t work for me anymore, but scouring weekly sale ads can help me stay on top of the best prices at each store.
Create a Menu
Creating a menu for each week helps me know exactly what groceries I need. This helps me make a shopping list for exactly what I need instead of just randomly picking up things I see.
Shopping with children tends to raise my grocery bill considerably because they either distract me or they beg for things that we don’t need. It is easier to stay on track — and on budget — when I shop alone.
Because we have a large family, we tend to go through a lot of food (and other items). We have found that buying in bulk at our local Sam’s Club actually saves us money. Not all items are bulk, though. A gallon of milk or orange juice (which we go through a lot of) is considerably cheaper at Sam’s Club. Over the course of a year, we save enough money through buying at Sam’s Club that it more than pays for the annual membership fee.
Don’t Stick to One Store
We live in a small enough area that it is not inconvenient to shop at several stores. We usually make the rounds of Wal-Mart Supercenter, Sam’s Club, Kroger, Aldi, and Save-a-Lot to get all of our groceries. There are certain items that I prefer to buy from one store over another because they are cheaper or we like the store brand better. I usually makes my shopping lists according to the various stores.
Buy Store Brands
Store brands can offer a great cost savings over name brands. I have found that unless I have a really good coupon, buying a store brand is actually much cheaper than a name brand on sale and with a coupon. Some grocery stores like Kroger will occasionally even offer an extra discount on store brands.