Figuring out how to feed your family on a budget isn’t easy in a world where prizes rise constantly but salaries remain stagnant. How to feed your family cheaply is something women have asked about for decades. There are many different types of advice, but we’ve taken the time to come up with the most common ideas that will help you and then expand into more advanced subjects.
Feed Your Family on a Budget
The first step in figuring out how to feed your family cheaply is knowing how much money you have to work with. The average family spends between $314 to $516 per month, depending upon the area where you live. The figures are based on households between one and three people, so how many people you actually have in your family makes a difference, as well.
Here are the steps you need to take to create a family grocery budget:
- Track your average grocery purchase for several weeks.
- Pay attention to things you don’t use up and throw out or things you don’t really need and mark those off your list.
- Write out how much money comes in and how much goes out for fixed expenses, such as rent and car payment.
- Average variable expenses, such as utilities.
- Add it all up and see what’s left. How much of that do you need for food?
Once you have a budget, make it a game to reduce your food costs.
Reduce Your Grocery Bill
There are some truly creative ways of reducing your grocery expenses. Here are some of our favorite.
- Swap name brand for generic. Even with coupons, you will usually save more.
- Start a stockpile (not during a pandemic or when store shelves are already empty, but during regular times). Buy items when they are loss leaders and extremely cheap and stock up for several months at a time to save in the long run.
- Find the Save Money with These Rebate Apps in your area.
- Grow your own vegetables and plant some fruit trees.
- Visit local farmers markets when in season.
- Swap with people in your area who have eggs, fresh milk, meat and other food items.
These are our favorite tips for slowly reducing costs. Learn how to Fight Against Rising Grocery Prices and play the grocery game.
An Abundance of Cheap Recipes
One thing we love to do here at Crabby Housewife is try out new recipes and share them. We always keep an eye on expenses. You won’t find recipes filled with fancy, expensive ingredients here. There are plenty of other sites that do that well. What you will find is healthy, filling options that are fast and frugal.
Some of our favorite mealtime solutions for those on a budget include:
- Cheap Egg Dishes to See You Through
- Frugal Comfort Foods Cream Soups and White Sauce Recipes
- Easy Pasta Recipes – Skillet Penne Pasta with Hamburger and Sausage
- Easy Crock Pot Chicken Provencal Recipe
- Ooey Gooey Food Truck Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
- Amazingly Simple Tasty Soup Recipe
- Aunt Emma’s Southern Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe and Tips
- Make Your Own White Castle Copycat Sliders at Home
These are just a few of the amazing and inexpensive recipes we have on this site. We’re always adding new selections, so be sure to click on the subscribe button in the left sidebar for regular updates.
I have some regular favorites, such as my Hobo Stew and Taco Soup. But, I also love to experiment and try new things. I recently got an instant pot for my anniversary, so watch for recipes for that in the coming months.
Use Up Leftovers
One of the easiest ways to stretch your grocery budget is by using up leftovers. Most families are guilty of throwing away leftovers. After all, it’s boring to eat the same thing over and over. Some things don’t taste as good heated up.
You have to make a commitment to eat leftovers. Some things that help us ensure we don’t waste much food at all anymore (we aren’t perfect):
- Eat leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Fix something new every other day and rotate leftovers. So, on Monday, I cooked chicken tacos. Tuesday, we had breakfast for dinner. Wednesday is the leftover chicken tacos again.
- Create meal kits and freeze them. These are great for a quick TV dinner and so much healthier without all the preservatives. I use meal prep containers and removable labels for these.
- Insist your family eats what’s left. Be a Nazi about it.
- Have a hodge-podge night. We eat up all our leftovers on this night. The plate might have a spoonful of mashed potatoes, a piece of chicken, a taco and who knows what else.
It can be kind of fun and surprising to have hodge-podge meals. I used to use muffin tins when my kids were little and fill them with stuff.
Stop Throwing Out Food
I was ashamed to learn that Americans are the leaders in food waste. We throw out a collective 80 billion pounds of food every year. There are people starving to death and we treat food like it’s a disposable napkin.
I’m as guilty of it as anyone else. I’ll buy too many vegetables and we don’t eat them all before they go bad. Or those oranges in the back of the fridge shrivel up and have to be thrown out.
I have been a lot more aware of this since reading the statistics on food waste in America.
- Plan meals in advance. Avoid buying things off plan.
- Use a grocery pickup service so you don’t give into impulse buys.
- If something is getting ready to go bad, cook it and freeze it. You can freeze most veggies. If they are salad vegetables, then it’s time for salad.
- Pay attention to freshness. If something is getting ready to expire, use it up.
You’ll not only save money by wasting less food, but you’ll feel better about what you’re doing to contribute to the solution to food waste. If you absolutely can’t use something up, at least try to start a compost pile.
Think up new ways to use up items getting ready to expire. Try a new recipe or jump on a Facebook group and ask for ideas on how to eat it up. Use leftovers and try out cheap recipes. The more of these principles you implement, the more money you’ll save over time. Happy budgeting!
Save Even More with Our Frugal Living Tips
- 10 Tips for Eating Out with Family for Under $5 Person
- Save Money with These Rebate Apps
- Saving Money with Tiny Packets of Parmesan Cheese
- 50 Things to Buy for $1 Each at Dollar Tree