I wrote a series of frugal living tips years ago and I thought it was time to do an updated article on the new ways I have discovered to save money as a large family.
So, what has changed? Mostly, I have added in things that have made life easier while saving us money.
Some of the items on our master grocery shopping list and our menu plan have changed (less organic, more food – because quantity over quality is sometimes necessary when feeding a large family), though our diet is still similar. And some of the dynamics of grocery shopping has changed, like my husband picking up my online orders each week, etc.
Frugal Meal Planning Help
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One-Pot Cookbook: Family-Friendly
Frugal Living Tips From A Large Family Mom
Order Online For Pick Up – Now that our Fred Meyer and Walmart both have online ordering and “curbside” pickup, I can order our weekly groceries using our master grocery shopping list. By doing this, I don’t stray from the list and I don’t grab things on impulse that we don’t need. Plus, my weekly list is saved on the store’s website making it even quicker to order. This helps me stick to our weekly budget while saving us time & money.
Choose Ugly Produce/foods – I discovered Imperfect Produce (now: Imperfect Foods) and am so excited! They send you boxes of “ugly” produce the regular stores reject – at a deeply discounted price! You can choose organic or not, small to extra-large boxes, all fruit, all veggies, a mixture of both, weekly or biweekly deliveries, and each delivery is customizable!! Super affordable and awesome! Once again, saving us time & money! I get the delivery each week the day before our regular weekly shopping day, so I always know what products I can skip buying from the store. Get $10 when you sign up HERE.
Do Freezer/Bulk Cooking – Doing a once a week or month freezer/bulk cooking day saves you time & money in the long run because you are buying everything you need in bulk and getting all of the hard work out of the way so that you have easy meals available when you need them. This allows you to benefit from the cheaper prices on bulk foods and cuts WAY down on the need for eating out on busy/tough days because you will have meals prepared ahead of time! My friend, Jamerrill, is the Queen of batch cooking and she shares EXACTLY how to do it – simply – in her Large Family Freezer Meals Packs!
Buy The Cheapest Foods – I shared the best frugal pantry staples before, but I wanted to share the list of cheapest foods that I always fall back on when a monthly budget is extra tight. Whether fresh, frozen, dried, or canned these are typically some of the cheapest foods. And, they are also foundational items on our master grocery shopping list anyway, so I usually have a surplus of these in my home.
The above list might not be news to you, but I know that when money is tight and you have a less-than-enough budget for food, it’s hard to think about trying to buy wholesome foods on top of the financial stress!
Yes, the foods listed can get old/boring after a while, but they are nutritious. Sometimes we simply have to choose quantity over variety. If you can afford locally sourced foods, then those are even better for you. However, in a time of financial need: the above list is a quick/easy shopping list.
(scroll to continue to next tip) Grab my printable pack of Cheapest Foods (shopping & preparing) cheat-sheets that will help you when you need to stretch your food budget! Perfect for monthly use or to refer to when needed.
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Plant a Garden – Whether you have a potted garden, garden boxes, or a larger garden space planting, growing, harvesting, & preserving produce will save you money. The first year will cost a little more money upfront to get started, depending on how much work needs to be done and how much of the materials you need to buy versus finding for free. (Read: Backyard Garden Basics For Homemakers with free printable tips)
For example, in our first year of building/preparing garden boxes and planting potatoes, we estimate that the potatoes we harvested & stored saved us enough money to “pay” ourselves back the $20 we put into materials plus saved us an additional $20 in potatoes we didn’t have to buy, thus “doubling our money”.
Whether you want to plant a garden in the spring and/or summer/fall you can get started on preparations any time of the year. The Homemaker’s Backyard Garden Journal will help you get started, plan, & track your garden progress from beginning to end!
To recap, the 5 frugal living tips I have added into my life over the last few years are these:
- Order Online For Pick Up
- Choose Ugly Produce
- Do Freezer/Bulk Cooking
- Buy The Cheapest Foods
- Plant a Garden