5 Money-Saving Tips for Feeding Your Family

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One of the top five expenses for the average household is food. Among some of the challenges and changes produced by the pandemic was an increase in the costs associated with going out to eat, as well as buying groceries. Because of these increases, many households have had to reexamine their eating habits and find innovative ways to cut costs. Here are just a few suggestions that may help.

1. Shop Weekly Instead of Monthly

Here’s a tale that is probably all too familiar to you…

You buy groceries for the month, but just two weeks later you can’t understand where everything went, much less what you actually purchased. This happens to me all the time. Or, worse, I have no idea what I even spent all that money on. 

I’ve tried grocery shopping at different times of the month and change it up as needed. But what I’ve discovered is planning out dinners for the week and then shopping for those meals on a weekly basis can really help to control costs and adhere to a budget.

If a trip to the grocery store isn’t something you enjoy or look forward to, consider curbside pickup as an option. Curbside pickup can be very beneficial; it’s extremely convenient, it helps me avoid impulse buying and temptations, especially if I’m hungry, and I find deals online that I didn’t know existed. 

2. Lunch versus Dinner

While cooking dinner and eating at home has major benefits, sometimes being too busy, tired, or stressed can make running out to a restaurant much more attractive. What you can do to save money in those instances is go out and pick up lunch from a restaurant to bring home for dinner later. 

Lunch-time meals at a restaurant are usually less expensive. Especially when you can take advantage of the lunch specials, so rewarming everything for dinner becomes a money-saving option.

Something else to consider, based on the appetite of your family, is sharing meals when you pick up dinner from restaurants that give you a sizable portion. I’ve discovered that some restaurants give us large enough portions, where we wend up with leftovers. (Chinese restaurants are great for this!) So, rather than buy individual meals, we’ll occasionally grab just two meals and split them. Now, again, that all depends on the restaurant; some of them give you a sizable portion while others are, meh. One caveat would be everyone must be able to agree on what they want.

3. Raid Your Kitchen

Before heading out to get groceries, take some time to look through your fridge and pantry to see what you have that you can work with to create meals. If you already have chicken, look for recipes that require chicken.

Keeping everything organized in the pantry and refrigerator can also help you stick to your budget by easily using food you may not have realized you had. Nothing is worse than tossing out expired food products simply because you forgot you had them.          

4. Create Shopping Lists

One of the easiest ways to spend extra money while grocery shopping, is shopping when you’re hungry. But we all do it at one point or another. Having a grocery list can help you avoid the temptation of shopping for, what I call, my “see-food diet.” When buying groceries becomes more spontaneous than planned, it also becomes less organized and budget-friendly. So before you shop, decide what you want to spend money on, have a plan, and stick to it.

Aside from avoiding temptation as mentioned earlier, another plus to buying online can be seeing your total before you’re ready to check out. This allows you to reassess what you actually need and prioritize accordingly. Years ago I also found that the same grocery chain can have better prices at different locations, and sometimes the savings can be significant.

5. Alternative Brands

Ever try shopping at a lesser-known or alternative grocery store? Sometimes needing to bring your own box or needing a quarter to unlock a cart can be a small price to pay for the cost savings. If you’re not too picky, many of the off-label items these stores sell are just as good as the brand-named items you’d find elsewhere. Many times with brand name, much of the higher price you’re paying is just for the marketing, not the food itself.

No two families are the same. The amount you spend on food can vary based on a number of factors, including the size of your household. Creating a budget that works for you and your family can eliminate unwelcome surprises and be a cost saver. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, consider these tips.

What are some money-saving ideas that you have found helpful when it comes to feeding your family?  

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Tania was born in West Palm Beach, Florida but was raised by her paternal grandparents in a rural village in Nigeria. Tania and her sister returned to Florida when she was 13. She moved to Columbia in 2014 to support her sister who at the time was stationed at Ft. Jackson as a Drill Sergeant and was a new mom. She met her husband Roger who is a local pharmacist and a small business owner in 2015 and found a reason to stay in Columbia. She is mom to Darniel (14), Elton (4), and auntie to Jaylon (7). Tania has a passion for helping people understand their current financial picture so they can live better now while planning for their future. After years of working for some of the big investment firms she decided to take a leap of faith to start her own financial planning and wealth management firm; she’s the founder of TF Wealth Advisors. She loves to read. When she’s not reading the latest economic news, you can find her reading a romance novel or a memoir. Tania and her family enjoy the outdoors and mini-vacations.

1 COMMENT

  1. I shop monthly and completely felt what you were saying about where everything went! I think I’ll try shopping weekly next month. Adjusting to 3 kids this year has thrown my grocery shopping for a loop this year! Also I find when cooking many staple ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, creamed soups make no difference if they are store brand or name brand it’s all mixed up and tastes delicious!

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