Tuesday Tip: Lower your grocery budget

Image courtesy of Zaycon

Actually this is a couple of tips all rolled under one heading, reducing your grocery budget. I am raising a houseful of boys, all of whom are healthy eaters, and for a while, our grocery budget was out of control. Of course the kids preferred food consists of Macaroni and Cheese, Pizza and Ice Cream. But, we can’t live off only that, there must be fruits, vegetables and some actual meat once in a while too. I don’t have time for extreme couponing, so I use a few tried and true methods and am able to keep our grocery bills down to about $130 a week or less. My biggest secret? Find great quality at great prices! That is why I like shopping discount grocery stores, warehouse stores like Costco and Zaycon. What is Zaycon? Fresh meat, fruit and dairy delivered on a truck direct from the farms to a location near you. You have to buy in bulk, but for staples like chicken breast (bonless/skinless for only $1.90/lb) or 93%lean ground beef for only $3.49/lb and Organic Whole Milk (low patruized and non-homoginzed for only $5.99/gallon. These are amazing deals and everything is great quality and easy to freeze. Most cases are sold at 40pounds. So to buy a case, or more, can be spendy. But by planning ahead, splitting a case with a friend or following the rest of my steps, I feed my family of 5 for an average of $130 per week!

  • Make a menu
  • Make a list based on the menu
  • Use a warehouse, club or discount store for great deals
  • Watch portion sizes

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ever heard that expression? The school my children attend does not have a cafeteria, so we must plan for 3 meals a day, every day. Lunches during the week gets a little routine so those items are easy to shop for. Its the breakfasts and the dinners that require more planning.

  1. I watch the ads, Safeway always has something interesting for $5 on Fridays. Dinners are taken care of If I can find a meat on sale, and figure out 2 different ways to cook it. From the ads, I menu plan the week. We eat leftovers, a lot, so I usually only make 2 main dishes for dinner. Add something easy like oatmeal or yogurt or bagels for breakfast. I let the boys choose what they want for the week, they have to agree on the 1 item. Once the menu is planned, I make the shopping list.
  2. Sometimes I buy things to put in the pantry because the price is right and I know I will use them eventually: diced tomatoes, cream of mushroom soup etc. and if I already have something on hand, then I don’t want to buy it again.
  3. When I have my list together, I figure out the best place to buy my items. Sometimes it is Winco (a great discount grocer in my area), and sometimes it is Costco because of quality/quantity needed. Thankfully these stores are rather close together and I don’t feel like I am running all over town to get the best deal. STICK TO THE LIST. Remember the list only works if you actually stick to it.
  4. When the boys are particularly hungry, or going through a growth spurt it can be more difficult to keep an eye on portion size. If I make a casserole, I do tell the kids that it needs to last at least 3 meals. So we supplement the main dish with salads, veggies, and bananas or an apple after their plate is still clean. By making the main dishes that typically cost more, last longer, we can stretch our budget even farther.

**Disclaimer: If you decide you want to check out any of the Zaycon products, click on the link above. I do earn referral points, but honestly, these deals are so good I just can’t pass them up or keep them to myself! I just ordered ground beef and the milk.

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