3 Ways I'm Saving Money on our Grocery Bill this Month
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve said more than once what an expensive month December is for our family. Not only do we have seven kids (we buy our exchange student gifts, too!) to buy Christmas presents for, but we also have our three sons’ birthdays this month. It feels like the other eleven months of the year together don’t add up to how much money we spend in December!
One of the easiest ways for me to create a bit of financial margin for us it to cut down on our grocery bill. With nine people in the house, we can easily spend upwards of $2000 each month on groceries if I’m not careful; and that’s not even buying “nice” food! Especially this month, spending that much is not even an option.
So I’ve put a few systems in place to make sure our grocery budget doesn’t turn into a runaway train, and then I’ve tightened things up even a bit further this month. Here are the 3 easiest ways for me to save a little more money on groceries so that I can put it towards Christmas gifts!
Make their after school snacks at home. We are never big on fast food snacks after school. It costs a million dollars to take that many kids through the drive through, and then they eat it in the car and LEAVE THEIR TRASH. So gross. Not to mention the obvious fact that the food itself is terrible for them. But in other months, I do buy bulk cartons of goldfish or granola bars, or maybe even cookies, that they have for snacks after school. In December, though, I try to find boxes of brownie mix or muffin mix packets on sale and stock up (they’re often BOGO at our local grocery store!). Because December is not usually a big after-school-sports month for us, I just encourage them to bake their own snacks in the kitchen as soon as they get home from school. We put on Christmas music, get out the mixes, and whip up some baked goods. Even though it’s processed food, at least they’re getting practice in the kitchen and saving us money at the same time! My oldest son also loves chicken or turkey salad, so I bought an extra turkey on sale around Thanksgiving and baked it just to have meat that he could mix into turkey salad every day after school.
Eat soup and skillet bread once a week. Even doing this one little tweak probably saves us $50/month. That’s equivalent to two birthday presents for the boys! There are all manners of frugal soup recipes that I like, but sometimes I have a hard time talking my family into getting excited about them. Here are a few trusty standbys that I can always count on them eating:
When I’m looking for new soup recipes to try, I want as few ingredients as possible. This is not only because fewer ingredients means less groceries to buy, but also because my ADD kicks in if the ingredient list is too long and I end up leaving things out!! I also prefer recipes that allow me to add ground sausage in place of or in addition to ground beef, because it’s almost always cheaper and adds a lot of flavor. Even better yet, sometimes I can substitute ground venison for the ground beef and not have to buy ground beef at all! I also buy day-old french bread for 64 cents at Walmart, and freeze it until I’m ready to use it. Then, I slice it and brown it in the skillet with butter on soup night! The family loves it, and nobody knows it’s sale-rack bread!
Make and freeze 21 casseroles. Getting in the habit of having a couple of big freezer meal cooking days has been the biggest key to saving money for our family. Batch cooking like this allows me to buy meat in larger quantities and pay less per pound than if I was buying weekly and cooking the same casseroles each night. I like to pick 7 recipes and then triple them. And even though it sounds like it would get so boring, like spaghetti on Monday night, enchiladas on Tuesdays, etc, somehow it ends up spreading out much more than a casserole a night. Each pan makes enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day, and sometimes another night of leftovers at the end of the week. If I accomplish my mission and get all 21 casseroles made, I almost NEVER end up using them all in one month. Which means I already have a head start on saving money for next month! If you’re interested in getting my 21 casserole freezer cooking menu plan and grocery list, I’d love to send it to you! Just subscribe to my email list, and I’ll send it to you for free, along with the grocery list and recipes so we can all batch cook together!
Christmas is coming so soon, y’all. It’s RACING towards us! Wouldn’t you rather spend the season eating for less money at home, and being prepared for any pop-up guests by stocking up your freezer? It’s the most wonderful time of the year to take advantage of all those frugal soup recipes, so that you can enjoy the glow of your Christmas tree a little longer and use that money towards starting your new year off on the right financial foot! Please comment below and share with us your favorite frugal tip or recipe for December! We could all use some community encouragement to put in a little extra time in the kitchen this month so we have a little extra savings at the end!!