Feeding a family of 5 is expensive! Let’s face it, the average family of four spends between $146 to $289 every week on groceries according to a 2013 article by USA Today.
I am sure by now those numbers have probably more than doubled. Things are getting so expensive, that many families are left deciding whether to pay their bills or put food on the table. You should never have to choose between the two. That’s why I’m sharing ways we personally save on our grocery bills and giving resources on where to look if you’re family needs help getting food.
How to Save Money on Groceries
Eat Meals That Cost Less than $10
When it comes to making food, I tend to buy foods that are either on sale or super cheap to feed a whole family with. Throughout, the years, I have become really good at getting my family to eat cost efficiently just check out this post of meal ideas under $10 and try to incorporate one $10 and under meal into your meal plan every week.
Many people don’t like to shop with coupons, but I save a ton of money just by using coupons. Coupons usually come out in the Sunday newspapers and allow you to save a lot of money when paired with a store sale. For maximum coupon savings, I suggest buying 2-3 Sunday newspapers every week.
Shop ALDI and Other Discount Stores
Stores like ALDI, Big Lots, and Ollies are notorious for having great deals on grocery items. Although, you can’t normally use coupons at these stores, they do offer things that are cheaper than other stores even with a coupon.
Places like ALDI even has their own brand, so prices are more cost efficient and you save more.
Use Grocery Saving Apps
Grocery saving apps are awesome for saving additional money on your grocery bill. Some of the best apps to use are; Ibotta and SavingStar. Both of these apps are free and require you to register to use them. Once registered, you pick the store you are shopping at and collect rebates for items on your “shopping list”.
Most of us have a Sam’s Club and/or Costco membership nowadays, so be sure to use it to rack in the savings. These warehouses sale everything in bigger, bulkier versions and often run good sales. You can often get foods a lot cheaper here, especially if you’re willing to buy in bulk.
Look at Store Flyers
One thing many people are guilty of is shopping without knowing the sales first. Many times, if you just take a few minutes and look at the sale flyer, you can save more. Often grocery stores run buy 5 save $5 sales or some other good deal that rewards you just to buy more. If you go shopping without knowing first, you can seriously end up spending more money than you have to.
Eat Less Red Meat and More Chicken
Red meat is expensive! It seems like the prices keep going up, so my family avoids most red meat at all cost. To add protein to our diets, we stick to the cheaper, white meat – chicken. Chicken can be as cheap as $.50 a pound and you can make a ton of meal options with it so it doesn’t get old fast.
Hunt for Your Own Food
If you don’t want to sacrifice red meat, you can always hunt for your own food. An average hunting license cost less than $50 and one deer can provide enough meat to last your family a few months. Most states even allow hunters to kill more than one deer, so you could potentially save hundreds on red meat, just by hunting your own food.
Know What Month Food Goes On Sale
March is frozen food month and I wait for it every year. During March every one has amazing deals on frozen foods and I can stock up on frozen food for a few months. You can save a ton on groceries just by knowing when certain food items go on sale every year.
Just check out this free guide from Lifehacker to know what foods go on sale each month.
Grow a Garden
Growing a garden is a great way to save money on fruits and vegetables. It is a cost efficient and effective way to eat healthier all year long. If you grow your garden big enough, you can can your fruits and vegetables and store them to eat all winter.
Eat Left Overs
One thing people often forget to do on their quest to save money on groceries, is eat the leftovers. Whenever you make a large meal with a ton of leftovers, you should always plan on eating them the next day, to cut grocery cost.
Create a Meal Plan (Download a free printable)
Creating a meal plan may sound like a lot of work, but it can actually save a lot of money each month on your grocery bill. By using a meal planner, like this free printable, you can plan your dinners and know what to buy when you go to the grocery store.
Resources that Help Provide Food if You’re Struggling
Not having money for groceries is nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens to more people than you realize. If you ever find yourself struggling to put food on the table, there are places you can turn to, most of the time anonmously.
Apply for Food Stamps
While I know the food stamp system is very messed up, if you are on a low income, you may qualify for food stamps. To apply just call your local social services and they will help you find out where to go.
Local Food Banks
Although, I know food banks do have limited income guidelines, sometimes calling and explaining your situation if you’re above those guidelines can help you get food.
Churches (no you don’t have to be a member)
When it comes to churches, many of them offer community outreach programs, so by contacting them and explaining your situation, they may be able to help. Normally, you don’t have to be a member, but if one says you do, check with another because not all churches are the same.
Local Missions and Other Non-Profits
There are many nonprofits that offer funding to help people with limited funds find food. Sometimes these places are called local missions, or places like Salvation Army.
Ask Family & Friends
I know asking family and friends can be hard, but I can assure you, nobody wants to see a loved one go with out food – especially if kids are involved.
If you don’t have any family or friends to ask, you can always try posting an ad on the Facebook Marketplace. Although, I will warn you people can be cruel, but there are still some good people who will be more than willing to help.
Need more ideas on saving money, learn about cutting the cable cord HERE.