FEEDING MY FAMILY ON $50/WEEK OR LESS
I think we are all aware of the rising costs of food where we live. I know here in Ontario, Canada some of the pricing is crazy when it comes to food costs. I am always up for a challenge when it comes to saving money. i did some hunting to find out what Statistics Canada reports is the average amount of money a Canadian household spends on food per month and to my surprise it was $241 per person on food each month.
My goal is to eat healthy meals every day on $50 a week for all four of us. That is three adults and our 12 year old. Years ago I used to just head to the store and not think about the price of the items I put in my cart. But in the last 10 years times have changed. We have been living off of a very limited income and I need to look for the less expensive but quality alternative.
Over the years I have learned that their are less expensive alternatives to meat. Beans and lentils can be used to bulk up meals and if you have a farmers' market near your house you can often get good deals near closing time. Don't forget that when it comes to vegetables and fruit frozen are often cheaper and last longer without losing nutrition value.
Using coupons really does help me reduce my grocery cost on some items but to be honest for me price matching is where I save a ton. This last week alone I saved over $40 just by price matching items in my cart. I came home with 5 bags of groceries and only 3 items were not price matched. I try to just got to one store only so that I also save money on gas and I do all my price matching at that one store.
Saving money does take a little work. Going through flyers to find the best price on the items you use takes time but the internet is a huge resource and their are many places on the web that do all of this for you so it doesn't take you long at all to gather the best prices you need for price matching. I spend less than an hour a week gathering the different screenshots I need on my tablet to price match with at the store. I do realize that everyone's time is worth money but when you are saving over $40 by spending about 45 minutes before heading to the store I feel it is more than worth it.
Weekly menu planning is also key for us when it comes to saving money on groceries. When I am going through the flyers to see the sale prices I am also going through recipes in my head that I can make with the items on sale that week. My goal is to make every meal at home and not to have to ever eat from a restaurant. With menu planning it means I am making my meals from scratch and that does take time and planning and meal prep. Nothing that can not be done on a Sunday at the beginning of the week and then meal prep during the week is a lot less.
In short here are the ways I save:
Menu Plan - I do this every week so we don't get off track on our budget and so I know what to make for the week.
Baked Goods - Every week I make our baked goods including bread for the week. I usually make brownies, cookies, puddings, jello and bars for the week.
Buy in Bulk - We purchase flour, rice and beans in bulk which significantly cuts down with the costs.
No Juices or Soda - We do not buy juice as a general rule and I gave up drinking soda early this year so it is not normally on our to buy list.
No Boxed Snacks - We bake all our snacks for the week so baked snacks are not needed in our house.
Buy Produce we eat - I only buy the produce that we will eat and if something is going back I try to use it up in baking or cooking right away.
What are some ways you save with your weekly food budget?