Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tips for Feeding a Large Family Without Using Coupons | Big Family Living

I have nothing but love and respect for all you fabulous couponing mommies.  You are organized, all planned out, filling your cart to the brim and saving hundreds of dollars without even a bead of sweat on your forehead.  It really sounds lovely.  But it also sounds something like the families you see on TV.  They are close to reality so you think, "I can be like that!" but when you look closer you sadly realize that this scenario could never be a reality in this life.  My reality looks more like one of those old shopping game shows where you dash up and down the rows as quickly as possible.  Manically grabbing everything on my list, hoping to beat the buzzer... the nerve wracking cry of the baby.  And if I can get all the way to the end of my list before the three year old lets go of the cart and jumps into the frozen food fridges, it's like I've won the Olympic Gold Medal for the Grocery Store Dash.

Honestly, though, I wish I had the time to coupon and I do save a few coupons here and there for items I use all the time, but I've just accepted the fact that couponing is not going to happen for me.  That being said, I have made a list of ways you can save money on the bags and bags of food it takes to feed a big family without the prep work of coupons.  Let's get started:

Make a Menu

This is the most important thing you can do.  It does take some time, but it is so worth it.  You need to sit down and plan out your family's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack menu for each and every day.

The Menu Like Its The Bible

Okay so there can be a little wiggle room, but to make the biggest impact you really should just stick to the menu.  For me this means just buying the ingredients for the meals and snacks on the list.  I don't buy anything else.  Nothing!  And I don't let anyone treat my kitchen like an all night diner, coming in and ordering snacks and meals at all hours of the night.  They get what is put in front of them on the table and that's it.  There was a time I was even writing the snacks for the day on the food board and they couldn't even choose their snack.  I know... crazy.  I have since relaxed a little bit now that the kids have gotten older, but I still have a mental list of the snacks I have planned and when they are gone, no more snacks.

Buy Generic

Okay I will agree that there are some products that you just need to get the name brand, but I can't think of too many.  There are so many great store brand items that taste fantastic and many actually come from the same factory as the name brands.  I love buying generic!  This love has been the biggest reason why I don't use coupons.  Coupons will give you a discount on just the name brands and you almost always need to buy two or more to get the same kind of discount that you get from just picking up the generic version.  'Nuf said.

Shop Around

For awhile I bought everything at Walmart because they will price match and I really thought it was great to get all my shopping done in one place.  It still is a great idea, but for my situation, I have noticed I can get better groceries and better deals by shopping around.  Yes it is a bit of a pain but totally worth it for me.  For example, I will hit the big warehouse stores, like Sam's Club for my bread, bananas, milk, butter, and some meat and cheese products.  They have great prices and quantities that meet my large family needs.  I can really get better deals at my favorite grocery store for everything else so then I walk away.  This is where I have to be strong.  It is tough but you can do it ladies.  My next stop is where I get most of my groceries.  Its the store in town with the best produce, great employees, and great prices.  If by chance something on my list is terribly over priced here, then I take it to my final store, Walmart.  I always hit Walmart for my Popcorn and Graham Crackers because they are so much less expensive there.  I also get whatever items were not priced well or available at the last store.  I will use an app like Scan Life or PriceGrabber to compare prices on the items I need now and Walmart will match the lowest price.  I have been using this system for years now and have saved even more than I could have with coupons I swear.

Limit The Amount of Times You Eat Out, Including Hubby's Lunches

Making meals for my husband has been something that I have been dragging my feet about for years.  I know it is healthier and money saving, but I just have so much that I'm already doing that it  seemed...just hard.  That would mean adding another 7 meals to my menu plan.  And more shopping, ugh.  But I can say that I have been making Brenden's meals for a few weeks now and it really does save on money.  It takes a little time to get in the habit, but it does make a difference.
Besides just my husband's lunches, I also try to make sure I'm around in the evenings to make dinner whenever possible.  There are always days when it just doesn't work and you need to grab a pizza, but nowadays I try to schedule in the days that we eat out as a family to make sure that we don't spend too much.

Try these ideas out and let me know what tips you have as well.  I would love to see what other super moms do.

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