When you have a large family, cooking quickly becomes a chore and a major expense. As a mom of five, I find it more difficult as the years go by to find food options that each child likes as well as ones that are affordable to purchase. I have to be thrifty and prepare enough food so that everyone leaves the dinner table satisfied. Thankfully, over the years I have learned how to save money and cook for a large group, allowing me to have leftovers and stretch my food budget. Below are a few of my best tips to saving money on dinner when you have a large family.
Stretch Your Meats
One of my favorite tips is to learn how to stretch your meats. Most families like to have some type of meat with the meal. Meat is expensive and can quickly push your grocery bill through the roof. I have learned how to stretch meat within certain recipes to have leftovers for the next evening, essentially making one meal for two nights! Such dinners as chili and spaghetti can be cooked with extra ingredients to create enough for two nights, stretching the meat you purchased for two meals!
Soups and Stews
Soups and stews can also be created in bulk to last for two or even three nights. Take chicken stew for example. If you add in more veggies and cook a larger pot, you can have enough leftovers to enjoy the meal the next day. Stretch your meal by adding in crackers or cheese sandwiches, items you most likely already have on hand!
Couponing and BOGO Sales
One of my most favorite ways to save is with couponing and BOGO sales. Such grocery stores as Publix have BOGO sales, allowing me to buy more of one product at a lower price. I also add in coupons when available to save even more. By learning how to coupon, I have been able to save on staples such as noodles, pasta sauce and soups to always have something on hand to serve for my growing family.
Take a look at local retailers to see what couponing options are offered in your area. You will find every store has a different policy so be sure to learn your retailer’s coupon policy well before you start shopping. This way, you will not be subject to any issue during shopping.
Keep It Simple
When you really want to save money on your grocery budget, keep it simple. Consider having sandwiches and fruit or even soup and sandwiches for dinner. We do this at least once a week to cut back on cooking and cleaning but also to save money. I always have soup and sandwich meat on hand so this is an easy option for my family. I have learned many different ways to prepare certain dishes so my family never gets tired of this dinner option. For example, a grilled cheese is always a favorite. Consider adding your favorite deli meat to the sandwich before cooking to have a new taste in the mix. You can also dip the sandwich in tomato soup or add in veggies for a new taste. The options are really endless!
To save on dinner, you simply need to look at what your family likes to eat and think of ways to stretch the meal or to save money on ingredients. It does take time and planning but with a little effort, you can save on food purchases for your family. Use the tips I mentioned and your own know-how to spend less on your dining budget.