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Discount Shopping for Your Big, Blended Family
Keep the Peace, and the Budget
Blending families is stressful enough without the added financial pressure that comes with having a large family. One way to ease the strain is by discount shopping – but where do you even begin? How do you go about getting the best deals and the best prices when your family has so many moving parts? In this article we’ll focus on discount grocery shopping and will give you tips to maximize your budget and minimize your effort.
Discount Grocery Shopping
- The first, and most important tip is to plan, plan, plan. At the beginning of each month sit down and fill out a calendar with who will be where when. Make sure you record when your children will be with you and when they will be with their other parent and how many people you will have in your house on any given day. This way when you grocery shop you will have a good idea of how many people you will be feeding.
- Using your monthly calendar as a guide, sit down each week and make a meal plan. Write down what food you have leftover from the week before (frozen meats, pantry staples and dry foods) and try to incorporate those as much as possible into the current week’s menu so you are not wasting food.
- Scour the newspaper and grocery store websites for coupons. Checking the current ads for the store you will be shopping at is a quick way to save money – you can easily substitute ground turkey in a meal for ground beef or stock up on a family favorite like macaroni and cheese when it goes on sale.
- Quick Tip – Before you buy something in bulk, like whole wheat pasta, make a list of meals you can use that ingredient in. This way you’ll have a plan and won’t find five pounds of expired pasta sitting in your pantry a year later.
- Depending on their ages, get your kids involved in clipping coupons! Preschoolers love to practice their cutting skills and older kids can help you plan meals around what’s on sale.
- If possible, invest in a freezer. Meat goes on sale fairly often, and a great way to save money is to stock up and stock your freezer with ground beef, chicken breasts and thighs, pork loins, etc. Keep an updated list of what you have in your freezer on your refrigerator so you can reference it when meal planning.
- Sign up for the store discount card. There are often significant discounts to be had when using the card and it is completely free.
- Buy in bulk when it makes sense for your family – if no one likes red lentils there is no point in buying three pounds of it, even if it’s on sale. You won’t eat it. However, if oatmeal is a breakfast staple it is often much cheaper to buy it either from a bulk bin or in the largest container possible – your cost per meal will decrease dramatically and you will reduce waste.
- Check local discount stores like Sam’s or Costco to see if a membership will be cost-effective for your family. You can often get great deals on produce, meats and dry bulk foods but, as always, make sure you have a plan for how to use what you buy!
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