If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say money is tight, I’d be a rich woman. We all know money is tight, and it is that way for different reasons for each family. We all buy groceries and could really tighten our food budget up some. There are 3 big reasons for our family. We are trying to pay off the last of our old debt, saving for a house, and we are planning a trip next fall to Walt Disney World. So here are 4 Ways to Tighten a Food Budget Today.
But for any trip you need MONEY! The almighty dollar is the language most people speak. It is what pays your bills, buys your groceries, puts clothes on your back and the only reason most people work.
So here is my plan to tighten my budget so we aren’t lacking, but are still able to pay our bills while saving for WDW and a house. I’m going back to the things my Grandma did because no one knew how to save better than a child of the Great Depression.
Count my pennies
As a young girl, I remember seeing my grandma wrap pennies. Now back in the 80s pennies were worth a lot more than they are today. I could still get candy from the penny barrel at the local grocery store. Grandma would give me a nickel if I aced my spelling test on Friday. That’s 5 pieces of candy, which is plenty for a first grader and considered a great reward.
Grandma KNEW where every penny she had went. She kept meticulous records. Even at the end of her life, she had my Mom write down any money she spent, except for her spending money. Every penny was accounted for so nothing was missing. As for her spending money, that was money she could use for anything she wanted. Whether it was paying my daughter $5 to paint her nails, buying cookies at the grocery store or just cash to save, she had money set aside for her to spend her way.
Menu Planning and Grocery List
I’ve been doing this for years, but never stick to it. I always find deals and pick up things here and there. I need to stick to my menu like glue. This means I need to take the time to make a plan and stick to my plan that not only feeds my family, but includes a few fun things so we have fewer cravings to go out.
Before we began the special diet for William I could plan 2 weeks’ worth of menus in about an hour, but now I could spend half a day. Living on the Feingold diet is difficult. There are so many things that he can’t have. It means most things have to be made from scratch and that is a lot of extra work.
Stop Eating Out
This is probably one of the hardest things for me. My grandparents hardly ever went out to eat. If it was something Grandma could make at home then they went home. The only times I remember them taking me out to eat was fro fried fish, since Grandma thought it was stinky while cooking.
This is a foreign concept to most people, and honestly. It is just so easy to grab something that someone else made. You don’t have to think about what to make, fix or clean up after yourself. Eating out is completely self-serving. It is about ME!
This is why Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Women serve all the time and enjoy being served as well. On the opposite side it is why we always have Father’s Day at home as my husband doesn’t like eating out and would rather be home.
Change the Way You Eat
Planning for and eating leftovers is vital to saving money. I’ve never been a big fan of them myself as food just never tastes the same to me the next day, and some food is just really nasty as leftovers, but my kids love them.
I found myself throwing away a lot of food that could have been consumed especially by my children. I made a lot of food for the 4th of July. There were still heaps of pasta and broccoli salad left. There were 5 ears of cor, 6 hotdogs, and 4 brats as well. While I made myself something for lunch, my boys finished up what was left from the day before for lunch, claiming that cold hotdogs are the best.
We are trying to live off of what we have right now instead of buying more, this means dinners are mixed up of different things. Wednesday I made a chicken, bacon pasta dish, but it wouldn’t go very far. I chopped up cucumbers from our garden, but it still wasn’t enough to feed my “starving” boys. I pulled out left over corn on the cob and watermelon. They finished it all off. Nothing was wasted and everyone was full.
As a side note, my husband eats leftovers almost everyday for lunch. He prefers them to going out to eat. It saves him and money as he usually works through lunch, so this is easier for him.
Stop Buying Soft Drinks and Juice
My grocery bill went down considerably when I stopped buying Coca Cola and Apple Juice. I would lug home 2-3 24 packs of Coca Colas every 2 weeks. That is $20 a week that could be spent on other groceries or needs. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but $20 x 26 paychecks = $520 a year. What could you do with $520?
For the longest time I would give my children juice. Not only is it not good for their teeth, but it also isn’t good for your digestive track. I learned this when William was diagnosed with a systemic yeast infection. The first thing I was told was to get rid of juice. He explained how yeast feeds on sugar. You can find a great article about yeast and sugar HERE.
I know there are many other ways to tighten your budget for food, but these are the ways I’m starting off with. Here are a few other great blog posts about tightening a food budget.
Is there anything I forgot? Please share it in the comments so others can know.
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