Guest post from Laura Heavenly Homemakers
I just watched my 18-year old son eat an entire pound of strawberries for an afternoon snack. Tonight for dinner, my family will plow through three pounds of boneless chicken, three or four pounds of potatoes, a pound of frozen green beans, several handfuls of mixed greens, and a big bowl full of grapes. They’ll be hungry again before bed, no doubt.
This is my life. Four sons, all teenagers. My table is full and so is my heart.
My grocery budget? Well, it’s not so small either.
When our four boys were little, people told me that I’d have to stock up on lots of potatoes, rice, and pasta as they got older so I could afford to feed them. I’ll admit these tricks help the grocery budget somewhat, but I’ll also tell you that I much prefer to fill my family with nourishment instead of empty calories.
That leaves me in a bit of a pickle then, doesn’t it? (Pickles? Oh yes. We go through a lot of those, too.)
So how can we afford to feed four teenage boys (and their friends!) without breaking the budget or compromising on nourishment? Well, it’s a continuous learning process, for sure, and I’ve been working at it for the past seven years. I’m excited to share some of my best grocery saving tips!
But first let me say this:
Our grocery budget isn’t small.
It can’t be – not if I want my kids to feel satisfied after a meal and to be filled with nutrients too. Did I mention all my sons are athletes and three out of four so far are over 6 feet tall?
If you’re brave, you can click here to get an idea of how much we spend on groceries for our family every month. You’ll see that I’m certainly not one of the moms who spends $50 a week to feed my family because of the huge appetites at our house and our preference for highly nourishing food. I love reading those mom’s tricks, though, because I always learn new ideas for ways to save.
So here we go!
How I save money on groceries with a house full of teenage boys:
1. We drink water.
I can’t imagine how much money this saves us (yes I can) and it’s a win-win! It’s healthier and saves money, too!
Our boys aren’t huge milk drinkers, so I buy one gallon of milk every week from local farmers, which I use for cooking and baking. If the boys want something special to drink, they buy it themselves as a treat.
2. We eat soup.
Homemade broth is extremely nourishing, and I’ve found that it really helps stretch the meat in a meal. If I cook a chicken for one meal, then use the bones to make broth for soup, we’re getting a two-for-one!
Here are our 12 Favorite Soup Recipes that help stretch our grocery budget.
3. We love meat, but still have meatless meals.
We love our cows and chickens and I’m of the opinion that my active family needs the wholesome protein and nutrients that meat provides. But I’ve learned that we don’t need meat for every single meal.
4. We eat a lot of frozen veggies, fresh greens, and carrots.
It’s extremely important to me that I serve several veggies throughout the day. I keep frozen peas and green beans on hand at all times – veggies that are inexpensive and happen to be our favorites.
Fresh greens are a staple, and one of the most nourishing options to fill our plates. I pay $6 for a big one-pound container of greens, which lasts our family one week. I’d say that’s a pretty great price for awesome nourishment!
Fresh carrots are inexpensive year-round so we eat them often! I make homemade dips and dressings, which make it easier to get the veggies down.
5. I buy in bulk.
If you saw my storage room, you’d realize this was an understatement. I buy huge quantities of pretty much everything from meat to grains, which means I can buy when I find a sale, then use up our supply while I wait for another sale.
I’ve saved thousands through the years shopping this way – and I love that I’ve also saved time and energy since I don’t have to run to the store for single ingredients very often. I just shop my food storage room!
6. We eat at home.
While this post is about saving money on groceries, it is important to mention that eating at home saves us a great deal of money compared to eating out.
Restaurant bills – even fast food bills – are quite large for our family. So we save eating out for special times when we are on the road (though we almost always pack food for travel too!) I wrote here about other ways our family saves money so we can afford a higher grocery bill. I bet you’ll find you save in many of these ways too!
A table full of teenagers? Bring it on!
I’ll continue to find ways to be creative and save money as I load my shopping carts and fill my fridge and freezer. Ok fine. My two fridges and three freezers. What can I say? I feed a houseful of teenagers. 🙂
Laura is the lone female in a house full of fabulous men. She fills her days with cooking, homeschooling, and writing at Heavenly Homemakers. Her home is often full of guests and I suppose it goes without saying that with a house full of teenage boys, many of those guests are teenage girls. Please pass the coffee!