Five Frugal Tips to Save Your Family Money on Groceries

Groceries are starting to get very expensive with the changes in the economy.

People need to find a way to save money and to be frugal with their choices.

Use these 5 tips to help your family save money on groceries.

1. Give up meat at least once a week. Have a vegetarian night at your house. You can cook with beans, pasta, or make salads. Meat is one of the most expensive parts of the meal. Plan to have Meatless Mondays or just any night of the week that you eat without meat. Meat is good for you, but it is also very healthy to eat vegetables and try new things.

2. Don’t be afraid of coupons. Using coupons is simple. Remember to make sure that you are doing it right. Only use coupons on items you would buy anyway or that are free after coupon. Just because you save 10 cents on a box of cookies that does not always mean it is the best deal. Figure out which one is the best price and purchase the one that will save you the most money.

3. Make a menu ahead of time. If you go to the store with your menu and shopping list in mind, then you will save a lot of money. This will keep you from buying things that you don’t need and will also help you to not eat out. If you have a menu made up, you will know what you are making every night and make sure you have all the items on hand.

4. Look at the end caps, high, and low in the grocery store. This is where you will find the best deals. End caps have great sale items on them. They put a lot of generic items high or low on the shelf. The items they want to sell you are right in front of your face so that you will notice them.

5. Shop at more than one store. Check the sale ads and go to more than one store to do your shopping. If it is really far away, don’t spend the gas money to drive across town for one item.

If you can go to several stores in the same area, make lists and pick up the items that are on sale at each store. This can save you a lot of money.

Do not buy toiletries or paper products at the grocery store unless they are on sale.

Go to a store such as Wal-Mart or Target or a drug store for these items. You will find better prices at these places.

Tips for Large Family Budgeting

A large family is considered to be a group of five or six people under one roof. Nowadays that family size can even grow to eight or ten.

If you have what is considered to be a large family you may be finding it pretty difficult to budget your money wisely. There are however several things that you can do.

The list below includes ideas and suggestions on how to properly budget your money for a large family.

1. The first thing that you will need to do is create a realistic budget. This is something that is obviously easier said than done for some. You will need to set up a budget and stay within those limits.

This will mean that you have to purchase the items that you really need and not so much what you want. When it comes to a large family every penny counts. You can easily set your budget by making a list of your monthly bills.

Next to each bill write down an average of what you usually spend. Then you will need to see if any of those bills can be lowered. For example, the electric bill is one bill that can be lowered with a little family effort.

Write down your goal amount for each bill including the food bill. Then write down ways that you work toward those saving goals.

2. Take our cash for shopping instead of paying by check or credit. It is very easy to go a little over when you pay with credit or debit. If however you only pay with cash you are restricted to the cash on hand. This will help you to stay on budget and prevent you from going over.

3. Buy items in bulk. There are plenty of items that can be purchased in bulk and you will save tons of money by doing so. When trying to feed or purchase clothing for a large family, bulk items can be a great necessity.

4. Try cooking large affordable meals. This would include cooking casseroles, soup, and stews for dinner. These meals can easy include healthy and affordable ingredients.

There is also a large variety of recipes to choose from so that the family does not feel like they are eating the same thing over and over again.

5. Keep good records of how much you spend. You can easily track the amount of money that you spend by saving your receipts and, then adding them up at the end of the week, or month.

Keeping good records is really the key to saving money. It’s hard to know where to save when you are not sure where the majority of the money is going.

These are just a few ideas and suggestions that you may find helpful when it comes to budgeting for a large family.

Remember that you need to learn how to stretch your money a little bit further.

Budgeting and Cash Advance for the Rest of Us

Yes, it’s good to put money into accounts and clip coupons.

But what about those of us with no extra money to save?

Obviously we cut back on any unnecessary bills, and turn out the lights when we leave the house, but sometimes it takes more than that.

Here are some tips from a single mom who knows – life costs money, and so do kids.

Electronics

With the recent advances in television, there’s really no need to pay the cable and satellite companies.

Digital boxes and HD TVs are the way to go these days. With only a couple of hours at the end of the day, who has time to watch all of those shows anyway? Go with cheaper tv stations, and pay the minimal price of unlimited movie viewing on your PC through rental companies instead.

You can download any movie you want if you’re bored with local television. Internet companies are all out to get your business, even though they don’t know who you are.

Sign up for the cheapest package you can get for six months, then switch to another one, since you’re sure to have new offers. When you’ve switched to the new one for 6 months, the old one will want you back and offer an even better deal!

Got the internet on your PC? Don’t pay for the internet on your phone, and get a wi-fi modem for your netbook or MacBook. Free wi-fi abounds everywhere, and you can wait to check your email.

Remember when we had to wait till we got home to get phone messages? You can even get free PC protection online, instead of paying $30/month just to be sure you don’t get the trojan virus, which you might never get anyway.

You can ditch the extra data fees on an iPhone for a cheaper plan, or better yet, a plan with a free phone and a set rate for unlimited calls and messaging.

Unless you have relatives overseas, this should be plenty for you, and your next bill won’t unpleasantly surprise you! Don’t give your kids phones until they actually need them – they’ll just make unnecessary phone calls when you need to work and run up the bill. If something happens, the school will call you – I promise.

Free Entertainment

We eat up all our extra money by entertaining ourselves and our kids, whether it’s a night out to eat or a game purchase. If you must purchase games for the kids, buy them used. The trade-in value when they’re tired of it and ready for the next game is next to nothing, and buying games can become as much as a monthly bill! Opt for weekends at the park during the summer months.

Many cities put out publications for free events within city limits, like concerts, which will be fun for the whole family. Encourage reading books, or even playing free games online from time to time.

The local public pool, if you dare, will only cost you a dollar or so a person, and a simple walk each day will fill your time with conversation and exercise for free.

Check-in with the local restaurants when you’re ready to dine out – lots of places have kids eat free night and other discounted features. Look online – there are websites that list all the restaurants and on which night kids can eat free. Pick one night each week or month to eat out, and save money doing it!

Curb School Activities and Purchases

Yes, you want your child to be involved in school, but the local PTA charges you to join and then charge you to participate in the activities. These days the school requires that you buy school shirts, make you pay for field trips, and won’t provide any supplies for your child. Lunches cost more, and they’ve added fast-food chains into the mix to make even more money.

Some places even charge you if your child needs a bus ride to school. Then they have “donation nights” at restaurants a couple of times a month, projects, book orders, and flyers for joining extracurricular activities.

If you do everything, you’ll be broke before you even go to work for the next paycheck. Tell your children in advance that they can’t do everything. Get a calendar from the school (most are online), and make a list of all the things coming up that month.

Pick one or two, or have your child pick, and let them know in advance that this is all you will be paying for each month. If your child is older, encourage them to make their own money for extracurricular events. Let them know that they don’t need to participate in everything, but should choose a favorite area and commit to that. This alone can save you about $50 a month or more.

Thrift Shops and Garage Sales Aren’t Beneath You

Everyone knows that it’s cheaper to buy things used, but most avoid it because of the stigma. However, if you have a growing child, it’s silly to buy a new wardrobe every couple of months. One outfit can cost $100 or more.

There are “high-end” thrift shops which sell lots of name brands, and you can save 75% or more on clothing, and buy more items as well. Save big purchases for the summer, and shop garage and estate sales for those items. No one will ever know the difference.

Want to shop in the real stores now and then? Go to the back of the store or wait for the end of season clearances. Get a free email account online and sign up for the email notifications – you’ll get advance notice of sales and tons of coupons.

Pay Cash for Cars

There really is no need to own a new car at all times. Dealerships make a ton of money over and above the actual price they paid at the auction for the vehicle, then charge you document fees and service fees.

If you finance it, you pay even more fees for the loan. Beware especially of leased vehicles. On those you often pay motor vehicle tax to title the car in the leasing company’s name, then when you buy the car you pay taxes again on the payoff amount. And by the time you’ve paid off the car, it’s time for a new one.

Thus, you’re always making a loan payment, plus you’re paying higher insurance premiums since you’re required to carry full coverage and the cost of gas and repairs along the way. Buy your car outright. Dealerships often offer good deals for cash cars, since they want to get them off their lot, and will offer you a trade-in value for your clunker even if it’s worth almost nothing. Hint: you can apply for a cash advance and use the money to purchase your car in cash. Visit this or a similar website to find cash advance offers near you.

And since they’re making money off of you regardless, haggling to bring the cost down actually works. The salesman simply wants his commission. You can carry liability insurance and save for emergency car repairs or accidents.

And you’re not making that monthly payment. Income tax or a bit of saving plus your trade-in will get you another car in 3-5 years.

I’m Judy from NC

I am fortunate enough to stay at home and have found that since I do, it doesn’t affect our money. I do not have car expenses, faster food quick pickup, clothes for work, etc. plus all the gift giving that goes on in a work place. I worked in an after school day care before staying home.

We hope for my husband to be able to retire next year at 62. We enjoy camping. We have 2 sons, dil’s, 3 grandchildren and 2 Chinese pugs. (I could use some health insurance on those pugs!! especially after their once a year shots at the vet this a.m.) Also wonder if any of you have good ideas for health insurance for humans..We will be without any next year after dh retires.

For several months, we have listed all expenditures to get an idea of what we will be able to live on once he is retired. This helps to see where money goes. At present, I am trying to simplify, selling at consignment, selling books on Internet, shopping for groceries at Aldi’s ..Have cut our eating out drastically. I delight in having low cost meals that are nutritious and tasty..(Haven’t always done this)

Eat beans,slaw, and cornbread at least once a week. Have done some freezer cooking but now am leaning toward vegetarian eating so the freezer OAMC is not as helpful in that regard.

Am certainly enjoying reading the helps you have shared..Really liked the idea of the package of washclothes and saving the paper towels..These are the kinds of things that are needed..

I’m very tired

As for being frugal I try to shop for deals at the local health food stores and one other store for food items I can eat. I have 4 different list of prices, but they seem to change weekly and it’s hard to actually keep up. I stopped using my car, I’m trying to walk to more places for exercise reasons (also my car is not working to well)

Umm, not much else I have to say right now, I’m very tired and I just shortened my Egroups lists the other day. I’m still getting over 300 emails a day.

I also watch 3 little munchkins 4-6 days a week. So if anyone has any recipes I can use to feed them more healthy food. I’d greatly appreciate it. I cannot cook chicken, rice due to allergies.

I also use cloth napkins and rags and rarely use paper towels. We use cloth handkerchiefs with the name of the owner embroidered on them, cloth sanitary pads, re-usable food containers, I do Once in a while cooking (freezer meals), cook from scratch whenever possible, practice the pantry principle, “use it up, wear it out,make do, or do without”. We wear our clothing until it either doesn’t fit or is falling apart, same with shoes, etc.

I shop thrift stores (rarely garage sales since they don’t give much for my time), sales, make my own clothing,make most of our gifts. We also eat frugal meals most of the time and occassionally have a feast. The meals we make are ones the family likes- I won’t cook something that they don’t like.

I also buy from outlets , give things to others who also give things to me- nothing formal or expected just a nice way of helping eachother out.

I find that it is the little things that keep me motivated. Plus the little savings here and there can really add up over the long run. I bought a package of washclothes for 2.00, I think there were 20 in the package. I use them to clean the counters, pick up spills etc. Now I don’t have to buy paper towels anymore, saving about 3 to 5 dollars a week and I just throw them in the washer and they are good to go again.

All of our kids have worked some temporary part time jobs

All of our kids have worked some temporary part time jobs that did not seem to have many drawbacks and did help them.

Our DD is a very popular babysitter (when she is not busy with social things) and she worked at a fireworks stand this summer.

DS #1 worked for a friend who is a custom cabinet maker.

DS #3 worked for a friend who has a number of rent houses and he cleaned up after renters moved out, yardwork and painting, etc:

All of those situations had a lot of benefits about learning to work, flexible hours and limited paychecks.

But the situation that was bad was DS #2 started working at Burger King a few months after he turned 16. He was gone way too much and he earned too much money for a kid and got used to having lots of pocket money. He is a great young man but if I could change the past, I would not of allowed him to get that kind of job.

Since it was my original request

I want to thank you guys for posting your intros. It really feels good to see all of the posts and hear everyone’s stories/tips. Hearing what others do often motivates me to look at things differently or to try something new.

Not to be too pushy but I also love to hear the frugal things that people do and if you guys don’t mind plan to post some of the little things that I do. My latest is to pull out the cloth napkins and wash them. I am going to start using them at dinner time. I will still use paper for breakfast and lunch for the time being. In addition to saving (a very little bit of) money, I think they will dress up the dinner table. I know that napkins are cheap but cloth will be free. I do a load of laundry every day so it won’t be any extra trouble.

Have a great day.

I’m Shayli – a sahm

Married to Keith who is in Mortgage Banking.. He has the fun job of setting Mortgage Rates for a 5 state area ..*grin* Makes him a very popular man. We have 2 girls..Trisha who is 8 almost 9 and Keely who just turned 2. We are expecting again in early Feb. We have the best of all worlds 🙂 Trisha came into my life before I married Keith, she has a seizure disorder and is Autistic. We adopted her together. After taking…..oh….6 or so years to get our lives settled we started on adding to our family. Keely was born..and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since 🙂 I am an RN, who gave up full time work to raise our children. I miss the work, but do some consulting at times. I wouldn’t trade my being home with the kiddlets for the world.

We live in Maine. I was on the other CB list but basically just gathered more ideas, suggestions and laughs that are wonderful! Maine is not the best place to have …choices of where to buy groceries. There are 2 chains around here. So….that is an area we really struggle at. But….

I have the wonderful luxury of living in a very laid back place. We leave the keys in our cars, and door unlocked for the most part 🙂 There are still places in this country you can still do that. 🙂

Thanks everyone for all the wonderful tips and ideas!!

Kids Working…..?

I’m VERRRY interested in opinions on this subject.

I have an almost 13 yo & almost 12 yo. We live in a community with LOTS of agriculture around, and next summer, both of our kids will have opportunities for summer jobs. Additionally, fast food restaurants around here (probably everywhere) hire kids starting at 14.

DH & I are on the same page right now, that we don’t want the kids to work, but the kiddos already think differently. DS thinks he can get a cake job tossing watermelons next summer. All he can think of is the $$$$$ (2nd oldest, and my most materialistic child). There’s a boy on his football team this year who is doing this, and he is wiped out by the time he gets to practice. Kids need an opportunity to be kids. They grow up fast enough.

PLEASE, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want my kids to start working anytime soon. I’d just as soon see them only working summers once they hit maybe their last year of high school. All of the kids are involved in sports, and other activities which suck up alot of our time…..

Anyway, since the subject came up, I’m curious to know how kids working impacts other areas of their lives. We haven’t been very good about teaching them about $ to date- they get it, they spend it. We’re working on this.

SO, I have many many issues surrounding kids and money ~ dh & I are just now learning many lessons ourselves.

Input, please…..

I’ve general and local many times in my life

I’ve general and local many times in my life – my biggest suggestion is to make sure he is drinking plenty of fluids. This should have been part of your going home instructions. The anethesia needs to be flushed out of his system and many times men forget to drink 8 glasses a day (even hard for women too).

The actual pain from the incision and the procedure itself could also be tiring him out. Think about pain from a throbbing headache but place it in your hand – not the easy thing to deal with especially the pain relievers can make you lethargic.

I think it’s a combination of factors here – If the incision does not appear to be healing properly before his next visit for after care – please contact the doctor because staff infection should not be ignored.

I’m back, and…??

A benevolent pal of mine sent me a keyboard middle of last week, and I have finally found the time to come off “no mail” and get back to some serious frugal actions.

I went to buy groceries Saturday and spent $47 at Save-a-Lot (cart FULL!) and $22 at Big Star, where they had ground beef for 79 cents/lb. I was able to get a pack of regular Cottonelle for free with my coupon and even a few school supplies, and should be stocked for 2 weeks. I also did a ground beef freezer session yesterday, and will probably go and get some more today while it’s still on sale.

DH had surgery on his hand last Tuesday.

He had general anesthesia, and he has really had a hard time getting over this. Has anyone had any similar experiences? He feels lethargic, alternately nauseous and ravenous, and just generally crappy, but not really bad enough to warrant going back to the doctor.

Frugal tips and thoughts

My name is Laura. DH and I have 2 sons, ages almost-9 and almost-5. We’d like to adopt a 3rd child sometime in 2001, too. And that requires lots of saving!

We live about 3 miles from downtown Atlanta. I’m a technical writer, and just started month 13 of a 24-month project. I would like to take lots of time off when this project is done, and am saving like crazy so we won’t miss my income. I was an active poster on the old CB list, and had to go no mail when things got very, very busy earlier this summer. Came back and it was gone – good thing I found you guys!

I really appreciate the encouragement I get from reading about other people who share my frugal outlook on life. Our culture is so stuff-oriented, and it’s hard to buck that trend. It’s also hard to raise kids to be frugal when their friends are walking around in shoes that cost more than my car payment!

My latest project is buying some nice 2nd hand furniture. We’re using the same stuff we had in our 20’s (early American Mom’s basement), and it’s time to upgrade. I went idea-shopping with a friend Saturday afternoon, and we hit a bunch of furniture places, just to see what’s out there. I’ve never shopped for new furniture, and boy is it expensive. No way I’m spending that kind of $$$!

As for frugal tips, here goes: 1) Never buy new if you can find the same thing used. Your money will go so much further because someone else paid retail first. 2) Never make a major purchase without sleeping on it first.

No impulse buying! The only exception is planned major purchases, where you’ve done your homework and allocated funds from your budget. Then, when you find a deal, grab it before someone else does! 3) Treat yourself to small indulgences so you won’t feel deprived.

I think #3 is especially true when time’s are hard. If your I’m-getting-out-of-debt-or-else budget is too restrictive, you won’t stick with it. Buy a new lipstick occasionally, go out to dinner, or whatever makes you feel pampered. Allocate a few bucks for fun money. It’s better to plan to spend $10 or $20 than to feel angry and deprived and charge $200.

Finally, read Financial Peace. It’s a great book!

Laura in Atlanta