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We are a family of 6 and over the years we compiled a list of frugal living tips for large families. Everything from food, to clothes, to home, to travel, and entertainment we have frugal tips for it all and I’ll share them with you! At the end of last year, I shared with you the 165 way we saved money in 2015 now I will share how we save money as a large family.
Save Money on Food
I want to start with saving on food because this seems to be what amazes everyone and what they have the most questions about. Other families seem amazed that we feed 6 of us for $400 a month instead of $1,000+! Here is how we do it.
Eat real food. We eat as much real food as possible. This means I do a lot of cooking. It’s cheaper to make your own fried chicken for a family of 6 instead of buying 2 boxes of fried chicken from the freezer section.
Don’t buy it if you can make it. There are 7 main things I stopped buying and started making. But this is the basics, like above, don’t buy friend chicken when you can make it. Don’t buy jelly or jam when you can make easy freezer jam in the spring.
Stretch meal with beans and rice. You can make meat stretch with beans. You can use half as much. I also find that shredding meat like chicken and adding beans and rice stretches it much further.
Bread and potatoes. We eat a lot of bread and potatoes with meals. They help fill you up for a lot cheaper than meat and other veggies do.
Coupons. Yes, we use coupons, but not in the extreme couponing way but in the ‘hey I’m buying that and I have a coupon way’. I do miss opportunities where if I had looked a bit harder I would have found a coupon but with a family of 6 and blog to run I don’t have a ton of time to coupon hunt. I did share my sites of where you can score over $1,500 in rare and high-value printable coupons online. Those are my go to sites.
Drink Water. We drink water 95% of the day. The kids get a cup of milk with breakfast and a glass of watered down juice at lunch and the rest of the day it’s water. It’s healthier and cheaper. We don’t keep soda and extra juices in the house.
Menu plan. Yes, we menu plan. I did a video explaining how we menu plan. Since making the video, we more or less make a list of meals for the set time frame then pick what is easier to make each day but having that list is what is saving us money.
Once a month shopping. Yes, we shopped once a month before we got into the RV. We made a month long menu plan and a list and took an entire day and hit several stores. We would start by hitting our local grocery outlet, then BJs warehouse (mostly for diapers, wipes, bulk beans, rice, sugar, and flour) then Aldi and whatever we couldn’t get at those 3 stores I would grab at our local chain grocery store. We would have an extra freezer and freeze bread and milk on top of other things. Yes, we walked out with 20 loafs of bread, 8 dozen eggs, 10 gallons of milk, and more. The reason you want to only shop once a month is the more you go into the grocery store the more extras you buy and the higher your bill goes.
Skip eating out. The menu planning is to avoid eating out. This drives up the coast of feeding your family. I’m not saying you should never eat out but I’m saying when you do it should be planned and to celebrate or a special occasion. When you do eat out follow my tips for eating out frugally.
No meat day. We have a meatless meal day once a week. This ranges from mac n cheese for the kids, to spaghetti, bean tacos, rice beans and corn bread, fettuccini alfredo and more. Cutting out meat one night out of the week can save you about $20 a month or more right there.
Breakfast for dinner. We also do one night a week where we have breakfast for dinner. Breakfast is the cheapest meal to cook and this also in many cases means no meat. We use a dozen or so eggs, a loaf of bread some cheese and once a month a pack of bacon. We can feed all of us for about $5.