Hi! I’m Gina, a mom of three in the Washington DC area, and I’m excited to share with you my strategies for saving money on groceries and household expenses each month in my Moneywise MoM post.
My blog, MoneywiseMoms, was inspired by our move across the country with 3-month-old identical twins and a 2 1/2 year-old to my husband’s new job at 40% of the salary. Yikes! Suddenly I was stretching fewer dollars with more mouths to feed. Now my girls are 3 1/2 years old, and my son just turned 6, and I have several systems in place that have helped us not just survive, but thrive.
Back when I was on bedrest with my twins (they had a mild case of TTTS), we were eating lots of takeout and fast food, receiving meals from our local MOMS Club, and just getting by. I spent a lot of time thinking about cooking and how I would do it once the twins arrived. Sitting down to meals together became much more important, and my husband and I agreed to make it a priority once we were a family of five. My obsession with Meal Planning begun, and it is now one of my top strategies for saving money as well as eating healthier and spending time together as a family.
When you plan your family’s meals, you avoid impulse buying at the grocery store and spend less time in the store–which is a plus whether or not you’ve brought the kids with you. By taking the time once a week to loosely plan, you save time not only during shopping but also during the day. How many hours have you spent worrying or wondering what to prepare that night? Keep a list on your fridge and it’s done for you. Another benefit I’ve found is that my husband is able to prep dinner if I’m sick or not home at dinnertime. Once your kids are older, they’ll be able to help too.
If you’ve never tried meal planning before, try this:
- Brainstorm the meals you make regularly–spaghetti, tacos, mac & cheese, etc.–and put them on a list. As you get more experienced, you can plan using your grocery store’s sales ad or try new recipes.
- Look at your calendar for the week ahead; if there’s a busy or late night expected, plan something super-easy (frozen pizza, leftovers, etc.).
- Make a grocery list based on the dinners you’ve planned. Check your pantry/cupboards first so you don’t buy something you already have.
- Shop ONCE at the beginning of the week; the goal is to purchase everything you need and avoid multiple trips to the store.
Have you tried meal planning? What are your tips for the beginners out there?
I hope you’ll stop by my blog to check out more strategies and tips. Have a great month!