Tawra Kellam editor of LivingOnADime.com feeds her family of six for $400 a month. Most people say that’s an impossible feat but what’s even more impressive is that she does it without using coupons.
How does she do it? First, Tawra says, “I use what I have. If I don’t have milk in the house, I don’t make a special trip to the store. The kids won’t die from malnutrition if they miss drinking milk for a day or two. If I’m out of bread, I’ll make some cornbread or muffins. If I’m out of fresh veggies, I will use canned or frozen vegetables instead. Stop going to the store for one or two things. I shop for food 2-3 times a month and that’s it. ”
Shop the clearance sections. “I regularly find milk on clearance for $1.50 a gallon. My store marks the milk down a few days before the “sell by” date. The great part is that milk stays fresh for 1 week after it’s opened. I just throw several in the freezer and then I don’t have to make a special trip for milk. Just thaw, shake and serve.”
Purchase meat only on sale or on clearance. Again, butchers mark down their meat a day or two before the ‘sell by’ date. Generally, meat is good for 3-4 days after the ‘sell by’ date in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. Tawra says, “I never buy meat unless it’s on sale for $1.99 or less a pound. You can get some great unadvertised deals just by watching the meat counter’s clearance items. I can get ‘soup bones’ with enough meat on them to make a great vegetable stew for under $2 for the entire family. Add some rolls and you have a complete meal for six for less than $3. When chicken is on sale for $1.66 per pound, I stock up. I do this with all my meats. This way we can always have a variety of meats.”
Ask. Most people are intimidated by asking, but Tawra regularly asks when things will go on sale or be marked down. By asking, she found out that bananas, milk and meat are marked down each morning. She tries to shop in the mornings to get the best deals. She says, “Adjust your shopping times to find the best deals.”
Serve your family proper portions of food. “Most parents give their kids way too much milk, juice and soda. They get milk with their cereal. For snacks, they eat a piece of string cheese, fruit or one or two cookies. The kids don’t sip on milk or juice all day long. They drink water and are just fine with it. As a general rule, I try to give them one vegetable and one fruit for lunch and dinner and then a piece of fruit with cookies or cheese as a snack. Stop letting kids just ‘graze’ on chips and other snack food all day.”
With savvy shopping, you too can cut your grocery bill even when prices are going up!