I love saving money. I especially love saving money on groceries, but I really love to save in general. I have two kids, but a few months ago we began to sort-of foster a family of five kids who were abandoned by their drug-addict mother. We basically went from 2 kids to 7 – overnight! I had to get creative to find money saving tips for large families.
As you can imagine, our grocery bills (and other expenses) skyrocketed! Some of these kids are pre-teens, so they are eating a lot of food! Here are seven ways that I’ve found to save money with seven kids
1. Meal Planning
It has been literally impossible to find something that all eight seven kids (and hubby!) like to eat. So we came up with a list of meals that at least the majority of them enjoy. I make out a list of what I need for each meal; I try to purchase the non-perishable items just once a month. Then I try to keep an eye on sales for any of those items and stock up every few months. You can learn more about monthly meal planning here.
2. Managers Specials
Make sure to check out the Manager’s Special areas of your local stores! Even better, ask the manager when they usually do markdowns (certain days of the week or times of day). I try to get meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and breads for the 50% off (or more!) because they are about to reach the expiration date on the package. This expiration date doesn’t always mean it’s about to go bad, but you can freeze the majority of these items! I save a ton of money by purchasing manager’s special items and freezing them.
A few examples: I got 3 lbs packages of boneless skinless chicken breasts for $0.99 per package at Target, and I also got 3 lbs packages of Angus ground beef for just $2 per package at Kroger – I still have some in the freezer!
3. Bulk doesn’t always mean cheaper
It’s common to think that going to Sam’s Club or Costco will be cheaper for items. And in many cases, it definitely is! However, that isn’t always going to be the case. Sometimes certain items will be cheaper at your local grocery store than a warehouse. You have to get creative to save money for large family!
The best way to figure this out is by making a list of items that you usually purchase a lot of (flour, pasta, diapers, etc.) and down its regular price. Then go on the apps for Kroger, Wal-mart, etc. and look up the prices at each store. You may be surprised to find that they’re lower at one place than another!
Another way to find lower prices is with an app called Flipp. It collects the ads for different stores in your area, and you can search them to find out which store is currently selling certain items at the lowest price. Need more flour? Just search in Flipp, and any store that has flour listed in its ad that week will show up, telling you the best price!
4. Amazon’s Subscribe and Save
Do you have items that you purchase regularly? Things like laundry detergent, diapers, or others? Amazon Prime has a program called Subscribe and Save where you can set up recurring subscriptions for common household items. If you set up a subscription, then you get 5% off that item. If you have 5 subscriptions or more arriving in a single month, then you get 20% off the entire order!
I especially love this because not only do I get a discount, but I also save money on gas (and not getting splurge purchases!). Getting these savings is important when having such a large family. It’s nice to not have to load up all 7 kids to run to the store because I realized I ran out of shampoo. The items I need on a regular basis just show up at my front door! If you don’t have an Amazon Prime account, you can sign up here for a free 30 day trial.
5. Join Local Facebook Groups
Moving away from groceries a bit, one of the biggest ways I save is by purchasing things like clothes, furniture, etc. second-hand. I hesitate a bit with thrift stores (a lot of that can be junk), and Craigslist scares me! However, many neighborhoods and towns have frugal Facebook groups that work a bit like Craigslist. The nice thing is that these people are usually closer to you, and it’s a little bit more difficult for people to run scams since they’re using their Facebook account.
These groups often have names like “Beg Barter Buy Sell” or “Online Garage Sale.” I get most my kids’ clothes from these groups, and I also turn around and sell a lot of items that my kids outgrow or that we no longer use. Larger families go through lots of clothes so saving money here is accentual!
6. Learn how to coupon
Many people hear the word “couponing” and think that it’s going to be like those TV shows where people spend tons of time each week clipping coupons and going to stores. They think they don’t have time for it, that their lives are too busy.
However, couponing can actually be pretty simple! If you just get a weekly newspaper each Sunday and save the coupons (you don’t even need to clip!), then there are plenty of bloggers out there who will do the legwork for you – I’m one of them! Having a big family makes you find creative ways to save!
On my website, each week we create a list with the items in the ad and any matching coupons. If it’s a coupon from a prior week, then you can just pull it out and clip only that coupon. It’s pretty simple, and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes! We also have a coupon database so if you need to purchase a specific item (say, Hellman’s mayonnaise), then you can search to see if there is a coupon for that item that hasn’t expired yet. It’s a gold mine for money saving tips for large families.
If you’re interested in learning more about couponing, you can get a free copy of my “Beginner’s Guide to Couponing” here.
7. Start a Gift Closet
Have you ever had a kid surprise you with a last-minute birthday party invite? Or have you seen a toy or diapers at a store on clearance for a great price, but you don’t have young children anymore? Go ahead and get it anyway! It may seem counter intuitive, but you can actually save money by purchasing discounted items that you may not need (at least, right away) and storing them in the closet for the future. That adorable infant dress may not fit your youngest child who is 8 years old, but it will be perfect in three months when someone at church invites you to a baby shower! You can learn more about starting a gift closet here.
Having seven kids has been an interesting mixture of challenge and blessing at the same time. I am learning so much, especially about how to stretch my budget to accommodate these five “surprise” children that I never anticipated having.
What are some ways that you save money?
Tiffany is a former math teacher and SAHM with Crohn’s disease who loves finding good deals! She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on The Crazy Shopping Cart. They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi, and saving money.
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