How to Save Money on Groceries with a Supersized Family
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When you have a big family, people inevitably ask, “How much is your grocery bill each month?”
When I tell them, I also add the fact that my children aren’t even teenagers yet!
Have you bought razors lately? It’s highway robbery!
(Yes, I know they can use the $1 razors, but I can’t stand hearing my daughter tell me she’s sliced herself again, so I prefer giving her Intuition razors).
Over the last 15 years of pregnancy and childbirth, I’ve learned a thing or two…or three about saving money on groceries.
I’m not going to telling about couponing because I live in Texas and don’t live near one of those double- and triple-couponing stores.
We have Wal-Mart and H-E-B. And some others that I avoid because I just can’t afford them.
I also have to admit that I’m not an organic shopper or a super-hippy whole foods shopper. I used to be…but that’s a story for another day.
Here are my top ways to save money on groceries when you have a large family.
25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries When You Have a Large Family
I’ve personally gone into Wal-Mart and price checked. The numbers are the same.
Shopping online makes keeping the cart under budget a cinch. There are no impulse buys and you can do it while hanging out with your large family.
I’ve used H-E-B curbside, but after four free visits, it does charge you a fee (which I’m assuming you’d spend if you went into the store just on impulse buys…so it might be a wash). AND I noticed their online prices are higher and you don’t get the coupon deals.
Instacart is another, but significantly higher priced items.
2. Shop with a Calculator
If you don’t have access to online grocery shopping (I’m sad for you) or don’t want to do it, shopping with a (cell phone) calculator in hand is the next best bet.
Keeping up with what you are spending allows you to make better decisions on what goes in (and doesn’t go in) your cart.
Some stores even have apps where you can scan your items in and it’ll do all the calculations for you!
There are tons more, but these are my top picks. Many times you can overlap the rebates.
4. Shop the Sales
My eyes are trained to see those yellow/orange stickers that declare something is on sale.
The trick is to only purchase the items on sale you’ll actually use.
At H-E-B, they often have amazing “Combo Loco” deals that make dinner easier and give me free items that I can use again for another meal.
5. Don’t Take the Kids
Shopping without the kids will make you spend less.
Not only do companies pay more to be on kid-level on the shelves so you’ll spend more money, but the constant “please, mom” can make anyone give into to those purchases.
Going when the kids have gone to bed, are in school or with dad is the best bet for your money saving strategies.
6. Don’t Take the Hubby
Statistically, men don’t worry about sales as much as women (Source: Rd.com)
They are more likely to buy it because they need it and not worry about price.
Not only does it make it less expensive to shop without the husband, it also allows him to stay at home with the kiddos while you get some alone time!
7. Have a Budget…and Stick To It
If you don’t know what you can spend, you are likely to go over what you really need to spend.
Having a budget will help you say “no” to those fancy condiments that you can do without and focus on what you really need.
And don’t be afraid or embarrassed to take stuff off at the register if you’ve gone over budget.
It’s better to offend the cashier or patrons behind you for a moment than upset your entire bank account for the month or longer!
8. Don’t Shop Hungry
This is a no-brainer, but I cannot count how many times I shop hungry and end up (literally) paying for it.
If you absolutely need to shop but are hungry, purchase a small item before you start shopping to tide you over until you get home to eat a proper meal.
Eating something before your grocery trip will also reduce that post-supermarket binge we all do if we are starving.
9. Shop Simple
If you are really focused on saving money at the grocery store, keep the old acronym in mind: KISS or Keep it Simple Stupid.
Planning elaborate or exotic meals means you have to purchase expensive spices and products you’ll only use once.
Keeping your meal planning simple means keeping your grocery list simple: eggs, beans, cheese, milk, bread.
Stick to the basics and you’ll save money on groceries when you have a large family.
10. Set Expectations
When I walk out the door, I usually ask if anyone needs anything.
This obviously could set me up for disaster.
But if a child requests an item that is not in the budget, I tell them so or suggest an alternative.
Letting your people know what will be coming home, alleviates disappointment and guilt. And it will save you money.
11. Buy Store Brands
When I online grocery shop at Wal-Mart Grocery, I actually will type “Great Value” into the search bar and only shop from those items just because I know they are usually the best priced.
Sometimes I need specific non-generic brands, but usually, this technique saves me time and money.
12. Don’t Assume Bigger is Better
Just because a product is bigger doesn’t mean there is more to it.
I buy the smaller looking deodorant for my husband, but it actually has more ounces in it and costs less than its taller counterpart.
Same with larger boxes or bagged items. I noticed that Malt-O-Meals large bags sometimes can be more expensive than the same amount in a box.
13. Price Compare
Keep your eye out for better prices on grocery items at other stores that you might not usually purchase them at, especially those in the hygiene department.
Many times Walgreens will have sales on their hair care or bath products if you utilize their in-store coupon book and your rewards card.
I don’t usually shop at Big Lots for grocery items, but I found Herbal Essense conditioner for only $2 in a reduced price bin and bought every single one that was left because we spend more than that on our generic brand at H-E-B and Wal-Mart.
14. Always Check the Clearance Sections
When I enter a grocery store, my first stop is almost always the clearance sections. Name brand shampoos and conditioners can be half their original price in the clearance aisle, making them less expensive than their generic counterparts.
Shopping in the clearance section means you can’t be loyal to certain brands, but unless you have good reason, most brands are nearly identical for general grocery shopping.
15. Use Technology
Just the past shopping trip I spent $7 on butter when I already had four packages in the fridge.
Use an app like Out of Milk to help with your inventory so you avoid purchasing items you already have at home.
Or at least call home and ask someone to double-check if you aren’t sure!
16. Shop Your Pantry
There are so many times that my family swears “there’s nothing to eat” when there actually is.
Don’t allow the angry masses to determine when you need to return to the grocery store.
Take inventory of what’s in your pantry and get creative with what you have.
I spend at least $50 everytime I step foot into a grocery store, so avoiding even ONE trip a month is a massive money saver!
17. Shop Fast
A grocery store is no place to stop and smell the roses.
Studies show that the slower your shop the more you spend…upwards of 30% more!
Stores know this and will often play slow soothing music and set up those “sample” areas so you slow down.
Get in and get out, spend less money.
18. Buying Herbs? Go to the garden area!
Herbs in the produce department can get really pricey.
If you shop at a store that has a garden department, check out the local herbs there. Usually, they are better priced!
They also have the added benefit of continuing to grow AND not spoiling.
19. Know what Freezes Well
Shredded cheese and cranberries freeze great.
Knowing other items that freeze well will help you save money on groceries when you have a large family (and avoid spoilage) in the long run.
Again, this is psychology at work, getting a huge shopping cart can make you spend more money.
But don’t grab a hand-held one either, studies show that people tend to buy “vice” products when they are struggling with the weight of a hand-held basket.
Pick a middle-sized shopping cart, if possible, and you’ll spend less.
21. Skip Aisles…but only if you don’t need anything.
Lots of people will say “stick to the outside” aisles.
This is good advice, but not really realistic.
But if you are pretty sure you don’t need something down the “Dried Fruits” aisle, don’t be scared to skip it so you can avoid other non-essential purchases.
22. Be Loyal, but Be Watchful
I’m pretty loyal to H-E-B, Wal-Mart and Costco and know the prices accordingly, but I make sure to keep an eye out for deals at other stores.
I love our local Dollar Tree, but usually don’t buy tons of groceries there.
I noticed that H-E-B Nature’s Own Bread is $2.88 but only $1 at The Dollar Tree.
If I can beat everyone else to the punch I’ll snag as many as I can get and freeze them.
23. Get A Loyalty Card
Not really grocery-related, but I saved .20 cents per gallon at the pump when I use my Randall’s card.
Target’s RedCard gives you 5% cashback…though I wouldn’t shop for groceries there if you are trying to save money on groceries when you have a large family.
Sometimes you can buy gift cards from Wal-Mart or H-E-B and it’ll save you 10 cents a gallon at the pump.
23. Don’t Buy Produce at Warehouse Stores
There are very few times where I’ve seen Costco have great prices on produce.
Sometimes they do, but more often I find myself paying for the convenience of purchasing apples there.
The trick is to look at the price per pound and NOT the total price which is usually what is displayed more prominently.
24. Switch to Amazon Prime or Amazon Grocery Instead of Warehouse Stores
Again, I’m a huge fan of online grocery shopping.
Going into Costco or Sam’s club opens up the door for expensive purchases on items you’ve never tried and/or don’t need. (Especially on “sampling” day).
While it’s great for buying things in bulk — as long as your family won’t use more just because there’s more available (like toilet paper) — you can get the same great prices by shopping on Amazon Prime
25. Buy the Bag
Bagged apples and potatoes tend to be a wise money-saving purchase.
Check the fine print for how much your apples are per pound versa the per pound price of bagged apples. Sometimes it’s more than a 20 cent discount per pound!
Same thing with bagged cereal. Many times (though not all) bagged cereal saves the company on packaging and they are able to pass those savings on to you!
Did I Miss Any Money Saving Grocery Tips?
Are there any money saving grocery tips that I missed that you use when shopping for your supersized family?
Whether they are store-specific or not, we’d love for you to share with our community your large family wisdom!
Comment below and let us know the scoop!
Too Many Kids? Too Many Chores? Too Little Time?
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Too Many Kids? Too Many Chores? Too Little Time?
Download this ebook and worksheet that's saved my sanity!