Saving Without Scissors - Food Costs

What does your family spend monthly on food?

What motivates you to be a steward of the funds God has provided you?

Due to the financial strain families feel in the current economy, discussions about food costs occur more frequently than ever.   In the last two years, I have been privileged to speak at numerous women’s events on the subject of saving money on groceries. While I do use coupons to significantly impact my grocery shopping, I entitled my speech "Saving Without Scissors".  The following include some of the ideas from my presentations.

Access Food Costs

Initially, when attempting to save money on your food cost, a family should assess how much is spent monthly on groceries.  According to the USDA’s 2012 report on food cost, a family of four spends somewhere between  $629-$1250. While our family food budget is significantly lower than the national average, it still represents a sizable cost.  Certainly, this represents a significant portion of your budget.  Ask the question what What would you do with 50% of the money to spend monthly?  What motivates you to be a steward of the funds God has provided you?

Work Hard to Save Money

Perhaps your family currently works hard to save money onfood cost.  I grew up helping my mother shop with $50 a week for a family of six.  It seems that whether you are a family with small children or a mix of ages, cost for groceries and poultry items have been steadily climbing. Many rising costs offer us little options for keeping our funds in-line with earnings.  However, food is one of those more flexible categories.  Perhaps you do most of the things that we are going to discuss.  Congratulate yourself.

As I have spoken to numerous women’s groups I have been stunned to discover that very few of these ideas are implemented in most homes. So while I don’t think they are profound, I put them here in print for you to peruse.  Like most things that offer savings, planning ahead is key.

If you are looking for ways to save money on your food costs, consider the following tips:

Prepare, Plan, Stock-up, Save, Shop

  •  Stock basics - Pantry, Freezer, Bathrooms
  1. Keep a list of your home/kitchen needs.
  2. Meal Plan.  Two weeks of breakfast, lunches, suppers. (Be flexible.)
  3. Look through refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what needs to be used.
  4. Shop sale cycles. (3-6 weeks sales cycle around again.)
  5. Know your prices so you can evaluate your potential savings. Watch carefully.
  6. Bulk Cook/Freeze (Meals, chicken, meatballs, cookie balls, lasagna, calzones)
  7. Flow with seasons - Fresh fruits & veggies, soup. Freeze excess in season.
  8. Buy in bulk (staples, meat, deer, grains, sugar, oats, dry goods, etc.)
  9. Focus on 5-7 sale items at each store each week.
  10. Limit trips to store.  Big runs - 2x’s monthly.
  11. Finally, Make list for the week. Order coupons - Coupon Clippers. Clipboard for each store.
  •  Coupons.... Take weekly paper or grocery game. List sale items you NEED.
  • Make adjustments in menus based on items on sale or clearance.
  • Shop Ebay for that coupons from coupon clipper.
  • I shop at Sam’s, Krogers, Walgreens, local farmer’s markets.

Favorite Sites:

Other Helpful Sites:

  • livingrichlyonabudget
  • anything Dave Ramsey

Free Birthday Goodies:


FREE products:

  • snacks
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • bandaids
  • cough drops
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • razors
  • soap
  • laundry soap
  • lotion
  • shower gel
  • pain reliever
  • antacids and more.
  • Why pay attention to my food gathering, storage and preparation?
  • God calls us to take care of our homes.
  • Nurturing
  • Feeds our inner woman- Satisfying results of nurturing our family.
  • Stewardship of money God has given our family.
  • Makes for a happy husband.
  • Freedom to be generous financially, to share food, and share Christ in food gifts.

My Personal Patterns

  • Sunday night - Grocery game, order coupons from CouponClippers.
  • Coupons arrive on Wed or Thursday. Sometimes I don’t need coupons.
  • Tuesday - Look through new Kroger paper, order coupons or plan,  Straighten pantry, look at on-going needs list for pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
  • Friday or Sat. - shop at Walgreens, Kroger's and Sam's, farmer’s market
  • Wash all produce directly as you come home.
  • Sorting and straightening your freezer and pantry before you leave just takes a moment before you shop.

Food Fetching

  • Buy meat ahead when it is on sale.
  • Deer meat - If there are no hunters in your family, find someone who does hunt.  Tell them you'd like a deer and you'll pay to have it processed.  
  • Farmer’s Market - buy up slightly damaged. (My favorite stand calls damaged tomatoes "canning tomatoes"... I'll take them!) Stock your freezer with veggies whenever you have an opportunity!!
  • Buy from a farmer who has overabundance. You may have to go and pick it directly!
  • Bulk Natural Foods
  • Grains, Oatmeal, Sugar and other dry goods - in large quantity. (Currently, I buy in bulk from my local Mennonite friends.)
  • Buy items on deep sales in bulk. Why pay more next week?
  • Make my own bread
  • Cook ahead - bulk cooking

These ideas work for me!! I love hearing what other nurturing moms do to provide for their family's food needs. If you have boys, you know that they are drawn to eating! Good food on the table makes for a happier hubby too!!