Tips for Feeding a Large Family on a Budget {4 Moms Linky}

Rising food prices hit every family hard, but for large families with a single income, food can be a significant percentage of their budget and it is a particular concern.  moms of many manage Today the 4 Moms of many are sharing some tips to stay within the food budget even with rising costs.

Eat whole foods

I know that many people say that it’s just too expensive to purchase healthy foods, but we’ve found that feeding our children real, whole foods can be cost effective. When our kids eat real food, they eat less and feel better. Real food fills us up, eliminates cravings and of course can save money by keeping us healthier.

The key is to eliminate or nearly eliminate processed foods and sugar. If you’re continuing to eat sugars and processed foods while including lots of healthier options, you will incur much of the cost of healthy eating without reaping some of the more money saving benefits, like fuller bellies.

Kitchen Stewardship is my go-to place for recipes, links, info and inspiration for whole foods.

Buy in bulk (the bulk store secret)

Sam’s and Costco can sometimes save you money on their bulk items, but did you know that you can save even more if you’re really willing to buy in bulk?

If you purchase a case of meat at Sam’s (we don’t have a Costco, so I don’t know if it’s true there) you will save anywhere from $.50-$1.50 per pound off of the regular meat prices. Sometimes the case price is posted and other times it’s not. All you have to do is ask about the case price at the meat counter and then tell them how many cases you’d like to purchase.

Don’t shop at the grocery store

OK, not really. We still shop at the grocery store, but there are many items that we rarely, if ever, purchase at the grocery.

Meat – Even though we purchase meat for our bulk cooking group at Sam’s (see the above tip), we purchase most of our beef directly from the farmer. We purchase healthy, pastured cattle, on the hoof, (generally a quarter to full cow at a time) and then pay to have them processed and packaged for us. Our total price ends up being around $2.50/pound of meat and this includes steaks, roasts and ground beef. If you ask they’ll even give you the bones that you can use for making healthy stocks.

Produce – There are a couple of ways that we’ve found to save on produce.

In the last town we lived there was  a produce stand that offered local, in season produce with prices that were much better than the grocery.

Consider buying produce wholesale. At the beginning of this year I discovered that you can purchase fresh produce wholesale by just knowing where to go. I spent the summer purchasing in season fruits and vegetables at significant savings and canning or freezing them for use during the winter months. I purchase from wholesale suppliers whose primary customers are restaurants. Ask around or use Swagbucks to search for wholesale produce suppliers in your area.

Grains – We purchase nearly all of our grains and legumes in bulk through a food co-op. Wheat, oats, beans, rice all are much less expensive when purchased in bulk rather than at your local grocery store.

Grow it yourself

I realize that this isn’t an option for some people, but one of the reasons that we are praying about moving to a place with some property is to try to be less dependent on purchasing food from others. We’d like to have a large garden rather than the small patch we’ve had for the past few years, and we’re considering several other ways to cut food costs by growing or raising it ourselves.

Change your menu

I know this isn’t a popular option, but the reality is that some of us will have to change our menus in order to continue to stay within our food budgets. Choosing recipes with less expensive ingredients and substituting beans or grains for some of your meat dishes can make a difference. Every penny counts and a couple cents here and a few cents there will add up.

Cook from scratch

When you do head to the grocery store, stay out of those center isles where they keep all the processed foods.

The other moms of many are sharing their tips:

Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

Now it’s your turn to share your food budget saving tips.  Please play by these rules:

  1. You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
  2. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms blogs.
  3. The post you link to must be completely family friendly.

If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.

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20 Responses to Tips for Feeding a Large Family on a Budget {4 Moms Linky}
  1. Ruth Ann Bowen
    October 13, 2011 | 8:21 am

    So glad to have found you on Twitter! Looking forward to following you. :)

    Have a blessed day!

    Ruth Ann Bowen
    Co-founder, Nurturing Naturally

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  2. Anita Chamblee
    October 13, 2011 | 9:28 am

    Kimberly, can you please delete number 10. It was already in the linky box and I was trying to delete it and it went through….Thanks!

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  3. Dawn
    October 13, 2011 | 10:03 am

    I must admit I’m a bit envious of your $2.50/lb for beef. We had to quit buying direct from the farmer because he raised his price so our take home cost was right at $6.50/lb this last time. Unfortunately this even included the pounds of liver and bones. Thank you for the other ideas!! We are always looking for ways to save where possible. :)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yikes! I knew some people paid more than we do, but didn’t realize we were getting such a great deal.

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  4. Holli @ Klein Haus Chaos
    October 13, 2011 | 10:15 am

    Just saw your linky after I posted on one of our frugal family favorites!

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  5. Georganne
    October 13, 2011 | 1:28 pm

    Great advice on a timeless topic. It’s often a hit or miss proposition for me. I get a little ADD when it comes to grocery shopping.

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  6. Gwen
    October 13, 2011 | 2:13 pm

    It’s really worth it to keep a “price book”, I’ve found. That way I always know if something is a good deal or not. There are some things that Sam’s is way cheaper than Aldi’s and vice versa.

    Since we now are officially missionaries living on support (with a large family!), I am continually looking for ways to keep costs down. And you know what? It’s not a burden, my kids enjoy comparing prices in flyers and the store, and it’s a great lesson for all of us to learn!

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  7. Sarah
    October 13, 2011 | 5:01 pm

    Really useful especially the buying in bulk. How do you store your grains and beans?
    Thank you.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We store our grains and beans in 5 gallon buckets in our garage.

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  8. Kelley @ With Eager Hands
    October 14, 2011 | 1:33 pm

    I linked up to a post on my family blog from a series I call “minute meal monday’s”…it features affordable, quick, healthy meals.

    We are on a tight food budget and I totally agree about eating healthy. We want to own property some day too so we can be more self sustaining. I WISH we had a food co-op here for fresh food or grains, but the only one I know of is for Organic produce and it’s more expensive than the store.

    Sam’s club and Costco are more expensive than our local grocery stores here. :/ We have a food service grocery store though that carries items in bulk for less, and I am going to check out the Mennonite store that’s not too far away because they are supposed to have great prices on grains, beans and staples like flour and spices. :)

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  9. AnneJisca
    October 14, 2011 | 1:37 pm

    Good post! Changing the menu to save is what I do. I live remotely without access to a lot of stores. So I plan cheaper meals, that use what I can buy in bulk out of town (which is 5hrs drive one way!). It means less fancy meals, but thankfully my little family doesn’t mind at all. :)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Happy to find your blog. We’re working on finding more simple recipes.

    Have you posted a list of your staple ingredients? I’d love to see something like that.

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    AnneJisca Reply:

    That’s a great post idea! I’ll work on that. :) Thanks for the suggestion.

    I love your blog, by the way. I hope God blesses us with a large family some day, and find your blog so encouraging. God bless you as you “raise olives”! :)

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  10. DHM
    October 14, 2011 | 1:56 pm

    Sigh. I have looked and looked, and in my area pasture beef, even if I buy on the hoof and have it processed locally and buy the whole cow, is roughly five dollars a pound.

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We buy from a friend of a friend and generally drive about an hour to pick it up.

    He only raises a few cows at a time and calls us when he has one that isn’t claimed. They are fed some grain in addition to grazing and I’m not sure if that makes them less expensive, but we are very thankful for the inexpensive beef!

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  11. troopppetrie
    October 18, 2011 | 9:00 pm

    thank you, what great ideas. this is hitting closer and closer to home as our family grows

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  12. Tisha @ Delectable Home
    October 19, 2011 | 2:42 pm

    What a timely post – I was just talking to Charles last night about our grocery budget and my struggle to meet it with rising costs! Thanks for the reminder to get back to the basics – I tend to go in cycles of buying whole foods, then I get lazy and go for the pre-packaged goods for a while. This put me back on track – this week, I actually bought everything on my list (which included two meals for families who’ve just had babies) and came home with a few dollars left over. I have spent two days in the kitchen making meals, bread, and breakfast muffins, but we’ve all enjoyed the fruits of those labors. A couple of our children seem to be going through growth spurts right now, so hopefully this will help fill their “hollow legs!”

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  13. Lisa Grace
    October 21, 2011 | 4:33 pm

    One thing really stood out to me: the fact that you said still having some processed foods while the rest is healthy incurs the cost, but not the benefits. We do that. We buy what we can as whole foods and I supplement with things like pretzels, tortila chips, animal crackers, and goldfish when they are on sale.

    WOULD YOU MIND {pretty please!} doing a post on what you eat in a week? I’d love to see not only your meals, but your snacks. In our family we have blood sugar challenges that mean we need to eat every 2 1/2-3 hours – so we are looking Breakfast, snack, Lunch, snack, and then Dinner (and if it’s a late night – like church or something – a third small snack). I’d love your wisdom!

    (And I *love* your blog … we are about to become a larger than normal family and I’m learning so much!)

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  14. Heatherlee
    October 27, 2011 | 12:29 am

    Our local store is a Feed Meyer. They will give a discount on cases in the health food section. I need to see if they do it for other things. They can order a case of anything from their warehouse even if they don’t stock it. So, it is nice if you have allergies.

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  15. Elizabeth
    April 12, 2012 | 8:17 pm

    My family is unable to eat Wheat, Oats, Barley, and Rye due to an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease. We stay away from packaged foods for the most part, and I bake with rice flour, corn starch, and sorghum flour. But the cost of pre-packaged gluten-free goods is atrocious, and we are looking at ways of cutting our grocery budget. THANKS for your post – I will definitely start looking at case prices and we plan to have a large garden. I have never canned before, but I would like to start.

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