With a large family of seven, we are always looking for money-saving ideas to help us spread our dollar further. Three of the main areas where we can inevitably spend our entire paycheck each month are the necessities of food, clothing and home costs.
Here is a list of ideas to help large families reign in the costs associated with these three main areas of family life.
Make your meat go farther. Add a cup of quinoa to one pound of ground hamburger for taco salad, tacos, spaghetti, casseroles, or anything else that requires more hamburger. This gives your family added vitamins and minerals and you can feed them at about half the cost. Plus, it is still a significant source of protein. Also, shred chicken instead of serving whole chicken breasts and spread it across more meals.
When fruit or vegetables start to go bad, freeze them and use them for smoothies or stir fry.
Buy food at case-lot sales or warehouses. Make sure to watch the deals and shop accordingly.
Invest in a deep-freeze so you have a place to store meat or bread when it goes on sale.
Make one night a week a left-over night.
Shop off-brand instead of store brand.
Buy used whenever possible. This is actually considered part of the “going green” movement.
If you don’t want to buy used, buy clearance t-shirts in the off season, and buy long sleeve thermals from the thrift store. This way, your children can wear the long shirt underneath with the new t-shirt on top during winter and still have the T-shirt in summer.
Don’t overspend on clothing. On average, a child only requires three to four nice pairs of pants and five to six shirts. If their floor is constantly covered with clothing, consider cutting back.
Buy clothing that is versatile throughout the year. T-shirts can be worn on their own or over long-sleeved shirts. Skirts can be worn on their own or over warm leggings.
Buy shoes on BOGO sales.
Never underestimate the value of a coupon. I am not one to coupon for food. For me, it is too time consuming. However, when it comes to clothing I find coupons to be valuable. Usually coupons for clothing are a large percentage off your entire order, and when you are shopping for a lot of people that could add up to a big savings.
Keep your thermostat low in winter and high in summer. In the winter, we keep our thermostat at 66 and wear sweaters and socks around the house. In the summer, we keep the thermostat at 78 and use our ceiling fans which take less energy than our central air.
Use energy-saving light bulbs.
Skip cable and opt for internet, instead. If you enjoy shows on television, you can stream most of them directly from the Internet.
When it comes to birthdays and Christmas, know what your children want ahead of time, and shop for sales. For example, this year, my girls all want a similar toy that is considered one of the “hot toys” for Christmas. I knew what they wanted before they were considered a “hot toy” and got them on a “buy one, get one free” sale weeks ago, which saved me a lot.