If you were ever curious to know what it looks like to feed a large family, here is a peek. I have found over and over that when I do not plan our meals way in advance, I spend exponentially more at the grocery, bust our budget and wind up with missing ingredients. So, for us anyway, organization is key. I have started a new way of doing things as weekly menu planning was becoming such a chore. I decided I would do a monthly dinner menu plan and then since I go to the grocery biweekly I would just pick 10 meals to make sure I had ingredients for and that would be our menu for the two week period.
Before you ask, yes, I can do simple math and I realize that 20 meals worth of planned food is not an entire month's worth but for the other meals we either eat leftovers, make a quick homemade pizza, or re-purpose one of the meals I have planned (ie Baked chicken and veggies can be re-purposed into Chicken and Noodle soup with leftovers and I bake a loaf of bread since I keep flour and baking ingredients on hands at all times).
The other challenge is that we have a fantastic church family and we also like to invite people to dinner after church on Sundays because that is way easier and less costly than going out to eat. So the meals with astericks beside them are meals I can stretch to make on a Sunday for company to share with us.
So what kinda budget does this look like? Well, we don't purchase meat at the grocery as we raise our own chicken and purchase a 1/2 a cow and 1/2 hog yearly (seperate budget as those are yearly expenses we plan for). I do find that purchasing meat this way is a HUGE price saver and the meat is so much better tasting and better for us as we raise our food or I purchase locally from friends and family. We just fill our deep freeze and then I know my meat for the year is set and I don't have to deal with price fluctuations in the meat department.
That leaves us with fresh fruit to purchase, dairy products, and other incidentals. I usually shop the perimeter of the store so that I avoid the processed foods in the middle. We then are left with a budget of about $360 for the month for groceries. So I am spending $180 bi weekly or $90 a week at the grocery. I do allow another $100 monthly for toiletries, diapers, paper products and cleaning supplies.
This is what July's meals look like for us... so far I have been sticking to this way of doing things and it seems to be working well. Would love to hear your comments in the comments section or other ways you are saving when feeding a large family!
Chicken Curry & Naan
Tomato Basil Chicken
**Sausage & Zucchini Bake
**Brats & Potato Salad
Beef BBQ Sandwiches