Don't break the bank

Finding ways to feed our growing children has been very interesting, challenging and full of prayers.  And even though we are not rich or even well off, we somehow find a way to make it work.  Today, I want to share with you some tips I have learned to make our picky eaters happy and save my small pockets.

My son is a picky vegetarian/vegan so finding fresh items, in bulk, does not work for him. I had to find local farmers, vendors that not only grow their own food but allowed us to visit often.  Then finding a farm that is less than several hours away was another challenge. The other children, while not as picky as the vegetarian, also have their required dietary needs.  I have a son that was born with brittle bones disease, so finding any way to bring in extra calcium in his diet is a must. Then there is my asthmatic child whose allergies seem to trigger her wheezing.  So finding the gluten-free items....ugh.

Do you understand how difficult marketing became when I had no clue what gluten-free, vegetarian kid-friendly food would be?  How much the cost would increase or decrease by using all organic products?

The first thing everyone says, when recognizing our large family, is that we should shop in bulk stores like Sam's club, Costco, BJ's, etc. Well, that is true but how we shop in those locations is what matters.  We use those warehouse type of stores to purchase items we go through in masses like toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels and laundry detergent.  I promise you with as many bottoms as we have, this is well worth the once a month trip.  We also use these type of stores for shelf safe items like pancake mix, flour, granola bars, rice, etc.

We started shopping at the local Aldi's and farmer's markets.  And boy did we find amazing deals!  The only thing I had to do is let go of the familiar name brand items.  The big brands are not sold here and for a while, that bothered me.  But after trying some items, and returning others, I realized the only differences were the name of the product and the price point.  This tip has saved me 25-45% on my grocery bill.

After many trials, I have this portion down to a well-planned event.  The thing is not to limit our shopping to one market and go early (8am) to beat the rush and get the freshest fruits/vegetables.

So, it began. Creating the list of items that would last for approximately 28 days. I begin making a list of all of the staple objects in the house that we need. Then, I need to pull all the market circulars in my area.  Thankfully, I have a lot of grocery stores connected via apps on my phone.  I add the online coupons to the member cards to minimize the number of items I need to carry.  (whoever invented these apps...I LOVE YOU!)

I came across another bit of heaven when I found out some of the grocery stores will pull your items and deliver to your front door!!  Amazon, Instacart, Wholefoods, Harris Teeter and FreshDirectare a few of the online grocery stores that will pick, pull and some even deliver (some have a small delivery fee but its so worth it) you understand what that means for busy moms!!  We will no longer have to make the "mom speech"? OH, HAPPY DAY!! The "don't ask for anything while we are here because we are sticking to the list" speech.  There will no longer be an isle with kids falling on the floor crying because mom said no.  Asking someone to watch the minis while I go to the store.... is no longer a cuss word! 

I realized making a budget and shopping list can be uneventful and stress-free if you stick to a couple major points:
  1. Shop for what you need once a month-make the bulk purchases count
  2. Make the pricey items low on the priority list when a budget is tight - instead of a t-bone, find a less pricer cut of beef
  3. Keep pantry items stocked-rice, flour, sugar, oils, seasonings
  4. Create a budget/grocery list and stick to it
  5. If you have to go to the grocery store, in person, get to know your produce person and cashier.  They can let you know about the delivery dates for fresh produce and keep you posted on new sale items.
  6. Never...EVER....go to the store on an empty stomach! grandmother used to say this to me and I never understood why until I did and came home with so many items that were not on the list.....ugh

Whether you have a large family or just a pet goldfish, listen to your family, friends and even neighbors when seeking deals or finding ways to cut costs.   There are many other tricks that we have stumbled on along the way and continue to find ways to make it work.


  1. Great advice! I always find myself confused, overspending or forgetting things when I shop so this is super helpful!

  2. For me, one great thing about living in a rural area is that you can always find great deals at a farmers market. Aldi always comes through, too!

  3. I've been working on shopping on a budget and finding great deals on healthy foods. My son and I are both overweight so these tips are good and important for us. I need to try out Aldi.

  4. I consider myself a smart shopper. I learned from shopping with my mom while growing up. Coupons and buying things on sale is key.

  5. ALDI is my jam! I do the majority of my shopping there to save money. It great!

  6. From one mama to another: Thanks for the tips! I truly need to learn how to keep and stick to a grocery budget. One place I love more than anything is Amazon Prime 2 hour deliveries. OMG Amazon saves me from the "mom speech" and helps keep my anxiety under control. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I love that you have a child who is vegetarian/vegans. I heard aldis have more organic produce and that is really exciting for shopping with your family for options!

  8. Love this! I am anxiously awaiting my local farmers market to reopen for the Summer. Awesome tips!

  9. I grew up in a household with familiar name brands, my husband was the one that actually introduced me to Aldi and I love it now! We dont spend as much on groceries anymore and just because it doesnt have a particular name doesnt mean its not a good product!

  10. I enjoyed this post. Many times the name brand foods are not necessarily the best quality. While I don't have to worry about the satisfying the special needs of a lot of people in my household, I am a very picky eater. I like FRESH food. Shopping on a weekly basis (around the sales) has helped me cut my grocery bill tremendously.

  11. That's exactly how I use bulk stores. No one NEEDS 10 boxes of pasta in one month, unless you have a kid like my daughter who loves pasta. Lol But toliet paper? Stocking up on that definitely helps. Love this.

  12. I just found out about Aldi's a couple of years ago and was amazed to learn there's on near my home. I'm definitely going to check them out on my next grocery run.


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