How to Save on Meals for a Large Family

How to Save on Meals for a Large Family

Sticking to a budget when you have a large family can seem nearly impossible. With so many mouths to feed, how can you possibly save money on groceries? Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make your dollars stretch a little further. Here are some tips on how to save on meals for a large family.

how to save on meals for a large family or large group

  1. Come up with a meal plan. One of the biggest mistakes that can break the bank is not having a meal plan in place and then ordering in Chinese or pizza. Take one day of the week to plan out all of your meals and then stick to it. Seriously, I cut my grocery bill by almost half by meal planning!
  2. Go grocery shopping without your kids. When you have children in tow, you are more likely to be convinced to add unnecessary items to your grocery cart.  Have to bring the kids, bring an activity for them to do or have them play a game while shopping ‘find’ the ‘peanut butter’ and check it off their list when they find it.  Finish the list and they’re rewarded with opening a snack from the cart once back in the car.
  3. Consider joining a wholesale savings club, such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s or Costco. You will need to pay a membership cost, but the amount of money that you can save on purchasing high-priced items (such as meat) in bulk will be worth it in the long run.  BJ’s allows for coupons on multi paks.  eg; if you buy a colgate 3pk you can use 3 coupons!
  4. Stock up on canned foods. Canned soups, tuna fish, and beans can all play a role in your meals at a low cost. Since canned foods have a longer lifespan than fresh foods, you can purchase them and use them at a much later time. My favorite canned item to stock on is tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to make my own sauce at home.  I can never have enough of these, so I buy as large as I can, make large batches of sauce and freeze (yes, back to meal planning #1).
  5. Learn new ways to make pasta. Pasta and rice are very inexpensive and can be a great way to feed a large family. There are also so many different ways you can prepare rice and pasta. Serving it with vegetables and a protein can help you create a well-balanced meal.  Whole Chicken is a great way to get a lot of meals too.  Leftovers easily go into a soup, pot pie, salads.
  6. Think about purchasing wholesale fruits and vegetables. Many people avoid purchasing fruits and vegetables in bulk, but it can help you save money in the long run if you can your vegetables or freeze them. You can even make homemade soups to freeze. The possibilities are endless!  I like to buy from the ‘dinged’ up vegetable and fruits for freezing or preparing.  Green peppers are my favorite, just cut and freeze!  Rinse when you’re ready to use.  As local farm stands if they have an ‘unperfect’ bin somewhere.  You’d be surprised at how many people won’t buy anything but a perfectly red round tomato! Around my town, apples are sold in large quantities this time of year at local garden shops.
  7. Don’t toss your leftovers! There are so many different ways you can use them. If you have a roast turkey, for example, you can make a casserole with the leftovers or make turkey salad sandwiches that your family members can take for lunch.
  8. Consider starting a garden. Aside from the cost of seeds and fertilizer, the vegetables and fruits that you are able to produce in your own backyard are free!  I personally cook enough zucchini baked goods to eat for a year, it’s chaos around here in August!
  9. Make wise choices when eating out. Find out which restaurants are offering specials, use coupons, and consider eating out at lunch instead of dinner to save money. If you like to order pizza, find out what days your favorite pizza parlor offers deals and commit to only ordering on those days. Also, consider eating out for Birthdays and check your local restaurants for ‘Eat Free’ on your Birthday specials.  Sign up for apps at chains like Chili’s and get promo’s.
  10. Buy ‘day old’.  Seriously do you use two loaves at once? So, you’re already eating day old bread, right?  Freeze the bread, rolls.  My daughter taught me a trick, put a paper towel in bag with bread and it keeps it fresher when defrosted, no frosty edges.
  11. Have a baking day once a month.  Cookies, cupcakes, and muffins freeze nicely in freezer bags and make for easy ‘out’ snacks and defrost quickly.  Invest in having a few cupcake tins, they’re worth it!

Don’t forget, check places like Groupon for eating out, use your Ebates when purchasing your Groupon!  Remember to check your stores for sales, clearance and always load your store apps for added savings.  Add additional apps for savings just makes it all that much better!

These are just a few tips on how to save money on meals for a large family. Why spend more on food than you need to?  How do you feed your crowd?

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  1. Sondra Barker

    Great tip even for people without a big family!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Thank you!! I’m not perfect but I remind myself to get back on the ‘plan’ and with very little effort I start saving almost right away.

  2. Taylor Mobley

    it is only my husband and I so we don’t utilize these tips but for people with big families I am sure it is a huge help! I grew up with one other sibling and my parents so I have always belonged to small families.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Small families are lovely! I do am just my husband and myself right now, but have a larger family overall. These are helpful when you feel like preparing, freezing and planning ahead. I still prepare large even though I don’t need to.

  3. Heather

    I am so bad at making a meal plan – I do so much better when I have a CSA share or pick from my own garden requiring me to use what I have. Now if that could carry over to the winter months…

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      My daughter has a winter share with her CSA too! We don’t have to be perfect at this all the time, just knowing you’re doing great a good part of the year is a huge help with your budget! Tweek a little here and there and voila!

  4. Rebecca

    All great tips, especially learning to make new dishes with pasta and rice. I need to work on leftovers. My family hates eating leftovers and I hate wasting food, so I have to figure out a way to re-purpose them.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      I use leftovers in soups, stews, even omelets! Not everyone likes ‘leftovers’ reheated, I get that. There are some things I’d prefer not to eat and others I like even better as leftovers. I like your twist on upgrading a leftover to ‘re-purposing’ a lot!

  5. Andrea

    We don’t have a big family (yet!) but we got a Sams card and we love it! With a growing boy and school snacks, the card has saved up hundreds! Now we need to get better at doing the actual meal planning. So this post is perfect! Thank you!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      YAY!!! I’ve heard only great things about Sam’s Club! Sadly they closed all but one in our part of the country. I think just saying the word meal plan may be a big start!!

  6. Janine Good

    These are great suggestions! Although going to a wholesale shop always takes a chunk from my bank account lol

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      That it can. It helps to save ahead the first time, you’ll end up making out in the long run by not having to buy at full retail price on your weekly/ bi weekly trips. Another way to save is budget out with a Community Farm, they will often have monthly plans for local community members.

  7. idriss

    Super Advice ! Thank you

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      You are Very Welcome!

  8. Ruxandra

    It is so important to make a meal plan and a groceries list and stick to it! I also freeze bread and my mom also freezes butter and milk!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      I freeze lots too, yes.. hmmm, last count I had 8 tubs of margarine in there. I haven’t frozen milk yet. I’ll have to give it a try. Thank you for the tip!

  9. cheryl@neuroticbaker

    While my son and I are just a family of two, these are still great tips!!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Thank you so much for stopping by! A good plan is always my best defense when my budget starts to run amuck.

  10. heidi

    Great advice. Making lists and meal plans is a great way to save money and time.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Thank you! It really has been a life saver for me!

  11. Emilee

    Awesome tips. I buy veggies in bulk too!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      I especially love stocking on peppers, onions, green beans and asparagus YUM! Such a great way to save and have ‘fresh’ year round 🙂

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Thank you for stopping by and checking out the post.

  12. Reuven

    These are some terrific suggestions. We’re a family of four but with two teen boys, our food bills sometimes look like those of a family of six or more! Making smart use of leftovers for lunches or snacks is always helpful and buying day old bread is a good idea, too, especially if you make your own breadcrumbs or french toast, when you want drier bread to begin with. Great post; thanks for your tips.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      OH Yes, Teen Boys! Well, boys in general have ferocious appetites as they grow! I’m so glad you enjoyed these tips and Yum to French Toast!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Oh Yes, for all size families… I’m eating leftovers right now, yes I am… got a plate of noodles right next to my keyboard!

  13. Nellwyn

    I love repurposing leftovers so that nothing goes to waste. I haven’t yet been organized enough to come up with a meal plan, but I’d like to get there one day soon!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Meal planning is hands down the BEST! And really… it requires very little more than what you’re already doing, mostly it’s committing it to paper/plan. And oh yes, LEFTOVERS!! Some things are just so much better as leftovers too 🙂

  14. Amber Myers

    Great ideas! I always try to meal plan, but I’m not the best at it. I hate cooking.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      LOL!!! Join the club! I love eating but hate cooking. You don’t have to be the best at anything, just planning more days than not starts showing a good savings immediately, now that’s incentive enough for me!

  15. Cricket Plunkett

    There’s only 2 in my family, but I can’t imagine life without costco!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Only two in my ‘home’ but many more in my family. Costco is great, aren’t they! 🙂

  16. Lindsey

    Such good tips! Always looking for ways to save money.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Me too, always looking for ways to get better at it! and sharing with y’all 🙂

  17. Lizzy

    Excellent list! I don’t have a big family to feed but I can still apply these points!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      I like preparing as if I’m cooking for 10! then I can freeze away!

  18. thesocialbeing721

    I love these ideas! It seems overwhelming, until you have a plan in place using your tips. Thanks!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      It really did seem overwhelming to me at first. I tell some people to try by just recording what meals they like best, put them on post it’s then place those post it’s on the calendar… voila… a meal plan is born!

  19. Katrina

    Costco is an absolute life saver for me! And i never thought about purchasing fruit in bulk for fear of me freezing then wrong but I’ll def try out your tips for the bread!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      OH, I was so excited when my daughter shared that Bread freezing tip with me!! the whole top shelf of my freezer is bread items now!

  20. Leslie

    Great advice even though it works for small families too. I buy my veggies at wholesale and it is so much cheaper.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      I love freezing my veggie scores!!! Saving any way we can for families big and small xo

  21. Sheila Jo

    I haven’t been happy with the results when I’ve tried to freeze bread – will try the paper towel trick next time! Thanks!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      It Works!! Really… I have a whole top shelf filled with bread items and keeping some paper towels nearby helps too.

  22. Jessica Harlow

    #2 is a must at my house. I swear I spend at least $20 more every time I have a kid in tow. They always “have to” have something in the cart and I can only fend off so many “but,puhleezes”!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      LOL!! I got caught actually reprimanding my husband for sneaking stuff into our cart! Two days later a co-worker repeated word for word what she heard me say to him haha!! I need to find an activity to keep him busy haha!!

  23. Shelby

    Great tips! I love buying bulk foods at Costco. I need to get better at meal planning.

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Meal Planning is well, maybe it’s just the word ‘planning’ that make it sound like a chore. Try this.. make a list of items you know how to cook, like to cook. Write some on post it’s then place the post it’s on your calendar. There you go!

  24. Amanda

    Great info! I have a family of 6 and use a few of these methods. Meal planning is my neemisis though, I really need to do it! I love the baking day idea!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      Baking days are great!! I love how easily and quickly cooking in cupcake tins is. I cook a LOT in cupcake tins to cut down on cooking time (meatloaf, stuffed chicken strips, etc..) having a bag of frozen brownies, cookies, muffins, etc.. saves a ton of time and yes, loads of money too!

  25. Ivonne

    Welcomed advice for my huge family!

    • Kimberly Ann Elizabeth

      YAY!!! Feel free to share any added tips too!