Families come in all shapes and sizes and so do their budgets. As if bills werenít expensive enough, add consistently rising food prices and your weekly budget may well have just been blown out of the water.
Bulk shopping is something that most have heard about but that most donít necessarily know how to do. It sounds simple in theory but making your way in to the local shopping centre and buying eight tins of tomatoes straight from the shelf isnít going to achieve any savings. To make the most of bulk buying, shop around. Know where the specials are, keep a record of what you will use and how much. Be mindful not to buy simply because something is on a bulk special too. Sure those pickled kippers may be a great price at five for $10 but are you really going to eat them?
Buy Local whenever you can. Not only are you supporting a small business that supports your community, the fruit and vegetables are fresher and cheaper. At the end of the day big business can afford to mark up their produce because there will always be customers. Small, local businesses rely on your purchases to ensure their continuity.
Homemade meals are not only the healthier option for your family but they are also a fraction of the price of take-away. Dining out occasionally is great. Everybody deserves a night out where cooking and dishes take a back seat for the night. To make the most out of your budget though keep those nights to a minimum. If your family is complaining because they are sick of the same old meals, hit Google up or find yourself a good recipe book. FYI most take away meals have an alternative homemade recipe that you can try. My own family prefers homemade Big Macs over those brought out.
Bake your own breads and cakes. Back in the day, it was common place to make your own baked goods. Not only is it a good family activity that everyone can get involved in, baking bread is a great way to get out some frustrations. Thereís nothing like giving the dough a good bashing after a hard day of arguing with the kids or husband. Homemade cakes, muffins and biscuits are also cheap lunchbox filler for school recesses and lunches.
Growing your own vegetables is not only rewarding but an economical way to supply your family with enough vegetables to see you through the seasons. With a little foresight and research you can create a garden full of produce that will thrive in your local area. If you find yourself a natural green thumb and your absolutely over run with more vegetables than you can handle, consider giving or trading with your neighbours. Alternatively by blanching you can freeze them for a later date when they arenít in season to grow.
Donít waste a thing. Left overs may not be the most exciting meal you will eat that week but you can save hundreds of dollars a year by making sure you eat everything you buy and make. As a child, there was always an audible sigh of unhappiness at being told left overs were for dinner. With a little help from google or a good recipe book you can find creative ways to reserve last nightís meal without anybody suspecting a thing.
With a little creative thinking and planning you can make that small family budget fit a large families lifestyle.