Every year, summer vacation strikes fear in the hearts of stay-at-home moms everywhere. Not only do you have to keep the little heathens entertained, you gotta feed 'em too, but with a little bit of planning and a few helpful tips, you can make your summer food costs more manageable.
- Plan a weekly menu. Sit down with your local grocery store's sales circular and check out what's on sale vs. your qpons on hand, and plan your menu accordingly. If chicken is on sale, work 2 or 3 days of chicken recipes into your meal plan. Write down what you'll need for every meal for everyday of the week, including snacks and drinks. Check your cabinets for items you already have on hand & check them off, what you have left, is your grocery list.
- Shop at discount stores. Don't be a "brand snob". I will buy a store brand anyday, as long as the quality and taste are the same. In all actuality, alot of store brands are really name brand products, only in different packaging. My favorite discount store, Aldi, is a great place to stock up on all your staples and inexpensive produce, as well as paper products.
- Skip the individually packaged, convenience foods. You're paying for the extra work, that a machine did. Instead, buy items in bulk and break them down into single servings, yourself at home. (a box of baggies are only .92¢ at Kroger) Instead of buying pre packaged mac & cheese for 3.29, buy a 1$ box of elbow macaroni and some cheddar cheese and make it from scratch. Not quite as easy as using the blue box, but way cheaper & it even tastes better.
- Cut out the mindless, all day long grazing. Excessive snacking not only hits your wallet, it's also the easiest way to pack on unwanted pounds. Set a specified amount of snacks, for each child, for the day and don't let them have anything else.
- Have a "Meatless Monday". Beans, rice and potatoes are all cheap alternatives to meat. You can do meatless dishes like chili, chips & cheese or broccoli & rice casserole, cheesy potato soup or veggie quesadillas, there are tons of great meatless possibilities.
- There are lots of great online menu planning services, my favorite is Food on the Table. It uses your local sales circulars and makes a customized menu, complete with recipe links. Very handy for busy moms.
By implementing one or more of these helpful tips, you can afford to feed your kids all summer without having to sell one of them for grocery money. Happy Vacationing!