I’m not a big believer in New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think that this time of year is great for evaluating your life and figuring out what is serving you, and what it’s time to let go of. With that comes breaking down where our money goes, and for most of us, groceries is a huge portion of that! The average American family of 4 spends over $250 a week on groceries, making it the third largest budget category, behind mortgages/rent and car payments.
There are lots of easy things you can do to trim the budget without completely overhauling your lifestyle. Here are my 10 toddler friendly ways to cut your grocery budget:
1.) Give up the convenience packs
Yes, it is so much easier to grab a little prepackaged serving size of Goldfish out of the pantry and hand it to your kid, but it also costs a lot more. Even on Amazon, you could get 27 ounces of snack pack Goldfish for $10, or a 60 ounce regular bag for $14.
2.) Switch to Meatless Mondays
I’m not saying you need to go all tofu crazy, but vegetarian chilis and soups, veggie tacos, or even a classic grilled cheese sandwiches, are all easy, cheap meals! If you need some inspiration, here is my favorite vegetarian soup (I use dairy alternatives and it’s still amazing!).
3.) Do a pantry challenge
One of the best things about toddlers is they don’t care about social constructs. Pancakes at 3 o’clock? SURE! This makes them a perfect partner for doing a pantry challenge. Before you go grocery shopping for the week, clean out the back of your pantry and the deep freezer. Then make a list of things you need so that you can use all the items you had forgotten about. Find a small bag of rice cereal behind the canned goods? Add marshmallows to the list so you can make some Rice Krispie Treats! Have a ton of ground beef in the deep freezer? Get some taco ingredients! The key to a successful pantry challenge is to use as many of the forgotten items as you can without spending a ton at the grocery store.
4.) Make crackers last longer
The bulk section at Sprouts is my best friend. I grab bags of different nuts, granola, seeds, and dried fruits, and then let my kids combine them with crackers to make their own little baggies of snacks to take when we go out. They love “being in charge” of their food choices, and I spend a lot less. Their current favorites are pepitas, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, and craisins.
5.) Ditch the fruit snacks and try in season fruit
In the summer, my kids will go through several pounds of fresh fruit DAILY. It’s gotten to a point where I can just wash it and leave it for them to get themselves. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to get fruit out by themselves, try staying stocked on bananas, apples, oranges, and berries that are in season to help save money and help your kids form healthier habits.
Let us know if you try any of these budget friendly ideas, we would love to hear from you!