Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Book Review: How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family

by heather
To give me some ideas to make it through my pantry challenge, I read How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family: So Many Innovative Strategies You Won’t Have to Cut Coupons by Steve and Annette Economides. I enjoyed reading it. It has lots of great suggestions, even if sometimes it’s a little on the cheesy side. I love that the authors emphasize that your time is at least as valuable as your money. They spend $350 each month feeding their large family, and they don’t do it by hitting the loss leaders at 6 grocery stores per week. The strategies that they use work for them because they provide them with more time with their family. And their basic suggestions aren’t new or revolutionary, but they do elaborate with lots of examples that have worked for them and other families who read their blog.
  • Have a plan- plan your grocery list, plan your meals, plan your money
  • Look at ads, then coupon and price match 
  • Stock up on good deals
  • Shop once per month
  • Cook once per month & freeze multiple meals
  • Get your family involved
  • Organize your kitchen/pantry/freezer in a way that makes shopping & cooking efficient
  • Learn to cook and eat at home
  • Garden

 That’s the basic premise of their book. These down-to-earth ideas are all things that we have heard before, but I think the key that really brings it all together is having a plan. This is true when it comes to most things, whether you’re talking about feeding your family, saving for college or running a business. You have to decide that your are going to save money on your groceries and how you are going to do it.
 At the end of every chapter they have suggestions for which ever level you’re at. If you’re a beginner there are suggestions for you, there are suggestions for those with some experience who are trying to do better and then there are even tips for the experts. In one of the book reviews I read, someone complained that all of the ideas in this book were great if you have a large family, but irrelevant for most people. I have to disagree with that. They have suggestions that work for the young, old and in between. There are ideas that can work if you live by yourself or are part of a family of 12. You just have to pick out the ideas that are relevant to your situation.
  Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:

  • Buy produce in bags, you get more for your money. Produce bags have to be a certain minimum weight, but often weigh more than that and are usually cheaper per pound than loose produce.
  • Share recipes with friends to get new cooking ideas.
  • Put a small plastic basket in your cart where you put all of your “impulse buys”. Before you get to the check-out evaluate if you really need any or all of those items.
  • Picky eaters can easily sabotage frugality. Find creative ways to get them to eat what the rest of the family is eating.

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