Helping Your Family Financially . . . As You Grocery Shop

The following post is written by Tammy Zebell, who—now that her three sons are grown—spends her days at Revive Our Hearts editing radio transcripts, uploading blog posts, managing web projects, and just keeping us all above water! And of course, she always has a tasty, economical meal to share with her husband Bill (and often company) after work. 

As a young mom with three children two and under, I struggled with staying home to take care of our family. I wanted to help out financially, and thought I would only be able to do so by getting a job outside the home. That is, until a godly woman was brave enough to challenge me that the best way I could be my husband’s helper was to stay home and raise our family. She gave me the vision that my creativity and hard work at home would be far more productive financially—not to mention spiritually and relationally.

And she was right! One of the many ways I learned I could save our family money was in the area of food management. I thought I’d share some of these things with you that helped us make a much smaller investment at the grocery store!

  1. I learned how to cook healthy dishes from scratch. Our typical meals were small on meat and high in vegetables and grains.
  2. I learned to plan meals and make a grocery list. I learned what the best prices were for all the “normal” items I would buy. Then, I poured through the sale flyers to determine which stores had the best values. My grocery list included which items to buy at which store. Then, no matter what items called out to me in the store, I kept to the plan and only bought what was on my list.
  3. I kept our budgeted grocery allowance in cash in an envelope in my purse. If I didn’t have the cash, I didn’t buy it.
  4. One of the most helpful things was developing a food pantry full of all the non-perishable foods I typically used. Because we had a large freezer, it also consisted of frozen items. Once my pantry was developed, I only bought items at the store that were on sale. If a sale was particularly good, I bought  a quantity of that item. Another benefit of my pantry was I didn’t have to meal plan anymore. Because I always had on hand any ingredient I needed, I could pick what sounded good to make on any given day.
  5. Finally, the day came when the children were a little older and we began to learn to grow our own food. Gardening allowed us to teach the children several life skills while providing us with fresh produce.
  6. And of course, once we had a garden, we had surplus. The next step was to learn to can and freeze food. It was amazingly satisfying to open up the pantry door and see all kinds of jars of fruits and vegetables. And it was especially great to open up jars of food in the winter when we couldn’t afford to buy off-season produce.

This was one of many areas where I learned to pour my time and energy. As a result, I was much more of a helper for my husband and our family than I ever would have been otherwise. And another huge (unexpected!) blessing was the deep contentment I found by being home to pour into my family. How about you? Any other tips you’ve learned along the way for helping your husband and family financially through food management?

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