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8 Pro Tips For Saving Money When Cooking For A Family

Feed the family, save the $$$.


Cooking for a family can be both difficult and expensive โ€” especially if your family is full of picky eaters.


But there has to be ways to make everyone happy and do it on the cheap โ€” right?

To answer that question, we turned to eight pro food bloggers to see how they feed their families without spending a ton of money. Here are their tips:

1. Research what products are on sale and build your menus around them...

Fangxianuo / Getty Images

"Plan meals around things that are on sale that week at the store. Consider purchasing those items in bulk and freezing for later as well."

โ€” Sara Wells, from Our Best Bites

2. And always plan your menu in advance so you know what to shop for.

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"Plan a menu, plan a menu, plan a menu! I'm a broken record about planning menus โ€” because not only does it save money, but it saves sanity! It doesn't have to be some elaborate seven-course spread written in permanent marker in meticulous detail, but jotting down several meals to make each week will help avoid making multiple weekly trips to the store โ€” and when you go grocery shopping, you'll know exactly what to pick up!"

โ€” Mel, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

More: 15 Tips for Better Weekly Meal Planning

3. Cook in big batches and repurpose your leftovers into new and exciting meals.

"Cook in big batches so you have leftovers that can be transformed into multiple meals. For example, Cincinnati chili can be served by itself, or used in empanadas, under cornbread for tamale pie, or under queso for chili con queso."

โ€” Rebecca Lindamood, from Foodie With Family

More: Get the recipe for Rebecca's Cincinnati chili.

4. Buy certain ingredients in bulk and store them in the freezer to take advantage of bulk savings.

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"Meal plan and buy certain ingredients in bulk. Fox example, I will buy ground beef or turkey in bulk and separate it out and freeze it. Food often costs less when you buy it in larger quantities. Then I will utilize the same ingredients (usually the protein) two to three times that week in different ways โ€” like beef tacos, beef stroganoff, and beef and ginger fried rice. Not only does this help save some money, but it also makes meal planning a little easier."

โ€” Alice Choi, from Hip Foodie Mom

More: Get Choi's recipe for one-pot beef stroganoff.

5. Figure out which foods everyone in your family agrees on, and stock up on them.

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"Sit your family down and come up with a list of ten foods everyone loves. Make sure to always have them on hand and find ways to mix and match them so you donโ€™t overspend on other foods everyone might not enjoy as much."

โ€” Catherine McCord, from Weelicious

6. Use frozen fruits and veggies to make wholesome meals that won't break the bank.

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"Frozen fruit and vegetables are always my number one tip for making healthy family food on a budget. It's always cheaper and doesn't go bad like fresh produce. It's often much easier to prepare and cook too, as a lot of the work is often done for you. For example, frozen cauliflower is cleaned and chopped, ready to go!"

โ€” Ciara Attwell, from My Fussy Eater

7. Aim to cook from your freezer and pantry two nights a week to make sure nothing goes to waste.

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"An obvious way to save money on groceries is to avoid expensive items. And another way is to avoid food waste. I often combine these two strategies by making sure to cook from my pantry and freezer at least two times a week. The items in your pantry and freezer tend to cost less and go to waste if you don't force yourself to use them up on a regular basis. Plus, it's a fun challenge. Most home cooks underutilize their pantry."

โ€” Stacie Billis, host of Didn't I Just Feed You?

8. Focus on cooking with ingredients that give you a lot of bang for your buck โ€” such as legumes, beans, and nut butters.

Dianazh / Getty Images,

"Feeding my family nourishing meals made from whole foods doesnโ€™t need to be costly. I always include beans, legumes, grains, potatoes, yams, nuts, seeds, and pastas in the mix. I find if I batch cook many of these items, they can be worked into various dishes and meals throughout the week and a little goes a long way.

Choosing in-season produce is also economical. I also cook with eggs quite often as they offer a big nutritional bang for the buck and work with almost everything. Nut butters and tahini also boost nutrition and flavor and go a long way."

โ€” Jill Fergus, from Feed The Swimmers

More: Get Jill's vegetarian meatball recipe.

Ready to put these money-saving tips to use? Check out our meal plan below for an entire week's worth of easy, customizable dinner recipes your whole family will love.

Get the recipes, shopping lists, and everything else you'll need to own this back-to-school season.