I have 4 very active children who love to eat!!! And they like to eat meat!! It's not easy to feed a family of 6 carnivores on a tight budget. Over the past
few years I've seen lots of great ideas to save time & money....and I've tried most of them!! Some worked, some didn't and some just needed a little tweaking to work for my family. When I hear or read about a new technique, I usually give it a try. And usually I end up going back to what has worked best for me.
My strategy is threefold. I use menu planning based on meat & produce sales. I use digital, manufacturer & store coupons. I also choose meals that will feed my family for a total cost of $12 or less.
My first task each week is to check sales flyers for Kroger, Meijer & Foodtown to see what meat & produce is on sale. Based on those sales I'll start planning meals for the week. I have a master list of about 30 meals that we rotate through. I'm always trying new recipes and adding to that master list. These meals range in cost from $10 - $15. This cost includes the main dish and any sides or bread. I make enough for 2 helpings per person and leftovers for lunch or afterschool snacks the next day.
I then check a couple of websites that list deals for the week on everything else we use. They list the deal and all the coupons available. Two of my favorite sites are clipshopshare and stockpilingmoms.
There are two things that will help you maximize your savings. First, be flexible about brands that you use. That way when you need something you will buy the brand that you have a coupon for and is on sale. Secondly, buy extra when it's on sale so you rarely pay full price for the items that you use regularly. My motto is if it's not on sale and I don't need it, then I don't buy it.
The hardest part about this strategy is the time it takes each week to stay organized and plan, but it always pays off with huge savings.