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Save Big Money on Feeding Your Family By Double-Dipping

One of the ways we’re able to feed our family of six on roughly $300-$400 a month is by “double-dipping” on our meals.   The concept of double-dipping where meals are concerned is basically that you re-use what you’ve got left to make another meal. 

For instance:

When ham is on sale at the local grocery store, we’ll buy a big ol’ ham.  A tip:  Never ever pay full price.  We either wait till it’s down to under a buck a pound or until they’re having a buy one, get one free sale (with ham, this usually happens around Easter or Christmas time).  We do this with most meat (and other products) that we buy.

So, we buy our ham, cook it up for dinner one night, and then, with the leftovers we’ll:

-have ham sandwiches for lunch the next day

-make bean and ham soup to freeze for later

-make one or two casseroles to freeze for later.

So, for the cost of one meal, we’ve now got 4 or 5 meals.  This can really be done with most meals, especially those that contain meat.  Leftover meat loaf can turn into meatloaf sandwiches or cheeseburger soup.  Leftover chicken can turn into a chicken and rice hotdish or chicken tacos.  And by freezing some of the meals, we’ll have food available for those days when I don’t have time to cook, saving us even more money by avoiding those last-minute meals like delivery pizza.

By getting creative and refusing to let food go to waste, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on your grocery budget.  For another great leftover idea, read a post from our cooking extraordinaire friend, Michelle, over at Rockin’ The Mom Role.

What are your favorite money-saving tips for feeding your family?

15 comments

  1. Laurie says:

    Oliver, we were in the same place with our food budget. We’d set a budget, and then end up going to the store for “just a couple of things”. When I went back through our last year’s expenses as I prepped for tackling our debt this year, I found that we blew our grocery budget by an average of $200 a month on those “couple of things”. We’ll be eating beans and rice for a few years to make up for this, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end. Thanks for stopping by, and glad the post was helpful!

  2. michelle says:

    Laurie: there are creative ways to have simple beans and rice that dont make you feel deprived. I will keep in mind when posting that many have as new years resolutions: ways to cut down on the food budget.

    When i was a new mom and decided to stay at home on a single paycheck, we went from a $40k income to a $20k. Needless to say, my entire weekly budget was about $200. I got very good at finding ways to save money but not feel deprived.

    I will strive to tap in to that bank of knowledge and share it in the coming weeks and months.

    • Laurie says:

      That would be great, Michelle, if you could share your ideas. You are one of the best I know at making even the most simple ingredients taste wonderful – thanks!

  3. michelle says:

    Oliver@christian money blog:

    While my blog is not focused on money saving, part of rockin the mom role is to be able to nourish, sustain and maintain a quality lifestyle for my family. I am naturally discerning in my purchases, but in the past have been not as judicious as i’d like. I will not spend money on an inferior product, but i need to get better at discerning my NEED for that product.

    I hope my blog will inspire and excite creativity in the area of domestication.

  4. I love doing this! Not only is it economical but it reduces the amount of time that I have to spend in the kitchen. My husband doesn’t enjoy having the same things over and over again, but as you say, make it into different recipes. I do this with both meatloaf and chicken.

    • Laurie says:

      Sicorra, you’re so right about reducing the time spent in the kitchen! Sometimes our family gets a bit cranky about having the same things over again too, but a little creativity will take care of that. :-). Thanks, Sicorra!

  5. Margaret says:

    Hey Laurie,

    Great post. We do the same thing all the time. We just bought like six large hams that were on super sale too. We save the ham bone (with a little bit of ham left on it) for baked beans (my favorite!).

    One of the things we do alot is with soups. When making chicken soup, I make a large pot. The first day or so we eat the chicken soup, then I transform the soup into other soups, like mushroom or tomato..it serves like a chicken stock.

    Leftovers are great for quesadillas too. Take the leftovers, some tortillas and a little bit of cheese. Works with so many things.

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else

    • Laurie says:

      Great ideas, Margaret, thanks! I love the idea of using the chicken soup as a base to make other soups, and the quesadillas idea is great too. Easy stuff that you can’t go wrong with. Have a great day, Margaret!

  6. I never used to save any leftovers, but no I throw almost nothing away. It gets made into stir fry or soup. I also try to make things that don’t require meat as the main course unless there is a killer sale on something. I feel like I have made real strides with my grocery budget until I see yours for six. Amazing!

    • Laurie says:

      We are with you on the meat thing too – very little, if any at all, do we eat. Casseroles have 1/4 a pound of beef instead of a whole pound of beef, etc. I love your idea about using the leftovers to make stir fry; we’ll have to try that!

    • Laurie says:

      I agree, Pauline. Glad to hear you’ve found some great ways to be creative there as well. Feel free to share if you come up with anything fun – we’re always looking for new meal ideas :-).

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