If you have teenagers like we do, you KNOW they eat a lot! Here's how to save money on groceries with teenagers in the house.
If you have a teenager in your house, then you know just how expensive it can be to feed them. Between going back for seconds of dinner and having friends over, it might start to feel like your teenagers are eating you out of house and home! I’m going to show you how you can still feed your bottomless pit teenagers without allowing them to become a money pit in your food budget. Here is how to save money on groceries with teenagers in the house.
How to Save Money on Groceries with Teenagers
Don’t spend money on beverages
You would be surprised how quickly a teenager can go through a 12 pack of soda! Save your money for food, and drink water instead. Instead of making juices and beverages a regular around the house, make it a special treat that you only have now and then. Save milk for cooking and baking, and stick to water to help you save money. We set our kids up for success with this early by only giving them diluted juice in their first cup when they were little, after that they were only allowed water. We also rarely have pop in the house and when we do it's generally reserved for company.
Use beans and lentils to stretch your meals
While it is unrealistic to go meatless every night, unless you are a house of vegetarians, you can still stretch those meat-filled meals! Add beans and lentils to your tacos, chili, and even your meatballs to help stretch your meat even further. That is of course, if your teenagers will eat them. (Ours won't but we hear this works for other families!)
Buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is not always a good strategy to save money. However, if your family consumes a lot of a specific item, this can be a great way to save money. Meats and other products bought in bulk are a fraction of the cost, and you can still enjoy your family’s favorite foods for less. We have a Costco membership and only buy certain items there like chicken breasts, frozen broccoli, eggs and hummus. Make sure to do the math before you buy to make sure that it’s cheaper than the smaller packaging.
Eat at home
Whether you are feeding a teenager or not, this is still a great way to save on your food bill. However, if you are trying to fill a tummy that can’t seem to get full, a meal out will cost you dearly. We used to be able to eat out for a reasonable amount of money, but with recent price increases (thank you minimum wage increase in Ontario) and our kids no longer eating kids' meals, it's like feeding five adults. Even fast food costs us almost $50 and Swiss Chalet (a favorite on Sunday after church) now costs over $80. Make your family’s favorite meals out right in your kitchen, and save yourself a headache and the bill of going out to eat.
Keep your recipes simple
What are the recipes that your family asks for time and time again? The classics! Quesadillas, tacos, burgers, and even sloppy Joes all require a few ingredients, and they’re cheap to make! Simple dishes with just a few ingredients will help keep your food cost down while making eating at home less of a hassle.
Make sure your meals are filling
When you are looking for meals that will keep your family full, you want to turn to complex carbs. Whole grains and healthy starches are going to be cheaper and just as nutritious as some of your other alternatives. A few of my favorites are pasta dishes or breakfast for dinner. If you're trying to watch your waste line by avoiding carbs, just make enough to serve the kids. They still need all that filling food even if you don't!
Teenagers eat a lot of food; this is a given. They are growing and going through puberty which means they have a bigger appetite. These tips can help make sure you are keeping your teenagers well fed, without going broke!
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