“Better develop a taste for leftovers, pasta, and stews made with cheap meat!”
I was scrolling around on the new Threads app when this comment caught my eye. It was on a thread about grocery budget hacks, and I couldn’t help but click through to see if there were any tips I could try to help keep our family’s food spending under control. Let’s face it: Feeding a family (of any size) is more expensive than most of us would like it to be. And while prices on staples like eggs have started to stabilize recently, it’s undeniable we’d be better off if we could buy more frugally, waste less food, and not drive ourselves crazy in the process.
“Time to get back to the good old-fashioned skills our great-grandparents had in the Depression,” one commenter advised. “Yes! Grow a garden so you can provide your own food!” someone else added. “Don’t waste a thing. Refuse to grocery shop until every bite of food in the house is gone,” another person chimed in. I read all these recommendations and shook my head.
What about working parents who don’t have the time or skills to grow a garden? And about those “old-fashioned” Depression-era skills: It took intense amounts of time, energy, and ingenuity to produce the meals our great-grandparents ate during the lean years. Besides, none of these commenters seems to have encountered a toddler who will ONLY eat strawberries this week, a child with sensory issues who has to have a specific brand of yogurt and chicken nuggets, or even just a family full of different food preferences, where variety and compromise go a much longer way than “You’ll eat it and like it!”
Still, this back-to-school season, we could all use more strategies to help us get meals on the table for less money, with less waste, and preferably less stress. So here are some of our easiest ideas to help you transition into the school year:
There are lots of ways to reduce stress and waste at family dinner, so if you’re looking for more support, check out these articles from our archives.
Our Budget friendly meal resources provide a five-day dinner plan and shopping lists that are low-cost and low-effort, especially for families who need to stretch every dollar.
Make your “make do” night more fun and challenging with a family friendly Iron Chef Competition!
It’s that time of year again! Keep our big list of back-to-school questions handy for the transition out of summer.