How to feed a family of 6 on roughly $200 per week.

How to feed a family of 6 on roughly $200 per week.

Groceries account for one of the highest household expenses however it is also a variable cost that we can all budget.

Nikki Holloway a Canadian mother from Arrowwood, AB who feeds 6 on roughly $200/week, has provided Grocery Alerts Canada her top 11 tips to putting the money back in your bank account and not on your plate.

Nikki’s Tips:

1.     Plan at least 2 weeks in advance. Planning your meals in advance will make it easier to see what you need and will allow you to account for the weekly specials so that you can tailor your meals.

2.     Go meatless for 2 days of the week. Serving up a healthy warm veggie soup and grilled cheese sandwichs or pasta served with salad and bread will save you money. Not to mention the health benefits.

3.     Make my own bread. Nikki has sat down and figured out that making 3 loaves every 4 days will cost her approx. $1.00/ loaf, even with the prices of baking goods creeping up. She makes healthy pancakes and waffles from scratch, which she doubles up to allow extras for the children’s lunches. “They are a nice change from the sandwiches.”

4.     Stock up. Stocking up on butter, cheese, yogurt and other ingredients that are on sale goes a long way and comes in handy with her baking. Milk is a necessity in Nikki’s home, she will often go through 4 jugs a week. Milk is another product that Nikki buys when it’s on special and freezes.

5.     Keep with the fruit in season. Nikki trys to buy fruit that is in season. Right now it’s oranges.  A great way to spike up the vitamin C during the winter months.

6.     Shop at Grocery Stores that price match and offer points. Nikki’s 2 favorite stores to shop are Sobeys and No Frills. Sobeys for the points that she earns and money that can be taken off at the end. In the past year Nikki has saved approx. $300 on bonus rewards at Sobeys.

7. Stick with no name products. Admittedly, Heinz ketchup and Campbell’s soup are the only brand products Nikki buys. “No name is fine in casseroles and such.”

8.     Costco Membership. Costco to me is still debatable, while some people receive tremendous savings with the benefits of having a Costco membership, I still disagree perhaps only because I’m buy for two. That is not the case with Nikki. Nikki recently benefited from her membership at Costco’s when she purchased 3 boxes for of yogurt for $5.97.  Usually the boxes of yogurt sell between $3.50 and $4.00 at the grocery stores saving her over $6.

9.     Stretching meals by adding fillers. By fillers I’m referring to more veggies, rice or pasta to accompany a portion of meat.  Nikki wants to provide a healthy meal for her family and still considering a well-balanced meal of all major food groups.

10. Using a credit card that offers cash back points. Nikki pays off her credit card every month so she doesn’t mind using it. Last year alone she managed to earn $500 of free products. She does warn that this does take extreme disciple and is not for everyone. “It’s not the same as cash in a jar where you can see exactly how much money you have left over.”

11.   Track spending. Each receipt is entred into a spreadsheet on a weekly basis, to see where she is spending her money and what she can do to cut back unnecessary costs or improve her spending habits.

Nikki Holloway feels this strategy works well for her and her family, she may go over some weeks however generally she keeps to right around the $200/week mark.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stretch that $200 even further?

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianTravelHacking.com.

AMEX SCOTIA