Finding a way to stretch your dollar doesn’t have to be difficult.
Just ask the Seed family from Indiana, a family of five that manages to save 50 percent on their food budget.
It starts by making breakfast at home each morning—and everyone has a role.
“I flip the pancakes, so most of the time I don’t do the big things, but I do help out with the little things,” said young Charlie Seed. He and his younger brother Daniel and sister Molly help prepare the meals.
Their mom, Kristin, told Fox 59 it’s a team effort that takes planning.
“Not only do our kids know how to feed themselves, but they also know how to manage their money. One thing we’ve taught them is it’s not cost saving or even healthy to go out to eat very often,” Kristin said. “We can make dinners from scratch, and save money and put in healthy, non-fattening ingredients.
Another tip: avoid buying school lunches if possible. The family doesn’t spend the $2.50 on school lunches. Instead, they make and take stuff from home for less than half what it would cost at school.
Their weekly food budget for five is less than $150, which includes packing those school lunches for three kids. They do eat out on occasion, but Kristin estimates it’s five times more expensive than eating the same thing at home.
Again, she said planning is the key.
“On Sunday, we usually sit down and talk about the whole busy schedule, who has what, what nights are we going to be here, what nights are we not going to be here,” Kristin explained. “We also figure out if a particularly busy day may mean we have to do a fast dinner. Then we take a couple more minutes, look in the pantry and freezer and try to plan just three meals.”
The Seed family has plenty of cost-saving tips. Kristin loves shopping at Aldi’s and saves more than 60 percent by going to Aunt Millie’s bread store.
The family also puts an emphasis on healthy meals.
Dad Trent Seed said they eat lots of fruits and veggies and very little red meat. Instead, they look for other sources of protein like smoothies.
“To our kids, it’s like, ‘Everybody doesn’t do this?’ So they don’t know any different, and it’s great,” he said.
“I’m 10, and helping out and cooking and helping with the ingredients and planning makes me feel like I can cook, and I can feed myself,” said young Daniel.
At least a couple times a year, Kristin does what she calls “The Great Purge,” taking inventory of the pantry and figuring out ways to use it.
Too many people throw out food because they don’t keep track of what they have. But as the Seed family points out, if you waste food, you waste money.
Kristin blogs money-saving tips on her website, Indy Call Me Chef. On the site, she shows anyone how dining can cost less than $3 a meal, even with the occasional meal at a restaurant.
“I just like talking to people about eating the right way, and saving money doing it, and how much healthier you can be when you’re eating correctly and fixing your own food,” Kristin said.