Nurturing My Nest Blog

Routines and Rhythms of Homemaking
Intentional Homebuilding & Custom Built Education
 Based in Tennessee. Available for travel.

Saving Without Scissors – Food Costs


What does your family spend monthly on food?

What motivates you to be a steward of the funds God has provided you?

What would you do with money you saved on groceries?

Have you calculated how much money you waste on food you throw out each week?

Do you know what is currently in your refrigerator, freezer or pantry?

Due to the financial strain families feel in the current economy, discussions about food costs occur more frequently than ever. In the last few years, I have been privileged to speak at numerous women’s events on the subject of saving money on groceries. While utilizing numerous ideas to save money weekly and monthly on food, I share ideas on “Saving Without Scissors” which focuses on easy-to-implement ideas. The following include some of the ideas from my presentations:

Access Food Costs

Initially, when attempting to save money on your food cost, a family should assess how much is spent monthly on groceries.  According to the USA Today’s January 2024 report on food cost, “The average family spends about $270 at the grocery store per week, but that number increases when children are taken into account. Families with kids spend an average of $331 a week on groceries or 41% more than families without kids.” This does not even take into account the excessive eating out which is the norm for individuals and families. While our family food budget is significantly lower than the national average, it still represents a sizable cost. Certainly, this represents a significant portion of your budget.  Ask the question, “What would you do with 50% of the money to spend monthly?  What motivates you to be a steward of the funds God has provided you?”


Work Hard to Save Money

Perhaps your family currently works hard to save money on food cost. I grew up helping my mother shop with $50 a week for a family of six. It seems that whether you are a family with small children or a mix of ages, the cost for groceries and poultry items have been steadily climbing. Many rising costs offer us little options for keeping our funds in-line with earnings. However, food is one of those more flexible categories.  Perhaps you do most of the things that we are going to discuss.  Congratulate yourself for any progress with your food costs.

As I have spoken to numerous women’s groups I have been stunned to discover that very few of these ideas are implemented in most homes. So while I don’t think they are profound, I put them here in print for you to peruse.  Like most things that offer savings, planning ahead is key.

Here is a news story from a shopping trip where I saved with coupons:

While couponing certainly offers savings, there are other easy-to-implement ideas for saving significantly on food costs. If you are looking for ways to save money on your food costs, consider the following tips:


Prepare, Plan, Stock-up, Save, Shop

Stock basics – Pantry, Freezer, Bathrooms

  1. Keep a list of your home and kitchen needs.
  2. Meal plan two weeks of breakfasts, lunches, suppers. (Be flexible.)
  3. Look through refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to see what needs to be used before you grocery shop and before you meal plan.
  4. Shop sale cycles. (3-6 weeks sales cycle around again.)
  5. Know your prices so you can evaluate your potential savings. Watch carefully. When something you regularly purchase is on sale, buy 5-10 of these items.
  6. Bulk Cook/Freeze (meals, chicken, meatballs, cookie balls, lasagna, calzones)
  7. Flow with seasons – Fresh fruits & veggies, soup. Freeze excess in season. When possible, shop your local food sources such as your farmer’s market and your roadside stands, then shop the sales at your grocery store and create food plans around what you gather. 
  8. Buy in bulk (staples, meat, deer, grains, sugar, oats, dry goods, etc.) Keeping a thoughtful collection of meat options is really important.
  9. Focus on 5-7 sale items at each store each week. Look first for loss leaders which are items that cost the store to offer in order to draw you into the store. They are often on the front of the sale flyer and located on the end caps. If you shop on line like I often do, look for these first.
  10. Limit trips to store.  Big runs – 2x’s monthly with no more than once a week. Planning elimates unnecessary spending and wasted time. Use your time for other things that you would enjoy more than grocery shopping. Don’t shop in the dark without a plan.
  11. Finally, make a list for each week.
  12. List sale items you NEED.
  13. Make adjustments in menus based on items on sale or clearance.
  14. I shop at my local grocery, wholesale stores, drug stores and local farmer’s markets.
  15. Don’t shop hungry.

Products usually on sale:

  • snacks
  • toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • bandaids
  • cough drops
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • razors
  • soap
  • laundry soap
  • lotion
  • shower gel
  • pain reliever
  • antacids and more
  • toilet paper
  • paper towel
  • cheese
  • butter
  • yogurt
  • cereal
  • crackers


Why pay attention to my food gathering, storage and preparation?

  • God calls us to take care of our homes.
  • Nurturing our homes is a beautiful, purposeful lifestyle whether you are single or married or with a family.
  • Feeds our inner woman or man – Satisfying results of nurturing our family. We were made to create a loving home environment.
  • Stewardship of the money that God has given our family.
  • Makes for a happy husband or wife
  • Freedom to be generous financially, to share food, and share Christ in food gifts.
  • If you feed people, they feel loved.
  • Being comfortable with your food helps you to be more hospitable. Hospitality is one of the secrets to deep joy.
  • Preparedness saves money every time.


My Personal Patterns

  • Once a week – Plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.
  • Look through freezer, pantry and refrigerator.
  • Use food that I already own.
  • Throw out spoiled food.
  • Wipe down shelves.
  • In addition to food in my own home, I think about food that I need to take for functions.
  • Plan food for company meals. (We have guests for meals and overnights.)
  • Wash all produce directly as soon as I come home.
  • Sorting and straightening your freezer and pantry before you leave just takes a moment before you shop.

Food Fetching

  • Buy meat ahead when it is on sale.
  • Deer meat – If there are no hunters in your family, find someone who does hunt.  Tell them you’d like a deer and you’ll pay to have it processed.  
  • Buy meat in bulk such as a half of a cow or a load of fish
  • Farmer’s Market – buy up slightly damaged. (My favorite stand calls damaged tomatoes “canning tomatoes”… I’ll take them!) Stock your freezer with veggies whenever you have an opportunity!!
  • Buy from a farmer who has overabundance. You may have to go and pick it directly!
  • Bulk Natural Foods
  • Grains, Oatmeal, Sugar and other dry goods – in large quantity. (Currently, I buy in bulk from my local Mennonite friends. I purchase dry goods such as oatmeal, sugar, wheat and beans in 25-50 pound quantities.)
  • Buy items on deep sales in bulk. Why pay more next week?
  • Make my own bread
  • Cook ahead – bulk cooking


These ideas work for me!! I love hearing what other nurturing moms do to provide for their family’s food needs. If you have boys, you know that they are drawn to eating! Good food on the table makes for a happier hubby too!!

FREE to you:

NMN Grocery List

NMN Meal Planning


Join me for a conversation on this Embrace Your Everyday podcast.

comments +

  1. Branson Merrill says:

    Great suggestions! I had not considered some of these! 🙂

  2. Patti Ellis says:

    I seldom grocery shop if ever. I have explained waste many times. Shop with full meals in mind instead of going to the grocery store and getting what you think you need with a list in your pocket. I like to put meals together on purpose not just hunt and peck at what is on hand. Sometimes husbands with a lot of energy don’t understand this concept. All your ideas are most important in being efficient.

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