large family budgeting tips

Nine hungry mouths to feed every day involves a heck of a lot of food. It also involves planning, budgeting and wisdom to make it work on a one income family. Over the years I have developed some great tips and tricks on how you can afford to feed a family of nine and to make it a little easier as a large family. 

I always knew when planning a large family that it would cost a lot of money when it came to food but I really had no idea just how much of a challenge it would be to make it work. Often when I speak to people about having lots of children, one of the questions they always ask me is about food. How can you afford to feed a family of nine? Thinking about laying out nine plates every meal blows them away and they cannot understand how we can afford to feed our family and cope with the amount of cooking that is required. 

I have learnt that we need to do things differently in our house and I am constantly searching for ways to reduce our food budget. On days when I am not in a cooking mood I really have to pull myself together and just get on with it because it is way to expensive for us to go out to dinner on a regular basis. 

Some of the ideas that have stayed with me are: 
I scan the food catalogues and look out for specials and buy in bulk (about 10 at a time)
I mainly shop on the ends of the isles in the supermarket where specials are
I buy my meat in bulk from a meat market 
I divide my meat up into portion sizes, place in snap lock bags and freeze
I shop at Aldi's to save money on basic items 
I buy my fruit and vegetables on line so I avoid spending extra money at the shops
I chop vegetables up and put them in the freezer immediately 
I shop late at night to buy bread that is reduced and fill up my freezer with supplies 
I buy home brand items that I know our family likes whenever I can 
I keep several overflow or food storage cupboards to supplement supplies 
I cook most meals from scratch 
We own chickens for an egg supply
I keep a stock of basic cooking essentials so I can create any dish we feel like 
I plan ahead what meals we will cook for the month 
I keep in bulk items such as rice, flour, sugar, oats and water 
I stock up on items in season so we can enjoy them all year round 
I have a check list of all my food items that I use that I run through before I go shopping
I keep a 3 month supply of food on hand for emergencies 
I keep a few treats on hand for when things are getting tough and we need some fun! 
I normally cook the evening meal for the day in the morning to avoid the crazy hour stress
I also cook an after school snack in the morning and make a double batch for lunch boxes 
I use long life milk for baking
We eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and not very much fried food
We eat simple and often do not have a plate of seconds
Matt and I both cook to ease the pressure

This is an example of one of my overflow cupboards.

Now I know for some of you this may sound exhausting but for me it has become a way of life. It is a necessary part of my routine to make the budget work and to feed my family so that is what I do. We generally spend $300 a week on food {which is a big chunk of our budget} and that covers everything such as: food, toiletries, cleaning products and any other household product I need to purchase.

I am sure a lot of other families follow these guidelines and use them in their homes as well. There are now so many great blogs and websites out there to help families who are looking for creative ways to reduce their budget and to save some money. I enjoy looking over them to find new ideas and chatting with other families on what they are doing in their homes as well.

Do you have any other tips or tricks you follow to make budgeting easier?