Meal planning for family of 6 on a budget - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 11-14-2008, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I am new to this meal planning thing, and I've checked the other meal planning threads and they didn't really speak to my issue of having to plan for my big family while saving money, or spending as little as possible and keeping it healthy. If there is another thread I can be directed to that would be great... any suggestions?

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#2 of 2 Old 11-17-2008, 12:12 PM
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I haven't seen anything specifically for big families. I have a friend who has 6 kids (under 10) and I can tell you the tips I've gotten from her (they make do on a postal-carrier salary and her part time art teacher income. gulp!)

1. coupons. Be vigilant, be religious about keeping them organized, and it's totally worth the price of the paper.

2. in store coupons. She's amazing at finding the doublers - she can get enough food for her family of 8 for 3 days for the same price as I get 2 days worth for my family of 4! Impressive, huh? It's all about being organized, making sure to have that little coupon carrier with you AT ALL TIMES, to clean it out (she does it Sunday mornings instead of going to church lol!) so that everything is up to date, and to be sure to stop in to your fave shopping stores before the new week starts to get the flyer for the upcoming week. This way she knows when things will be on sale, and she meal plans around that. They are omnivores, so she plans around the meat/fish, usually. She varries the sides, but if something like string beans are on sale, she'll get enough for 2 meals, and do something different with them. Casserole one night, steamed or sauted for another night. She's also smart about getting enough of what she needs so that there's a bit extra for that end of the week stew lol!

Another issue she has, that you may as well, is that they have activities every single night of the week. Between the 6 kids and herself, there are classes or events or meetings or practices or ??? so she MUST have dinner on the table by 5:30 latest, often by 5, so that people get to eat before flying off to the next thing. Getting everyone at the same time to sit down is tough, but because her dh is home earlier (usually 3-4pm), he can help. Depending on what you need, plan meals that fit your time budget, as well as your financial budget. She's the queen of the 30 min. meal (mve over Rachel Ray!).

Lastly, she budgets in one night of pizza every week or every other week, depending on the season. Summer they do that less, because time-wise they don't need to. She makes big pots of stew, and they don't eat SUPER healthy all the time - hot dogs with pickles is a meal at her house occasionally! But overall her family is really healthy, and they eat well. She uses cupons for the pizza too, so it is quite reasonable.

I hope any of this helps! I think you just need to experiment, meal planning mostly with meals that already work for you and then plan in new meals that you think *might* work to expand your repetoire and get some new ideas on the table. One a week, with the majority of meals being both familiar and nutritous should feel pretty good, and in a few months you'll have dozens of new recipes that you know your family likes... or doesn't like.

good luck!


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