Matt and I have exactly one more year until we have two kids in college. At that point, assuming all of our kids choose to go to college after high school, we will have two in college until 2024. Thinking of the financial hit we will take because of this…
I pass out cold.
The good news is that having more than one kid in college offers additional grants for students. The other good news is that our kids have been working hard for years and saving money to help pay their own way through college. More good news is that my kids have worked hard to receive and maintain good scholarships to make their college bill lower.
I start to pick myself up off the floor…
But the bad news is that even a “lower priced” college costs around $25,000/year. I can pretty quickly do the math on that, because four kids times four years equals $400,000. And with that…
I fall down dead.
Praise God for scholarships and hard working kids that make that total much lower, but still. Matt and I have made plans to help each son with a specific dollar amount each year. To state the obvious, when we have two in college at one time, we will be forking out twice that dollar amount every year.
Someone please throw a glass of cold water on my face.
One would think my grocery bill would go down as the kids fly the coop, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. As our personal savings account has dwindled recently because of a business investment for my husband (allow me to introduce to you our town’s newest Radon Mitigation Specialist), and then our family van died suddenly, I have felt challenged to reconsider what I wrote a few weeks ago about my huge grocery budget.
In that post I said:
- There are no other ways I can cut our grocery bill.
- My teenagers eat an enormous amount of food.
- I give up.
Or something like that.
It is true that my teens eat huge portions. This isn’t because they are excessive. It is because they are hungry. (A mom of one tiny baby recently suggested I simply cut them off and don’t let them eat as much. That is only a good idea on opposite day.)
But I am challenging myself to think even more frugally about groceries as we move toward our near future with buying a new vehicle and sending boy #2 to college in a year. (I shan’t skimp on Kleenex. The tears have already started about next year’s graduation. I can’t help it.)
Ways I already save on real food
- I make a lot of our food from scratch.
- I keep our meals simple, not elaborate.
- I price-match to get good deals on produce in my small town.
- I preserve food from our garden if there happens to be any excess.
- We only eat out when traveling, and then often we pack our food to take with us.
- I avoid expensive produce that is not “in season.”
- I buy our meat in bulk and our eggs and milk from local farmers, all for reasonable prices.
- I watch for mark-downs on any of our favorites at the grocery store.
- I stock up on anything we use often whenever it is on sale.
- I stock up at Aldi on staples whenever I make a trip to the city.
- I stopped buying everything organic even though it makes me cringe a little bit.
Ways I think I can do better as we try to rebuild our savings
- Go to the store about every week and a half instead of every week. (Sounds like a good experiment, huh?)
- Don’t buy pre-packaged snacks for the boys to eat at games, even if they are “healthier” and even if they are a good deal.
- Serve more eggs and meatless meals. (I might have a revolt. To be continued…)
- Stop buying cereal. (I rarely buy this anyway, but what if I stopped altogether?)
- Eat some of the “random stuff” hanging out in the back of the pantry and freezer whether it’s exciting or not.
- Cut back on cheese, or let cheese replace meat sometimes. (Like in this recipe.)
I plan to peruse this book again to trigger more ideas (get yours here – it’s free!). Knowing my family situation (four teenage sons, big eaters, focus on eating nourishing foods instead of fillers), do you have any more suggestions to share?
I’ll share an update in a few weeks once I see how some of these experiments go!
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