This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

It is possible to save money on family meals by stretching your meals a few nights a week.  We have four kids (three boys & a daughter).   We go through a lot of food, as you can imagine, so we have gotten quite creative in our meal planning to stretch our meals.
save money by stretching  your meals - secrets to doing this

Here are a few tips that have worked well for us:
  • Replace meat with beans.   I will puree beans and add them to our meat (tacos are a great example.   You could never taste the pureed can of beans with the taco seasoning.  Here is a taco seasoning recipe.
    ~80 cents for a can of beans has saved us around $5.00 for a pound of lean beef. 
  • Add bread.  Yes, they say that having bread with meals is not the best idea, because it just isn’t as healthy.  I understand and appreciate that.   However, our kids love rolls and bread (as do I!) so I do add bread to most of our meals.
    An example would be French Dip sandwiches (made in the crock pot):  I can put the meat on each child’s plate (served with a fork), with veggies.   They will eat it and ask for a snack the second that they are done… or I can put it on a bun.  They will eat most of it, eat their vegetables and then they are full- no snacking needed.
    ~$1.00 package of buns has saved us about $3.00 in snacks (every night)
  • If you cut the crust off of your child’s sandwiches, save the crust.  I keep a freezer bag ready to go, in the freezer, and when I cut the crust off of three sandwiches for lunch, I save that crust, put it into my freezer bag and save it.  The next time that I need bread crumbs, I take out my bag, add seasoning and put it into my Magic Bullet.   I have just created breadcrumbs for only a few cents.  (See how I pack the kid’s lunches one time for the whole week)
    ~$0 (throw-away crust) just saved us $3.00 for breadcrumbs 
  • Our kids love oatmeal – the packages of fruit flavored oatmeal.  We buy them, but since our oldest child will eat 2-3 packs at once, we have started putting ONE pack in a bowl, and then adding the off-brand rolled oats to that bowl.  We add milk or water and microwave.   It cuts down on the sugar & the price.
    ~50 cents saves us $1.00 for two more packs. 

If you want a few more ideas, see my favorite recipes where I put this practice into play:
Crockpot chicken with Salsa
French Dip Sandwiches

ps- How to save money at the grocery stores without using coupons

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I do the same thing with my bread ends. Haven’t bought breadcrumbs in years! Sometimes I cube them up, drizzle with a little melted butter and sprinkle with Italian seasonings and bake them when I need croutons for soups or salads.

    1. I save the bread ends to make Christmas Puddings with 😉
      My brothers’ boss just asked If I could mail him one this coming year since he tasted 1 I had sent to my older Brother. I place them in shaped pans, my older brother I had sent a house shaped one with nuts, my younger brother got a star with No nuts since he is allergic though I sent some mini ones with nuts for his wife and son, my sister got a teddy bear that had nuts. His boss, who is a family friend would like a teddy bear Christmas pudding this year. Seems to go over rather well.

  2. I recently started serving 1 type of meat each week in an effort to save money. My family of four can easily stretch a roast chicken over 3-4 meals, same for a turkey breast. Ham is also easily stretched over a week. Beef is tough, we don’t eat many “meat centric” meals with beef; no hamburgers or tacos. Instead we stretch 1 pound of beef by incorporating it into casseroles, pasta dishes and salads.
    By eating leftovers 1-2 days a week, having a weekly breakfast night (I alternate sweet and savory) and doing meatless mondays, we are saving quite a bit on our grocery bill. It is a little challenging to make sure we don’t get bored, but I’m not wasting pounds and pounds of leftovers every week!