michelle duggarHow do you feed a big family without going broke? I know just the mom who could answer that question: 19 Kids and Counting's Michelle Duggar is spilling her grocery shopping tips. But first, aren't you dying to find out how much it costs to feed all those kids, not to mention all those teenagers? A couple could go broke, quickly! Good thing the Duggars are so smart with money. Their monthly grocery bill may take your breath away, but just imagine how much bigger it would be if Michelle weren't such a budget wizard.

Even with all their cost-saving strategies, Michelle says the family spends nearly $3,000 a month on food. "Our goal for our monthly food budget is $3,000. It used to be more like $2,000, but we've noticed the costs of groceries have gone up. Also, our boys have grown a lot and they have hollow legs." For a family of 21, that means about $35 per person, per week. That's incredible. And when you hear how she shops, Michelle sounds like living proof that life is cheaper by the dozen.

1. Shop at discount stores, warehouse clubs, and co-ops. "You can save thousands of dollars doing just that," Michelle says. We all know about Coscto and stores like that, but it's interesting that she mentions co-ops. I've belonged to a food co-op for years, and the price difference is huge, as is the quality. Co-ops vary widely around the country, though.

2. Buy in bulk. This is where having lots of storage space comes in handy. But even if you don't have yards of pantry space for giant bags of rice, you can save on the smaller bulk items. Spices, nuts, and dried fruit are so much cheaper when you buy them from the bulk bins.

3. Stock up every month on staples. For Michelle, that's foods like butter, cereal, and oats. For you it could be something else. Stocking up on staples makes grocery shopping simpler. Do it well, and you can basically shop your own pantry throughout the month.

4. Buy fruits and vegetables every three to four days. Michelle mentions this almost off-handedly, but it's worth pointing out. When you buy fresh produce once a week, it's hard to keep it all fresh. Speaking from experience, there's always something wilting by the end of the week. And it's hard for me to plan out my week's meals by which vegetables are going to go bad first. Doing two quick produce trips can help save you from wasting food, which saves money in the long run.

How does your family save money on groceries?

 

Image via TLC