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One thing that has surprised me working with financial planning clients is that every single client (and I mean everyone!) talks about the price of food and groceries. My younger clients decry the cost of feeding a family with growing kids. My retiree-type clients worry that they can afford as many restaurant meals as they’d like. These are not usually people with money problems, but I suspect that the daily drip-drip of food costs builds up for all but the richest people.

In that spirit of concern for the price of food and groceries, I’d like to offer a few tips on how I think families can be satisfied with how much they spend on food and still eat very well. I am not an expert on how to spend pennies to feed my family, nor do I want to be. My wife and I share meal-planning duties, and I do most of the grocery shopping, and we’ve been juggling this together for over 10 years now.

 

My standards for groceries

 

I’m not interested in eating the absolute cheapest food I can buy. I think that’s an unhealthy aspect to our culture and, although I love a good deal, I don’t fixate on saving to the detriment of eating high-quality food. These tend to be our guiding principles at the Arnold house:

 

Saving on the cost of good groceries

 

Making dinners for a busy family 5 to 7 times a week with healthful, fresh ingredients is definitely time-consuming and could be costly. Here are my tips for keeping it under control money-wise:

 

Why Bother?

 

Making fresh, healthful food and trying to save money while doing it is not always easy. We do eat out occasionally as a family, and pickup pizza when we need to. Making a good effort takes dedication and being flexible.

If you’ve wondered why you’re spending so much on food (and maybe not enjoying the meals), I encourage you to try a few of these tips, and let me know how it goes!