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10 Money-saving Tips for Families


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Grow or make what you eat
If you have time to invest in a family garden, you'll reap the rewards (and it'll give you a good excuse to spend quality family time together).
If you have time to invest in a family garden, you'll reap the rewards (and it'll give you a good excuse to spend quality family time together).
Katrina Wittkamp/The Image Bank/Getty Images

So in an ideal world, we'd all live off our own land, raising chickens and eating spinach we cultivated all summer. But this is the real world, and not every family can spend time tending to their turnips. If you can grow a garden, do it. The cost of produce is nothing to sneeze at, and when you consider the savings you get from storing and freezing your haul, you're saving money year-round.

Just because you live in an apartment or aren't gifted with plants doesn't mean you're doomed to spending money on frozen burritos for the rest of your life. Anyone can have a small box or window garden, for one, with herbs (and even vegetables) that are harder to kill than to grow. Consider growing your own supply of basil, mint, sage, onions -- even tomato plants can thrive in small inside spaces. Or how about sharing a community supported agriculture (CSA) delivery with another family? Splitting the cost will allow you to save on fresh, local produce without even having to get your thumb green.

Growing food isn't just encouraged because it makes you sound like a friend of the earth; it really is an effective way to avoid buying convenience food. Remember that an average fast food meal for a family of four is roughly $28, compared to a homemade roasted chicken, vegetables, salad and milk for about $14 [source: Bittman]. Remember that you can save a real bundle by making your own meals, and freezing them. Your frozen lasagna will taste a lot better when you know that you made it, but that it also saved you money.

We're not done with food choices yet. Read on to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck out of your grocery bill.


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