Now that I have two little ones, I now more than ever love making new family traditions. Before the kids and the marriage, my now husband and I started making small traditions that we hoped would become our family’s traditions one day. We have always stuck to our soft budget, but once we had more mouths to feed those corky foodie traditions felt a little bit more special. The funny thing is that most of our corky family traditions all came from trying to lower our lifestyle expenses without cutting out the fun. It all started with Valentine’s Day, we felt sad that my family didn’t have significant others to spend the holiday with. So, instead of us going out to dinner to spend $100+ on a “romance” we decided it was better to do a seafood boil at home with all of our loved ones. We ended up spending less money buying fancy crab legs, oysters, and all kinds of seafood that feed more people than if we would have gone out just us two. Ever since then we started this small tradition that made everyone feel included and loved. We continue to make new family traditions that have actually helped us stay on budget and get those little goosebumps of happiness. I want to share a few of the main tips that I use to lower my budget and create fun family traditions that my kids now look forward too.
The easiest place to lower your budget is in the lifestyle section. These are going to be groceries, entertainment, play money, and clothes. These are all the things that make our lives feel fun but can be lowered to save some money and the opportunity to start some family traditions.
When my husband and I go grocery shopping we have a spending challenge to see if we can lower our grocery bill by $20-$25 each visit. It might seem like all fun and games, but if we win the challenge we can save about $100-$125 each month on groceries alone. Take it from me, you will not win this challenge if you go blindly to the grocery store. You need to do some research on what is on sale, check for coupons or even go to more than one store that’s close by. The more you get in a routine of checking apps like Flipp or your local grocery Ads the easier it will be to plan your meals and win the challenge week after week.
I have always had a pretty consistent eating schedule, but once the kids started eating “food food” I needed to buckle down and get on a real routine. This helped me get a basic schedule to work around for the kids and myself. Having a simple eating schedule that everyone in the house knows about has helped my husband and I do not lose communication. This way he doesn’t just come in the house with junk food because he got hungry. We know that we have to plan ahead of time for our meals and being lazy isn’t going to help us out. It might sound a little unspontaneous, but during the week I need consistency and a good eating routine that keeps me on the budget is golden.
Here are my scheduled eating times:
Lunch 12am -1pm
Meal Planning Themes
Before I got married I use to make a brown sugar salmon that my husband loved every Wednesday. When we played Taboo everyone thought we were cheating because I would say “Wednesday” and my husband would respond “salmon”. Everyone would say what does Wednesday have to do with salmon? Well, we had meal themes for each day of the week and it was filled with meals we loved. This made it easy to look forward to Salmon Wednesdays or Taco Tuesday during the work week. We consistently stick to creating meal plans around these themes so that our kids can also look forward to eating the foods that they like every week.
Here are some of our classic meal prep themes that we enjoy as a family:
Monday – Basic Meal Prep
Tuesday – Taco Tuesday
Wednesday – Salmon Wednesdays
Thursday – Healthy/ Vegan Meal Prep
Friday – Appetizer/Pizza Night
Weekend – BBQ
At my house we love pizza and honestly, when I was pregnant I would order it every Friday. After dealing with morning sickness all day, the only thing I wanted to eat was something that wouldn’t make me feel sick. Fast forward to today, we now have more mouths to feed and ordering pizza always led us to buy more items on the menu, like wings, breadsticks, and soda. We ended up spending more money than we expected every Friday on pizza and we needed a better solution. So we started a new family tradition of making our own pizza. Yes, we make our own pizza and the kids love it! Right, when my daughter sees the pizza dough out she starts rolling her sleeves up and pulling the chair out to help out. We can literally make two pizzas for the price of one medium pizza from Pizza Hut. This is just one of our family night traditions that we enjoy with our kids.
I want to promote all families to list out the foods and things that they enjoy doing together. See if you can find an economical way of doing more of what you enjoy doing together and less of the other stuff that cuts into family time. For us it’s taking our own photography and making fun appetizers, for you it might be playing family soccer or doing family road trips. All I know is that we need to figure out how to do more of what we love with the ones we love. Cutting the budget can be an extra perk to the special moments that money can’t buy in a million years.