How to Get Your Family Excited About Saving on Food

How to Get Your Family Excited About Saving on Food Square

Last week I received an email from a reader who wondered what she could do to get her husband more enthusiastic about saving on groceries and using coupons.  It was a great question, and one that I hear quite a bit.  It got me thinking about how important it is to be on the same page as your spouse & kids when it comes to money.

By now you’ve probably learned (or are still learning) that cutting your grocery bill in half takes consistency & persistence.  Though your savings will be dramatic over time, those savings don’t happen overnight.   It takes time to build up a plentiful stockpile that will allow your family to eat nice variety of food.  It also takes time to get the “hang” of couponing, to figure out what is a good price for different items, and to build up a reserve of coupons.


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For some people, waiting is difficult.

It is especially difficult for family members who may not see the “big picture” when it comes to coupons & saving money on food.

From their perspective, the favorites that normally stocked the fridge and cupboard have been replaced with 30 boxes of noodles and 20 bottles of mustard, and more tubes of toothpaste than they’ve seen in their life.  And frankly, it is hard to get excited about spending only pennies on the dollar when you’re hungry.

Perhaps your teenagers have gotten used to an ample supply of the snacks they love, or maybe your husband is a picky “meat and potatoes” man who balks at any variance from his normal menu.  Perhaps your wife insists on buying nothing but organic produce, without even considering what’s in season, so she can cook a gourmet 5-star meal every night.

So what’s the solution? How can you please your family and still save money?

The truth is that there is no easy answer.  Extreme savings on food, whether with coupons or without, does require making some changes in the way you shop.  After all, if it was that easy and obvious, everyone would already do it automatically.  And unless you live alone or you and your spouse have decided together to commit to extreme coupon shopping, you need to get your family on board if you want to succeed.


Start a conversation

Talk to your spouse and your kids about money.  This is so hard, but so necessary.  If times are tough and your family is struggling to make ends meet, then it is important to have a discussion about it.  I’m not saying you need to scare your kids, and obviously there is a level of age-appropriateness, but it is okay for your kids–even younger kids–to understand that they might not be able to have certain things because you are trying to save money.

Living in denial and spending more money than you have to on food is not going to help the situation.  The sooner you all face the reality of your own financial situation, the more willing everyone in the family will be to make sacrifices where needed.


Set a budget

Decide together how much you want or can afford to spend each month on groceries.  This will determine how much wiggle room you will have for those items & brands your family is willing to give up.   You may decide to put aside a certain amount each week for “impulse” or “special request” items.  That way most of what you buy can be on sale priced items or with coupons, but no one needs to feel too deprived.


Make it fun

Try to satisfy that age old question, “what’s in it for me?”  Perhaps you can decide, as a family, to collect whatever money is leftover from your grocery budget each month to save towards a fun reward, like a trip to an amusement park or the beach or a new big screen TV.  Make it something fun, something that everyone in the family really wants but that you’ve been unable to afford.  You may suddenly find you get a lot fewer complaints.


Involve your family in the process

Keep your family updated on how much money you’re saving, especially if you are all working towards a collective goal.  Put up a chart that shows how much you’ve saved and how far you have to go.  Talk about it frequently.  Make it real.  Stay enthusiastic.

If your kids are old enough, let them help!  School-age kids can help clip and sort coupons (I’m so excited for mine to be old enough for that!), while teens and pre-teens can help look for deals & coupons online, help prepare shopping lists, or help organize your stockpile.  Teaching your kids how to use coupons is not only a time-saver, it is a valuable lesson that will help them immensely when they leave the nest.

My own husband, though extremely supportive saving money on groceries, has always been overwhelmed by the reality of coupons and therefore reluctant to help.  However, one evening I really needed to get my Qubie binder in order, so I asked Chuck if he would mind folding my printable coupons into thirds while we watched TV.  It made the process go so much faster and he didn’t mind doing it and now he helps me automatically every time.  It turns out he just needed to find a specific task.


Agree to Try New Things

One of the neat things about shopping the sales and using coupons is the frequent opportunity to try new products because very often the new items get promoted heavily by both stores and manufacturers.  Decide as a family that you will all be willing to try anything once.  If you really don’t like it, you don’t have to buy it again and you can go back to your old favorite brand.


Determine your priorities

How much you save each month will be largely dependent on how ardently you stick to buying and using only what is on sale.  Keep in mind that I am not saying that buying only sale items is “right” and straying from the week’s matchups is “wrong.”  Every family has to decide upon what you are willing to save on, and what things you can’t live without.

For instance, if you or your family loves meat and can’t imagine a meal without it, than you will probably experience lower savings than a family that is willing to eat meat-free meals several times a week.  Likewise, if you can’t stand eating frozen vegetables and only want fresh veggies, even when they are out of season, you will end up paying more.  But then again, what brand detergent or shampoo or toothpaste you use may not matter to you at all, so you can save money on those items.

Ultimately, your top priority should determine what you buy.  Most of the time, my own family is pretty easygoing about what we eat.  We eat from our plentiful stockpile and we don’t really have any “must buy” items beyond milk, eggs, butter, & bread.  When I shopped exclusively with coupons, I normally saved around 75% every time I shopped.  Now, with less time to coupon, I still shop the sales, meal plan, and stockpile, but I’m okay with saving around 40-50% instead.

And if after all this, your significant other still says “I don’t care about the money, I want what I want,” then honestly maybe groceries is not the right place to cut back.  In that case you might just want to look for other areas in your life–ones that are negotiable–to start cutting back.

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How do you get your family excited about saving on food?

How to Get Your Family Excited About Saving on Food


  1. June 29 at 07:06PM

    Excellent article. I think the important thing is to do what best fits your family while saving money in the process. Having kids help with clipping coupons is an excellent idea. As we teach our children by having them involved, those lessons are sure to stick with them as they get older. My teenaged daughter has her own subscription to groupon and other coupon sites. Thank you for the great article.

  2. celeste
    June 29 at 07:25PM

    My husband is very helpful and will go to the store for me if I have everything laid out for him, coupons, list and everything.

    His favorite thing is the savings. He said that his heart gets to racing when the total goes up and then he feels such a relief and sense of accomplishment when he gets his total.

    I don’t tell him how much he’s going to spend or save. It’s funner to here his story of “OMG, I thought for sure I wasn’t going to have enough money…”

  3. Olga
    June 29 at 08:07PM

    mu husband is very supportive. Since he watched the Extreme Couponing show with me he was the one pushning me to try it for myself. We went on our first “coupon shopping trip” yesterday and saved 70% :).

  4. Jessica
    June 30 at 02:45AM

    My fiance’ was pretty… resistant when I decided to start couponing (a lot more and a lot smarter than I used to). He watched Extreme Couponing with me on TLC a few times and told me that it was gimmick and totally impossible to achieve such savings. Well, I saved a little over 50% on my first trip with the new couponing methods I learned – great in my eyes, but he wasn’t impressed (he was expecting me to achieve what he sees as impossible). He told me to do what I wished as far as couponing goes, but I HAD to stay within out monthly budget, which is totally fine.
    About a month into it I found a way to get free hot sauce (my fiance’s FAVORITE thing ever). That transaction was a 99.1% savings and he was beyond excited. He is now supportive of my couponing and understands that sales are not always there when I have a coupon. He doesn’t know, nor does he care to learn, the ins and outs of couponing, but he understands that I am saving money.
    I now have a stock pile of hot sauce, salad dressing, pasta, chips, mustard, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, tampons, pads, toothpaste, baby wipes and toilet paper that is worth about $1200, but I saved an average of 65% on it all. He has become much more supportive about it since he has seen the benefits of it. For me, it is just the matter of PROVING the benefits and the reality of the fact that it is possible to save a LOT of money on items that we use daily.

  5. June 30 at 03:36AM

    My husband finally understands after we went on vacation and spent nearly twice as much as we normally spent on groceries. He is now amazed that I can feed us on only $60.00 including diapers. It does take time, but I have my neighbor hooked and she is saving also. This has made it fun and we are talking about getting a group together to talk coupons. Coupon is my new language.

  6. lisa
    June 30 at 04:05AM

    my husband thinks i’m a little coo-coo with all this coupon stuff. but when i show him the reciept he then says oh wow how did u do that ? lol .

  7. June 30 at 04:32AM

    If nothing else, my husband see’s me cutting coupons and thinks I’m all kinds of frugal…love it. 🙂 Also, Little Miss Sophia has to cut her own coupons too and stores them in her purse…every time, it’s the cutest thing ever!

  8. Karilee
    July 4 at 05:56PM

    My husband is GREAT when it comes to my couponing. He will run quick errands for me with coupons and he even beats me to the clearance endcaps at Target or Walgreens to check for great deals. He hunts out peelie coupons and coupon pads and nothing excites him more than his Nature Valley Granola bars that I get at Walgreens for a $1.50/box instead of 4 or 5! My 7 year old son knows that unless we have a coupon, we probably aren’t going to buy it. He is the cutest…I am going out of town for work for 2 weeks and I promised him we would the Hostess coupon (a RARE treat in our house) before I left. I wanted to check on a better deal than what Wegmans had and he told me he was afraid they would be all gone next week!! I am so thankful for my supportive family! My husband has made me 4 shelves for my basement stockpile!!

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