Every mom should have an option to stay home with her children, regardless of income

Save Money on Groceries – Portion Controls No One Will Notice

One of the ways I like to routinely save money is by using portion control with our groceries. It’s such a simple thing to do and my family doesn’t notice a difference at all.

Portion Controls No One Will Notice

Portion Controls No One Will Notice



I take a 5-pound package of hamburger, cook it all in one batch, then split it up in 10 zipper bags, cool it off, and freeze. Whereas, I used to get 5 servings out of that 5-lb pack, now I’m getting 10, and no one misses the difference. This literally doubles my portion size.

So, if hamburger is $3.99/lb and I buy 5 pounds, that’s $20 to contribute to 5 meals. But, if I split it, that’s $20 for 10 meals! I just saved myself $20 and my hamburger is ready to go when I am. I just defrost, super simple, and it saves me so much time. I’m very picky about freezing my food, and I cannot personally tell a difference in taste that it’s been frozen.

Homemade Pico De Gallo Salsa and Chips Ready to Eat

Restaurant Style

Have you ever noticed that when you go to a Mexican Restaurant, they give you free chips and salsa while you’re waiting? Or how Italian restaurants give you free garlic bread and salad? TGIF gives you free chips and salsa as well if you have their rewards card and show it to your server when you’re ordering.

Have you stopped to consider why?

It’s not because they have all the money in the world and just want to shower it on you, no. It’s because they want you to order and leave feeling full. If you’re hungry and you order TWO entrees just to fill your tummy, you’re going to know not to go back to THAT restaurant. Not when your check total is double the amount. But, if they give you a free item that is super inexpensive, you feel like your being taken care of, and you feel full when you leave. When someone gives you something for free, you’re much more likely to return, and they want your business.

worlds best beef stew

The same is true in your home.

If a pot of Beef Stew costs you $10 to make, and that’s all everyone is having that evening for dinner, it adds up. But, if you give each person a bowl of soup, a salad (super inexpensive), and a couple of pieces of an apple (super inexpensive), not only are you hitting more of the basic food groups, but your total per person has gone drastically down. Likewise, you can save your leftovers for the next night. You can freeze them (which I like to do with enchiladas) or make the food the day before a potluck and contribute to it, etc. It’s all in the portion control.

I’m not saying to starve your family, but WHAT I AM SAYING is that you can get creative about what you’re feeding them, make it more of a balanced meal, and save money at the same time. When you begin doing this, you can start having the more expensive meals like: make your own pizza night, steak, or seafood. As long as you’re keeping the meals well-rounded, you’re good to go.

Did you know there are very simple adjustments you can make to the way you prepare your food that can save your grocery bill quite a bit? Check out one of those ideas here: portion controls no one will notice!

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  1. I agree with the 1/2 lb hamburger tip! I’ve noticed that when I buy hamburger at Publix they usually package slightly more than a pound in one container, so I always look for packages closest to 1lb. Unless I am making sloppy joes (I use a full lb and freeze portions in a muffin tin for future lunches) I divide the lb into two pint sized bags and freeze. When we are making pasta, you really can’t tell the difference between 1lb or a 1/2lb! Been saving SO much $$$ over the last few years with such a simple trick!

  2. I definitely do some of this too! I will also set aside leftovers for lunch the next day in advance of the meal or they will just disappear. They don’t leave the table hungry. They just reach for the other items on the table and eat those up. I will also double batches of some meals and set aside half for the freezer before I serve the family. If I don’t then they overindulge on favorite items and mess up my food budget. It works and no one goes hungry. I think they actually eat more fruits and vegetables because that is what remains on the table after the main dish is eaten.

    • I must admit, I don’t do much freezer cooking, though I hear it really saves a lot of time and money. It’s something I want to start when life is a little more settled for me. 🙂 Those are some great tips I will definitely remember Anna!

  3. I guess I’ve been doing it backwards all these years.
    1st meal: the entree and whatever always went with it.
    2nd meal: the leftovers……… then I added soup/salad/bread/toast or buns etc.

    I’ll give your way a try……. at least then there be more than enough leftovers, plus I can change up the sides too.

    • It sounds like your plan is great. It’s all in balance. My goal is to always get 3-4 meals out of one dish I cook. A lot of that reason is because I don’t have time to cook all the time. I love cooking, just don’t have the time that I’d like. So, if I can cook (and use my oven only twice a week = saving me money to not heat up my oven every day, whereas the stove top is less energy) for dinners, that really helps. Especially if you start freezing things. Then, you don’t have to eat just two types of meals each week. That gets old fast, but you have a more rounded week of meals that you only cooked twice for. One of our favorite side dishes is string beans with bacon and it freezes well too. 🙂 I also like to make Italian Pasta a lot. No cooking involved and it lasts many meals. Each family is different, so what works for me, may not work for you and vise versa. It sounds like you have the general concept down, so you are saving money already. 🙂

  4. Here’s one that I am so used to doing that I had forgotten it. Hamburger: Have you ever had “meat sauce” at a restaurant? For yrs now I’ve not only reduced the amount of hamburger used (1/2 lb, even down to 6 oz each), but when it comes to any meal with hamburger and a sauce or where the hamburger is well combined into the other ingredients; I do like the restaurants do. I cook the hamburger, drain off the grease, let it whirl it around in the food processer until its very small (this only takes a moment or 2) …. the small amounts of meat now look like a lot when incorporated into the sauce or dish. My present hubby is very firm about using a full pound of hamburger in recipes, and to-date he still has no idea I’ve been doing this……. as you can see it’s sneaky, but works. I sincerely hope this helps

  5. I totally do this with meat too. I buy whole chickens to save money, and cut them up myself (or if I buy at the butcher, they cut it up for no extra charge). I’ll cut it up into 12 main pieces – leg, 2 parts from the thigh, the wing, and two parts from each side of the breast.

    I’ll usually bake or fry the dark meat and serve it whole. The white meat I can use in certain stews, or I just boil all the breast meat to make stock, and then shred the meat and use it in casseroles, stir fries and what not. When it’s shredded instead of chunk, a little bit will go a very long way! I’ve fed my whole family (me, 2 teens and husband) from one chicken breast-half, and no one walked away hungry.

    For people that worry about getting enough protein, add in some beans; or do one of our favorite things and hard boil an egg for each person – it’s great nutrition and pretty on the plate!

  6. Anna, my family is trying to switch to all natural grass fed beef which is pretty pricey. I have noticed that I can buy a pound of the beef and mix it with couscous. The couscous takes on the look and flavor of the beef and no one notices the smaller portion.