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"I buy a kilo of bacon at a time." The best 19 hacks for saving on groceries.

In Mamamia’s Parenting Hacks series, real women share their tips and tricks on everything from meal prep to organisation to nailing the morning routine.

This week, we asked Mamamia readers to share their best grocery shopping hacks.

I'm a bad grocery shopper. 

I buy the browning apples by mistake, toss the $4 chocolate milk into my cart like I can afford it and as for that lettuce shortage and price surge? I'm just going to be honest and tell you I would pay for it whether it is a few dollars or a few dozen dollars.

Yep, you can judge me if you like. 

But today, I want to make a change in my life. To save myself from my own supermarket chaos, and, of course, to save my wallet. 

Watch 4 money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia.

To help me with this, I reached out to the Mamamia community to hear their best grocery hacks.

Here's what they had to say.

"Wombok is a great substitute for lettuce..." 

"Wombok is cheap if you are looking for a lettuce substitute. The soft green leaves are great raw and you can cook whatever is left and throw it in stir-fries. We also use it as a cabbage substitute in salads." - Corinna.

"Shop at the markets or specialty stores for your veggies."

"We spend far less on our fruit and vegetables at markets than we do at supermarkets. We basically only buy in season, which helps as well." - Karagh.

"Shop at markets because it is better for the growers and your hip pocket." - Alison.

"I go to Asian grocers all the time." 

"I go to Asian grocery stores all the time for dried food like noodles or rice. I also get condiments like soy sauce and there is much more variety there as well!" - Misa.

"Stick to the seasonal fruit and veggies."

"Shop in season. We've become used to having products year-round. Right now, that's being affected by floods, transport costs etc. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber – all your traditional salad products available in summer are expensive right now. Whereas pumpkin, potatoes, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and winter variety vegetables are all still very cheap." - Alison.

"Frozen food is cheap AND good." 

"I buy $3 meals in the frozen section fairly regularly if I can't be bothered with cooking. Absolutely no nutritional value, but saves time and money. It's cheap AND good." - Mikayla.

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"If you like freezer meals, make a double batch of one dinner every week (curries, tacos, pasta sauce etc) and freeze it. Then on those nights you really can't be bothered, don't reach for UberEats app, but grab a freezer meal. We always buy extra rice and pasta so we can throw together a meal quickly from the freezer." - Julie.

"Shop at certain times of the day." 

"I spend a lot on rent to live in a nice home in Bondi, so I scrimp like crazy on groceries. I shop at certain times of day to get the discounted meats and fish. You just need to eat it fast so that night OR freeze it. Also, some supermarkets have a shelf near the checkout area that stock discounted produce." - Lucie.

"Buy in bulk."

"I buy in bulk where I can because it's usually cheaper.... For example, I buy those kilo tub of yoghurts instead of those little individual pots. I also buy a kilo of bacon that I then split into little piles and freeze for when I need a serving." - Gem.

"We get bulk meat delivered and then our usual grocery shop delivered so I don’t pick up things just because." - Maddie.

"Strive for zero waste." 

"Honestly, my main approach to saving money (and the environment) is to strive for zero waste. I plan the week's meals meticulously in advance, so that I buy exactly what I need and there's no waste. I also plan the meals so that if I only need half a pack of something for one meal, I will make another recipe that uses up the other half." - Gina.

"I love ALDI."

"We shop at ALDI mostly, and also local fruit and veggie shops. Basically, we got everything we needed for seven dinners, lunches and breakfasts for $250. Everything is fresh and nothing is frozen... But the only downside is you have to cook from ingredients, not easy packets." - Brittany. 

"GO without the kids..."

"I know this is virtually impossible – but when I can shop without the kids (if I have to go in store), I spend less because I’m not frazzled chasing after three gremlins and grabbing whatever I can to get it done." - Kaitlyn.

"Only go once a week." 

"The best tip for saving money at the supermarket is to only go once a week, and maybe a top-up on the weekend. I stalk the supermarkets' weekly specials online and draw up a meal plan from that, starting with the protein. I also go to a farm shop and that saves me at least half on my fruits and vegetables."- Tracy.

"Do a really big shop at the beginning of the weekend and reeeeeally try not to go back to the shops. No one actually goes to the shops to 'just get milk' and comes home with just milk." - Julie.

"Stop shopping when hungry."

"I always ensure to eat first before buying groceries so that I am completely full! That way you won't put anything and everything in your basket." - Nina.

"Let your weekly meal plans complement each other!"

"Plan meals that complement each other so you don't have heaps of excess product leftover." - Alison.

"Keep a list of what is in your freezer and pantry."

"Keep a stock take of what’s in your pantry and freezer. I buy more meat than is needed for a recipe and stash the rest in the freezer. I make sure it is clearly labelled and written on a list. When you go to make something, check what’s in the freezer and use that – it also saves leftovers going off in the fridge that you forget about. Less waste!" - Kaitlyn.

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"Also keep a list of your go-to dinners and recipe lists."

"I have a Google Doc with every dinner we make and each week we meal plan based on that. Without it, we can never think of what we have for dinners! I have meal planned for years and once I got into the hang of it, I seriously couldn't do it any other way. It also means so much less waste!" - Julie.

Listen to this episode from What The Finance. Post continues after audio. 


"Go in with a grocery list."

"Learn to substitute and make do… Instead of going with a firm shopping list when it comes to produce, I have the meals I’m planning on making and get what is affordable that will suffice for that. For example, the list will say 'veggies for homemade pizza, stir-fry and soup' etc." - Nat.

"Click & Collect is so much easier."

"I use click and collect. It’s so much easier to work out what the specials are before working our meals for the week plus being at home I can quickly check that I have all ingredients. I also make try to make meals with similar ingredients so that I use everything up any perishable items from a recipe like certain veg, dairy or eggs." - Mara.

"Click and collect guarantees that there is no getting distracted by ticket items and aisle strolling. Plus, you keep a visible tab on your spending and can swap out if need be." - Kaitlyn.

"Bulk buying is better for families."

"I live alone, so I believe bulk buying is better for families rather than individuals. I don't do that, but instead buy small amounts of what I absolutely need every day like eggs or milk. I am pretty self-disciplined, but I would recommend staying specifically in the aisle that you need to buy in and getting out of there ASAP!" - Julia.

"Unpopular opinion but I personally also don’t like to buy any food in bulk and just buy what we need. There is only two of us and I’ve found we end up with more food wastage so the saving is lost anyway. Plus specials are on a cycle and I can just wait till they roll around to purchase again." - Mara.

"Woolies Rewards Card helps you save."

"I use the Woolworths Rewards Card and the app! I get weekly emails telling which of my frequently purchased items are on special that week and also a list of items I can boost to earn more points on. They are always things we regularly buy. We already have $110 Woolworths reward dollars saved up (we save it for Christmas, it comes in handy)." - Lisa.

You can catch up on our previous Parenting Hacks articles here:

Do you have any money saving grocery hacks and tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Getty.

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