A little while ago, after sharing how my family and I saved $30,000 in a year to go towards our renovation, I had hundreds of questions about how we budget on our weekly shop to save some extra money.
I was shocked to hear some families are spending upward of $350 a week on groceries. Some even over $500 – WHAT!!! Imagine if you could halve that just how much you could be saving – that’s almost $10,000 you’ve just saved in a year. Even bringing your weekly cost down from $250 to $200 would save you around $2,500 in a year, and that’s your trip to Bali right there.
Starting with a figure in your mind of what you want to keep your shop to will help. We budget $160 to S180 a week, but a lot of the time it comes in less if we’re not out of big household items. While we absolutely could bring our cost down even further, I think we’ve found a good balance between enjoying the food we want and being frugal.
Our list includes all your household, toiletries, cleaning and baby items, not just the weekly food shop. We have two young children, both in nappies or pull-ups (no formula) and furry babies to feed.
Here are my top tips for cutting down your weekly costs:
1. Shop online.
I find this is a big one for us as it stops me from buying things ‘just because’. If I buy my groceries online then I can simply search for each item I need, rather than browsing aisles. You can either have it delivered which saves you heaps on time or pick up which is free.
2. Grow your own.
We have a good variety of fresh herbs and veggies growing in our garden all year around. We also have parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint etc. So, it’s always on hand to use. The kids grow cherry tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum and peas when they are in season and I think letting them grow their own makes it all more appealing to eat.
3. Check your fridge/pantry.
Before I start writing a list, I always check what we have and try to base some of our meals off that. That way, nothing goes to waste and we don’t have heaps of things in the pantry going unused.
4. Meal plan.
It seems simple but it will save you heaps. Buying exactly what you need and using what you already have not only reduces waste but will be much cheaper. We source our weekly meals from a range of places including the free supermarket magazines, and online including taste.com.au, delicious.com and Pinterest.
Sometimes I’m cheeky and go onto Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon and download their recipe cards as they have all the ingredients and instructions listed.
5. Buy seasonal.
When it comes to fresh fruit and veg, we just buy what is in season at the time, rather than forking out big money for imported items. A lot of the recipes in the supermarket’s free mags will also be seasonal so you know that with the meals you plan, everything’s going to be available too.
6. Don’t be a brand snob.
I know that every family has their little quirks and might be partial to a particular brand of something. But sometimes it pays to change to an alternative or own branded product – there is often not much difference in the product quality. Hot tip: Woolworths’ brie cheese is DELICIOUS and a lot cheaper than some brand names!
Also, I find household items like laundry powder and dishwasher tablets often go on sale – If I know I like a brand, I wait for it to go on sale and buy a few. But if you need to buy something urgently, you just need to be prepared to buy what is the cheapest that week instead.
7. Check the unit price.
Even though something is on sale or appears to be cheaper, you should always check the unit price and the quantity/volume you get for that price. A great tool online is to filter the search by unit price – lowest to highest.
8. Cut down on the bad stuff.
We don’t buy many sugary snacks and soft drink. Crackers, cheese and dip, air popped popcorn and mineral water are our go-to snacks and drinks. Plus, everyone can benefit from cutting down on the bad stuff.
While we do our best to keep the weekly costs down, we still enjoy what we want. You don’t have to give up nice cheese, a good cut of meat and soft toilet paper! We still buy free range eggs, organic chicken and support Aussie farmers by buying locally manufactured milk. All it takes is a few simple changes that can save you quite a lot of cash in the long run.
What are your tips for cutting down on the weekly grocery shop? Tell us in the comments section below.