parent opinion

8 tricks to cutting your grocery bill when you have a toddler.

CUB, available exclusively at Coles
Thanks to our brand partner, CUB, available exclusively at Coles

You’ve probably heard the term “cozzie livs” trending, lamenting the rising cost of living. I relate (who doesn’t) but in my opinion, there should be a special term coined specifically for the cost of living with a toddler (tods cozzie livs? Leave it with me). Honestly, the number of berries I buy during my weekly grocery shop alone could probably feed a small nation. 

Keeping costs down with little kids to feed and care for is no joke, which is why I’ve collated my top 8 tips for saving your pennies at the supermarket. 

1. Make a shopping list and stick to it.

There is nothing on earth that burns cash like an aimless stroll through the supermarket with a toddler in tow. Since becoming a mum to a very savvy two-year-old, whose superpower is tracking down any snack bearing a picture of Bluey with sniper-like accuracy, I’ve learned the power of The Official Shopping List to keep things on track. 

If it isn’t on The List, it doesn’t go in the trolley. No questions. End of story. (No offence, Bluey.) 

2. Find quality outside of big brand names.

Avoiding unnecessary purchases (I’m looking at you, Lighting McQueen yoghurt pouch when we have several waiting for us at home) is only part of the story when it comes to keeping your grocery bill down. Cutting costs on essentials is often where the real savings lie. 

When my second son was born late last year, our nappy bill suddenly exploded, so we decided to explore more cost-effective options. The CUB brand, which is exclusive to Coles, has been a huge winner on value — at $16 for a pack of CUB Nappy Pants for my toddler, $11.50 for a pack of CUB Nappies for my newborn and $2.80 for a whopping 80 pack (!!!) of CUB Thick & Soft Biodegradable Baby Wipes, it’s impossible to go wrong. We’ve found the quality to be just as high as the big brand names, which makes sense given that every CUB product goes through some seriously rigorous testing before it hits the shelves. 


Image: Supplied.

As anyone who’s ever dealt with a dirty nappy knows, nappies are not a good place to scrimp on quality, so it’s a relief to know we can avoid blowing our budget without, erm, any actual nappy blow-outs. 

Same goes with quality baby wipes, given how many scenarios you need them for. They're basically the Swiss Army knife of parenting when you have messy little roommates. Nappy changes, messy faces, sticky hands (sticky EVERYTHING), wiping down shopping trolley handles, high chairs, car seats... Honestly, shoutout to CUB. Not sure what we'd do without that $2.80 find.


3. Shop seasonally. 

I get it — you’re a parent, not a horticulturist. When well-meaning mum friends have confidently told me they cut costs by “buying seasonally” in the past, I’ve been baffled. I’m about as likely to pick which produce in season as I am to pick the winner of next year’s Superbowl, which is to say: not at all. 

But the big secret to buying seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables is that there is no big secret. When fruit and veggies are in season, there are more of them in supermarkets, and they’re generally a whole heap cheaper. When you walk into a store and see thousands of stone fruits staring back at you, it’s time to stock up on plums. 

4. Bulk buy where possible.

As a woman living in possibly the world’s most crowded two-bedroom apartment, complete with two adults, two children, two cats and a dog, I always assumed that tips about buying in bulk simply didn’t apply to me. The word “bulk” implied “storage space”, and storage space is verrrrry thin on the ground in our house. 

But “bulk” buying doesn’t necessarily involve keeping 400 rolls of toilet paper under the stairs (although if you have the space and inclination, do feel free!). It’s really about buying slightly bigger versions of staple products where possible to make sure you’re spending your hard-earned cash on the product itself, rather than excess packaging. Our family’s current version of “bulk” includes investing in a big tub of Greek yoghurt to serve in reusable pouches, which actually saves us fridge space. Who knew? 

5. Use weekly specials to your advantage.

Toddlers are notoriously fickle beings, but most parents have figured out a few fail-safe snacks that never (well, rarely) get a “no” at dinnertime. It’s worth keeping an eye on weekly specials so you can stock up on these snack staples when they’re cheapest. Trust me, your future self (trapped in a battle with a screaming banshee who only wants blueberry puffs for breakfast and nothing else) will thank you.


6. Tap into Flybuys for more value. 

The best kind of money-saving is the kind you can do without even thinking, which is exactly how the Flybuys program is designed. All you need to do is scan your Flybuys every time you shop, which you can sign up to online for free. So every time you're doing your grocery shop (yep, Coles, me again, back for the fifth time this week), you can collect Flybuys points which can be redeemed for money off future shops, gift cards or products in the Flybuys Rewards store. 

The bonus? Little people love scanning the cards at the checkout. 

7. Bulk up your trolley with veggies.  

Eating one or two extra vegetarian meals a week can make a huge difference in any grocery bill. Our family loves a cheesy pasta bake using up leftover roast vegetables on a Sunday night, or an easy tofu and rice bowl with avocado and corn mid-week. Happy toddler, happy bank account.

8. Meal plan to avoid waste. 

The day I realised I could cook down leftovers from a roast chicken to make chicken soup — a fail-safe hit with toast soldiers for any little picky eaters — the second part of my life began. Planning your toddler's meals in advance means you can buy double-use or even triple-use items: less food waste, lower cost, more money to buy a little iced latte as a treat for being such a good parent. (Oh go on, you deserve it.)

Find CUB's feel-good baby care range, including nappies, baby snacks and baby-safe feeding accessories exclusively at Coles.

Feature Image: Supplied.

CUB, available exclusively at Coles
We're here to help you protect and care for your little cub as they play, learn and grow. Carefully developed with high quality ingredients and materials that are rigorously tested, the CUB range has been created to help savvy parents focus on the important, enjoyable moments. So from super-absorbent, comfy nappies through to tasty snacks, soothing bath time products and helpful accessories, you and your little cub can rely on and trust our entire range. CUB feel-good baby care is exclusive to Coles.