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GROCERY MONEY DIARY: Find out what a family of six spends on food in a week.

How much do you spend on groceries a week? After mortgage or rent, then perhaps childcare or private school fees, usually the weekly grocery bill will be your biggest expense. Feeding humans and making sure you have toilet paper and laundry powder is a costly (and very boring) business.

WHO: Family of six (that includes teens).

WHAT: They are trying to stick to a budget. But it’s hard.

We are trying to watch what we spend on groceries. Usually we spend around $375 on the big weekly grocery shop and then probably $150 at least during the week on top ups. We try to be careful with what we spend but also try to be healthy. We limit takeaway foods as best we can and cook as many meals at home as possible (often ahead of time on the weekend).

SATURDAY

The big weekly grocery shop. For the first time we try Aldi. Husband gets stuck in the middle aisle and spends most of the shop exclaiming there are 45 inch TVs for about $400. WE ARE NOT HERE FOR TVS. WE ARE HERE TO SEE IF WE CAN REDUCE WEEKLY GROCERY BILL BY BEING SAVVY SHOPPERS. I tell him to put the paint brush holder down. We buy a lot of non-food items like toilet paper, laundry powder, dishwashing liquid etc. We buy some food items like Weetbix, rice crackers, nuts, oats, tinned tomatoes, butter, rice, school snacks. We don’t buy meat or veggies. Oh, and we Google the wine that won awards in a blind tasting and buy a few bottles of that at $8.99.

TOTAL: $110.

Later the same day we head to Woolworths and buy meat for the week (this Woolies has a butcher counter and we use that instead of the pre-packaged meats – it’s actually cheaper). We buy veggies for the meals we will cook this weekend and fruit for snacks. We also buy some items where we are wedded to a particular brand: eg almond butter, frozen berries, muesli, eggs, milk, rice paper wraps, ham, tampons.

TOTAL: $220.

We head to Woolies to buy meat for the week. Image via iStock.
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Dinner: Meatballs and spaghetti with greens and I had homemade spinach pesto and spaghetti.

TOTAL: $330.

SUNDAY

There is a dash to the store in the afternoon because we forgot to buy lemons and chocolate chips. We always have lemons but today we don't and the youngest is baking chocolate chip cookies. The lemons are needed for cooking later.

Breakfast: Some of the family eat toast with toppings such as eggs, avocado, tomato, spinach or just with spread. Some eat cereal/oats. Takeaway coffees for adults.

Lunch: Dinner leftovers or baked beans or salami and spinach and toast.

Dinner: Slow cooked roast lamb, roast veggies and steamed greens. Plus apple crumble because green apples were on sale.

Snacks during the day are usually fruit, rice crackers, crackers and cheese or hummus, nuts and we had some homemade chocolate chip cookies.

FOOD TOTAL: $22. (takeaway coffees not included and won't be included for the week because the parents are allowed to not feel guilty about something). 

MONDAY

Buy fresh organic rye bread in the morning because kids love it and I think it's better than the white bread that lasts for three months. Maybe I'm being conned. Bread is $7.50.

Breakfast: Toast with different toppings for some, cereal/oats for others.

Lunch: Kids bring their own to school from home.

Dinner: Homemade butter chicken and veggies.

Snacks: Fruit/crackers etc.

TOTAL: $7.50.

TUESDAY

More expensive bread. Plus bananas, grapes and milk. Eldest daughter wants to make a cous cous salad for school and I buy a few bits for that.

Dinner: Chicken and vege casserole with mashed sweet potato.

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TOTAL: $26.

Why are healthy foods so expensive? Image via iStock.

WEDNESDAY

You guessed it. I buy more bread first thing in the morning - $7.50 (it is eaten for breakfast and used in lunches). Plus buy some white fish on way home.

Dinner: Fish stir fry.

TOTAL: $32.50.

THURSDAY

Buy a Cos lettuce. Plus some hot cross buns for afternoon tea. Eldest daughter wants lentils and capsicum to make a salad to take to school. We have more veggies at home.

Dinner: Homemade lasagne and salad.

TOTAL: $19.

FRIDAY

Kids get tuckshop on Fridays so no bread worries this morning. They get $10 each - $40.

Dinner: Takeaway pizza plus sushi for child who won't eat pizza (it's nice thin crust pizza)  - $90. (Disclaimer: last week we didn't get takeaway and had a homemade stir fry instead. Kids hated us. I did too to be honest.)

TOTAL: $130.

(I have not included daily adult coffees or adult lunches at work, which are sometimes leftovers from home and sometimes bought).

TOTAL FOR WEEK: $567. 

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