Statistics estimate that Australian families spend, on average, $280 to $340 on food and non-alcohol drinks per week. Even if that includes a night or two eating out, this is a large chunk out of the weekly budget. If you’re looking to save for a holiday, an investment property or a rainy day, checking in with your grocery spending habits goes a long way towards financial health.
Here are five ways to knock your grocery bill down.
Check out markets for less expensive produce.
1. Shop at home first
How often have you stopped at the shops after work to buy fruit and veggies, only to realise you’ve doubled up on uneaten fresh food that’ll probably go to waste? Ditch this habit right away, by always shopping at home first. If you need to, do an inventory of what you have at home and keep a list in your bag or on the phone.
For motivation, each time you throw something out, write down the cost and watch as it quickly adds up.
2. Minimise wastage
When you shop at home first, no doubt you’ll find perfectly good meat in the freezer, still-edible veggies for a casserole and bananas that’ll be soft enough to bake some muffins with. Keep an eye on everything in the pantry and fridge and be sure to use it before you can’t. For motivation, each time you throw something out, write down the cost and watch as it quickly adds up to money that’s been thrown out with the garbage. Finally, invest in excellent storage containers to keep everything fresh.
In order to stick to a grocery budget, it’s almost imperative to plan your meals in advance. With a busy schedule, it’s often just too hard to factor in the budget while also thinking of what to cook in a rushed trip to the shops. On the weekend, or when you have time, jot down breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for five days. Keep it simple and consider what singular items you can use across a few meals. Not only will this keep your spending in check, it will save time in the week having to think about what to cook or prepare.
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4. Try different shops
It might seem easier to get everything you need from your favourite grocery shop. However, it pays to check other options for cheaper items. Discount stores often have cheaper household products, markets may have less expensive produce and various stores could be holding a sale at the time, on items you regularly use a lot of.
5. Stock up on staples
Even with the best of intentions, the lack of two or three staples in the kitchen is all it often takes to dial a pizza instead of cooking. Make a list of staples and start stockpiling, to avoid those accidental overspends on food. Get items that last and go a long way towards creating any type of meal, like rice, pasta, eggs, frozen vegetables, frozen meat, tinned tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, tuna, nuts and cheese.
Like so many things in life, knocking down your weekly grocery bill is really just a matter of preparation and practice.