According to an article I read recently, the average Australian household weekly groceries spend comes to $254.96. Unsurprisingly, couples with children between the ages of 5-14 spend the most of groceries, at an average of $336. As a family of 5, with three children between the ages of 9 and 12, I can safely say, until recently, my weekly grocery spend was closer to $400. I’d usually spend around $350 on the big weekly shop, and still find myself popping into the local supermarket several times a week for other items like bread, milk and fresh school lunch supplies. I started to wonder if I could save more of that hard-earned money, whilst still keeping the hungry hoards happy, by shopping smarter.
My goal? To cut my grocery bill by at least $100 a week, and put the money saved into a family holiday fund. Great idea, right? But how have I been doing it?
If I had to recommend just one way of saving money on groceries, this would be the one I’d choose, without a doubt. For one, it’s so much easier to keep track of how much you’ve put into your virtual shopping cart, so staying under budget is a breeze. Also, it’s easier to resist falling prey to impulse buys at the end of each aisle and only buying what is on your shopping list. If you’ve even gone shopping when you are hungry, you’ll know how much more you tend to spend, and how much more junk you seem to pick up that you’d normally walk right past!
A huge tick in favour of shopping online obviously that you don’t have to drag your kids along, who inevitably nag for things. But I also find that shopping without my husband is also a lot cheaper as he tends to pop extra luxury items into the trolley that I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up.
Join a Rewards Program
It is well worth signing up for loyalty and rewards programs. I’ve recently signed up for eBay Plus.At the moment they are offering a 4 month free trial (available until the 7thAugust 2019) after which the cost is $49 per annum. The benefit for me of having eBay Plus membership is that I get free delivery on my Coles grocery shopping (on orders over $49) and also double Flybuys points – which convert to Virgin Velocity points which will make the end of year holiday that much easier too!
eBay Plus customers also get access to exclusive deals from a huge range of other big name Australian retailers, so it allows me to shop smart all in one place and save on other things I need when I need them.
Meal planning is one of the simplest and effective ways to eliminate food waste and save money. Having the weeks meals set out allows you to buy only the groceries you need. I recommend checking out what deals and specials are on, and planning meals accordingly.
Take an Inventory of What You Already Have
It’s always a good idea to take stock of what you already have in the fridge/freezer and pantry when you are meal planning, so you can use what you already have first before purchasing more.
Do One Big Shop
Have you noticed how when you call into the supermarket to get something like bread or milk, you usually come out with a handful of other items you hadn’t planned on purchasing? Doing one big shop rather than several smaller ones means that you’ll cut down on those impulse buys. You’ll also save fuel and time!
Don’t be afraid to stock up on items that are on high rotation in your house or necessities like toilet paper, nappies or pantry items while they are on special. But avoid the trap of buying things that you wouldn’t normally eat, or that your kids are going to refuse to eat. I know, because I’ve made the mistake more than once over the years, and its super frustrating when your little darlings turn their noses up to something you have just purchased a huge supply of because you thought you were ‘saving money.’
Invest in a Good Cookbook or Recipe App
If you struggle coming up with new family menu options and seem to have the same meals on rotation week in – week out, having a decent cook book can really help to broaden your repertoire of healthy, budget meals and introduce you to ingredients you might not normally include in your diet. For example, my carnivore children love a good mid-week lentil curry – cheap, nutritious and delicious. Having plant-based meals 2-3 times a week really helps shave the dollars off the expense list too.
Remember just changing small shopping habits can really add up over a longer period.
What are your top tips for saving money on groceries?
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