One of the biggest weekly expenses we all have is the weekly grocery bill but it doesn’t have to be that way. I find it easy to save on groceries so I want to share how to save up $100 off your weekly grocery bill.
I’ve been running my kitchen like a restaurant for years. That is, I keep a well stocked pantry, freezer and fridge with all the basics. Having these basics allows me to create any number of dishes. I buy whatever fruit and vegetables are in season, one, because I know they’re fresh and two, because they’re cheap. I never buy more than I need for a fortnight because it won’t get used and will only go to waste.
The ‘protein’ I buy is always around $10 per kilo. No fancy steaks or expensive cuts. If these are marked down, I’ll only grab them then or, if the budget allows it, I’ll pick up something a little more fancy for a date night for my husband and I. You may already know some of these ideas but if you don’t, implementing these couple of changes may see huge savings that you can put to good use in other areas of your household budget like family holidays, paying off big debt, appliance upgrades etc.
There’s always heaps of hype about Aldi but I personally don’t like shopping there. Except for a handful of well known brands, Aldi stock their ‘own’ brands which are exactly the same as the homebrands in the major supermarkets. The quality is no different. I’ve been baking and cooking for many years and I can personally vouch for the quality of these goods. I’m talking about the flour, pasta, sugar, butter, corn flakes, cracker biscuits, tasty cheese and other basic every day items.
I know some of us have discerning tastes and fussy eaters in our house but with these basic ingredients that are being used for ordinary dishes, eg the flour to thicken a sauce or bake a biscuit, the pasta to be smothered with a delicious, flavoursome Bolognese sauce, the butter used on toast, the corn flakes with sugar or fresh fruit and the cracker biscuits and cheese for school lunch boxes, no one is really going to know the difference. If you want to be sneaky, remove the packaging and decant into another container.
|Brand Name||Price||Homebrand (Coles)||Price||Difference|
|2kg White Wings Plain Flour||$5.50||2kg Plain Flour||$1.50||$4.00|
|1kg CSR White Sugar||$2.21||1kg White Sugar||$1.00||$1.21|
|500gm Zafarelli Penne Pasta||$2.15||500gm Penne Pasta||$1.00||$1.15|
|250gm Western Star Butter||$2.30||250gm Butter||$1.60||$0.70|
|725gm Kellogg's Corn Flakes ($4.00)||$0.55/100gm||500gm Corn Flakes ($1.80)||$0.36/100gm||$2.20|
|250gm Arnott's Sao Cracker Biscuits||$3.14||250gm Cracker Squares||$1.00||$2.14|
|1kg Bega Tasty Cheese||$14.51||1kg Tasty Cheese Block||$6.00||$8.51|
With just those ingredients alone you could potentially save $19.91 per week!
Don’t be tempted by buying markdowns
Don’t get me wrong. Markdowns are great only if you NEED them and those items are on your list. I see a lot of people on social media sharing their markdowns and that’s great. But if you’re making a special trip to only go and buy milk, for example, and you’ve picked up $37.61 worth of marked down meat, cheese, yoghurt or baked goods and saved $40.00 in the process, you actually haven’t saved anything. You’ve spent $37.61 unnecessarily.
Supermarkets need to get rid of near expiry date goods quickly and they usually put them out when customers are just ducking in for milk or buying something for dinner that night to tempt them. I love scoring markdowns but only when I’m doing my fortnightly shopping. I’d rather keep that $37.61 in my pocket and use it for what it was intended instead of thinking I’m getting a bargain. My freezer is full of marked down meat and bread that will all be used in my regular fortnightly meal plan but it wasn’t an additional purchase. It was part of my normal shop.
You could potentially save $40.00 per week by sticking to your list.
Buy in bulk
I’m not a stockpiler. I just don’t have the room. I do however buy toilet paper in larger quantities because that’s something we seem to go through a lot and there are huge savings on buying it in bulk. Check the unit price on the supermarket price tag and if the larger quantity is cheaper AND you have the room, buy it. For example, a 24 pack of toilet rolls are $11. A 12 pack of the same toilet paper is on special for $10 this week. A 12 pack would probably do us for the fortnight but because I’ve got the room for the extra 12 rolls, I’d buy the larger size. Who wouldn’t for an extra $1?
The potential saving on this item alone is $9.00! (1 x 24 pack @ $11.00 = $11.00 compared to 2 x 12 packs @ $10 each = $20.00)
Be aware of bulk offer buys
Be aware of supermarket specials bulk buy specials. For example, 10 x 170gm tubs of Chobani yoghurt for $10 might be good if that’s your favourite brand but are you really getting a good deal? That adds up to $10 for 1.17kg of yoghurt but a 1kg tub of a popular brand of sweet and creamy vanilla yoghurt is only $4.00 and you can add your own fresh fruit and flavourings. That’s a saving of $6.00 alone.
Also, multiple buy offers like buy 2, get the third one free aren’t really a saving if you’re not going to use it. About the only time I’d use this offer is on tinned tomatoes. I really don’t need 3 cans of any thing else. If my pantry stock is getting low on say canned pulses (chickpeas, lentils or kidney beans for example), I’ll only buy them then but I don’t want valuable space taken up in my pantry with stuff I’ll probably only use in winter time.
Potential savings are unlimited but by sticking to only what you need and what’s on the list you might potentially save up to $10.00 per week.
Don’t buy ready made
I could be your worst enemy in the supermarket. Okay, each to their own. You may not know how to cook or might be really time poor but when I see people, time after time, buying packet meal mixes I really cringe. For one, they don’t taste very good and if you kept a well stocked pantry, you’d already have all the ingredients to make these dishes, over and over again.
For example, a 145gm packet of Continental Alfredo Pasta & Sauce is $2.99. Only 145grams! I’m not sure how many people that would feed let alone the taste is pretty vile, well compared to what you could cook at home with real butter and cheese. In the table above you can see that you can buy a whole 500gm pack of pasta for $1.00 so if you only use a fifth of that packet for a side dish it would cost 20 cents plus a bit of butter, flour, cheese and seasoning and you’ve still got plenty of all those ingredients to use in other dishes. This packet of pasta and sauce can only be used once but if you’ve got your pantry stocked with all the basic ingredients, you can make it over and over again.
Even if you made up a bulk pot of pasta and cheese (Macaroni & Cheese, for example) and freeze it in family size portions so that you can just pull it out and defrost for a quick easy meal if served with meat and salad or vegetables.
Another one I cringe at is Apricot Chicken. It costs $1.75 for a packet mix to make it. If you had a 500gm jar of homebrand apricot jam for $1.40 in the fridge and some onions, that’s all you need to make it. The apricot jam can be used on toast, in baking, on sandwiches or pikelets. So many different uses for it.
I could go on and on about every single ready made meal, packet mix or jar of pasta sauce. Buy the basic ingredient and think of how many different ways you could use it instead of buying just a once-off meal packet.
If you bought 7 ready made meal sauces or packets for around $3.00 each and instead you used basic ingredients from your well stocked pantry, that could potentially save you $21.00 per week!
So, by implementing just these 5 changes alone you could potentially save up to $100.00 ($99.91 in my examples above) each time you shop.
Disclaimer: These prices were based on Australian supermarket prices in February 2017.