A little while ago, after sharing a blog on how we saved $30,000 in a year to go towards our renovation, I had hundreds of questions about how we budget on our weekly shop to save some extra money, writes Olivia White.
I was shocked to hear some of you commenting on my page about how you are spending upward of $350 a week on groceries! Some even over $500 – WHAT!!! Imagine if you could halve that, just how much you could be saving – that’s almost $10,000 you’ve just saved in a year!!
Smart checkout choices = a family holiday
Even bringing your weekly cost down from $250 to $200 would save you around $2,500 in a year, and that’s your trip to Bali right there!!
I think by starting with a figure in your mind of what you want to keep your shop to will also help. We budget $160-180 a week, but a lot of the time it comes in less if we’re not out of big household items.
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Striking a happy balance
While we absolutely could bring our cost down even further, I think we’ve found a good balance between enjoying the food we want and being frugal.
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I honestly believe by being a little more prepared and organised, choosing some healthier options and not being a brand snob are some of the keys to keeping your weekly costs down!
That being said, we still enjoy what we want. You don’t have to give up nice cheese, a good cut of meat and soft toilet paper! We still buy free-range eggs, organic chicken and support Aussie farmers by buying locally manufactured milk.
This list includes all your household, toiletries, cleaning and baby items, not just the weekly food shop. We have two young children, both in nappies or pull-ups (no formula) and furry babies to feed.
Here are my top tips for cutting down your weekly costs …
I find this is a big one for us as it stops me from buying things, just because. If I buy my groceries online from Woolies then I can simply search for each item I need, rather than browsing aisles. You can either have it delivered, which saves you heaps on time, or pick up which is free!
Grow your own
We have a good variety of fresh herbs and veggies growing in our garden all year around. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint etc. So, it’s always on hand to use. The kids grow cherry tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum and peas when they are in season and I think letting them grow their own makes it all more appealing to eat.
Check your fridge/pantry
Before I start writing a shopping list, I always check what we have and try to base some of our meals off that. That way nothing goes to waste and we don’t have heaps of things in the pantry going unused.
Seems simple but it will save you heaps. Buying exactly what you need, and using what you already have, not only reduces waste but will be much cheaper. We source our weekly meals from a range of places including the free supermarket magazines, and online including taste.com.au, delicious.com, Kidspot and Pinterest.
Sometimes I’m cheeky and go onto Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon and download their recipe cards as they have all the ingredients listed and instructions ?
When it comes to fresh fruit and veg, we just buy what is in season at the time, rather than forking out big money for imported items. A lot of the recipes in the supermarket’s free mags will also be seasonal, so you know that with the meals you plan, everything’s going to be available too.
Don’t be a brand snob
I know that every family has their little quirks and might be partial to a particular brand of something. But sometimes it pays to change for an alternative or own-brand product – there is often not much difference in the product quality. Hot Tip: Woolworths Brie Cheese is DELICIOUS and a lot cheaper than some brand names! Also, I find household items like laundry powder and dishwasher tablets often go on sale. If I know I like a brand, I wait for it to come on sale and buy a few. You just need to be prepared, if you need it urgently, to buy whatever is cheaper that week instead.
Check the unit price
Even though something is on sale or appears cheaper, you always should check the unit price and the quantity/volume you get for that price! A great tool online is to filter the search by unit price – lowest to highest.
Cut down on the bad stuff
We don’t buy many sugary snacks and soft drink. Crackers, cheese and dip, air-popped popcorn and mineral water are our go-to snacks and drinks! Plus, everyone can benefit from cutting down on the bad stuff.
Olivia White is brains behind The House of White.