As a family of five, I’m always looking for ways to reduce the cost of our weekly shop, without resorting to living off beans and rice. Over 20 years of parenting I’ve picked up some tips and tricks, so I thought I’d share them with you! Our weekly shopping bill for two adults, two teenagers, a kid, and a cat is usually around $200 a week.
Here are my 12 ways to reduce your grocery bill and how I get my Woolies worth…
This post is in collaboration with Woolworths
12 ways to reduce your grocery bill
Meal planning has to be one of the top ways to reduce your grocery bill every week. If you aren’t meal planning then you are buying unnecessary products every week, plus you are probably heading to the shops 2-3 extra times a week, which means you are spending more.
To meal plan, go through your cupboards, see what food you still have available and make a list of meals you can make using those ingredients. Add anything extra to the list and then only buy what you need. Download our free meal planner here.
Swap name brand for home brand
If you are regularly buying brand names over the supermarkets own branded products, this is a great way to make some serious savings. These days home brand products are just as good as the big names.
For example, have you tried the Woolworths Tomato Sauce? It tastes great and only costs $1.50. That’s a big saving!
If you are looking for family snacks, the Woolworths Rocky Road biscuits are to die for. They are only $1.65 a pack. And worth every cent. We also love Woolworths Popcorn. The multipack is only $2.75 for a 10 pack.
One of the other things I regularly buy is the Woolworths Tasty Cheese. It’s just as good as any of the big names. In fact, I prefer it. The kids love it too.
Shopping online is a great way to stick to your budget aqnd reduce your grocery bill because you can see the total adding up as you go. If you create a basics shopping list, you can add from it every week. Start with checking the half-price specials and stock up on essentials when they are half price. After all, why pay full price for anything if you can avoid it. Half price specials are a great opportunity to buy things like canned veggies and sauces, cereal and other essentials that you can store.
Bulk cooking can help save some real dollars. When you are at the supermarket, check out the price on the next size up of whatever you are buying; chances are that you can get quite a bit more without doubling your price. Bulk meats, in particular, can be a great saving. Make double the bolognese, double the curry etc and freeze it.
Use your Rewards cards
Woolworths Rewards lets you earn points that can be exchanged for money off your shopping bill. I like to save these up for Christmas as that extra money can make a big difference on that Christmas food shop!
Your Woolworths Rewards card will also give you extra in-store and online savings on various promotional products, so it’s worth scanning it at the checkout. Every cent helps!
Have some meat-free meals
Meat is one of the pricier items at the supermarket, so reducing the amount you and your family eat every week can make a big difference to the finances. We usually buy a bulk chicken breast pack, mince, and a small roast and have a few meat-free meals a week. If you don’t want to go meat-free then look at spreading the meat further with stir-fries, curries, soups etc. It makes a little bit of meat go much further.
Never shop hungry
You know when you are starving at a restaurant and you over order? Same applies to shopping. Shopping hungry will have you wanting to buy ALL THE FOOD! You’ll end up with a trolley full of delicious but expensive snacks and treats. Eat a meal before you shop so that you can be a bit more rational.
Get your kitchen organised
If you have an organised kitchen, you will save on your groceries. If you can’t immediately take inventory on what you still have, then chances are you will double up on the food you already have. If you are freezing food, make a list of what you have frozen and stick it to the freezer. Cross it out as you eat it, so you know where you are at.
Prep your food properly
If you don’t prep and store your food properly, you’ll end up throwing out perfectly good food that costs you a lot of money. Invest in good food storage containers and pre-chop fresh fruit and veggies where possible. This means you’re more likely to use them when you are in a hurry and they won’t go to waste.
Cook from scratch as much as possible
Cooking from scratch can save you a lot of money. Pre-packaged foods can cost you a bomb and often the portions don’t cover the whole family. Making food from scratch goes a lot further and costs a lot less. But let’s face it, sometimes we are tired and just can’t be bothered. So, if you want to buy some pre-prepared food, look for the best deal. I love the Woolworths Butter Chicken for $12. It’s chargrilled chicken marinated in tandoori spices in a creamy sauce and has four generous serves – a very reasonable price for the amount of food you get. You just need to add rice.
Fruit and veggies are seasonal, and they are far cheaper when they’re in season. So, look for apples, pears, mandarins, and oranges in autumn and winter and save the summer fruits for summer. Look at what is in season and plan your meals around this. Woolies also has the Odd Bunch range of funky looking fruit and veg which is incredible for value.
Leave the kids at home
Taking the kids to the shops makes you rush through the shopping and you end up buying things you don’t need. Pester power is real and can cost you a lot. So, head to the shops kid-free, with time to look for specials, and save yourself some serious dollars. Woolies gives away Free Fruit for Kids – so if you have to bring the kids along, remember to pick up a free piece of fruit for them – it’s a great way to keep their hands busy, and to get a nutrition boost.
Hopefully, these tips will help you stick to your family food budget. Do you have any tried and tested tips to share?