A girl’s gotta eat, but when that girl doesn’t have an unlimited bank account, food shopping can be a challenge. We’ve got you covered with some nifty tips, and don’t worry – we’re not going to tell you to cut coupons. Here’s our budget-friendly guide to grocery shopping.
Make a budget.
The first question is: how much can you actually spend? Think about what you eat, how much you eat, and how often you travel/dine out, and then create a budget based on that.
Don’t shop while you’re hungry.
You’ll 100% buy everything in sight.
Do one big shop a week.
The less time you’re in Woollies, the more money you’ll save. Instead of swinging by the shops on the way home every night, go on Sunday and buy the basics for the week ahead. This will help you to rein in your spending and be resourceful with whatever food is in your fridge.
Shop with a list.
If you’re an organisational QUEEN, you can go all out and plan your meals for the week, so you know exactly what to buy. If you’re not, write a list with the ingredients you need to make your go-to meals, like pasta, stir-fry and salads. Then stick to it! Ignore any enticing (and unnecessary) goodies like you would creeps on the street.
Go no frills.
We know you’re fancy, but sometimes, the no-frills version is FINE. For nuts, grains, cereals, crackers, tinned food and yoghurt, the good ol’ generic brand tastes just as good and is half the price.
Stock up on tinned proteins.
Canned chickpeas, lentils, beans and tuna are super cheap. They’re healthy and versatile too! For example, you can roast chickpeas as a snack, and use them in salads, sandwiches, soups, curries and tacos.
Compare two brands.
Apples are apples, but companies will price them differently. It’s worth taking a minute to look at the labels.
Learn to love cheaper cuts of meat.
Ask your butcher and they’ll tell you: the cheaper cuts often taste better. They just don’t look as good, but who cares! Go for these types:
- Beef – mince, chuck, blade, brisket
- Lamb – shoulder, neck, gigot chop
- Chicken – thigh
- Pork – belly, cheeks shoulder, chop
Embrace Meatless Mondays.
Meat is bloody expensive, while lentils and beans are packed with protein and insanely cheap, especially if you buy them in cans, or in bulk. Eggs are another good option – and no-one says you can’t have an omelette for dinner!
Check out the farmers market.
While listening to Drake in your activewear, obv. The stalls are piled high with fresh, seasonal produce at much cheaper prices. If you go later in the day, you might snag some serious bargains.
Pick the not-so-pretty fruits and veggies.
When you’re shopping, choose the weirdly-shaped and riper fruits and veggies. Since they don’t look ‘perfect,’ supermarkets usually mark them down. And you’re prob going to chop them up anyway!
Supermarkets are sneaky. They put the most expensive items at eye level, so you’re more likely to grab them. Don’t fall for those marketing tricks – scan all the shelves to find a better deal.
Become besties with your freezer.
When you see fresh produce on sale (like bananas or corn), buy it and freeze it for later use. And when you whip up a recipe, double it and put the extra portions in the freezer. You’ll be so happy to see a freezer full of food on those days when you cbf cooking.
Avoid foods that are packaged for convenience.
Think pre-cut veggies, packaged nuts and snack packs. You’re literally paying for someone to do the work for you.
Buy anything you eat/drink a lot of in bulk.
Most stores have a bulk food section where you can load up on nuts, pasta, rice, oats, quinoa, almond milk and dried fruits for a fraction of the price. Since you’re not paying for all the extra packaging, you’ll save some $$$.
Only buy non-perishables and foods you know you’ll eat.
There’s no point buying 4 chicken breasts because they’re on sale, when you only need 2.
Opt for frozen fruits and veggies.
Especially if your fave fruit is out of season. Remember in winter, when blueberries when $9 a punnet? Yeaaah, nah. Frozen foods are just as nutritious, and you don’t have to worry about eating them ASAP.
Shop local and seasonal when you can.
That way, you won’t be paying for the plane/train/truck that had to transport out-of-season stuff to your hometown.
Start eating oats for brekkie.
They’re hearty, and you can get a huge packet for $5 or less. Top it with your milk of choice and frozen berries, and that’s a cheap-as-chips start to the day. (Oats are full of fibre too, so your gut will love ya).
Cut those boujee items.
Saving up for something special? Nix any gourmet items, at least for a little while. That cheddar will tide you over until you can splurge on that crumbly block of goat’s cheese from the coast of Italy.
Shop around the grocery store.
You’ll be less tempted to fill your trolley up with the delightful goodies that lie in the middle aisles, like chips and chocolate.
Space out your bigger buys.
Meat, fish and household supplies tend to be on the exxy side. If you load up on detergent, paper towels and salmon fillets in the same week, it may hurt a bit, so try to space them out.
Leave your credit card at home.
The best way to stick to your budget is to bring cash – and only cash – to the shops.
Shop at ethnic supermarkets.
For example, go to an Asian grocer and stock up on rice noodles and soy sauces. Not only will it be cheaper, but they’ll have far more variety.
Sign up for the store card.
I like the Woolworths card – it’s connected to Qantas, so you can actually earn points to travel. Hello, cheap flights!
Shop online for fewer distractions.
We know you guys are good at that!