10 Ways To Save On Your Food Bill

With global food prices forecast to remain high for the next ten years, I thought I would put together the most effective ways I find to save money on our food bill.

(1). Menu Plan
This recommendation would be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog regularly. But by planning what meals you will have through out the week you can save on wastage, additional trips to the supermarket and on take away food as it is too late to get the ingredients required for the meal.

(2). Shopping List
Even if you don’t menu plan, you should never go to the shops without a shopping list. On the rare occasions that I have done this, I come home with things that I don’t really need and without essential ingredients.

(3). Markets
Buying fruit and vegetables at markets is so much cheaper than from the supermarket or the green grocer. Just check out the savings that I make weekly by (Mr Infrastructure) making a weekly trip to the market.

– 4kgs Apples at supermarket = $19.92 (my kids eat lots of apples 🙂 )
– 4kgs Apples at market = $10.00
– .75kg red capsicum at supermarket = $7.27
– .75kg red capsicum at market = $2.99
– 2kgs carrots at supermarket = $5.34 (they also eat lots of carrots!)
– 2kgs carrots at market = $2.80
– 2kgs butternut pumpkin at supermarket = $7.92
– 2kgs butternut pumpkin = $4.00

On these items alone we saved $20.66. This week’s shopping list had another seven items of fruit and veg on that we would have made savings on. Even if you deduct the extra petrol it costs (approx $3.00) to drive to the market, we are still so much better off.

(4). Specials
Supermarkets in Australia have weekly specials where items are reduced quite often significantly. When things like our favourite cereals, pastas, crackers etc come on special I will buy a large amount of these items. Mr Infrastructure for example eats Just Right Breakfast Cereal every day. Usual price is $8.71 for 890 grams. When on sale the price can reduce to as low as $5.

(5). Do some math
Quite often some items although on special will not necessarily be the cheapest item of its type. Calculate the per kilo price or price per unit and see what is really the cheapest. Ask yourself do you have to have that particularly brand. (Mr Infrastructure will accept no substitutes on his cereal!)

(6). Buying the generic version.
This is not as easy as it once used to be. The supermarket that I shop at now has a number of different generic brands for the same item. I have test run a few and depending on the item, I may a different brand of the generic range.

The price difference is significant and I find that on the basics there is no difference in the quality and you can make savings like this:

– 2kg generic brand self raising flour = $2.00
– 2kg premium brand self raising flour = $5.48
– 2kg generic brand sugar = $1.61
– 2kg premium brand sugar = $3.33
– 60m generic brand plastic wrap = $2.26
– 60m premium brand plastic wrap = $4.44
Total savings of $7.38

(7). Emergency Items
In our house the food budget includes any monies we spend on food including take away. I like to have supplies of some handy quick feed items, for those emergency situations when you need to find something for the kids to eat in a flash.

Three cans of Spagasaurus (dinosaur shaped spaghetti in sauce) cost me $4.50. This is very cheap compared to the minimum of $20 it would cost me if I was to buy fish and chips for the kids. And the other bonus it that I don’t have to leave the house for it.

(8). Toiletries
Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, nappies can all be more expensive at the supermarket. If you have a discount chemist or like store near by, try and purchase them from those stores instead of the supermarket.

(9). Online Shopping
I use online shopping and to reduce the impact of the delivery fee I make sure that it is always for a fortnight and stock up on cheap items. The advantages of on line shopping are that you can manage the total as you go along and it is very easy to make cost comparisons of the different brands. It also saves me time and as they say “time is money”!

(10). Try New Supermarkets
This is one that I am only doing myself this week. ALDI have been within 10km of me for sometime yet, despite all the rave reviews I have heard from friends, I have still been either on line shopping or using my regular supermarket. They have amazing specials and their standards prices are apparently much cheaper. I am looking forward to checking out ALDI this week.

How do you keep the family food bill down?