10 Ways to Save on Your Grocery Shop

Food swaps

We’re lucky to have friends who sometimes send some milk our way. We rarely get some other bits and pieces from friends gardens or deliciousness that they might cook up. We are so happy to be living in a beautiful community. We will always be happy to swap freshly baked bread, preserves, or a little bit of home grown produce.

Using what we have

If a recipe asks for zucchini and we don’t have it them, we’ll just use something else. Going to the supermarket to buy a zucchini just makes us spend money that we didn’t need to, and prevents us from buying unnecessary items.

Keeping chickens

This not only helps with scraps, but we don’t have to buy eggs ever.

Growing herbs

I’m not much of a gardener, but our herbs are going gang busters. Most were grown from cuttings, some from seedling from the nursery but they’re growing so well. With these growing I refuse to buy anything else, we just use what we have. And it’s free.

Using leftovers

Mostly our leftovers get eaten for lunch, but occasionally there’s some left over. Spaghetti Bolognese gets turned into lasagne, slow cooked beef stew gets turned into pie, chicken bones gets turned into stock and then soup, any veggie left overs can get added to eggs and eaten for breakfast.

Set a budget and stick to it

We chose $200 a fortnight, it’s what works for us. We probably could go a little less, but financially we don’t need to, and we like cheese platters.

Go without

Not in a bad way, but just like using what we have, sometimes you can go without the zucchini. Some fortnights we forgo olive oil, and use canola or coconut. Some times we decide not to buy nuts or dried fruit until the following fortnight. It’s fine and we make do.

Meal plan

We come up with about 10 meals a fortnight. Recipes we’ve been waiting to make, old favourites and pantry staples. We try to stick to less than 5 that have meat, and often we will use the same meat for multiple meals. We also look at what we have and see what we can use from the pantry. You might like to plan for breakfasts and lunches too, but we’re mostly porridge/homemade muesli or eggs for breakfast, and left overs for lunches.

Go to the shops once and do a big shop

The more you go to the supermarket the more money you will spend. Do you meal plan, write your grocery list and stick to it. Try not to go back to the supermarket, it saves you money and time.

Buy ingredients, not meals

Buying ingredients for one meal or even those frozen meals doesn’t give you a lot for the rest of the week. You get no left overs, no remaining vegetables and no extra meat. When you’re doing your planning, you can look to use some vegetables over the week/fortnight.

I’d love to hear you to tips to saving money on your grocery shop!

 

Join the Conversation

10 Comments

  1. Our budget is 400 a fortnight ( family of 6). I do pretty much everything you guys do but I also stockpile. I have 3 big tubs in the bottom of my pantry & they are filled with dry goods. I buy extras when they are on sale ( good sale, not 10% off!) or when I have excess in my budget. Having a stockpile helps stop those in between shops & having all ours essentials on hand also means I can whip up a meal/snack/bake at any time.
    I also find doing my groceries online saves us lots of money. Because I can see the total as I’m adding to cart I know where I’m at. I look through the catalogue, add anything that’s on special that’s needed & then I literally just type in what I need so I’m not tempted to buy extras. It saves me heaps of money & time.

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  2. We grow our own fruit, veg, eggs, and some of our meat which definitely saves us money, though the trade off is the amount of time it takes to look after the animals and garden. We also only grocery shop every 5-6 weeks. Again, easy because of the long drive to town, and the fact that we have most of our veg etc fresh in the garden.

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  3. As you know, we shop fairly similarly to you. I think not being a recipe cooker is an advantage; I never have the ‘need’ to go and buy one ingredient just because a recipe says so. It doesn’t matter what veggies you have to go in a meal. Just use what’s there! I guess in some ways I do mentally pick recipes and meal plan; but it’s all in my head. We buy x amount of this and use it in y meals.
    I’ve been struggling to maintain iron stores in my body, so I want to buy a new or new-to-me freezer (my small stand-alone freezer isn’t frost free and I’ve had it with it!) and buy read meat directly from a farmer. I was looking up a few and they chop it for you into whatever cuts you request. And most looked like they deliver too! I think they sat around the $8-10/kg range, which is fantastic for farm fresh meat.

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  4. Hi Claire- i do the same as you and manage on $110 per week for 2 adultsts- including a male who does hard physical work. I don’t have hens, but do grow herbs and a few vegetavles. Never buy takeaways, cakes or pies, or any kinds of drinks- make my own cakes, biscuits, juices, cordials and if I want to have coffee with a friend, we do that in our own homes.
    Your best tip is use what you have- don’t go out and buy a single ingredient missing from a recipe- you’ll come back with a bag full of things you don’t need.

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  5. Hi Clare – love the post! Heard about your awesome blog from your stint on Open Kitchen recently.
    I’m trying to cut down on food budget as I found I was getting carried away at farmers markets and buying way too much & being overly ambitious for how many meals I would make from scratch in a week. My other half has been very good for me in this way as he’s very frugal (and prob doesn’t eat enough veg though). We’re now on a zero-food waste mission, and I’m finding I love the end of the weeks when I use what I have rather than going out to make a new recipe. This is the part of your post that resonated most for me and has strengthened my resolve. I’m going into 2017 to use what I have! Thanks!

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    1. I was so honoured to have been included on the My Open Kitchen podcast. I’ve just realised that we could be eating more veg too. Zero food waste is an excellent mission to be on. I’m so glad that it was of some help to you.

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