How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

According to the Australian government's data on household spending, the average Australian spends around $122 each week on food and drink. The cost of groceries only grows from there, with a 4-person household spending up to $332 a week – a whopping $17,264 a year. But is it the cost of food rising, or are we being a bit too generous when we go to fill up our trolleys every week?

By incorporating some new shopping habits into your grocery run, you can save money on groceries each month. Here are some clever ways you can save money on your grocery bill.

Take Advantage Of Rewards Programs

By taking advantage of Coles' and Woolworths' rewards programs, you can save around $10 on your groceries every 6-7 weeks in the form of Coles' Flybuys rewards program or Woolworths' Everyday Rewards program.

While this might not seem like drastic savings, by combining a rewards program with our other handy hints, the savings will soon add up. Plus, these rewards programs usually cost nothing to be a part of – so you might as well get a little something out of your weekly shop!

Do Some Meal Planning

If you can block out 20-30 minutes a week to spend planning your meals for the week, you're more likely to save money on groceries than if you were to wander about the supermarket and try to think of meals on the spot.

You'll find printable meal planners all over Google if you want to sit down and build a plan for yourself, but there are plenty of websites out there that provide meals plans for you, including Taste, Good Food and Eating Well. To save on money and reduce wastage, try to plan meals with shared ingredients or incorporate leftovers of one meal into another. For example, the vegetables from a roast dinner could go on to be used in salads the next day.

Always Make A Shopping List

This is by far one of the most effective tactics when you're trying to save money on groceries. By combining a shopping list with meal planning, you are far less likely to impulse shop. Make sure your list is comprehensive, with all snacks and drinks included, to keep you on track as much as possible. Then, go into the supermarket and only buy the items on your list.

(Image credit: The Oatmeal)

Don't Go Shopping On An Empty Stomach

Shopping while hungry can be detrimental in more ways than one. Not only will you be more likely to impulse purchase items that you don't need ("I'm so hungry and that looks so delicious!"), but research suggests that shopping on an empty stomach leads to higher purchases of high-calorie foods. So, not only will you not save money on groceries, but you won't save your waistline, either.

Try A Food Delivery Service

While they might seem expensive, food delivery services can actually help you cut down on spending by providing everything you need for cooking in a box delivered to your door, saving you the hassle of leaving the house to do your own shopping. And when you're not in a supermarket, it's hard to spend those extra dollars! Finder has done a comparison of over 30 meal delivery services, so you can quickly compare what's on offer.

Ditch The Brand Loyalty

Many supermarkets have what is called a "private label" or "home brand" range of products that are available for a good deal less than their big-brand cousins. Often overlooked for being cheap knock-offs, there's actually little difference between a home brand product and a better-known brand – usually, supermarkets use the same ingredients, but just slap their own name on them and sell them at a reduced cost. In fact, a basket full of home brand products can come in at up to 40% cheaper than a basket of big brands.

Brand loyalty can also be extended to supermarkets, so shopping outside of the big two supermarkets can save you a good amount of cash. Aldi is currently ahead of the pack in this aspect, with the average shopping experience being 10% cheaper than Coles and Woolworths.

Use An App

As they say, "there's an app for that" – including budgeting for your groceries! Here are a few you could check out:

  • Trolley Saver claims that it can save families roughly $72 a week by letting you build a shopping list in the app and then compare all specials across Coles, Aldi and Woolworths.
  • Half Price keeps track of everything that's 50% off at Coles and Woolworths, so you can hunt down sales in an instant. It also includes Liquorland and BWS.
  • GrocerEaze lets you create multiple shopping lists and keeps a running total of everything in your cart, so there are no surprises at the register. It also keeps track of what's in your pantry, and gives you recipe suggestions based on what's in there.

Speaking of apps… check out our list of top budgeting apps for 2020, and get your money into order this year.

Go Flexitarian

While some households find it hard to stray from the tradition of meat and two veg for dinner, those that embrace vegetarian meals throughout the week will find a dramatic change in their food bill. Regardless of your ethical beliefs, vegetables are better for you and for the planet, and beans, lentils and fish are still packed with nutrients to keep you going. A good plan to follow is "a grain, a green and a bean" if you want to do vegetarianism on a budget and save money on groceries, since all 3 can be bought in bulk cheaply and still offer plenty of goodness for your body.

Remember that money saved on groceries can always go toward an emergency fund, paying off debt, or even a much-needed holiday! Be sure to check out our other blog posts for more money-saving tips.