Modern day living is becoming increasingly expensive, and while you can't do anything about interest rate hikes or rising petrol prices, there is something you can do about another weekly expense – groceries.
Sure it's easy to fill a trolley at one of the big supermarkets, but that convenience will cost you. With a little extra work, you can slash your grocery bill. If travelling is required, be sure to plan ahead to form the quickest, most fuel efficient route.
If you've got any money saving grocery tips, let us know in the comments below.
Ducking out every day to get your milk and bread can be costly, especially when you think of all the fuel you're using. Try these money saving tips.
The big supermarket chains often run specials on bread, where you can save a couple of dollars by buying two loaves. Add up those extra dollars over a year and you've got a pretty substantial saving. Pop one loaf in your bread bin and the other in the freezer.
If you have been caught short, many 7-11 stores offer a Super Saver deal where you can get a loaf of 7-11 brand bread and 2 litres of 7-11 brand milk for five dollars. This isn't the most economical option for the long term, but is a good choice for those times when you've just run out.
Many bakeries throw away burnt bread at the end of the day. Have a chat to the owner and see if they're willing to give it away. Just cut off the burnt top crust and you've got delicious, free, fresh bread.
Fruit and Vegetables
With so many farmers markets operating around the country, I can't understand why anyone would continue to buy produce from the supermarkets. The offerings at local markets are fresher and tastier, and nearly always a fraction of the price.
If $1 lettuces are still out of your price range, seek out a community garden. Don't let childhood memories of being chased from your neighbour's yard for pilfering oranges deter you – community gardens are a place where you are allowed – nay, encouraged – to pilfer away. Locate your nearest community garden here.
The trick to saving on meat is planning and cooking.
First of all, buy in bulk. Instead of getting your meat during your weekly shopping trip, consider stocking up at the beginning of the month.
Plan your meals ahead so that you can utilise what you've got; a meal planner can help with that. If you've got a surplus of something, cook up big meals at the beginning of the week and store some in the freezer. Casseroles, lasagne and spaghetti make excellent freezer meals.
Making food from scratch isn't just cost effective – it's often tastier, plus you know exactly what's going into it. With a bit of practice, you'll find it's easy to make your own bread, sausages, cheese, pasta, chocolate, and even beer and alcohol.
You can also save money and the environment by making cleaning products from household items.
Now that you've saved so much on the essentials, you can afford to splash out on a few little extras. And if you buy these treats at a factory outlet, you can buy even more!
ALDI by a good margin,they do it their way and you wont find all the usual suspects on the shelf, but its well worth the re-education. Bring your own bag and expect to put two bucks in the refundable slot to use their trolleys. A new store just opened in Phillip St Waterloo, I'll be checking that out.
OK. Here's the thing. Often getting cheap means either ignoring Australian for stuff from China, Argentina or Sth Africa or forcing the Aussie farmers to sell too cheap. For instance, the beautiful peaches Coles have been selling are a result of the Coles vs Woolies price war and at $2-4/kg cost more than that for the farmers to produce, forcing many farmers to plough their crops into the ground. So I reckon you can't beat the big chains for good F & V prices, but consider the real cost before you buy.
Farmers markets? Bah! Dunno where you go Carly but the one's I've tried are far more expensive than the shops and the produce is straggly and often old, looking like the stuff John West rejects. As for organic markets, every time I decide to try one someone gets busted for selling non-organic at organic prices, and kills the trust factor. I like Forestway Fresh at Terrey Hills, and as a bonus, they sell proper Dairy Farmers milk at least $1 per 2L cheaper than Coles or Woolies; none of this watered down home brand rubbish.
Meat I buy online from Wiggly Tail Butchery in Port Macquarie. Great quality and variety, good prices and they home deliver to Sydney. As the name would suggest they are particularly good with pork products. If you don't fancy online, then look for the local chinese butchery. For some reason they seem to get really good prices and as well you can usually get some beautiful BBQ pork or roast duck.
As for the other stuff like cleaning products, just avoid the name brands. If you see it advertised on the telly every night then you know they spend a fortune on advertising and they have to recoup that cost somehow. As well they are usually owned by multi-nationals. Look for the lesser known and oftern Aussie-owned brands. They're usually hidden awya on the bottom shelf because they don't pay the supermarkets for prime positioning, but they're equally as good.
Basfoods Australia at 423 Victoria St. Brunswick Tel: 9381 1444 has some great bargains. It is a HUGE warehouse type place selling all types of food, nuts, cleaning products including a lot of important products. E.g. I can get a large 1.5 kilo tin of delicicious stuffed vine leaves (about 40 little ones) for around $10 - great for entertaining. Also a huge 1 kilo dip tub for around $10.00 - great also for entertaining. Lots of cheap nuts, fruit, vegies, kitchen crockery and pots and pans etc.
Costco is great for some things like frozen berries, milk and eggs but you really have to know your prices and dodge the expensive items in order to reap the benefits of the membership that's around $60. Cabramatta for fresh seafood, Wetherill Park for fruit and Veg (Joe's?), Giraween for chicken (Baiada or Cordina), the butchers are very competitive in Seven Hills shopping centre (plus there's Aldi, Coles and Woolies in the one centre so whatever you want is likely to be on special at one of these), also a great butcher Pendle Hill Meat Market on Bungaree Rd, sometimes we go to McGrath's Hill Cattle Market on a Saturday morning for fruit and veg, it's an auctions. You can get some great bargains and it's lots of fun! :)
I've been currently looking around to find out where to buy the best fruit and veg from. After searching and searching around Brisbane, I finally found somewhere. FoodWorks at Wishart Villiage. Not only do they have reasonable prices, but the quality is honestly great. I now continue to buy my fruit and veg for the family there.
The Golden Circle outlet shop in Capalaba, Brisbane. If you are willing to be brand and meal plan flexible. There is also a meat wholesaler and Sara lee outlet store there. If you have a party coming up the Saralee outlet place is awesome with all the bulk finger foods and everything. There is another wholesale butcher on the service road at loganholme that has the more quality cuts at cheaper prices. Fruit and Veg? Just can't go past the one at Victoria Point next to Pattamores meats (where incidentally they have excellently priced seafood). The fruit and Veg place is family owned and its always fresh and CHEAP.
Form a co-op with other like minded families/people and buy wholesale. There is more work eg we take turns packing fruit and veg once every 3 months and someone has to do the ordering, but I hardly have to go shopping any more which I love and I have become very good friends with a whole group of people who think like me.. Some co-ops you don't get to choose exactly what you get each week, while others you choose your produce and the orderer compiles the order - if they can make the minimum (eg 10kg almonds) then you get what you ordered, if not then you miss out that time around. Our family of 5 get all our organic fruit and veg for $100 per fortnight. We get biodynamic local meat for $13/kg for 1/4 beef and $10.50kg for half a lamb. We also now buy most of our seeds/nuts/grain/dried fruit in bulk through the co-op and can buy organic wheat grain for $1.94/kg - that is the same price as home brand flour! It means I have to grind my own, but we make our own bread anyway.
Never buy "convenience" foods, like frozen convenience meals (like Healthy Choice): very poor value and quantity for money.
Check the weekly brochures from the main supermarkets to see their specials of the week. You can sometimes buy non-perishable items for a huge discount (even half-price) and keep it for later - things like dishwasher tablets, washing powder, toiletries, tinned fish, etc.
Buy the discounted items at the fruit and veg shop - usually on a certain shelf somewhere. The stuff is normally still quite all right, even if not at their peak, and much cheaper.