Author, musician, entrepreneur and freelance writer - always looking for something interesting and unique to do in our free time!
Published June 20th 2016
Save money on shopping, leave the kids at home
As a mother of 4 children who have reached that stage of pubescent growth that is consistent with feeding the equivalent of 40 grown men, saving money on food has now come down to survival of the fittest.
I am not legally allowed to starve them (I joke - if anyone is starving, it is the adults that live here off the crumbs of whatever is left after the morning frenzy), and if we try any of those '$50 per week' or '$25 per week' challenges suggested by bloggers who clearly have less than 2 mouths to feed, it is likely to get really ugly, really quickly in our house. With this in mind, here are my tips to save $5000 per year on your grocery shopping - you can thank me later.
swimming in groceries
1) Don't buy water
Anyone who has done any marketing research will understand that bottled water is one of the biggest marketing mastermind plans ever invented. Imagine putting air in a bottle and selling it. Just madness. At 2l per day x 6 people, even buying one bottle of water each at $1 would set us back over $42/ week, or $2100 per year. If you are worried about the flouride in your water, buy a good quality water filter and some steel bottles, and you are good to go! You're welcome.
2) Eat before you go shopping (or take your lunch in there with you)
My mother would be horrified to see me eat lunch while shopping, but if we are going to get serious about saving money, you seriously cannot be surrounded by a whole lot of expensive food and be expected not to buy it while you are hungry. An extra loaf of bread, tim tams, vegan coconut yoghurt and a few bottles of flavoured mineral water on a bad day could set you back $30 a week on your groceries. That's an extra $1500 per year! Take your lunch and don't shop with your Mum. She will never know.
You think it is expensive shopping hungry? try shopping with 4 hungry children. A couple of packets of hot chicken wings at the deli, a packet of poppers because everyone is suddenly thirsty, a few 'pleeeeease Mum, I really need this' packets of empty calories later and you have just upped your shopping bill by $50. Save the $2500 and go shopping by yourself.
4) Shop late at night
Relevant to the above point - if your significant other works all day, shopping at night, when he/ she is home to watch the kids, is an artful way to save money and get time alone. Everything is marked down late in the evening. If you stock up on items marked down from $4 to 50c even once or twice a week, you could save up to $500 per year. Plus everyone is at home late in the evening so no queues.
5) Don't ever buy anything that is near the front counter
If you absolutely need to shop with company - find a counter that is selling nothing out the front. Seriously. You cannot save money while waltzing a whole lot of tired children past a counter filled with chocolates and expensive drinks.
You know the drill - kids are tired and climbing the walls, from being cooped up inside the shopping centre for what seems like 5 hours of grocery shopping, and the $2 chocolate bars beckon.
Accompanied by $4 bottles of 600ml soft drinks that you would never buy for any other reason, except for that they are at the front of the shop and you don't want to descend back in to the rabbit hole that is behind you. My husband is the culprit here, and though I am able to resist the ridiculously expensive cola in the front fridges, many an awkward conversation has been had at the front counter when the check-out beeps at $4 and I am subconsciously calculating the accumulated cost of $416 per year that the innocuous drink has added to our expenses.
6) Online shopping
Last but not least - online shopping. It is perfect. Magical. Blissful, line-free and can be done with a wine in hand, completely uninterrupted, and planned to the last detail, without input from the less financially inclined members of the family. Estimated costs saved through online shopping: much more than $5000!