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Help to reduce your food bills

As price rises bite into budgets, many people are cutting back on their weekly grocery shopping. If you’ve been wondering how to reduce your food bills, consider these tips.

Make the most of what you already have

Take stock of what you’ve already got in your cupboards before going on your weekly shop. Making a shopping list can help to save you time and potentially reduce waste.

Plan your meals

You could take it a step further and plan your meals before you go to the shops. Planning your meals will help you create your shopping list and avoid those impulse buys at the shops, which can lead to overspending. Another option is to look for supermarket specials, or for what’s in season, then plan your meals around these.

Make your money go further

Ask a seasoned thrifty shopper for their tips on how you can make your money go further, and they may suggest things like:

  • Try supermarket private labels:  Often supermarket’s private label (or ‘home brand’) products are cheaper than well-known brands
  • Plan your grocery shopping: Consider creating and sticking to a list, using coupons to save, and buying staples (like pasta and rice) that are affordable and versatile
  • Make better use of your freezer: Buying frozen vegetables may be cheaper than fresh produce. Also, if fresh products are getting close to their use-by date, try to freeze them
  • Does it need to be packaged? With fresh produce and meat, you may be paying more to have the item pre-packaged. There may be some savings to be found by taking the time to compare packaged product with unpackaged product
  • If you’re buying fresh, go seasonal: You may be able to save money by buying fruit and vegetables that are in season
  • Buying in bulk: Buying grocery items (both food and non-food items) in bulk may help save time and money. The cost per unit of an item is usually cheaper when buying in bulk. Examples of what may be cheaper if you buy in bulk are: flour, grains, rice, or pasta. Just be wary of not buying more than you can use because if it goes to waste then it’s not saving you money
  • Look for deals: Get more volume for the same price (such as 2 for 1 price offers).

Take small steps to change your current habits to reduce your overall spend

By making only a few changes to your habits, you could save money from your food budget.

  • Swap meals out for meals in: The amount you could save will depend on what type of meal out you have and where.  Individually, each of these things may not be particularly expensive. A few dollars for coffee, few dollars for lunch, but weekly, those little bits can add up
  • Reduce your spend per meal out: Instead of spending $50 per person for a night out with your partner, what if you shared a pizza for $25.  For some, eating out is a habit. Reminding yourself of the goals behind trying to reduce your overall eating out spend, may help with changing this habit
  • Waste less food: How often do people throw out leftovers after a meal? Packaging up yesterday’s evening meal in a container for your next day’s lunch, could be a simple way to save money
  • Make meals in bulk: Many meals can keep well in the refrigerator for up to three days. By prepping at the weekend, when you may have more time available, you could make an extra servings or meals. Freezing the meals you prepare could not only save you money but time too
  • Take a closer look at unit pricing: Whether you’re shopping in store or online, unit pricing may help you to save money. Unit pricing is a labelling system which compares the price per item or volume that helps you to work out the best value for money when buying groceries. You can use unit pricing to help you compare different brands, product types or pack sizes.
Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714.