LIFESTYLE

Supersave Your Food Shop In 5 Easy Steps

Slash the cost of your weekly groceries by following a few simple steps.

Aussie mum-of-two Sandra Reynolds survived long-term unemployment, Centrelink payments and Aldi checkout lines to turn personal adversity into her popular cooking blog, The $120 Food Challenge.

On her blog, she shares the recipes she uses to feed her family three delicious meals a day with no frozen or highly processed foods.

Every day, she encourages thousands of people on low incomes to do more in the kitchen with less.

Sandra says to ask yourself, ‘How much is your weekly grocery bill?’, ‘Do you visit the supermarket just once a week, shopping list in hand?’, ‘Are you scared to add it all up?’.

The average food bill – just food – for a family of four is currently close to $250 a week, we’re talking about (potentially) the second-biggest bill each week after your rent or mortgage.

Prices vary considerably around the country depending on how far you are from a major city, but you can make some dramatic savings every week by supercharging your shopping tactics.

Check out Sandra’s top tips to help you get the most out of your weekly shop.

1. PLAN AHEAD
Always work out exactly what you want to buy before you go into a shop. This means working out in advance what you are going to eat that week. Planning a menu may seem old-fashioned, but from there your grocery bill starts to reduce dramatically. By using up what you have in the pantry and fridge rather than buying something you don’t need, you’ll save.

2. WRITE IT DOWN
Use a spreadsheet to plan ahead and then jot down your list and save it to your phone for instant access. Include a few Plan B meals you can swap for other meals if you need a cheaper option. If you shop online, save a master list of everything you use, then select from there each week to avoid buying extra items you don’t need.

3. LOOK DOWN
If you want to buy branded products – the cheapest brands are usually stored on the lowest two shelves, out of your direct line of vision. Or buy generic, as every supermarket has their own line of generic brand and it’s estimated you can save around $450 a year if you swap branded products for generic.

4. SHOP IN THE EVENING
Depending on where you live, by visiting the supermarket in the early evening you can maximise your chances of snaffling food at a marked-down price, especially perishables. For example, a cooked roast chook, usually around $10, will be discounted to around $5. Bring discounted food home pronto, and if possible, portion it out and freeze it to prolong its shelf life.

5. GO AROUND THE OUTSIDE
When money is tight, do your shopping around the outer edges of the supermarket where fresh produce is kept rather than going up and down aisles for prepackaged food. Stick to fruit, veggies, deli items, bread, meat and dairy, and use up existing pantry items rather than buying more. Deli items are sold per unit, which is less than the prepacked stuff, plus you only have to buy what you need – I’ve been known to ask for six slices of ham!

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