A few years ago I sat down and had a good look at what we were spending at the supermarket and was absolutely shocked (and a little horrified) by how much money we were spending each week (around $200 – $250 for two adults and two small children at the time) and became determined to cut down our bill and implement ways to save money at the supermarket. We’ve made a number of changes over the years, and while things have changed over time, we now spend on average, no more than $160 a week on groceries for our family of five.
I completely understand that what works for us will not work for everyone, however I hope that you can get some ideas on how you can save money at the supermarket with some of my tips below – good luck!
I’m sure you know by now that I’m a big believer in meal planning. By having our meals and snacks planned out for the week (and making sure I also include some flexibility because life happens!) I can ensure I only buy the food and products that we need for the week.
I place an online order each week to have our groceries delivered on a Friday or Saturday. Yes there is a delivery fee (although I do buy a delivery saver which makes the delivery fee each week really minimal) but shopping online helps me to stick to my list and stops any impulse buying, after all who can resist walking past freshly made bakery goods!!
No Bulk Buying – even when on sale!
So this one may seem a little strange, but hear me out. In the past, I used to buy up big when it came to products we used a regularly, especially if they were on special. However I could easily find our grocery budget being blown way out of whack thanks to these purchases, and then when the time came where I would normally need to replace them, I was then buying other items in bulk, never really saving any money. Since I’ve stopped buying in bulk, we save money both weekly and monthly and can put that money to other uses.
No ‘Just In Case’ Purchases
This is similar to the above. I used to also stock up on goods that we used regularly so that when they ran out, I already had more waiting there. Yes this is essential for some things (eg toilet paper!) however for other items eg flours, spreads etc, if we run out unexpectedly through the week, the world won’t end (even though the kids sometimes think it will!) and we will survive until the next shopping day.
No ‘Top Up’ Shops
This was a really hard one to change. We live quite close to an IGA supermarket and it was soooo easy to just ‘pop’ in when I was out and about to grab a few things (eg some more bananas for the kids as they are addicted!), however I would NEVER just come out with just the items I went in there for. Now I buy MORE of these type of items in my weekly shop which then stops me from making any trips to the supermarket through the week which saves us a LOT of money.
Make what I can
I’ve always made a lot of the snacks/ meals that we eat, however since I’ve made the decision to be more mindful of the ingredients in our food, I’ve started making a lot more of our food (including sauces, spreads etc) from scratch which has made a huge difference to how much we spend at the supermarket. While it may be tempting (and certainly very easy) to grab a jar of curry sauce for example, I can make my own using real ingredients that end up costing me much less over time.
The other big way making our own food helps keep our grocery bill down is by not regularly buying packaged snacks for the kids and instead making Pikelets, Anzac Slice, Popcorn, Banana Bread etc for them to enjoy. This certainly isn’t to say that we don’t buy any packaged/processed foods, as they do certainly come in handy at times, however making our own where possible is a great way to help save money at the supermarket.
So there you have it, a few of the things we do as a family to help us save money at the supermarket. Again I know these ideas won’t work for everyone, however even if you just implement one of these ideas, you are sure to save some money.
What are your top tips for saving money at the supermarket?
If you are looking for some family (and budget) friendly dinner ideas, make sure you check out my ‘Family Dinners Made Easy’ book which contains 20 yummy recipes and all the meal planning and kitchen organisation tips you will ever need! You can view it here and shop my entire range of print and ebooks here.
Cate@Life Behind The Purple Door
the top up shops slay me! I’ve shifted to fortnightly shopping inline with husband’s fortnightly pay, so have to do at least one fruit and veg top up, but it can cost me close to a weeks worth of shopping! (otherwise fortnightly looks good on paper)
They really do make it hard to keep on budget when you are ducking to the shops for extras 🙂