The cost-of-living crisis may be hitting your weekly shop hard, but there are ways to enjoy good meals while spending less. Here's a guide to thriving on a budget, without sacrificing taste or quality in your family meals.
Get savvy at the checkout
Effectively managing your grocery expenses revolves around two core principles: planning and research. Before heading to the store, create a list of essential items. This list is your defence against impulsive buying that can derail your budget.
Online shopping makes this even easier – when browsing the virtual aisles, you're less likely to succumb to impulse buys, and many offer price comparisons on products so you can make informed choices.
Don’t overlook store brand products – they’re often comparable quality. Get to know your local store’s sales, discounts, and loyalty programs. You’ll soon find your budget stretches further.
Buy in bulk, and in season
For non-perishable items like cleaning supplies, toiletries, and dry foods, make bulk purchases rather than buying in small quantities as needed. While it will cost more to buy a big box of toilet paper, you’ll save money because the unit price will be lower. You’ll also reduce packaging waste and environmental impact. If you have a bulk store nearby, it's an excellent way to cut costs.
For fruits and vegetables, seasons matter – in-season produce is typically more affordable.
Plan and prep for easy healthy meals
Juggling a busy family schedule and ensuring everyone eats well can be a challenge. Planning for the week of meals not only takes away some of the stress, it will also save you money.
Before you do your weekly shop, map out your meals for the week. Only buy ingredients you'll use. Involving the family in this process is a great way to teach your kids about health and financial management.
Set aside some time on weekends to prepare meals in advance for the upcoming week. Many dishes, particularly soups and pasta sauces, can be frozen in portion sizes. On those nights when you’re too busy or tired to cook, you’ll still eat well and avoid resorting to costly takeout. Save eating out for special occasions and make home-cooked meals the norm.
Save what you save
Stow away your extra cash in a high interest savings account – even a tiny amount each week will grow. Options like Bendigo Bank’s EasySaver feature competitive interest rates regardless of your deposits or withdrawals. Alternatively, higher interest savings accounts like our Reward Saver offer bonus variable rates if you consistently deposit. Whichever savings account you choose, the key is to have a plan. We have several great tools online to help you, like our Account selector.
Remember, the key to success in saving and budgeting lies in consistency and discipline. You don’t need to compromise your family’s health or enjoyment of food to tighten your budget. Small, deliberate changes in your grocery habits can lead to significant savings over time.