How To Save On Your Food Bill And Still Eat Tasty, Nutritious Meals

 how save m0ney on food 6 29Shutterstock

Grocery prices have taken a hike upwards for a host of reasons, including the rising costs of petrol, fertiliser and labour.

You could “shop around” for cheaper groceries, but that would cost you more in fuel or travel, not to mention time.

 Research shows a healthy diet costs low-income households 20 to 30% of their disposable income. But a healthy diet remains cheaper than one dominated by highly processed foods and drinks.

Cutting your grocery bill takes planning and flexibility – and knowing your budget.

So how do you do it?

Start by checking which vegetables and fruits are in season, and find recipes that include these.

Swap some fresh veggies and fruit with canned and frozen varieties, and substitute very expensive items for cheaper alternatives.

Have a meat-free meal at least once a week.

Next, create a grocery list. This helps save money by reducing in-store impulse buys. Look at what you already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer, and only buy what you need. This will reduce food waste.

Check online catalogues for specials before heading to the shops. Once in store, compare prices and choose brands that are cheaper. This makes nutritious meals more affordable.

How much do households spend on groceries?

A 2021 survey found the average supermarket grocery bill was A$98 per week for a single person, $145 for two, $168 for three, $187 for four and $255 for five or more people.

An older survey from 2016 found the average household (2.6 people) spent $269 per week across all food ($237) and alcohol ($32) purchases, both at the supermarket and other outlets.


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About half the money was spent was on “discretionary” items such as meals out or fast food ($80), with $20 spent on lollies, chocolate, savoury snacks and potato crisps, and $10 on cakes, biscuits and puddings. At the supermarket, $26 was spent a week on fruit and vegetables.

A 2019 survey found the average person spent $300 a week for all food and drinks. This included groceries ($135), eating out ($52), alcohol ($31), take-aways ($22), barista coffee/tea ($13), food delivery services ($12), supplements ($12) and health foods ($11).

These surveys show it’s common to spend more on foods and drinks consumed away from home than on groceries and more on unhealthy items than healthy ones.

how save money on food 6 29
  

5 tips to help you save

Putting all this together, here are five key tips to keep in mind when planning food for your household:

1) Have a food budget

Total food budget dollars will be influenced by how many people you need to feed, their age and your household income. A rough rule of thumb is it shouldn’t cost more than one-third of your total household disposable income.

Allocate target amounts in your budget for both core, nutritious foods and discretionary foods and drinks (softdrinks, chips, biscuits, cakes, lollies, pies, pastries and deli meats) and on foods away from home (coffees, fast food, pubs, clubs, bottle shops and restaurants).

2) Make a weekly plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks

Write a matching grocery list. Check the pantry, fridge and freezer to see what you already have or whether any ingredients can be swapped to save a purchase.

3. Pack your lunch

Buy a lunch box and pack it the night before. Put it in the fridge so you can grab and go in the morning. For ideas, see our $5 make-at-home lunches.

If your mornings are too busy, pack in breakfast foods too.

4. Cook more meals at home

Cooking more meals at home might include cheaper and healthier versions of some of your take-out favourites such as pizza and burgers.

A study from the United States found those who cooked more at home spent half the amount of money on food eaten away-from-home than those who cooked infrequently. They also spent 17% less on food overall.

Interestingly, both groups spent the same on groceries suggesting that infrequent home cookers either wasted more food, ate more, or both.

5. Cook double batches

Cook greater quantities of meals like curries, soups and casseroles, and either freeze them or have the same meal twice.

For those needing to shop on a significantly restricted budget, we’ve developed a $60 a week meal plan on our No Money No Time website. This free resource contains a meal plan with inexpensive recipes, designed to meet key nutrients needed for health.

If you need help getting food right now, try the Ask Izzy website. By submitting your postcode, it shows support services, such as free meals, near you.

About The Author.

Clare Collins, Laureate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle and Megan Whatnall, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle. The authors acknowledge the assistance of Hannah McCormick and Ilyse Jones from the No Money No Time Project team in preparing this article

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Recommended Books:

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind -- by Peter Wayne.Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. Dr. Peter M. Wayne, a longtime Tai Chi teacher and a researcher at Harvard Medical School, developed and tested protocols similar to the simplified program he includes in this book, which is suited to people of all ages, and can be done in just a few minutes a day.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs
by Wendy and Eric Brown.

Browsing Nature's Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs by Wendy and Eric Brown.As part of their commitment to self-reliance and resiliency, Wendy and Eric Brown decided to spend a year incorporating wild foods as a regular part of their diet. With information on collecting, preparing, and preserving easily identifiable wild edibles found in most suburban landscapes, this unique and inspiring guide is a must-read for anyone who wants to enhance their family's food security by availing themselves of the cornucopia on their doorstep.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It -- edited by Karl Weber.

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About ItWhere has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably? Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.


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