You are right, it’s expensive in Australia, especially when it comes to food and groceries.
Here are six ways to make your money go further.
1. Go to the cheapest supermarket
The two major supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths are certainly not the cheapest. A 2015 study from CHOICE.com found that the cheapest supermarket was Aldi’s, followed by Coles and then Woolworths and then by IGA.
If you don’t know where your nearest Aldis is, find out here.
You should also be visiting your local markets. They might be a little further away, but it’s well worth the effort. Avoiding major supermarket chains can save you up to 40% on your grocery bill.
2. Shop at the right time
Yes – showing up at the shop at the end of the day – particularly on a Friday can make a huge difference to your hip pocket.
Stores want to get rid of perishable items (like meat) at the end of the day. This means that they often put out a ‘reduced’ section in the bakery, one in the chilled section and sometimes one in the fruit and veg. section.
And if you really want to go out to eat, remember that many places have cheap days. Often this is ‘cheap Tuesday’. Local pubs and clubs also usually have special days of the week for lunch and dinner deals.
3. Stop splurging
Pro tip – always eat before you go grocery shopping. If you have a full stomach, you’ll buy less and are also less likely to select fatty, sugary foods. You should also get into the habit of carrying a healthy snack (like nuts or dried fruit) wherever you go so that you don’t splurge on takeaway meals when you’re out.
If you have a big day – pack your lunch. This can save $10 or more a day.
And finally, never skip breakfast. Eating breakfast has been proven to control your cravings later in the day.
4. Eat the foods that give you the most energy
You don’t just want to look for food that will just make you feel full. You want food that gives you more energy, for longer.
When you shop, buy high energy, nutritious food like:
- wholegrain bread and pasta
- brown rice
- dark chocolate (if you’re after something sweet)
5. Order online
This might sound like a more expensive option, but it doesn’t have to be. Shopping online makes it really easy to:
- Buy in bulk. Search for long lasting items (rice, canned goods, toilet paper, laundry liquid) according to price and then order A LOT in one go. This will save you heaps in the long run.
- Find the best discounts. Find the pages for discounted goods and decide what to cook that week accordingly.
- Plan very carefully. Because you don’t have to rush and have plenty of time to think, you can make a detailed plan of what you’re going to cook and stick to it. You also won’t be tempted by the snack isle when you shop online.
Both Coles and Woolworths also have cheap grocery delivery days. And stay tuned for Amazon Fresh Delivery, which Amazon says is coming to Australia soon.
6. Share food
Yes – communal eating is cheaper – and more fun.
Organise regular meals with your friends or, if you have housemates, take turns cooking for everyone. This saves on the essentials like oil and spices (and electricity). You can cook in big batches and keep leftovers for later.