When I was younger, I didn’t pay much attention at all to how much I spent at the supermarket. I would only purchase mainstream brands; bought whatever I liked and never worried about what was on sale. Fast-forward 10 years; 2 kids and a mortgage and now more than ever before I am exceptionally mindful about how much I am spending; I intentionally shop looking for the cheapest options and am finding I am spending less than I ever have at the supermarket. So how do I do it and still keep my nutrition on track? It is so easy.
1. Go to the supermarket less often
Each and every time you ‘duck’ into the supermarket you are guaranteed to spend at least $50 if not $100. It is the same as keeping food at home – if it is there, you will eat it and if you go to the supermarket you will see appealing options and buy more than you need. For this reason I go to Aldi once a fortnight and stock up on all the crucial supplies – toilet paper, nappies, wipes, cleaning products, frozen vegetables (a frozen vegetable is a frozen vegetable), baking products and long life milk. This shop rarely costs me more than $100. I then try and go to your local supermarket just once or twice each week to purchase anything else we need like the products Aldi do not stock, a couple of serves of fish, meat or chicken depending on what we are cooking and fresh fruit for the twins.
2. Get to the markets
Each week my Dad goes to the markets for the family. Now he is retired BUT you save so much money on fresh vegetables that I would now make time to go even if he couldn’t. For $20 a week I pick up a whole pumpkin, several zucchinis, sweet potato, spinach and tomatoes and that is more than enough fresh veges for the entire week! $20 I am serious. Get out there or form a coop and take turns going. You will save a fortune.
3. Cook less but make more
In busy lives who has time to cook every night. Generally speaking I cook 2-3 times each week but make a big serve of lean mince or various pies that work as leftovers and lunches a couple of times each week. The other nights I simply make a quick fish or cutlets with vegetables. Quick and easy and mince and pie dishes are extremely cost effective.
4. Make your lists
When I do find myself at the supermarket I generally spend 5-10 minutes in there, quickly racing for the products I am looking for. Perusing means buying more, and generally more foods we do not need. In stating that I do buy treats, a packet of chips here and there, sometimes biscuits but these are one off purchases, never routine buys that push the bill up and when I do buy them, they are always on sale eg ½ price biscuits or chocolate.
5. Forget the name brands
As a dietitian I am fussy with certain brands – I prefer the best types of bread, cereal, condiments but when it comes to foods like cheese, or milk or oats or flour, I never waste money on the name brands because I know the actual product is the same just in different packaging. Why spend $3.00 on peas when you can spend $1 or $5 on oats when you can $1? There is a coffee paid for right there in savings!