Eating Healthy on a Budget

We all want to spend less on daily necessities and more on the luxuries of life, so Eating Healthy on a Budget gives you practical ideas to reduce the weekly shopping bill, without compromising on food quality.

My husband and I have a game that we’ve been playing for about 12-18 months now.  It’s called the budget game, aka ‘how big a tight arse am I!’ :).  We decided to make it a game and try and get creative in the way we make the $$ go further (otherwise it can get a little bleak!). 

It is important to note at this stage, that food quality is everything.  We eat organic and even though it costs more, generally we eat less.  We have also made the commitment that we would rather spend money on top quality food and mindfully enjoy it than spend the money on medical bills later on.

Monitor your Current Spending

How much to do you currently spend on:

  • Groceries;
  • Fruit and Vegetables; 
  • Health food shop; and    
  • Meat and Fish?
  • We found it helpful to break it up and analyse over a few months.  As we use the credit card for the shopping, it was easy to download recent statements to Microsoft excel and go from there.  Keep in mind, the devil is always in the detail.  This sort of analysis usually raises questions, which is where the fun starts :).  

    If you don't already have a budget, I suspect you will have after you see what results your analysis throws up .... now, where did that money go?

    Monitor how much food you throw out

    Being vigilant and using left overs quickly can really add up the savings both in $$ and time.  Left overs make brilliant lunches, also great to use them creatively to make a second evening meal for the family.    More on this later.

    Set a New Budget Target

    What would you like to be spending each week?  Please be sure to keep it real.  It's no fun when you don’t achieve your goals or where no effort is required. 

    Shop the Specials!

    50 cents here and $1 there really adds up.  Sometimes my supermarket has Champagne at 2 for $40 instead of $30 each.  So I will take advantage.  Another favourite is coffee.  My husband loves his specific brand of coffee and it gets really expensive.  Every couple of months or so the supermarket put the larger packet on special for around $10 less than RRP.  So again, I’ll take advantage.  Obviously this only works for non-perishables and foods with longer expiry dates.   

    Don’t limit yourself to specials at the supermarket.   Don’t forget to shop the specials at the fruit and vegetable shop, butcher and health food shop too!    You can sometimes get vegetables with minor flaws for very reasonable prices.  I usually roast some vegetables for salads, so this works well.   Sometimes it may be discontinued stock of a particular grocery item you like.  

    I’ve also got a separate cupboard (known as ‘the store’) where I keep the extras.  My husband jokes that we could start our own convenience store :) 

    We also love Costco and usually visit once a month for certain items we’ve found to be loads cheaper.  I’ve been seeing a growing range of organic lines, which is very exciting!  Being a warehouse setup, there is not always stock, so you take what you can when its there.   We also find that when Costco has stock the supermarkets will compete with similar specials. 

    Try Shopping Online

    My supermarket has a yearly delivery card, which has paid for itself repeatedly.  Paying for delivery each week can get expensive and put extra pressure on the budget (depending on the size of your shop).  Check out your favourite supermarket's delivery costs and delivery saving strategies and do what works for you.  

    Shopping online also lets you check your stocks as you go and buy only what you need (and the specials of course!).  It also saves me more than an hour each week making the supermarket trek (not my favourite pastime)!  I will concede it takes time to setup the shopping lists initially, but it definitely pays off. 

    Supermarket Loyalty Programs

    Investigate the larger Supermarket chains loyalty programs (eg.  Fly-Buys and Everyday Rewards).  It’s surprising how quickly it adds up!  I average around $10  per week in savings due to points earned. 

    Discounted Gift Cards

    We also have an auto-club card that allows you to purchase gift cards and e-gift cards for our supermarket chain at 5% off.  There’s 5% straight off the top of your grocery shopping budget as well as making the auto-club membership pay for itself! 

    Happy Healthy Eating!

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