Money

10 Budget-Savvy Tips for Groceries and Bills

Handy hints for handling the cost of living crisis in Australia

Managing a household budget can be challenging, especially when it comes to grocery shopping and the paying bills as inflation tightens its grip.

Learn how to make your dollars go further with these dollar-savings tips.

1. Meal Planning and Shopping Lists

It can be so easy to be tempted once you’re inside the supermarket, especially if you go without a list.

Plan your meals for the week ahead and create a detailed shopping list.

By sticking to your list, you can avoid impulse purchases – and unnecessary expenses.

Although, if you see something you use regularly on offer, say 50% off or Buy One Get One Free, it’s probably worth deviating from your list!

2. Seasonal and Local Produce

Opt for seasonal produce to save money while enjoying fresh and nutritious meals.

Local farmers’ markets and independent grocers often offer competitively priced, seasonal items.

Make the most of these options to support local businesses – and reduce your grocery bill!

In the winter months in Australia you should be looking out for avocados, grapefruit, bananas, lemon, lime, pineapple, nashi, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms, sweet potato, leek and spinach.

3. Compare Prices and Shop Smartly

Sometimes, you need to grab something and go. But if you do have time before making a  purchase, compare prices across different stores or online platforms.

Take advantage of deals and special offers by monitoring catalogues and promotional campaigns.

This way, you can secure the best prices and make informed buying decisions.

Some stores, such as The Good Guys, Dan Murphy’s and David Jones, offer to price match, so keep an eye out for those!

Budget tip buy in bulk
Buy seasonal food to save (Credit: Getty)
Budget tip meal plan save money
Planning each meal and a shopping list can help stop impulse buys (Credit: Getty)

4. Bulk Buying is Cost-Effective

If you see something on special that you know you’ll use, stock up!

Buying non-perishable items in bulk can yield significant long-term savings, but not only if they’re on offer.

Look for bulk-buying stores or warehouse clubs, such as Costco, that can offer discounts on larger quantities.

It’s worth calculating the cost per item to make sure you’re getting a bargain. And if you’re in the supermarket, check the product shelf tag for info on price per unit or 100g.


5. Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Join loyalty programs, such as Flybuys and Everyday Rewards, offered by supermarkets and retailers to access exclusive discounts, accumulate points, and receive personalized offers.

Maximize your savings by redeeming rewards for groceries or household items.

You can also check if your bank is offering any cashback for card purchases with certain retailers. You can usually find out about these in your banking app.

6. Cut Waste, Save Cash

Cutting down on food waste benefits both your budget and the environment.

Keep a close eye on your expiration dates and your vegies to make sure you use them before they take a turn.

Store food properly so nothing gets wasted, and repurpose leftovers creatively. Could leftover bolognaise be turned into a chilli for a second meal? Or uneaten pasta be added to a minestrone?

Budget tips can help save
Every cent helps! (Credit: Getty)
Budget tips pantry
Keep an eye on your pantry (Credit: Getty)

7. DIY Household Products

Create your own household cleaning products (that’s our handy guide!) using common ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.

DIY solutions are cost-effective, eco-friendly, and free from harmful chemicals.

8. Reduce Energy Consumption

With risings energy prices across the country, by as much as 25% in some states, reducing energy consumption can have a significant impact on your household bills.

Opt for energy-efficient appliances, unplug electronics when not in use, and adopt practices that conserve energy.

Utilize natural light during the day and switch to LED bulbs to lower electricity costs.

Turn off your devices at the socket.

Also check how energy efficient your appliances are, and if you can choose a higher rated on, it’s a good way to save on your usage.


9. Negotiate Bills and Contracts to Save on Utilities

Review your household bills regularly and negotiate with service providers.

Research competitive offers using online comparison tools, and contact your providers to discuss better deals or discounts.

Many will offer a lower price if you’ve found a better deal elsewhere and are at risk of leaving their service.

It can’t hurt to ask!

By being proactive, you can save money on utilities, phone and internet, insurance, and other recurring expenses.


10. Batch Cook and Choose Your Appliance

Do you need to heat the whole oven or could you an airfryer? Is there a smaller pot that fits what you’re cooking? The less cold metal to heat the better!

If the oven’s on, why not cook a big batch of food or a couple of meals? Make the most of the shelves!

Take advantage of meal prepping and batch cooking to save time, effort, and money.

And if you’ve got frozen portions sitting in the freezer, 

Plan meals in advance, cook larger quantities, and freeze leftovers in portioned containers. This approach ensures ready-to-eat meals and minimizes the temptation to order costly takeout!

If you can meal plan, shop wisely, embrace seasonal produce, and adopt energy-saving habits you can hopefully make your budget stretch further without compromising too much on quality,

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