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How to Reduce the Cost of Groceries in 2022

How to Reduce the Cost of Groceries in 2022

21 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Groceries

Prices are going up and many households are finding it hard to make ends meet. Things that used to save money don’t seem to work as well anymore. So here are some tips I use to keep costs low at this time. My groceries is everything from food to toiletries to baby products so I included tips for each.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services I use.

1. Budget For It

Prices have gone up and you either need to budget accordingly or make some big changes. My preference is to have a separate account, other people use the cash envelope system.

Essentially, what you are doing is putting aside grocery money and aiming to spend less than the amount you set aside. Keep the excess in there if you spend less so you can use those funds to buy more when items are on sale.

2. Change How You Eat

Most Aussies grew up on meat and 3 veg with the assumption you need a steak or a few sausages or some other slab of meat to make a meal. This simply isn’t true.

Take inspiration from other countries to save money on your groceries. Dhal which is an Indian dish is a favourite in our home. Made from lentils it is cheap and there are numerous variations.

Being a mixed-race, blended family, we’ve stayed in a few countries and learnt cuisine from them all. In Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, nothing was wasted.

We ate in season only, fresh produce and cooked only what we needed. It was quite different to the bulk cooking I was used to here in Australia but worked well. We had no waste.

Smoothies for breakfast, popcorn as a snack, pancakes, fried rice, loads of vegetables, dhal as mentioned, pho, curries and similar are often eaten here.

Check out:

25 ideas for leftover ham
20 recipes for leftover sausage
29 recipes for leftover roast chicken
28 mince recipes

3. Shop Around and Shop the Sales 

Doing all your groceries in one store is a great way to spend more. If you’re short on time, I understand using one store. But if you can, split your shop.

Buy what is on sale and buy enough for the next sale as they go in cycles usually 4 to 8 weeks. Numerous items are cheaper in half-price sales at Coles and Woolworths than they are at Aldi. Know your prices and shop accordingly.

Check out local farmer’s markets, butchers, bulk food warehouses, discount stores and other places for discounted food too. Along with international grocers. You’ll be surprised at the prices outside the supermarket.

4. Use Rewards Programs and Split your Shop for Better Offers

Everyday Rewards and Flybuys are the two most commonly used ones. Join them and any other reward programs for places you shop.

As mentioned in the previous tip, split your shopping though. This goes for rewards as well. When you spend less in one store or split your shopping over the stores, you get better offers. If you spend more regularly, the offers they send you will require you to spend more to match that.

I buy things on sale at Coles and Woolworths then the rest at Aldi and our local markets. This way, my spending on each is low and the offers from Coles and Woolworths are high. I get the best prices on everything and never have to pay full price.

5. Use Freebies

There are numerous freebies in Facebook Groups as well as massive discounts online. Here are a few I have used:

$180 off your first box with HelloFresh! Essentially, try them for free then cancel if you want to.
40% off EveryPlate which is a simpler version of HelloFresh.
$20 off each of your first 3 boxes with Dinnerly.
$100 off with Marley Spoon split across your first 4 boxes. $40 off your first, $30 off your second, $20 off your third and $10 off your fourth. You don’t have to use them all though.

Sign up, get your freebie then cancel before you are charged full price. While they are convenient, they are not frugal.

Also, check out how to get free and super cheap groceries.

6. Shop With A List 

How often do you go to get groceries only to forget something then spend another $50 to $100 when you go back for that 1 forgotten item? Or you buy the same ingredients because you can’t remember if you ran out or not?

Shop with a list and be sure to stick to it. We write on our whiteboard items that have run out or are about to and that need to be purchased. Then I simply take a photo of it and head off. Doing it this way also means if I am out and realise I have time to shop real quick, I can get one of my daughters to take a photo and send it to me too.

7. Swap Your Drinks or Get a Discount

In our house, we mainly drink water, sometimes herbal tea but fizzy and other drinks are reserved for special occasions. We do not buy cordial and don’t see the point in it.

Look at swapping what you currently drink to other options. For example, addicted to energy drinks? Try swapping it for a Berocca. Also, check out the tips here to get rid of energy drinks.

8. Get Sober

Alcohol is incredibly expensive and for too many people, causes issues beyond the budget. Get sober and see how much better you sleep and function, not to mention how much money you save.

If you don’t want to quit alcohol, plan ahead and buy in sales. E.g Vinomofo usually has up to 75% off amazing wines.

9. Stock up When on Sale if Possible

This depends on your circumstances, budget and living situation but if you can do it, it can save a lot of money. As already mentioned, I buy in half-price sales mostly and I buy enough to last until the next sale cycle thus preventing ever paying full price.

Planning my shop around the sales and comparing prices saves me thousands.

10. Forage. Fish. Barter

Forage food such as berries, dandelions, native foods and similar. You’ll be surprised at what is edible and what goes to waste everywhere.

Fishing is a great hobby for many plus when you catch something, if it is of legal size, you can enjoy it for dinner that night. It is something we enjoy doing as a family and sometimes on our own.

Barter with friends, family, neighbours or in Facebook groups. Any excess you have can be traded or if you prefer, sell your excess and use the money for groceries.

11. Cashback Programs with Discount Websites

As mentioned, supermarkets aren’t the only places to get groceries. Check out deal websites such as Catch and see how much you can save.

As for cashback,score a bonus $10 when you sign up to Cash Rewards and buy something worth over $20 online where you normally shop. ​Shopback offers the same too. Be sure to sign up to both because you will get cashback on ALL your shopping at stores they are connected with.

12. Never Shop Hungry

When we are hungry, everything looks appealing and it’s proven we are likely to spend more as we grab snacks along the way. Eat before you shop, stick to your list and don’t be tempted by the junk or special items placed strategically to tempt you.

13. Portion Control

Not only does this save money, it improves your health. Look at dinner plates from 100 years ago. They were so much smaller. Our portion sizes now are huge and we don’t need them to be.

Learn what an actual serving size is and stick to it. The same with snacks. We do not need to be eating all the time, yet for some reason, people think their kids will starve without a snack every hour. Eat what you need. Drink water before snack and you’ll likely reduce your food bill from that alone.

14. Stop with Packaged Treats

My kids have always taken fresh produce, yoghurt, sometimes muffins I have made etc. They have been known to have the healthiest lunchboxes of all their friends everywhere we live.

Keep it simple with vegetable sticks, hummus, boiled eggs, thermos with leftover dinner or soup etc. My kids prefer these lunches as that is what they have grown up with. They pack their own lunch and it has been so much cheaper catering to them trying new fresh produce or wanting sourdough bread or something than it is buying packaged treats.

If you insist on packaged options, buy the large bags and split them into smaller containers for school.

15. Meal Plan

Work out the meals you will have for the week and shop accordingly. Doing this reduces waste, you can plan around similar ingredients so fresh produce doesn’t get wasted and it makes life easier because you know what you are doing.

My daughters cook 1 to 2 nights a week each so I involve them in meal planning. We have some favourite meals as mentioned such as dhal, smoothies, stirfry, chilli etc.

If you Have Time and Want to be Super Frugal…

Personally, with 4 kids, a business and doing it all on my own as he’s away, it’s not practical to do a lot of the following all the time but they do save money when I do.

16. Babies: Cloth Nappies, Cloth Wipes, Make Your Own Food

Ok, these I do mainly because I live in a townhouse complex and am conscious of have 2 kids (1 year old and newborn) in nappies. I do not want to overload our few rubbish bins with nappies! Plus, I know from my older 2, cloth nappies make it so much easier to toilet train.

I use an Aldi nappy overnight on each baby and if I know we will be out for a while, I usually use them then too. Otherwise, it’s cloth at home.

Considering how cheap nappies and wipes are at Aldi, this isn’t a huge money saver short term. Having 2 in nappies though and knowing my older two kids were toilet trained, day and night at 2 years old, I think long term it is worth it. The environmental factor impacts my decision too.

As for the food, my kids had pureed fruits, oats etc at first then simply mashed what we ate so it was an easy transition and I wasn’t making extra baby food. Way cheaper to scoop out some dinner for them than it is to buy little jars and packets of food.

17. Reusable Sanitary Products

I wrote a comparison of the various period underwear available and menstrual cups plus tips to make the switch. Since switching a few years ago, I haven’t needed to replace our underwear as yet and the cup lasts 10 years.

While it might be cheap to buy pads and tampons on sale, not needing to buy them because we bought period underwear and menstrual cups on sale is even better.

18. Reusable and Eco-Friendly Cleaning

Stop with the disposables. It is a waste of money and bad for the environment to use wipes, paper towels etc not to mention a fat waste of money. As for cleaning products, vinegar does a pretty good job for most things.

Use cloths or even rags from old clothes for most cleaning. Throw them in the wash when you are done. Rarely do we need any cleaning products in our house anymore.

When it comes to washing powder, we buy this in bulk when it is on sale. This saves us a significant amount of money. I also soak clothes in water and vinegar to get rid of smells such as body odour if they are particularly bad. e.g. school uniforms are not breathable and Noosa is hot!

19. Use Up Scraps

Carrot tops, carrot peel, other vegetable peel, celery leaves etc can be used to make a broth or soup. Most of what people consider scraps can actually be used. E.g Brocolli stalks can be cut up and used in a stirfry or anything else you are cooking. Potato skins can be seasoned and baked or fried for a snack. Carrots don’t usually need to be peeled. Celery leaves are great in salad etc.

Look at your scraps and see if you can actually use them in your cooking rather than tossing them. If you can’t use them in cooking, look at how else they can be used. Cook pumpkin seeds as a snack. Regrow celery, spring onion and similar from the roots you cut off, use the seeds from various produce to grow more etc.

Banana skins can be used as fertiliser. Orange peel as a cleaner when mixed with vinegar etc. Think outside the box and research more on how you can reuse everything to reduce waste.

Check out this article with loads of ways to reduce waste.

20. Make Your Own

Seasonings are easy to make from bulk spices, especially if you use a lot as we do. Tortillas, bread and other basics can be made fairly easily. I have loads of recipes for basics in 26 Ingredients including bread, tortillas, cordial, jam, breakfasts, mains, desserts etc. Only $4.95 for the eBook. (As featured on Channel Nine).

21. Reduce Toiletries

Buy toilet paper on sale or do as some families do, use cloth (we don’t). Body scrubs can be made from coffee grounds, body wash and lotion can be bought half price or use coconut oil for lotion. Toiletries don’t need to be expensive. Know what you use and plan your shop accordingly.

Always check discount stores for them too. It is amazing what I have picked up for 50c in The Reject Shop or similar.

Check out these DIY beauty tips for other ways to reduce your toiletries expenses.

You might also like:
How to reduce your groceries to $150pw (note, this is from a couple of years ago but the tips still apply for reducing costs).

26 Ingredients: Over 100 recipes from gourmet breakfasts to delicious desserts in this eBook for $4.95

Buy it Now $4.95

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