Lifestyle

How to cut grocery bill from $500 to $250 a month

IF YOU want to have your smashed avo and your, ahem, soy turmeric latte too - listen up.

Forget worrying about what your fancy Saturday post-pilates brunch is doing to your house deposit.

39% of the Australian weekly wage is spent in the supermarket. That's a huge chunk of your take-home pay each month. So, sure, $19 for half an avocado smooshed onto two pieces of rye is offensive, but not monetarily life changing when it comes to your budget. Skipping coffees won't earn you a house deposit. But downsizing your grocery bill will.

And when it comes to changing your weekly spend, consciously deciding to halve your grocery bill is tough, but doable.

One year ago, Caity Fitzgerald and her husband Chris moved to the country to start a new life - and soon had a baby. With the shift to one wage, Caity began to make changes to the family's food and grocery bill in an effort to thin out their already tight budget.

For starters, their grocery bill had to shrink - from $500 to $250 per month.

Caity is serious about grocery spending. She now plans all of the family's meals in advance each fortnight.

Caity Fitzgerald and her husband Chris on their wedding day. Picture: Tyra Gunnis
Caity Fitzgerald and her husband Chris on their wedding day. Picture: Tyra Gunnis

She shops at growers markets before heading to the supermarket to see what's cheap - and hasn't purchased pre-prepared meal bases or sauces since she moved to the country.

Sticking to a strict shopping list and growing her own herbs and some vegetables has also saved her plenty of money each month, as well as not just buying in season, but buying big when something is on sale.

"A couple of months ago red capsicum was crazy cheap so I bought a heap of it, sliced it up and put it in the freezer. I do this a lot with produce when it's cheap and in season. My freezer currently has celery, blueberries, strawberries, and capsicum in it," she told news.com.au.
 

Caity and Chris moved to the country and may or may not eat a lot of peaches.
Caity and Chris moved to the country and may or may not eat a lot of peaches.

And Caity also says with a pantry that's always well stocked with the basics, rather than having to shop for every item when you decide on a particular recipe, it's much easier to cook a basic meal - without needing to buy anything at all.

So, do frugal supermarket choices mean more available budget for chai lattes and embarrassingly expensive breakfasts for Caity and her family?

"I'm a self confessed tight ass so for me, buying the infamous avo smash kills my soul when I could buy enough avos for the month for the price of one breakfast," Caity says.

"But coffee is life with a baby, a house, a business and a farm so no expense is spared for our regular coffee dates! Changing our shopping and eating habits has made a huge different to our household budget. It's been the difference between our son going to childcare and me going back to work. This was the one area we could really cut costs without feeling like we're missing out."



CAITY'S EASY TIPS TO HALVE YOUR GROCERY BILL

Stop buying the junk food, the soft drink, the chips, lollies, expensive cuts of meat, pre prepared sauces, brand name everything. We buy a lot of home brand and honestly, I don't feel like there's a huge difference on staple ingredients.

Shop at your local growers market. Not only are you able to afford organic and spray free - yes, there is a difference - but you're supporting the small guys. Start at the markets THEN do your supermarket shop.

Plan your meals. Put a little time into it, involve the family so they get a say and are more excited for the meals ahead.

Cook humble meals. Honestly, simple for us is best. Our all time favourite dinner is a creamy mushroom and onion spaghetti carbonara with fresh basil and some nice crunchy bread.

Think of the environment. When you become more aware of the waste you're creating and the products you're buying, you naturally reduce your costs. At the end of the day, if it's bad for the planet, it's generally bad for your budget.

To read Caity's blog about moving to the country and saving money visit createyourfatecollective.com.au

Topics:  easy eating editors picks groceries lifestyle

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