Money Talks {Part Two- Grocery Wars}

So yesterday I posted about my budget month and what I learnt. And the number one thing I found, was just how damn expensive it is to grocery shop for a family in Australia. When it was just the two of us, both working full time I never took any notice of the bill. However after living in the states and doing a full week’s shop for $50 and then returning to the cost here, plus having an extra mouth to feed I’m shocked. And angry. It’s not fair.
So what can you do? Well, you could stop eating or go through restaurant bins (Free-gans?) Or you can do what I’ve done and beat the buggers at their own game by planning and shopping around. Literally.
{Of course, I’m no expert at any of this and if you’re happy with how you shop, disregard this post. Just offering a plan to help out those who are sick of hemorrhaging money at the check-out. It works for us and I hope it may work for some of you too. After all, any money saved is money for shoes. Or Kitchen Aids.}
This is what we do…
{1} Meal Plan Dinners. For a month if you can. If not a month then at least fortnightly. I plan for a month because then I can do one HUGE shop and be done with it bar a few fresh items at the halfway point. I was a bit lost when I first started doing this so I pulled out all my recipe books and scoured Taste online for ideas that were quick, tasty and healthy. I also wanted meals that serve at least 4 people so I have leftovers to either freeze or eat for lunch the next day. You’ll find by the second month you have freezer meals so you can have nights off cooking. Yippee!
Check out my meal planning printables here, and here!
Fridays are left overs and Saturdays are take away nights. Because everyone needs a night off. With wine.
{2} OK so after you’ve planned you need to raid your pantry and freezer and see what you already have and then create a list of the things you need. Don’t skip the pantry raid (Not to be confused with panty raid-not sure what that is but I don’t think I’m interested in knowing.) I couldn’t believe how much we had in there! Write your list according to the recipes and add whatever else you need to buy.
{3} Do the bulk of the shopping at Aldi if you can. If you’re like me, you may find it hard to give up some of your known brands. But trust me, after getting to know their brands, I’m really happy. There are a couple of things I still get at Woolies including my cordial and Addie’s yogurt but that’s fine, it’s budgeted in. Aldi also has good specials and I’ve gotten books for Addie, and school stuff for work for a great price. I also utilise Aussie Farmers for their fruit and veg delivery. Really fresh and delivered to the door for a very reasonable price. I do a pick and pack fortnightly so I get only what I need and don’t end up with rotting tomatoes. (I have been known to go buy a bunch of veggies with great intentions but then covertly throw them away as they slowly wilt, uneaten. Sounds almost poetic.) The last part of my shopping is done at Chemist Warehouse. I get the Radiant, Finish Tablets, Napi-San and Addie’s Huggies stuff for much cheaper there than elsewhere. We tried the Aldi nappies but they leaked so we use Huggies as they fit her bum well and I’m happy with them.
I do all of this running around at the beginning of my month (I go from the 23rd-23rd for some weird reason.) I do it child free as it’s quicker and much easier without the pram. Now at the 2 week mark I buy two extra thingies of fresh milk and sometimes eggs. I do get the long life milk to use and this is fine too.
{4} Now the hard part. That’s it. I don’t buy more. If I need more, I make what we’ve got work. It’s really hard sometimes, to not just duck into Woolies and ‘grab a few things.‘ But you know what that means right? Yep 60 bucks later equals 1 bag of stuff. I’ve also had to work really, really hard to drop the middle of the week take away habit. Wednesday nights especially. But I’ve done it.
So far this plan is working well for us. I hope it can help you if you’re looking to cut down a bit on how much you’re spending at the store. I hope one day they bring coupons out here, I got some damn good bargains in the USA with them! Plus clipping them is fun in a weird, housewifely way.
Let me know how you shop!
PS Got my phone replaced with a brand new one. Very nice genius at the Genius Bar gave me a new one in a new box and everything. Case on and checked phone was in bag before starting engine. New ritual.

7 thoughts on “Money Talks {Part Two- Grocery Wars}

  1. nadia

    Yeah! boycott coles and woolies- those rip off agents…..even the experience of going there is distressing let alone the prices….wish there were fresh produce markets that were reasonable in sydney town

    1. Mez B

      We did have a Costco card from the states but let the membership lapse as we unfortunately don’t have the storage space for the bulk buys! Otherwise I would totally be going that way, maybe if we buy a house? Yes, no worries, happy to share. I’ve cut my bill down to average $150 from Aldi, $50 per month from Aussie Farmers and around $40 from CW. That’s monthly. Sometimes CW is just nappies as the cleaning stuff lasts. Before I was blowing upwards of $500 once I sat down and added it all together! So easy to do! X

  2. Famille Renault-Koroschetz

    I shop entirely at Aldi and Costco. For the big bulk item always check the price per unit as it is not always cheaper… For the freshies check your Saturdays or Sundays markets… you get great deals. As a family of 4 I am trying and succeeding to a $250 /week max. only. Knowing that we only get fresh veggies, lots of fruit and trying to keep meat products to 3 times a week. I always try to have 2 and a half plates of left over for the spouse and the children for their lunch… I eat the salad… We had the take away day but it seemed to have vanished… have to talk to the other half about that one.


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