Get On Top Of Your Grocery Bill
by Carlisle Homes
With your grocery bill sure to rise, we break down some strategies to help save your hip pocket!
The cost of living is going up, and many of us are feeling the pinch. Numerous household items have gone up, from petrol to education costs, but there’s one category that’s causing particular pain. Groceries.
Crop shortages caused by the recent east coast floods, rising transport costs and supply chain disruptions have all contributed to an increase in food costs. Since food is an essential purchase, that cost is having a big effect on the nation’s hip pocket.
While it’s true that food isn’t a luxury you can simply forgo, there are things you can do to bring down the cost of your grocery bill.
Make sensible swaps
Not all food has increased in price at the same pace. By making a few simple switches, you may be able to avoid paying a premium.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which measures price increases for a range of goods and services, reports that beef is up 12.1% nationally, and lamb up 7%. Chicken, on the other hand, is only up 3.7%, and pork a mere 3.3%. White meat may just be the winner here!
Vegetables as a class are also up 12.7%, but of course, the price varies between options. A head of iceberg lettuce might cost you $10 in some parts of the country, and rarely less than $7, but alternatives like green cabbage, baby spinach or even cos lettuce can be much cheaper. Get adventurous with alternatives and always pick vegetables in season.
Cook in bulk
Cooking from scratch means cheaper, more nutritious meals than takeaway. Sometimes, though, the idea of spending an hour in the kitchen after a hard day of work is just too much. By cooking in bulk and freezing some meals, you can avoid the temptation to pick up the phone to order UberEats.
Winter meals, such as casseroles, curries, and soups, are ideal for bulk cooking. Double the recipe and portion it into containers as soon as it’s cooled. For a quick work lunch, consider investing in some microwave and freezer-friendly lidded mugs. Fill them ahead of time, and you can simply grab one on a busy morning to heat at lunch. No more overpriced burgers at the local convenience store!
Making your own snacks, like biscuits or muffins or bread, is also an effective way to save money. Make a double batch of biscuit dough, roll them into logs and store them in the freezer. When you’re feeling peckish, you can thaw, slice, and bake them all within 15 minutes.
Australians waste up to 4.06 million tonnes of food per year according to the Foodwise organisation. None of us are perfect, but some simple tricks can help you cut down on what you throw away.
Plan what you’ll cook, and only buy the things you need for those meals. Include a couple of options that can be adjusted depending on what ingredients are available and in season, such as vegetable fritters, stews, or mixed salads. That way, you’re not tied to expensive components.
Use up what you have first
Most of us are guilty of this one – going to the shops despite a fridge that’s already bulging with food. Why not set yourself a challenge? For the next week, use only the food you already have, unless the cupboards are literally bare. You’ll have to get creative with ingredients and compromise on some of the old favourites, but you’ll save hundreds of dollars. It might even be fun!
Store food wisely
Another way to avoid food waste is to make sure you’re storing the food you do have to avoid it spoiling. Try:
- Decanting dry goods such as flour, rice and beans into Tupperware or glass containers. This cuts down on the risk of pantry moth or weevils, which can devastate your food stocks.
- Rotate your stock. Anyone who has stocked a supermarket shelf already knows how important this is. Put the things with the earnest due date at the front of your fridge or pantry, with newer items behind them. That way you’ll know to use up the older milk or packet of ham before opening the new container. No more mouldy surprises at the back of the fridge!
- Label things clearly. If you’re storing pre-cooked meals, or decanting goods, make sure you label them. On the same note, see through containers are better than coloured ones, so you can see the contents easily.
Grow your own
Lastly, for those with a garden, you can’t beat home grown produce for health and savings. Even a small herb patch can do wonders to liven up your meals, and green leafy vegetables can be grown even in the shade. Try some strawberries or a hardy currant bush for fresh fruit that doesn’t take a lot of space or work. Home grown vegetables are also a perfect way to tempt children into trying new things - there’s nothing like picking your own!