Does only doing the food shopping 12 times a year sound good to you? You’ll not only have more time, less hassle and save money but you’ll also have the piece of mind that your family is eating well.
Keeping your grocery costs to a minimum while serving your family nutritious and flavour filled foods has just become a lot easier. We can show you how to do this for about $100 a week spent on meats, veges and groceries! It takes a bit of planning but once you’ve done it once you’ll be doing it every month. It will give you more time, more money, a better diet and less stress. I personally don’t hang out at the shops late in the day to find bargains but by all means go for it if that’s what you like!
The total for the year is about $4800 but we’ve added an extra $100 a month onto your spending to factor in stocking up on items, special occasions and treats etc. You have to be realistic after all! So the total outlay for the month on all foods is about $500. That’s $6000 for the year. That works out to be about $115 a week. So lets get started on how to do it!
This is how I do it and what meals I make for my family – I don’t buy packaged foods very often. Buying meats and foods for the freezer for a month does mean you have to have a large freezer, I’m afraid a fridge freezer just wont cut it. You’ll also have to have a pantry that can store all the goodies. Because there is so much food I do most of the grocery shopping online which saves me time and hassle, but of course you don’t have to shop online if you don’t want to. You wont be paying for delivery if you do choose to shop online because you are buying so much you should qualify for free delivery.
1. Plan your monthly menu.
We’ve shown you how to plan a monthly menu before – click here for a refresher.
It’s important to plan this menu because a lot of money is wasted in the home on food spoilage and just plain throwing out leftovers. Buying food for a month not only gives you more control over your diet but also your budget. Remember if you have any leftovers you need to eat them for lunch the next day or incorporate them in another meal.
From the menu you can now write a shopping list. Go through each meal and write down what you’ll need to buy for that meal. Make sure you know what you have in your pantry so you don’t buy unnecessarily.
2. Plan your shopping around sales.
Now the great thing about shopping online is that you can check everything that is on sale first and you are not tempted by things on the shelves that are trying to get you to buy them. Remember to ALWAYS CHECK THE ‘ON SALE’ OR ‘SPECIALS’ SECTION FIRST when starting your online shop. If specific meats are on sale then you can go back to your menu and see where you can use them – for instance if mince is cheap then plan to make hamburgers, meatballs, spaghetti bolognaise and a meatloaf for the month.
3. Stick to the correct portion sizes
The amount of meat per serve is the size and thickness of the palm of the hand of the person who is eating it. Click here for Serving Sizes. So in reality one large piece of rump steak will feed four family members. Make a stroganoff or stir fry, kebabs or a casserole with steaks, this avoids spending large amounts and feeding your family too much meat. It’s healthier and more savvy. Save the slabs of meat for the occasional BBQ.
4. Don’t get stuck on one shop
You might like to shop for your meat at a local butcher , a wholesale butcher or at Aldi for instance. This is fine as long as you are getting the best deals for your family. I usually get my fresh fruit and vegetables from our local markets on the weekends at good prices but when I shop online I often pick up some bargains for the first week of the month for our monthly menu. Keep track of what you are spending and where!
Also consider looking at Kogan Pantry and Catch of the Day etc for great bargains and bulk buys. The savings can be significant if you get into this routine. Check out our Shopping Page for great online shopping.
Making food go further is not only savvy but fun, check out some creative ideas here.
You are not meant to cook like a Masterchef – you’re meant to feed your family in an economical and healthy way that satisfies the entire family. Plan your menu around your family’s favourite meals and they’ll love it!
Now, let’s break down where your money will go:
Breakfast: Try to focus on high energy, healthy foods that are also cheap. Eggs, healthy cereals, fruits, yoghurt and cheese on toast are all inexpensive and yummy. Find 100 Breakfast Recipes here.
Lunch: Leftovers from last nights dinner are always the best option for lunches. Wrap them in tortillas or toasties, add them to salads or sandwiches. Canned tuna and salmon, boiled eggs and nut pastes are good value for lunch bases and sandwiches. Add a piece of fruit for after lunch. When was the last time you had a salad sandwich and a piece of fruit for lunch? Nutritious, low fat and cheap!
Dinner: This is where your family favourites and your planned menu comes into it’s own. Keeping the meals to a healthy size and of nutritious content will be a winner every time! Also consider putting foods in the middle of the table sometimes so everyone can help themselves – you might find they actually eat less on their own! This is also great if you have served the foods in resealable containers – after dinner just pop on the lids and pack in fridge for the next day.
Always have fillers available too – breads, dumplings and potatoes are good or consider a nutritious dessert if dinner is a small size.