We all need to spend money on groceries, but what many of us may not realise is that groceries account for the second biggest cost for most Aussie households, after housing and before transport.
According to Canstar Blue, the average single person spends $145 per week on groceries and the average family of four spend $187. But Aussies waste about $2,500 a year per household, costing us $48 a week.
People say reasons for their food waste include: not being organised, not knowing what to do with leftovers, buying too much and changing plans as some of the top reasons for discarding unused food.
Of course, the amount you spend on groceries will also change depending on where you live, how many you’re feeding and where and how you shop, but changing a few habits could help you reduce costs and your waste too.
Here are a few tips
- Set your grocery budget - and meet it every week. Check your receipts and bank statements or if your banking app lets you track your spending across categories, see if you hit this each week.
- Write a shopping list - planning your meals can help you get organised, reduce waste and mean you’ll be less tempted to spend money on random items you see at the grocery store. Plus, remember not to shop on an empty stomach as you’ll likely be tempted to buy more.
- Buy in bulk - save money by stocking up on kitchen and pantry basics in bulk. You could also get into the habit of checking the unit price to understand the true cost of what you’re buying.
- Consider meal kit providers - if you’re short on time but want to reduce food waste, buying a meal kit like Marley Spoon or Hello Fresh could mean a few less tasks in a busy week, as well as more certainty about what you’ll be spending.
- Limit your shopping - some people find that the less frequently they go to the grocery store, the more likely they are to stay on top of their grocery spending and the better they plan ahead.
- Keep stock of fresh food - note what fresh food you have in the fridge and see what simple ways you could make that food last. For example, could you turn last night’s vegetables into a frittata or a soup or turn your leftover pasta into a pasta bake.
- Have pantry items on hand - keep some basics in the pantry like lentils or beans, canned tomatoes or tuna, pasta or rice so you can throw together some easy meals instead of having to turn to food delivery services or take away when you don’t have time to go to the grocery store.
Having your groceries factored into your budget can help you to stay on top of your financial fitness.
If you’re unsure how you’re going in this area, you could see if your banking app lets you track your grocery spend or set a spending target each time you go to the shops. Or read about how to set a simple budget.