Tips on how to save money on your weekly shop

The price of food keeps going up as a cost of living crisis hits households across the nation.

But there are still ways you can save some money without losing out on buying fresh fruit and vegetables, or missing out on buying the food staples you need.

Delicious.com.au has come up with a list to ease you through the tough times.

Reduce your food waste

This one may seem like a no-brainer but if you know how to reduce your waste effectively, you’ll be throwing away less money.

Abide by the first-in-first-out rule and you might be surprised at how much more efficient your kitchen can be. If it came into your kitchen first, use it first.

Also check use by dates on products you have multiple of; if you’ve got ham for a sandwich that is going off, don’t have a chicken sandwich first.

Avoid dreaded stale Weet-Bix by keeping things airtight and remember that your potatoes and onions do best in a dark dry place in your pantry.

Freeze what you can

Freezers are such useful things when it comes to stretching your money. Fresh produce can be very expensive, so check out the frozen section at the supermarket.

Where a head of broccoli might set you back nearly $5, a bag of snap frozen broccoli that’s twice the weight can cost just half that. Same goes for frozen berries.

Quick desserts and morning smoothies are a cinch when you’ve got a stash.

Batch your meals

Batch cooking and meal prepping isn’t just for the fitness fanatics you scroll past on Instagram.

If you’re not big on eating the same meal multiple times a week (honestly, who is?) then you can batch cook and prep ingredients in really plain ways.

Fancy a curry tonight? Good thing you’ve already got a load of cooked chicken frozen. Prefer a pot pie? Grab a ziplock bag of chook and you’ve just halved your cooking time.

Don’t forget you can revamp your leftovers or just freeze what you haven’t eaten.

Compare the pair

This one is a little bit time consuming but if you have another person in your home you can do it at the same time.

Write your shopping list for the week, pop them into two (or more) different online supermarket baskets, and see which ends up cheaper.

This can change week to week depending on specials or what menu you’ve planned but it’s well worth taking the time to do it.

While it may be tempting to pop to an inner-city supermarket on your lunch break, be mindful that you’re paying for that convenience. Many suburban counterparts of the same supermarket chain have the same produce for significantly less.

Keep your pantry tidy

Speaking of your pantry, do you know what’s in there right now? If not: it’s time for a tidy up.

If you can see what you’ve got, you’re not going to double up at the shops or let something go out of date.

Store tall bottles and containers at the back, short jars at the front, and any open jars should go in the fridge so they don’t get funky.

Get your kids involved

Parents know the pain of throwing together a beautiful, balanced meal only for the picky eaters to turn their noses up and ask for something else. Gentle parenting becomes very hard in those moments.

Have your kids help with menu planning for the week and stick to it.

If they’re very little, show them some budget-friendly options with pictures then keep it on the fridge.

No surprises, no straying from your shopping budget, no skin-crawling drawls of “what’s for dinner?”

Big things grow

There are plenty of ways to use up food scraps, or even regrow them.

Don’t throw away your spring onions. Pop the roots into a glass of water and within a couple of days, you’ll notice a new little onion growing out the top. Change the water regularly or if you’ve got a little pot of dirt to plant the roots in, you’ve got spring onions for months to come.

Even the smallest spaces can be used to grow a few kitchen staples; herbs, tomatoes, peas.

So satisfying.

Store things correctly

There are few things more frustrating than bringing fresh produce home from the supermarket and it going soft and sad in your fridge two days later.

Take things out of the plastic wrap – we’re looking at you, mushrooms – and store them in paper bags (better yet, buy loose mushrooms and bring the paper bags home with you).

The paper will absorb much of the moisture in your fungi friends and extend their shelf life significantly.

Speaking of moisture, line your vegetable crisper with a tea towel to reduce humidity, you’ll be amazed at how much this helps to keep your veggies fresh.

Keep your bananas well away from your avocados, or, if your avo is hard as a rock but a major player in tonight’s dinner, pop them into a paper bag together and come guac time, you’re golden.

Cleaning products

Modern detergent is very powerful and if you check the ingredients, the no-name box is going to be similar – if not identical – to the pretty, more expensive one.

If you love the smell of clean laundry, throw a few drops of your favourite essential oil into the mix.

White vinegar is your best friend when it comes to cleaning. Use it as a fabric softener, to kill mould, to shine up your windows and mirrors, on stainless steel appliances, everything.

Same goes for spent lemons, they have myriad applications in cleaning.

It’s better for the planet than many commercial cleaners and it’s better for your bottom line.

For more food, travel and lifestyle news, go to delicious.com.au

Originally published as Cost of living: How to save money on your weekly shop

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