Food shopping hacks: 17 ways to save money at the checkout
Save on grocery bills with these money-saving hacks to beat fruit and veg price hikes.
Fires, floods and pestilence – it’s been a crazy start to the year, and the ongoing disruptions continue to hit grocery prices hard. Just as farmers were getting back to normal after battling drought, smoke haze, fire, and flood, Covid-19 hit, causing panic-buying that sent prices soaring.
Farmers are struggling to keep up with demand, many staples are rationed in shops, and sales of online fruit and vegetable boxes have doubled, with some outlets reporting 10-fold increases.
So how do you keep up your five-a-day without breaking the bank?
Jody Allen became an expert at frugal living when she lost her job while pregnant and half-way through building her dream home. But she learnt from the experience and has since written four books on living “lean, not mean”.
“I enjoy the challenge of thinking outside the square in terms of substituting other things if I’m missing ingredients for recipes. For instance, apple sauce can be used instead of sugar in cakes, and you can use flax seeds instead of eggs, or a bit of extra butter.”
Jody’s husband is allergic to gluten, eggs and dairy, so she has found cheap options to meet those needs, too. “You can pay $11 a loaf for gluten-free bread,” she exclaims. “I buy gluten-free flour in bulk from the baker and it works out at $1.50 a loaf home made; some savings like that need a bit of extra money up front, but it’s worth it.”
The beauty of the lockdown, Jody says, is that we have a bit more time on our hands. “Planning meals is a great way to save. I try to think about the next evening’s meal the night before. I check what needs eating first to avoid waste, then get something out of the freezer or soak some beans to avoid the temptation of ordering takeaway.
Here are some tips, both for smart buying and making the most of what you have.