20 ways to help cut your grocery bill

Person looking at grocery receipt


Posted November 03, 2023

Save money on supermarket bills and food spending with these easy and simple hacks the whole family can use.

Saving money on groceries is top of mind for many households. To help you stretch your budget a little further, here are some tips and tricks to help reduce your supermarkert spend each week.

20 ways to save money on groceries

1. Plan your meals

Planning your meals for the week ahead (or, at the very least, a few days) can pay big dividends. For example, if you need a couple of spring onions for fried rice one night, make a chicken and corn soup the following night to use up the leftovers

Not only does it allow you to incorporate items you might already have, it also means you can plan around specific ingredients, rather than buying items you don't need that would otherwise go to waste. 

2. Write a shopping list

Once you've planned your meals, write a shopping list. You can even download an app to help you track and manage your shopping needs, or one that allows you to customise meal plans and recipes, and then organises the required ingredients into a list for you.

Having a list helps keep you on track, reducing the temptation to go rogue and buy things you won't end up using. It can also save you from having to make a second trip to the supermarket when you realise you've forgotten a key ingredient. 

3. Shop around

If you tend to stick to the same grocery store every week, try switching things up. Get to know the prices of items you buy frequently, such as rice, lettuce, toothpaste, tinned tomatoes or beef mince, and shop around for the best deal.

Check out your local butcher, greengrocer or independent supermarket. Discount chemists and specialty stores often have great pricing on bathroom supplies, as well as baby, household and pantry staples like coffee, nappies, washing detergent, or even chips and biscuits. 


Person putting leftover pasta sauce into a freezer

Freeze food to be used in later meals to cut down on spending and wastage. Image: Matt Harvey

4. Shop the sales

Everyone loves a bargain. If you shop the below specials, you can score some great deals at the supermarket:

Stock up: If on sale, get larger quantities of anything that has a long expiry date, or is non-perishable (such as tinned foods, olive oil, household cleaning products or toilet paper), so you don't have to pay full price on your next shop. 

Expired gains: When it comes to fresh produce, many supermarkets mark down products that are about to reach their best before date. So if you see bulk chicken or slow-cooker cuts of beef that are heavily reduced, purchase and freeze so you can use it later at a reduced rate. If you're shopping for something that will be used quickly, like a birthday cake, consider getting the item that only has a few days left if it is to be eaten straight away. 

Shop the night shift: The same goes for bread and vegetables. If you shop later in the day, you can often score great deals on baked-fresh items that can't be re-sold the next day - $2.50 sourdough, anyone?

5. Buy in bulk

When you're feeding a family, buying enough meat for hungry, growing kids can add up quickly.

An easy way to counteract this is to buy in bulk, portion and freeze. If you do this often for meal prep, a vacuum sealer might also be a worthwhile investment. As well as helping to keep your frozen foods fresh for longer, vacuum sealing will also help to prevent freezer burn, which can affect the taste and texture of your food. 

6. Make extra

It’s cheaper to cook in bulk and use leftovers for lunches, to freeze, or as the base of another meal. 

Cooking from scratch, and in larger quantities, saves time and money by putting extra meals in the freezer for those hectic days, which means you'll be less likely to resort to takeaway when there's nothing left in the fridge. 

7. Buy produce whole

It might be tempting to buy mushrooms pre-sliced, ready-to-roast pumpkin pieces, zucchini noodles or even cauliflower halves but, unless they're on sale, buying 'whole' foods is generally a more cost-effective option. 

8. Always check the unit cost

Always check the unit cost, even when products are on sale. This makes it easier to compare the price by weight of similar products.

It’s nearly always cheaper, for example, to buy red c, green and yellow capsicum separately, rather than a plastic-wrapped trio pack that includes one of each. Similarly, just because a more expensive brand of olive oil is on sale, check the cost per litre to get a gauge of whether it's really a better deal. 

Don't forget to look on top and bottom shelves, as often, the lower-cost items will be hiding just out of your natural eye-gaze level.

9. Choose cheaper cuts of meat

If you're looking for more economical ways of cooking, particularly for larger groups or families, slow cooking is the answer.

From lamb casserole and beef brisket to braised beef and Guinness pie, slow cooking is the secret to dishing up deliciously effortless dinners. As well as lending themselves to cheaper cuts of meat - such as beef short ribs, lamb shanks and pork shoulder - slow cooking is a set-and-forget meal.

Simply prep the night before, then put on before you leave for work in the morning and you'll come home to dinner already made. These meals also freeze well, so make extra and have another dinner up your sleeve for next time. 

10. Get baking and making

Instead of store-bought, bake your own snacks for school (or work). Most basic muffin recipes are pretty forgiving, so they are a great way to use up anything leftover in the fridge - fruit, yoghurt, sour cream, carrots, cheese etc. These lunchbox-approved healthy zucchini muffins and our best-ever banana bread are a great place to start.

You could also look to grow your own veggies at home, create some editable native plants, or go foraging on a weekend adventure for berries, mushrooms, garnishes and even mussels for free produce, year-round. 

11. Keep your off-cuts

Whether you're trimming fat off your meat or prepping vegetables, keep your off-cuts (such as carrot peels, tops and bottoms of veggies, broccoli stems).

Freeze them until you have enough, then throw in a pot with a leftover chicken frame, some salt and pepper, and herbs of choice and boil for hours. Et voila, you've got yourself a natural and cheap chicken stock.

Offcuts can also be used for growing new vegetables, or even composting.

12. Use legumes / veg to bulk out meals

Bulking out your meals with lentils or vegetables is a nutritious and cost-effective way to stretch your budget a little further.

Add grated carrots or zucchini to your beef taco mix, bulk up your chili con carne with red kidney beans, or add sweet potatoes and chickpeas to your lamb stews. 

You could even go meat free with something quick and tasty, like our budget-friendly vegetable tagine, sweet potato and kidney bean hot pot, or this easy vegetarian lasagna.


Fresh vegetables at supermarket

Buying foods whole, rather than pre-packaged, is generally more cost-effective. Image: Getty

13. Store produce properly

Storing produce properly will help increase the shelf life of your grocery haul, and help you cut down on food waste costs.

As well as storing fresh produce at its preferred temperature, it's also worth learning which fruit and vegetables can happily co-exist in your crisper. Certain fruits and vegetables produce ethylene gas as they ripen, which causes ethylene-sensitive produce to ripen quicker, too.

Use where you found them in the supermarket as a rough guide - if it was in the fridge section at the store, that's where it will need to be at home. 

14. Avoid processed / ready-made foods 

Save on GST by avoiding ready-made and processed foods. Go back to basics and make your own spice mixes, grate your own cheese, and wash your own lettuce leaves for salads.

Not only will you be better off financially, but it's also better for your health as you'll be avoiding the added salt, sugar and other preservatives that are hidden in processed foods. 

15. Make friends with the freezer

From bread to bananas to beef mince - if you've bought too much of an item and think you're not going to use it before it turns bad or passes its use-by, freeze it. That way, instead of letting it go to waste, you can use it at a later date. 

16. Meal prep

A couple of hours in the kitchen on a Sunday can save you time, money and more than a few headaches during the week.  

Whether you're meal-prepping easy school lunches for the week, cutting veggies for the following night's stir-fry, pre-washing salad leaves or throwing together an easy slow-cooker meal so dinner is sorted after work - being prepped and ready to go means you're less likely to splurge on convenience items when you're feeling tired, lazy, or get home late and want a quick and easy option.

17. Have cheat meals ready

Sometimes you just can't be bothered cooking, but also don't want to drop $60-plus for take-out. For these nights, it's always good to have a backup plan ready to go.

Sure, pre-made pastas, pizzas, quiches or other ready-made meals aren't as cost-effective as making from scratch, but they're still a far cheaper and, often, healthier option than succumbing to fast food or home delivery. 

18. Substitute expensive ingredients

Sometimes a recipe might sound great until you read all of the specialty ingredients required. Sure, caviar would be nice, but it might be a bit expensive for a Wednesday night dinner.

In these instances, simply sub out the pricey ingredient for something similar that's either less expensive, or already in your pantry.

19. Use points and gift cards

Some rewards and benefits are worth signing up for. Investigate if you local supermarket has a points or rewards system that provides regular offers, discounts and savings.

20. Find alternatives to fresh 

If you're looking for an easy way to cut costs, opting for snap-frozen or tinned alternatives is a healthy, affordable alternative.

Frozen peas, broccoli and blueberries are sometimes even tastier than fresh; corn is still sweet from a tin, and jars of tomato passata are a great base for your bolognese.


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*Terms and conditions: Excludes all items on sale or promotional offers, beer, mixed spirits, pre mixed/ready to drink and cigarettes.