Let’s admit it — grocery shopping rips a big hole in our pockets, but this could be a thing of the past with these grocery shopping hacks!
Here at Stay At Home Mum, being frugal is everything! We just love sharing with you everything that could help you save a shitload of money.
So to save a bulk of money when you do your groceries, check out these 15 grocery shopping hacks that will change your shopping forever.
1. Clean Out Your Fridge Before You Go Shopping.
Cleaning your fridge not only makes it nice and pristine for when you come home with your food shopping, but you also might find another key ingredient in there for another meal or two. I always try and stretch out my shops for as long as I possibly can. If I can find a bit of ham and a stray carrot in the back of the fridge, that will be used up for the next meal.
Stretching out your food shops is a fantastic way to save loads of cash. Just think if you could live on what is in your fridge, freezer and pantry for an extra week, that is an extra’s weeks grocery money you have that can go on something else!
Remember Every bit of food you through in the bin is costing you money!
2. Only Buy Fruit and Vegetables in Season.
Products in season are always cheap compared to off-season ones. Each season produces a new array of gorgeous fruit and vegetables to enjoy. So, to save up on food, try recipes using products in season.
The benefits of buying in-season include:
- The fruit and vegetables taste the best they ever will.
- Produce in season is always cheaper.
- Buying Local Produce is always fresher, you pay less for transport fees and you are supporting your local Farmers.
To check what is in season for your part of Australia, check out this Seasonal Produce Guide from Sustainable Table.
3. Shop the Supermarket Catalogue Specials
Specials are the best! You can get these items at really low prices for the best quality. To check out the best specials at your local supermarkets, have a peek at their websites to check their latest catalogues. You see Supermarkets often have the best specials on the front pages of their catalogues as a way to get you in the door to buy. They are hoping you might just do your whole shop there, rather than just buying the one cheap item.
Here is a quick guide to the larger supermarket chains in Australia:
4. Always Have Some ‘Grazing Food’ in the Fridge
This is perhaps one of the very best grocery shopping hacks. Do you feel like you are constantly buying ‘ingredients instead of food? Well, that’s because the family doesn’t really ‘think’ when they are hungry. Having a selection of grazing food in the fridge, whether it be pieces of cheese, some cut up watermelon or even some cooked chicken legs, having an instant ‘fix’ in the fridge will keep hungry kids and partners at bay until someone cooks, and also stops the temptation of getting junk food!
Leftovers are another great idea. At the moment I have half a corned beef in the fridge which we use for sandwiches, fritters or just to cut a piece off to gnaw on.
Some ideas on grazing food include:
- Boiled Eggs (just mark them first so you know they are cooked) – they last up to three days in the fridge
- Hummus and cut up vegetable sticks
- Small containers of yoghurt
- Lunch meats such as ham, salami
- Cheese slices or cubes
5. Check out the Cheap or Discount Stores.
One of our sneaky grocery shopping hacks is NOT to do all your shopping at the Supermarket. Why head out to expensive stores, when you’ve got cheap stores that will offer you the same products at very affordable prices. There are some really great items you can purchase at the cheap stores that are up to half price. Products I’ve bought myself include:
- Dishwasher tablets
- Pasta Sauces
But did you know that there are also ONLINE cheap stores – which are even cheaper as they don’t have a physical store. Here is a list of some of them:
Formerly Catch of the Day, it has new sales every day – but they often have really good grocery item sales that are sooo cheap!
6. Do Your Grocery Shopping at Night.
Most supermarkets are now open until 9pm or even later. The later you shop, the more mark-downs are made on perishables, especially meats. So going shopping late is a great way to stock up on cheap foods you can pop in your freezer. Always be on the lookout for the staff with the ‘Mark Down Gun’ or the ‘Marker’ – and follow them around!
7. Buy Fresh Produce from Your Local Markets.
Market fresh products are not only cheap, but they’re also fresh too. We suggest you buy late in the day when markets bring their prices down especially on items that will soon expire.
Instead of buying a kilogram of apples, you might be able to buy a whole tray of slightly damaged apples so the market vendor doesn’t have to cart them home again. It pays to shop at your markets and to get to know the vendors!
8. Use loyalty cards and take advantage of savings.
Being an in-store member have some perks that you can use when purchasing your groceries.
9. Look at Home Delivery shopping.
Oh we love home delivery shopping! It’s a no-hassle, convenient way of shopping…right at your very home. They offer online shoppers more discounts via emails than in-store. Plus there is no temptation to buy Tim Tams and Scotch Finger Biscuits when you shop online!
Have a look around for discount and coupon codes for your local supermarket before hitting the PAY button!
10. Buy your Meat In Bulk.
I’m lucky as I live in a rural area, so I can call a local farmer and ask them to put aside half a beast to put in my freezer whenever I like. If you aren’t in the country, you can still get great deals by buying the large ‘Freezer Packs’ from your local butcher. Remember the larger the order, the more you save!
Check out our article on Where to Buy Inexpensive Meat in Bulk to see the specials near you.
Hint: Buy a big lot of bulk meat just before Winter. That way you have all that meat to slowcooker and enjoy in casseroles and stews. If you buy it in Summer, you are more likely to use all the fancy steak left and eating casseroles in Summer sucks.
11. Buy Big and Make Small.
But the large containers of yoghurt, biscuits, or cheese. Then cut them up or place in smaller containers for school lunches and snacks. Buying individual snacks for school is expensive. You can save up to 60% on yoghurt by doing it this way.
You can save even more money by making yoghurt in bulk yourself at home. We have a great recipe for making yoghurt at home in your slow cooker. Here is the recipe.
Here are a few more ideas for buying big and making small:
- Packets of Pretzels
- Cheese Cubes (cut them yourself)
12. Learn about Unit Pricing and how it works.
Unit pricing is comparing products from one brand to another and by different sizes by computing the price of a certain product and dividing it by a unit of measurement (for example, ounces). You can then compare if you have saved by buying the smaller or bigger item.
13. Try The Pink Basket Method.
Always have a pink basket in the fridge (it doesn’t have to be pink – but I use pink as I have boys and pink stands out), and put items close to their use-by date in the basket. when you go to cook a meal, you MUST incorporate some of the ingredients in the pink basket.
This ensures nothing goes bad in the fridge, and all food is used up.
14. Chop it. Grate it. Cut it.
You pay extra at the supermarket for convenience. Grated cheese costs twice as much as the solid block. Meat cut into strips ready for stir-fries are always at least 20% more expensive. Grab the cheaper version and do the chopping, grating and cutting at home.
I like to buy the 1kg blocks of cheese and then put it through the grating blade on my food processor. In just a few minutes, I have a massive amount of grated cheese that I then freeze so that it doesn’t go mouldy.
15. Use Food Substitutions.
Greek yoghurt is a good substitute for mayonnaise, yoghurt and cream. There are so many foods that can be substituted for other foods. If you are cooking a meal and are just an ingredient or two short, look at what you can substitute that ingredient with. You might even make a recipe far more delicious by using an alternative ingredient.
For an idea of what foods you can substitute, check out our article on Food Substitutions.
An example is finding substitutes for breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs can be substituted with the following ingredients:
- Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles, Rolled Oats or Oat Bran
- Savoury Biscuits such as Jatz, Sao’s or Country Cheese
- Potato Chips, crushed
- Crushed Nuts
16. Only shop the outside aisles of the supermarket.
It’s because that’s where almost everything you need is placed and where the fresh foods are. Perimeter shopping can also be healthy for you. When you think about the outside aisles of a supermarket, that’s where all our ‘Needs’ are. Meat, milk, produce. The inside aisles are where all the naughty stuff resides.
17. Check out the top and bottom supermarket shelves for the best bargains.
One marketing strategy for companies to make their products saleable is by paying supermarkets to place their products at your and your kids’ eye level. So to get the best deals and low prices, check out the top and bottom of the supermarket shelves.
18.Have a Good Feed before you go food shopping.
One golden rule in grocery shopping: Don’t’ shop hungry. This will avoid food impulse buying, therefore, less money spent! Pop a few muesli bars in your handbag for when you might get peckish!