The Smart Shopper – winning my grocery challenge!

Published on October 12, 2015 7:23 am, by

When I first linked my accounts to MoneyBrilliant I was absolutely horrified to see how much money I was spending each month on groceries.  At the same time it was interesting to recognise that what railroaded me was Fly Buys.  So I set myself a Grocery Challenge.

When I revisited the challenge 5 weeks later I’d managed to drop my average weekly spend from well over $400 to just over $350 per week.

Here we are another 5 weeks later and I continue to create better habits while sometimes slipping back to bad behaviours.  I’m still aiming for my magic number of $300 per week but I’m pleased to report that my weekly spending average over the last 5 weeks is under $330.

The 10 most recent swaps that made a difference –

  • At least one shop per week online and after dinner, I still love Coles for free delivery on a Wednesday when you spend over $100. I also purchased the $89 delivery package with Woolworths, which is delivery for a year any time you spend over $100.
  • Get cooking instead of buying packaged goods – banana bread is rocking in our house at the moment with bananas in season. To jazz things up a little you can add in some walnuts or blueberries or even dark chocolate chips.  Protein balls & muesli bars are also a good option for home cooking.
  • Aldi is always worth a mention, we buy our cling wrap, tinned goods, nuts for cooking and wraps for between a third and half the price of Coles. I have friends who swear by Aldi meat and dairy as well.
  • Start a herb garden – its spring! I finally did it and if I can keep it alive anyone can.  I started with basil, chives & rosemary and intend on getting more adventurous soon.
  • Buying chicken from the deli or chicken shop not pre-packed – we eat lots of chicken in our house, lots of chicken meat is $5-8 cheaper in the deli then pre-packaged.
  • Soap instead of body wash – even though we only bought our body wash half price, it still disappears a lot quicker than soap.  After getting over our little mental block about preferring body wash, we now find that we are loving Dove soap and lots of weeks, Coles or Woolworths has it half price.
  • Buying lettuce, spinach, rocket loose – our local shop sells all these for $11 per kg, versus paying $20-33 per kg for it packaged.
  • Buying unflavoured mineral water with cordial of your choice – it’s heaps cheaper and we like the Bickfords diet lime flavour for taste and less calories!
  • Menu plan while looking through the weekly catalogues and what’s in season.
  • Realising that sometimes smaller portions are more cost effective even though per gram items may be more costly, if you’re not going to use it, it’s going to cost you more in the long run. We need half a cup of apple juice for our home made muesli, buying 5 small serves for $5 is more cost effective than buying a $2.80 2 litre bottle, as we need to buy a new one each time we make it.

So that’s it for me and my grocery challenge.  It’s time to have another look at my dashboard and see where the money is going.  We’re cleaning out our family budget one spend at a time.  A new spending challenge is coming our way (and I can hear my husband’s groan from 3km away!).

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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