How you can save more than $5000 a year on groceries


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Picture this: your bank balance is up $5200 by the end of 12 months, and all from changing a few basic habits in your second biggest area of spending - groceries.

What could you do with that extra dough? Book a fabulous overseas holiday? Grab some dividend-paying stocks?

Food is definitely not an optional extra, and yet there are huge differences in how much people are spending on it.

save on groceries

As a budgeting specialist, I get pretty up-close-and-personal with people's spending habits.

I've seen the full range of spending on groceries, from the family of four earning just $70,000 a year and spending less than $200 a week on food to another family of four earning upwards of $300,000 and spending close to $500 a week.

No matter what your level of income, you can make serious savings on groceries simply by changing your habits.

Here are my top tips for shaving significant dollars from your grocery bill:

1. Plan your meals

This one habit alone could save you a bucket load of cash each week.

Plan your meals for the week (emphasising recipes that can be prepared in bulk), plan your list and plan when you're going to go shopping.

Save yourself both time and money.

Saving: $40 a week.

2. Buy in bulk

It's essential to plan your bulk purchases if you want to create savings and not waste.

A popular, family-friendly meal like spaghetti bolognese or a casserole can be planned, purchased in bulk, cooked in a batch and then frozen for meals for the next month or two.

Saving: $20 a week.

3. Always, always shop with a list

When you get to the register always check your list against the items that are actually in your trolley.

Are there items that weren't on your original list?

Ask yourself: "Do we really need this item right now?" If the answer is no, replace the item.

Saving: $15 a week on just three spontaneous purchases you didn't make.

4. Shop solo

Something happens to our brains when we shop with family or friends. The part of our brain that relates to self-restraint turns to putty.

When you shop alone you can save time and money grabbing only the items on your list and leaving the rest.

Saving: $20 a week on three or four additional trolley items sneaked in by your partner or kids.

5. Buy generic

It pays not to be brand loyal if you want to save serious bucks, and in many cases there is no perceptible difference in quality.

Compare Aldi brand Belmont chocolate biscuits ($1.50) with the leading brand of the same item ($3.50).

In terms of taste it's hard to tell the difference and yet for the branded version you will pay 130% more.

Saving: $5 or more on just five non-branded items this week.

Total savings: $5200+ a year

If it meant keeping more money in your wallet for the things you really value, could you be persuaded to change just one or two of your habits? Let us know your tips for slashing your grocery bill.

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Anthea Falkiner is a spending planner with

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