Want To Save Money On Your
Food Shopping Budget?

In hard economic times, many of us search for ways to cut back on our food shopping budget without sacrificing quality or health. Here are several ways to save on your weekly food bill:

1. Shop smarter at your supermarket:

  1. Set aside some time to visit 2-3 of your local supermarkets and compare prices. Then start shopping at the one with the best overall deals, or split your food shopping between the top two.

  2. Alternatively, you can check for specials from the weekly brochures dropped in your mailbox. Then make 2-3 lists for what you will buy at each store.

    Obviously this will be a lot easier if you have a couple of chain stores and/or supermarkets in the same shopping complex.

  3. Plan your weekly menus. Then make a list and stick to it. No impulse buys unless it's an essential item and you forgot to put it on your list.

  4. Never go food shopping on a empty stomach.

  5. Look below eye level on the shelves. The less expensive items will most likely be above or below eye level.

  6. Take a calculator so you won't be surprised at the checkout.

  7. Look at the cost per kilo (or pound), not the cost per item.

  8. Look at alternatives to meat. Try legumes, soy products and wholewheat pastas for meatless meals. Or find some recipes that use small amounts of meats, like stir fry and mince (ground beef) recipes.

  9. Buy generic brands instead of name brands. These are usually manufactured by the big name companies and relabeled for the supermarket chains. So you're getting the same product for less because it has a different label.
2. Look for discount retailers.

In Australia we have Aldi, a budget supermarket that is enjoying a boom thanks to the current economic downturn. A recent comparison of the food shopping bill for staple foods purchased at Aldi versus the big name supermarkets revealed that the Aldi total of $64 was $20 lower that the $82-86 total of the other supermarkets. That's almost a 24% savings.

3. Buy in bulk.

Get together with your friends or neighbors and arrange to buy in bulk. This works especially well with high-ticket products like meat. One Australian newspaper recently reported that while farmers are getting around $1.60 per kilo of beef (or .80 cents per lb), consumers are paying up to $30 per kilo. So people have begun cutting out the middle men by buying directly from the farmers through delivery businesses like Queensland Natural Beef.

4. Use delivery services.

In New South Wales you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables direct from the farm through a delivery company called Wild Greens. Victorian company Aussie Farmers Direct now delivers fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meats throughout the eastern states of Australia. In Queensland you can try Farm Fresh Central.

Research this kind of service in your own location. You should be able to save 10-15% compared to supermarket prices.

5. Source farmers markets in your area.

Weekend farmers markets are extremely popular because farmers who have competed their work week can take their produce to market themselves. Most large cites have a farmers market and your local newspaper or the Internet should have a list. This is also a good place to find organic produce if you've chosen to go down that path.

6. Grow your own food.

It doesn't take much effort to set aside a patch in your back yard and turn it into your own organic vegetable garden. And if you don't have a back yard, you can use pots or trays on a balcony, or even indoors. Residents at nursing homes have created their own communal gardens where they grow herbs and vegetables. City dwellers grow their own food on small allotments. Find out if this is available in your area.

7. Plan your menu for the week ahead.

If you do, you'll know exactly what you need when you go food shopping, and you'll avoid wastage when food goes off in the fridge or cupboard.

8. Buy non-food items online.

eBay is your best bet for bargains but there are a number of other web sites that offer good deals. For a list of online shopping sites for Australians, visit online shopping.

It's important that you consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any new dietary or exercise regimen.

Gathering information online is fine for research purposes, but you need a real live professional to monitor your progress if you attempt to make drastic changes to your lifestyle. Unless you're a health professional yourself, you aren't equipped to objectively observe your body's responses to a new diet or exercise program. So whatever your chosen course of action, please be sure you enlist the support of a qualified professional.

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