Best budgeting tips: Savvy food savings

Last updated 05:00 04/07/2013
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CHEAPER TROLLEY: Planning ahead can save time and money at the shops.

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We've asked our readers to tell us their top tips for saving money. Victoria Garbert shows us how to make a savvy shopping list.

I'm sure there are people out there who are more savvy than I with the grocery budget but my family eat well and enjoy delicious meals.

Our supermarket bill equates to about $9.55 per day per person.

I enjoy creating delicious healthy meals but they can be expensive.

The easiest way for me to stay within my budget and still eat healthy meals has been to write a full list of what I need. I plan the meals for the shopping period before I go to the store as I've found it eliminates unnecessary buying.

I've been led to believe the majority of homes have a repertoire of seven to 10 base meals they regularly cook. With that thought in mind it makes it relatively repetitive and easy to have the right items in your cupboards at all times.

Planning my meals is simple:

I shop fortnightly.

We don't eat at home on average one night each week.

I need to plan for 14 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 12 evening meals for three people.

Breakfast is fairly similar every day; we have about four favorite cereals and we buy whichever is on special that day. I have a fruit smoothie, I make yoghurt and buy seasonal fruit. The man of the house cooks himself breakfast several mornings too.

Lunch is also fairly similar. The man of the house has the extra serving which cooked the night before and our pre-teen (who doesn't like sandwiches) prefers to have fresh fruits and veggies and some protein (meat or cheese). We only buy what's seasonally affordable and she still has typical children's carb's (I call it her junk food) like crackers or mini bags of whatever chips are on special and a fruit cereal bar. In the summer I have salads. in the winter I have homemade soup that I make in bulk and freeze.

For evening meals, I typically would plan around the meat and what I'm going to do with it.

1 x Fish

2 x Steak

2 x Mince

5 x Chicken meat

1 x Roast chicken (frozen on special)

1 x Roast meat (whatever is on special)

Then I plan what goes with them from a veggie, pasta or rice perspective, plus the flavourings I want, and add them to my list.

I add the store cupboard items, the cleaning and personal care items and I'm done. It all takes about 10-15 minutes and saves that much at least in time at the supermarket.

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Another little tip: If time is my enemy then I go online and order it all from my local Countdown, it cost less than $5 to arrange to pick it up and they have it all picked and packed for me. I just rock up to customer services and they wheel out a trolley with all my items, it's like magic. This also eliminates impulse spending. The only downside is you don't get your fuel discounts with online shopping.

Other families could do this cheaper, depending on the foods they like and the age of any children in the family. I do a lot of baking, I buy a bottle of wine and we tend to eat salmon and filet steak so there are savings that can be made right there. I hope this helps.

Happy grocery savings!

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