How to Make Financial Household Decisions on Groceries/Food
This article might be common sense to some, but I think this could serve as either a useful reminder to some, or simply as a fresh perspective that some may not have thought about.
Do you cook at home? If not, why? If you don’t, I recommend you consider it for several reasons.
- It is often substantially cheaper than eating out – even after factoring in discounts (but maybe not cheaper than $1 StudentPal meals)
- You have almost full control of what goes into your stomach
- It is often quite satisfying
- Cooking for a loved one/others? There’s a different (affectionate, you could say?) feel to having “put food on the table” for them
Ok, I’m going to admit that I do not cook at home often at all. For me personally, I really love the idea of cooking. It makes sense on so many levels (as I’ve pointed out above), but I just don’t enjoy the process enough. The food I make tastes bland and to make it tastier, I often need to add ingredients that are generally perceived to be unhealthy (e.g. sugar, salt, butter). It’s when it comes to the point of adding these extra “bad” ingredients that I really hesitate, and think, “Hang on, I’m cooking because I want to be healthy too.”
The result? It’s bland. And then I gotta clean. Ugh. That’s the part I really dread.
So whilst I might be sounding a little hypocritical here, I personally recognise the value in cooking.. and because of that, I don’t feel it’s wrong for me to encourage it!
On to the real part – how to actually decide what groceries to buy, whether it be for lunch/dinner, or stuff you use around the house?
For the sake of convenience, I’m going to post assuming you have a Coles/Woolworths near you. If you have an Aldi, IGA, Harris Farm, or other around you, you can just adapt it.
- Look at the weekly catalogue – it doesn’t take too long, is very easily accessible (on your phone), and could go some way to dictating your decision
- As an elaboration to the point above, look at the catalogue and buy only those items/ingredients that are half price or on some kind of promotional price
- Stuff like meat/vegetables aren’t discounted too often at Coles/Woolworths, so you could either look at your local butchers/fresh fruit/vegetable store, or look for pre-packed discounted meat that’s expiring in the next few days.
- Pre-packed discounted meat is often labelled with a yellow/orange label with the discounted price. Coles has yellow labels, whilst Woolworths has orange labels.
- Buying in bulk? Consider going to the markets, bulk buying meat (from Costco?) and freezing it.
- Don’t buy cheap just because it’s cheap though – i.e. make your meal decisions wisely and don’t just buy the pack of chips for $2 when you could (and probably should) make yourself a more proper meal for $4!
- Use FlyBuys, Woolworths Rewards, the appropriate Credit Card (The AMEX Platinum Edge) and/or the appropriate Gift Cards for Woolworths.
- The “return” is small, but do it once (i.e. apply once), remember to scan (i.e. integrate it into your shopping routine and make it a habit), and you will eventually reap the rewards (albeit small) in the future
- Does brand matter? Personally, I don’t think it matters as much as some do, so rather than A2 branded milk, consider picking Coles/Woolies brand. For all you know, it might be from the exact same source.
- Brand does matter sometimes though. I once tried home brand peanut butter thinking it’d be the same. How wrong I was… also, toilet paper, tuna. Yeah, it does matter sometimes.
Anyway, if I was to summarise what I just wrote, it would be…
Don’t know what to cook? Check out the supermarket catalogue and make your decision based on what’s on special.
Popular items that often get discounted..
- Ice Cream
- Sauces (Pasta Sauce, Tomato Sauce), Cooking Oil
- Frozen Fish/Fruits
- Pancake/Cake Mixes
- Peanut Butter/Jams
The list goes on…
By the way, these screenshots of groceries above were all taken from the Coles catalogue starting tomorrow.
See, there’s a lot of money to be saved. You just need to know where to look!