I am a firm believer that eating a balanced nutritious diet shouldn’t have to cost a fortune! So no matter what your personal financial situation, with some careful planning, my budget shopping tips will have you feeding yourself and family with delicious, nourishing whole foods without breaking the bank.
I dedicate some time every weekend to flick through my favourite cook books & decide what recipes I will be cooking the following week. By doing this I not only save myself time, it avoids the dreaded “what do you want for dinner’ nightly argument and I avoid buying un-necessary food.
Avoid the junk.
Its easier said than done but not filling your trolley with packaged chips and lollies not only saves your waistline but it can dramatically reduce your overall spend. Don’t get me wrong there are certain food items that even I can’t resist, however these items come out of my luxury spending money and do not happen on a weekly basis (I’m looking at you Pana chocolate!).
Stock up on non perishables.
I regularly make my husband lunch to take to work and he is a big fan of tuna salads. Whenever his preferred tin tuna brand is on special I stock up because I know they will get eaten, its always good to have healthy options on hand and also they are costing me less per unit and thus saving me money in the long term. Other items that are good to stock up on include quality organic body washes, natural cleaning products, shampoos & conditioner, just to name a few.
Shopping and eating with the seasons will save you money and mean that you get access to fresher produce, preferably from not so far away to cut down on food miles.
I often purchase frozen organic fruit & vegetables as it is so much cheaper & will not spoil unlike their fresh counterparts. It is a common misconception people have that frozen food is not as nutritious but in fact it can be just as nutrient dense. Some of my favourite items to buy organic include peas, berries and spinach.
Visit local markets.
I love going to farmer’s markets and do so locally and whenever I travel. Visiting markets means you get access to beautiful fresh produce, normally at a cheaper price! I also find if you visit towards the end of the day the growers are more likely to mark down items for you! Plus, if you have questions about how their products are grown or ways to cook the foods, the growers are the best people to speak to.
Go Plant based.
Switching out animal protein rich meals for plant based choices is not only good for the environment but it is good for your wallet too. My family eat plant based dinners at least 2 out of 7 nights a week. To ensure adequate protein in our plant based meals my favourite inclusions are tempeh, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa and hemp seeds.
Convenience costs you more.
Those single serves of porridge or sliced cheese packets cost a lot more than buying the item in a larger amount, un portioned. I buy plain oats and then add my own inclusions to porridge or overnight oat jars and find not do they taste better than the ones with added flavours you are also missing out on lots of nasty added ingredients.
Look for Unit Prices.
When you are at the supermarket looking at the stickers on the shelves that show pricing, take note of the unit price. This is often shown as a price per 100g or per kg. When you have this measure it is so much easier to compare pricing with other brands.
Cucina povera is an Italian phrase that refers to cooking peasant food. This style of home cooking uses simple recipes with minimal ingredients to produce the most delicious dishes. My late Nonno was born in the north of Italy in a town called Pola (which is now part of Croatia). Some of his favourite recipes that I enjoyed growing up include Pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), polenta, risi e bisi and ribollita. All of these dishes are super easy to make and I will post the recipes at some point if you are interested.