What do you spend on groceries? How does that compare to what the average family in Australia spends?

Money Smart has some great figures to help you compare, with the figures broken into household type (single, couples, families) and life stage. It’s really interesting (and makes me feel a little better), with the average spend being $314 per week for a family with kids, where the eldest child is over 14.

Set yourself a challenge

How much do you spend on groceries? There are options online, where you can view how much you spent on groceries in the last 90 days. You can easily change the time period you see.

Are you surprised? Are you okay with it? Can you go lower? Do you want to?

If you’re ready to beat your personal best, here are the 6 strategies I like to use to keep my grocery bills down. Getting lazy and veering off course results in bill blowouts for me!

Check the catalogues

Each Tuesday afternoon, I take 10 minutes to check the Coles and Woolworths catalogues for the next week. All my usual suspects that are on sale, get written down.

We spend a fair amount on things like yogurt, fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and toiletries.

Making sure we never pay full price for these items really impacts our grocery spend.

Stock up with a weekly online shop while minimising your delivery charge

For convenience, we have purchased a 1 year delivery package with Woolworths. It cost $89 and every time we spend $100 we pay no delivery charge. Given we use this 50 weeks of the year, it’s convenient and less than we would spend in petrol to go to and from the supermarket.

We purchase all the items we need out of the catalogue as well as some staples like bread, milk, flour and eggs which always gets us over the $100 mark. Lucky for us, we have a Coles within walking distance, so we get the rest of our stuff between there, the Vietnamese bakery around the corner, and Aldi when we are in the vicinity.

If you prefer doing an online shop with Coles, using a Coles MasterCard and spending over $100 per shop gets you free delivery. There are cards available with no annual fee. Personally I haven’t done this, and would only consider it if I paid my balance off in full each month – who needs to pay interest on their groceries? But, if you can pay your card off in full, it’s a great way to get your groceries delivered for free.

Meal plan

Once you have read through the grocery catalogues, it’s a perfect time to scribble down some ideas of what to cook during the week.

School and work lunches? Make salads and sandwiches out of the meats that are on sale. We can normally get a chicken for $4 or less per kg during the week, that cooked up does lunches for a couple of days. Much yummier and stretches further than the deli meats.

Cooking up a Sunday roast? Get a bit extra meat and overdo the vegetables. You might get meat sandwiches for Monday and a roast vegetable frittata for Monday night.

Coles and Woolworths both put out magazines with recipes in them now. You can access them on their websites or pick them up in store. They also often have a meal or 2 in their catalogues based on what’s on sale that week.

Find a good base meal that you can freeze and re-use

We don’t do this often enough. But when we do, we thank our past self. It’s such a convenient way to eat on a week night when you’ve worked all day and the kids have after school activities you need to taxi them about to.

An example is cooking up a huge pot of bolognese. Freeze it into portion sizes that you can grab out on the nights you are tempted to eat take away instead. Bolognese can easily be made in to a heap of things, burritos, tacos, lasagne and meat pies to name a few.

And it doesn’t always have to be beef mince – lamb and chicken are also very versatile.

Don’t get too entrenched with brand loyalty

My feeling is that we are getting better with this, with the rise in popularity of Aldi and the broadening of homebrand products. But still, it can be easy to keep going back to the same brand. This can be familiarity, taste or just habit-induced.

Homebrands are just as effective as others, often at less than half the price. And they make a difference to your grocery bill.

Buy what you need

One of the crazy things that happens, is the more we buy, the more we eat. Buying a big bag of chips is a lot more cost effective than a bag split in to portion sizes, but crazily enough it’s cheaper for us to buy the portion size bags. It just means everyone eats one portion instead of 2 – 3.

If you have the time, energy and commitment, the absolute best way to do this is to buy the big bag and split it in to portion sizes yourself. Just make sure the kids bring the containers home from school, replacing containers constantly is also a costly exercise!

Other things on special though, stock up. The tinned tomatoes, and half price toilet paper aren’t really at any risk of being consumed faster!

Do you have any other money saving tips to share?  How much is your weekly grocery bill? Share with us below.

Image source Shutterstock.


  • We stick to a budget which does include treats.

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  • Wow I would love to have $314 to spend on groceries! My usual shop is usually in the $70-$100 mark. I don’t even get the specials if I can get homebrand for cheaper! I usually buy 2 bulk meats, and veggies and sadly takeaway!

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  • When there was 4 of us, Mum used to cook a leg of lamb on Sunday and three of us would have lamb sandwiches for work and school for for 2 or 3 days. We often had homemade chutney or sauce in them. We grew a lot of our own vegetables and had fruit trees so that helped my Mum budget a lot. My Dad grew most of the vegetables until I got interested in growing a few too. She bought toilet paper in big bags as they worked out cheaper that way. Now I still do it. If I can get Kleenex Toilet Paper that equals less than 0.50 I am very happy. Some of the other brands have given some of us medical problems

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  • I imagine I could live out of our pantry for awhile, just adding a few fresh items each week but… it doesn’t work that way. I always have a shopping list, check the catalogues for what’s on special, and consider some meal ideas. With 3 adults in the house, we sit at around $160 a week for shopping, with a small top up for bread and cold meat once after that time. It works okay for us, but we could still tighten that up a bit!

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  • I like to check out the catalogues also and see what’s on special.

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  • Don’t buy pre packaged foods – you are paying for convenience. I buy a 1kg block of cheddar cheese and cut it up, nuts in big bags that are decanted into little containers and so on.

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  • Great tips – I usually spend close to $100 a week for a family of two.

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  • Have you tried to make these without heating the honey at all? I’m wondering if it will blend in properly if you don’t. I suspect you could reduce the amount of salt.

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  • Thanks for all the tips. We are a family of 3 and spend around 250 dollars a week. It includes everything: grocery, toiletries, vitamins, housecleaning products, food and drinks we buy at bars and restaurants. I still think it’s too much and I’d love to spend less. I live close to Coles and go there 2-3 times a week. If there are non-perishable items on offer I surely buy a little more. It’s a pity I don’t have a big freezer, otherwise I would stock up when some items I use are on special. And I cook from scratch around 360 days a year. :-)

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  • I buy a lot organic and super foods and spend far more then average, but that is to be expected.


    • I have been using $500 per week lately with a family of 8 (with 2 large sized temporary foster who like to eat, eat, eat).

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  • oh some great tips here – I was a bit concerned though when i read that for a family with kids eldest being 14 the weekly spend was just over 300! – We are a family of two adults and two girls (ages 9 and 5) and we average about $250 – $280 per week ( but that doesn’t include the top up milk, bread, youghurt and fruit!

    I love to buy homebrand everything if I can, somethings I buy brand for simply because it isn’t available in homebrand/supermarket brand. I am always out to save a $$ or two.

    I find that if I don’t have time to bake sweet treats for the week/lunch boxes ie muffins etc, I tend to compensate by buying extra sweet stuff from the shop which I hate but it doesn’t go to waste.

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  • And I also make sure I use any rewards cards to my benefit! Shopping with a calculator is great for keeping track of the total bill.

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  • I usually buy in bulk especially toilet paper, dishwashing liquid etc when there on special.

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  • We only shop at Aldi as a family, prices there are about 1/2 the price and the products are just as good or better than other supermarkets. Give yourself the Aldi challenge, buy a trolley full of food for your family for a week- and I guarantee that you’ll pay almost half the price!

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  • my tips 1 always read the junk mail and 2 if you really want to save money record every single price on your shopping list (it makes you ask yourself if you really need it)

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