Today I thought I’d prepare and share a guide on how we ‘hack’ our food preparation for the day, week and month. Earlier I shared a little insight into how we prepare for the typical day but I thought I’d dive a little deeper. My goal at the end of this post is to give you clarity on how you can find quality food and not break the bank PLUS do your boring grocery shopping on auto-pilot! Enjoy!
First off we sit down and plan usually on a Sunday when we’ll go and do the weekly grocery shopping (Aldi), then we plan the fortnightly visit to specialty stores (Woolworths/Terra Madre/Foodworks) and lastly the monthly visit for bulk shopping items (Costco).
We are big fans of Aldi!
Early on we were big time Coles shoppers mainly because of the FlyBuy benefits and we would buy fuel at a discounted rate at participating Shell petrol stations but then we found them to be really expensive over time.
We compared a weeks worth of food supplies between the major chains: Coles vs Woolworths vs Aldi and there was almost a 30% savings on the total cost when we shopped at Aldi. That’s a massive savings!
Early on we felt a bit suspect because there are brands there we were unfamiliar with but after a while we became very comfortable with their range. The only downside is that they only seem to stock a certain amount of products for that day – so once something runs out – you guessed it… it’s not going to be replenished until the next day. **Handy tip! Try and shop during non-peak hours 🙂
Below is a little snapshot of what our weekly grocery shopping from Aldi may look like. On average we may spend between $80-$120 per week and the products are mostly fresh perishable produce that need constant weekly replenishment. These items are mostly: fruits, meats and vegetables.
A couple of times a month we may need some things that are not really fresh or perishable so we go to the local convenience store – Woolworths. We quite like them because they stock a brand of butter which we absolutely love 🙂 Highly recommend Kerrygold Butter as the ingredients are 100% pure milk from grass fed cows from the fields of Ireland 🙂 Organic Times (AUS) and Westgold (NZ) come in a close 2nd and 3rd purely due to taste.
We get other little things that may not be available at Aldi but at the same time may not be available in bulk from Costco. These things include: toiletries, some kitchen wares like sponges, bin liners and surface sprays.
We don’t really focus on petrol and complimentary grocery shopping benefits because we find it simply doesn’t add up to much benefit. The Everyday Rewards card doesn’t really convert to great savings (much like FlyBuys) for us anymore.
What we have observed from our local Worthworths store is the the staff are really friendly and there is always a basket of free fruit for children to have at no cost! Can’t complain with that 🙂
We tend to budget about $50 a fortnight on these purchases from Woolworths.
On the alternate fortnight we tend to buy some ‘luxury’ items which can be a bit of a struggle to source but we recommend these two stores – Terra Madre and/or Foodworks.
Terra Madre (Northcote VIC) is a Natural Food store that house many products we enjoy such as gluten-free bread, organic produce including meats, grains, supplements, cleaning products and lots of healthy treats!
Given that we live an hour away we tend to organise which day of the month that we’ll call by to shop for some supplies. An example of something we buy is MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) which is a great source of healthy fats. Leki loves having it with his coffee and I am avoiding it while I’m pregnant as they say – too much of a good thing can’t be good for you!
An alternative to visiting Terra Madre is dropping into your local Foodworks Supermarket. They have an awesome health food section which stock a lot of great products if you find yourself a tad too far from a natural food store like Terra Madre.
We tend to budget about $50 a fortnight on these purchases from natural food stores.
The most costly purchase occurs monthly at Costco. Leki has a business account with them which costs $55/annually (which is available with anyone with an Australian Business Number) or you can get a standard ‘Gold Star’ membership for $60/annually.
So is the yearly membership worth it? For us – ABSOLUTELY! If we noticed that we made a lot of repeat purchases from the local convenience store we then did our sums and if it made sense to buy it in bulk once a month rather then weekly from the local store then that’s what we did!
Examples of things we buy in bulk: diapers, wipers, hand wash, toilet paper, laundry powder, toothpaste, eggs, coffee, some spreads (almond butter, honey etc.), coconut oil 🙂 and plenty more!
**Handy hint – there are a lot of brand name items which you can source pretty cheaply. Leki usually buys his work clothes from here and there are great options on electronic items like computers, TVs and kitchen appliances like blenders which are great value!
We budget somewhere from $150-$300 per month on Costco spending.
So let’s summarise. Leki and I usually keep a track on how our food supplies are going and we make sure we plan a time during the week to get down to Aldi for our weekly grocery shopping. Every 2 weeks we try and alternate by dropping into Woolworths and a natural food store (we recommend Terra Madre or Foodworks) and then once a month we call into Costco for bulk purchases.
With just a bit of forward planning and a careful eye on your ‘inventory’ you almost do it in auto-pilot after a while as you’re shopping for the same things each time you visit 🙂 Leki and I can be in and out of Aldi in 10-15min. We’ve timed it!
So… here’s the breakdown of our weekly budget below:
Some weeks are more or less then others but we tend hover around this mark. Now we believe this will be a sustainable budget for a growing family (soon to be 4 in Jan 2018). We could cut back on the ‘luxury items’ but we choose to spend a little more on quality food we cook/eat. We typically eat out 1-2 per week and we don’t have too many costly vices like alcohol or smoking but we both have a weakness for chocolate and coffee 😉
What do you think? I hope that’s made it a bit easier for you and I hope $205 per week on ALL shopping expenses can save you some $$$ like it does for us!
If it’s helpful I can share some meal plans I ‘pre-prepare‘ during the week from the above grocery shopping (nothing fancy!) and I’ll dive a little deeper into the general budget we keep which helps us track things carefully so we don’t overspend!