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4 Savvy Food Swaps to save on your Grocery Bill

Use these 4 savvy swaps to help save you a significant amount of money every month.

Fresh food at the grocery checkout

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The cost of living is rising and is starting to pinch!

So it's time to look at how we spend our grocery budget. Any savings we make at the supermarket can help with the rising cost of food, petrol, utilities and housing. Let's take a virtual stroll down the supermarket isles and look at some tweaks we can make to save more.

Saving Money on Meat, Seafood & Deli Items

Eating meat, seafood, and other deli foods can increase your grocery bill. Here are a few tips to help reduce the price.

Look out for specials

Supermarkets often heavily discount meats, seafood and deli items when nearing their dates. So take advantage and snap these up when you can. Just be sure to store them correctly to keep them fresh.

Watch the Cut

Meats that are more heavily prepared (e.g., chicken tenders) are often more expensive than less processed cuts (e.g., chicken breast). If you've got the time, go for the less prepared meat cuts instead. 

Also, swapping to cheaper cuts of meat might take more cooking time to tenderise (e.g., oso-bucco or lamb shanks), but they are much more affordable and will go further than a cut of steak. 

Frozen vs Fresh

Keep an eye on the price difference between buying frozen compared to fresh seafood. This might surprise you. I always assumed buying frozen portions of salmon, for example, was cheaper than fresh, but found the opposite true at my supermarket.

Try some Meat Free Days

Switching out meat and seafood for plant-based alternatives like lentils, chickpeas, or tofu is an instant way to save on your grocery bill while mixing things up a little.


Try switching ground meat with brown or green lentils for a quick and nutritious food swap. Texture-wise it's pretty comparable.


Saving Money on Dairy and Dairy-Alternatives

Dairy products (or dairy alternatives) are a vital for bone strength, so it's not something you want to be cutting back on per se. But there are some options to reduce their cost. Here's how.

Explore different brands

Keep an eye out each week to see if there are any alternative milk, cheese, or yoghurt brands that offer better value for your budget. There are often sales, or if milk is moving closer to its best before date, you might be able to pick these up at a reduced cost.

Long-life vs Refrigerated Milks and Alternatives

It can be great to have a few long-life versions of your favourite milk or soy milk on hand so that you don't run out and have to rush out and buy new ones. Look at the price difference between your favourite dairy and dairy alternative brands. Sometimes long-life versus regular can be pretty different in terms of cost.

Swap to Milk Powder

Did you know that one packet of skim milk powder can make 40 glasses of 250ml glasses of milk? That's huge! And given a bag of milk powder typically costs $8, that's considerable savings for your wallet. Even having milk powder in the pantry as a backup is a great way to avoid last-minute grocery runs. 

Skim Milk Powder Woolworths
Image Source: Woolworths

Instant Skim Milk Powder, 1kg $8 at Woolworths

Size it up

Purchasing larger quantities of dairy products (e.g., 2 litre milk instead of1 litre of milk) for this purpose can often be more cost-effective in the long run. So if you are looking to save money, this might be a strategy worth leveraging. 


Dairy foods and alternatives are not something we want to reduce, particularly when maintaining bone health. Explore the cost-effectiveness of using different brands, long-life and powder varieties to save on cost.

Saving Money on Fruits and Vegetables

As floods and petrol prices rise, fruits and vegetables have been costly lately. The reason is that supply has gone down, which has increased prices as demand for these foods has grown. Luckily there are tricks you can use to save on your food budget!

Stick with Seasonal

In most cases, this can make a big difference to your grocery spending because there tends to be more abundance of seasonal produce, and it will have less storage and less far to travel. In winter, I find that I'm usually buying more onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and leafy greens like spinach and citrus fruits, for example.

Frozen Backups

If you can keep a stash of frozen peas, beans and veggie mix, this is handy when vegetables are in low supply or running low toward the end of the week. I find that these items are a little more price stable also.


Enjoy these Vegetables and Fruits in Cooler Months: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, leek, spinach, peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit.

Enjoy these Vegetables and Fruits in Warmer Months: Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Capsicum, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Berries, Apples, Pears

Saving Money on Snack and Pantry Items

This category of foods is likely the first to get cut when grocery budgets start to get stretched. But don't worry, we've added some swap ideas so you can still enjoy your favourites, even if you have to do without some salty and sweet snacks.

Try out some cheaper snacks

I've been buying popping corn lately. It's fun to make, and you can experiment with the flavours (although butter and salt are still a big fave of mine). Another swap is rice cakes or regular Salada crackers instead of the more fancy ones. You can load them up with great toppings, which are delicious at a fraction of the cost of other varieties.

Try some baking

You can be creative with some simple cakes made from ingredients you already have. Sometimes it can feel rewarding just to do this if you've the time. I always compare this to 'slow fashion' when doing this kind of thing. Slow cooking, It takes more time investment, but it's tasty, enjoyable and cost effective.

Store Dried Pantry Staples

Ingredients like rice, pasta, noodles, and legumes are good to keep on hand so you can whip up tasty meals at your convenience. These items will go a long way, saving you money in the long run. 


One of the first areas to be cut back on when reining in the grocery budget will likely be snack and pantry items. This food category offers some flexibility with lots of different choices.


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