It can be difficult trying to cut your food bill spending and getting all the nutrition you need. But it doesn't have to be! We've done the sums and prepared this weekly couples menu plan to show how you can save on your food shopping – and keep a healthy diet as well.
This menu is based on the nutrition needs of an average man (M) and average woman (W), aged 31-50. A younger couple will need a little more, an older couple slightly less.
NutritionistRose Carr says: “Feel free to make substitutions in this menu, for example, change the type of cereal. And bake the slice at the weekend so you have economical sweet snacks for the week.”
Average couple cost: $160
Our menu: $124
$36 per week for a year = $1872 = 18 restaurant dinners!
How our menus are made
This menu plan covers every meal and snack for the week, and includes all the nutrition every member of the household needs – all the energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy (based on guidelines from the Ministry of Health). Using recipes from our archive, we’ve created menus that are also significantly cheaper than the average food costs for different households.
How we shopped
We’ve priced this menu based on an average budget-friendly supermarket. We followed these rules:
we bought things on special whenever possible
we used as much seasonal produce as possible
we chose supermarket ‘own brand’ products when they were the cheapest option available
we bought bulk packs of staple items and allowed for storage in pantry and freezer
we included homemade versions of pre-packaged products such as hummus and pesto.
we made our own yoghurt (using bought mixes – save even more by doing it from scratch).
NOTE: Some ingredients on the shopping lists are things you need for the recipes in the menus, that you won’t need to buy every week. This means your initial shopping trip may cost slightly more, but in future, your shopping will be cheaper.
You can achieve even bigger savings by
checking out the specials at specialty butchers and fruit and vege shops
checking all the bulk bins for dry goods
shopping at Asian supermarkets for specialty Asian ingredients
shopping at roadside stalls and farmers’ markets for fruit and veges
buying items in bulk then freezing them, such as meat and cheese on special
planting your own herbs, salad mix, spinach, silver beet and other veges.
Shopping list: Basics
Buy once a month (or as needed): These pantry basics are things you may not buy every week. We recommend buying in bulk and storing.
cooking oil spray
flour (white, wholemeal)
onions (red, brown, as required)
Shopping list: Luxuries
Buy occasionally: These occasional purchases are not included in the main shopping lists. Buy these as budget allows, when on special.