$200 per month saving: 3 grocery hacks to beat the cost of living

Savings can be in the thousands if you implement these cost-of-living-beating tricks.

Compilation images of groceries and hands fanning out Australian dollar bills to represent savings
With grocery prices having risen 9.2 per cent in the past year, it's more important than ever to know how to make savings on your weekly shop. (Source: Getty)

Price hikes across supermarket staples are seeing food budgets spiralling out of control. It can feel like there’s nowhere to turn when even our weekly necessities are soaring in price, but there are ways to cut back without cutting out. I chatted to one Aussie mum banking savings of $200 on her grocery bill each month.

Here are three ways she does it.

Also by Emma Edwards:

1. Loyalty program discounts and gift card hacks

South Australia-based Tahnee tells me she scores a whopping 10 per cent discount on her grocery bills using the Woolworths Everyday Extras program. When grocery prices are estimated to have risen 9.2 per cent in the past year, that’s a significant saving. Signing herself and her husband up for a $59 annual membership each, Tahnee is able to get the 10 per cent discount across two grocery bills each month. To maximise the benefit, she’s aiming to do one bigger shop per fortnight instead of shopping weekly.

“In our free trial period alone we saved $105.60,” she said, noting that the first 30 days were free. Plus, by signing up mid-month, she could snag the 10 per cent discount twice before the paid subscription kicked in. Nifty.

But it doesn’t stop there. Tahnee also leverages her roadside assist (RAA) membership to get 4 per cent off Woolworths digital gift cards.

“I’ll fill my online cart with what I plan to buy, get the exact total, and then head over and buy the gift card for that exact amount.”

2. Points-earning challenges

On top of these discounts, every shop scores Tahnee some rewards points, and significant bonuses are often up for grabs.

“We also spend according to the challenges in the app. I’m currently getting 10,000 bonus points for spending $250 a week for two weeks,” she told me.

And 10,000 bonus points equates to $50 to spend on groceries or 5,000 Qantas frequent flyer points. A quick search on the Qantas website tells me that’ll get you halfway towards a one-way economy reward seat from Melbourne to the Gold Coast.

Never one to miss a beat, she explains that she’ll do her two big shops in those two weeks to get the bonuses, and “not have to shop for ages” afterwards by strategically stocking up on her high-rotation items.

Just to seal the points-earning deal, Tahnee also does all her grocery spending on a Qantas points-earning credit card.

“I pay it off as soon as I spend on it,” she said. That’s a 10 per cent discount, plus a 4 per cent discount with gift cards, plus bonus Rewards points, and Qantas points too, saving them on average $200 a month. By this point, I’m hooked and ready to become a grocery points hacker myself.

3. One for now, two for later

Tahnee also lives by the rule ‘one for now, two for later’ when it comes to stocking up on her most-used staples. She recommends you keep an eye on items you regularly use, and buy them when they’re discounted to maximise your value per item.

“I check the catalogue each week, and I get to know the types of sales that come up so I can stock up when it’s cheapest. If I know it goes down to half price, I know not to stock up at 20 per cent off!”

Tahnee plans based on ingredient overlaps, maximising the same base ingredients across a number of meals. The key is to stock up on the basics you need to make your high-rotation meals, and then do smaller shops to get the add-on items you need. It might be more expensive up front, but the financial savings pay off over the long term.

“Sometimes we’ll spend $250 on a grocery shop, but then not buy anything for ages.” Looking ahead to the future savings and the bang-for-buck over the long term can really help you crunch your grocery outlay and outpace rising prices.

These savvy grocery hacks are proof that by keeping up to date with offers, using a loyalty card and maximising available bonuses, you can score significant discounts.

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