Saving dollars: Shop independent to save on fruit and veg
SMART tips on shopping for food and groceries can translate into big savings at the end of the month.
Caloundra's Vicki Taylor mastered the art of saving on these bills when living in London with a group of 14 three decades ago.
Back then, Mrs Taylor couldn't rush off to mum and dad to pitch in and there was definitely no low income card to allow for shopping at the food bank.
But living frugally has helped develop skills to last a lifetime.
"We had to do a weekly budget with the 14 of us to make it all work out," she said.
"We worked out quickly we could do a lot if we stuck to a budget and developed lists.
"We also learnt you never go to a supermarket on an empty stomach, you always go after you have eaten."
The Red Hot Chilli Pepper shop owner sits down with her husband, Roger, once a year to redefine the family budget.
While the couple have no children, they have "three pets" and they keep their weekly food and groceries budget strictly under the $250 a week mark.
"That includes everything, lunch, breakfast and going out to eat once a month," Mrs Taylor said.
She ensures the family gets all the non-perishables, like toilet paper, in bulk at Costco.
"We go to Costco every three months and buy up all the items that don't go off," she said.
"You will be amazed how much this saves."
She also prefers to shop at farmers' markets, like the Kawana Waters Farmers Market, instead of the big chain stores like Woolworths or Coles.
"The food is fresher at the market and fresh fruit and vegetables go a long way when compared to processed food."
Once a week, Mrs Taylor will also sit down and plan the meals for the week and then she prepares a list to ensure she only buys what she needs when she goes shopping.
"I know exactly what we are going to be eating for the week."
And the couple never have to buy lunch at work.
"I tend to cook extra at night so we can freeze it or have it for work the next day.
"We hardly ever eat out, although we do plan a treat once a month."
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