Simple ways to spend less on food and still eat well

Over the last month, I’ve been using Westpac’s new app CashNav to keep an eye on my spending habits. CashNav is linked to your Westpac bank accounts and every time you make a purchase, it automatically categorises your spend into things like eating out, groceries and shopping so you can really see what you’re spending your money on!

When it was broken down for me, I was shocked at the amount of money that was leaving my bank account each week on food. Money was being spent on going out for breakfast, coffee, smoothies, splurges at the organic supermarket and even bottles of water. So with that in mind, here are some helpful tips I am now using to make healthy eating on a tight budget easy.

1. Buy fresh produce when it’s in season and freeze it. Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up fast. I like to buy what’s in season and stock up on these items instead of buying fruit and vegetables that aren’t in season as they are generally more expensive. If you or your family love a particular fruit such as berries, stock up on these when they are cheap and freeze them so you can enjoy them all year round.

2. Pack your own lunch. Going out for meals is what I spend a lot of money on so it only makes sense that making meals at home will save me money. When I’m cooking dinner, I will make extra so I can take leftovers to work the next day. This saves me going to a café and spending up to $30 on an expensive lunch. The same goes for breakfast, I try to make a smoothie at home in the morning to save me going out and buying one. I limit myself to one meal at a café each week and will have this as a treat on the weekend.

3. Meal prep Every Sunday night I dedicate 2 hours of my time to meal prep so I have food and snacks for the week. I like to make a 2 big salads, roast vegetables and bliss balls so I can have these for lunches or dinners if I am too tired to cook in the evening. People waste a lot of time deciding what to make for dinner, not to mention the money you waste running to the store four or five times a week to pick up last minute ingredients for the evening meals. By planning your meals in advance, you eliminate these time and money wasters.

4. Include whole grain and beans in your meals. Beans and whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, kidney beans and chickpeas are an inexpensive way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves. Whole grains really bulk up a meal, they are high in protein and make the meal more filling. Whole grains and beans can also be a replacement for meat in meals which will also help you save money.

5.     Cut down on coffee consumption When I was an avid coffee drinker, I was buying up to 3 coffees per day which is around $16 a day and $115 a week. As soon as I cut down on this I started to save a lot of money. Even cutting down to 1 coffee per day will save you a lot of money over the course of the year.

6. Visit the farmers market on the weekend Visiting the farmers market on the weekend can help you find some great deals on fresh fruit and vegetables. You can get some great bargains, the produce is fresher and there’s also the added bonus of supporting local businesses.

7. Grow your own produce If you have space at your home, growing your own produce is a great way to save money on food. With some time and effort, you can grow your own herbs, kale, spinach and tomatoes to name a few. Having a good supply at home saves purchasing at the store, plus the produce is fresh and usually tastes a lot better than store bought produce.

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These are my tips, do you have any others on how to save spending on food? Lx

If you’re already a Westpac customer you can download the app now. If not, click here to find out more about Westpac and CashNav and how it can help you. It only takes a few minutes to sign up online for an account to start tracking your spending with CashNav.