Smart grocery shopping – 6 tips to make your money go further

Feeling the pinch at the checkout these days? You’re certainly not the only one.

According to Stats NZ, grocery food prices were 12 percent higher in February 2023 than they were in February 2022 and have seen their biggest increase since 1989.

Of this, fruit and vegetables have increased the most (23 percent), followed by meat, poultry and fish (9.8 percent).

With the rising cost of living, it’s time to start adopting some smart shopping practices to make your pay check go further. Here’s six tips:

1. Make a list and confirm a budget

Before going to the supermarket make a list of what you need and stick to it! Also have a clear idea of what your budget is.

It might be easier to order your groceries online to avoid impulse purchases and to see how the tally ads up as you shop.

2. Plan your meals

Take a bit of time out before you go shopping to plan your meals for the week. This will ensure you only buy what you need and avoids extra top-up shop visits and food going to waste (particularly true for fresh fruit and vegetables).

3. Choose seasonal produce (and consider canned/frozen options)

With fruit and vegetables having seen the biggest price increase, this is definitely a category you want to shop smartly with. One of the best ways to do this is to shop seasonally – most seasonal produce will not only be cheaper, but also fresher.

If you’re still finding the fresh section limited or too expensive, consider opting for canned or frozen options.

4. Embrace batch cooking

If you’re not yet onboard, now’s the time to get amongst batch cooking – cook once and eat twice, take leftovers for lunch or freeze for later.

Click here for some tips on batch cooking along with some of our favourite recipes.

5. Shop the specials

A great way to save money on groceries is to look for deals and discounts. If there are staple items that you buy regularly, stock up while they are on special (if you can afford to).

Check out the meat section for specials, there are some great bargains to be had on meat that needs to be used within a couple of days. NZ pork roasts have also been on special in many places lately. Click here for some recipe inspiration for roast pork.

6. Become a confident cook - familiarise yourself with cooking various cuts

If you are confident cooking a variety of meat cuts then you can be open to purchasing the less expensive cuts or those on special. Have a look at the online mailers before shopping and see what’s the most affordable.

To learn how to cook various New Zealand pork cuts, read our simple guide.

Smart shopping does require organisation, time and research but your wallet will be thanking you for it at the end of the week!