03 January 2018

My Grocery Budget for 2018

The last three days have seen me going over our spending plan, closing off 2017 and setting up 2018 (we run our household budget on the calendar year).

Not much has changed, although I've been able to increase the grocery budget back up to $320 a month. That's more than three times what we lived on in 2016 and about double what the grocery budget was for 2017.

I feel rich, although it's just gone back to what it was three years ago.

As the pantry is pretty well stocked with 12 months of most things, this budget will be used to replace what we use, fill the freezers and build the slush fund to top-up next year's budget.

This year will see me (again) shopping from the stockpile first, and then looking to see if there is an ingredient I can substitute or MOO, then shopping around for anything we don't have on hand to ensure its bought at the cheapest possible price.

The garden will be supplying as much fresh vegetables and fruits as I can possibly grow. It's had a slow start this season, with most of the veggies just starting to produce (I was late planting for summer), but succession planting will keep the salad veggies coming.

My garden journal will be used to plan the autumn and winter gardens, and the autumn garden is almost planned. The hiccup is our trip in May/June, when we'll be away for six weeks. I know the kids will eat from the garden, but they won't do as much preserving as I'd do, so it’s the quantities I'm rethinking. Once I can get my head around quantities and planting schedules, it will be done.

Because the garden will be slow, I'll be on the look-out for cheap tomatoes, onions, zucchini, cauliflower and cabbage to make sauce, pickles and freezer meals. If I can get onions for under 40c/kg, and tomatoes $5 a box (or hopefully under) towards the end of the month, then I'll be busy and happy.

As the stockpile pantry is full, most shopping will be for dairy, fresh fruit and veg and meat top-ups, so I've calculated that the fortnightly cash withdrawal from the grocery budget will be $40.  That covers $18 for milk, cheese, cream, eggs and bread (if any/all are needed), $10 for fruit and veg top-ups and $12 to buy meat if needed. The balance will stay in the grocery budget, ready to buy meat each quarter and top-up the stockpile at the end of the year.

You may have noticed that I've been slipping in a few extra meatless meals (Cream Cheese Patties, Hot Potato Salad, even Taco Pie can be meatless with the addition of extra beans). The meal plan is done for the year and there are plenty of vegetarian meals listed, with about another third that can easily be converted to meatless/vegetarian without too much change to taste and texture (always a good thing for my meat-loving family).
Here's where my grocery dollars will be going in 2018:

Aldi - for the bulk of basic groceries to replace stockpile items, and for dairy.

Coles/Woolworths - for stockpile top-ups that I can't get at Aldi, if they are on half-price sale.

Pellegrino's - fresh fruit and vegetables as needed, eggs

Farmer Joe's - meat and chicken on sale

Australian Butcher Store - Meat and chicken on sale

Thankfully I don’t' need to consider any food allergies or even extreme food dislikes, always a good thing for a grocery budget. We do have some intolerances, but they are easily worked around so they don't have a financial impact.

And of course as always I'll be doing as much as possible from scratch, although I do have some bottled pizza sauce and three jars of alfredo pasta sauce in the pantry as emergency back-ups.


  1. Hi Kath and first time I have commented on your site but I have been reading for some time :) .

    I thought I might add a cost saving for you and your other readers which is if you are a member of RACQ or varying roadside assist clubs across Australia you can buy gift cards at 5% off face value on the RACQ gift cards for both Coles and Woolworths and you can use this to save an additional 5% off fuel at their branded service stations as well. I then couple this saving and buy items mostly on 50% off sales as well which is a huge saving in our budget.

    The gift cards take 10 days to arrive so you have to plan ahead to do this but it saves us $10 each 6 weekly shop and more if we get extra cards for fuel.

    I am not sure what your Aldi prices are there as we are in the country but that makes most of our pantry staples far cheaper buying them from Woolworths than Aldi a lot of the time.


  2. Hello,

    For me Aldi prices beat Coles and Woolworths hands down, but I only buy ingredients, rarely buy anything pre-made. I do buy the occasional gift card from RACV for trips, and I save my Flybuys and Rewards points for Christmas - I don't shop at Coles or Woolworths or any of the connected stores very often so it's not a huge amount, this last year $180 in Flybuys but it bought our Christmas treats and was a nice bonus. Half price sales are my go to for toiletries, make-up, foil and baking paper - when they're on during the year I use the slush fund to bulk buy. When we were country I did two big shops a year, one in Melbourne and one in Sydney, because the prices were so much cheaper than at home. Tied them in with visits to the grandparents so they weren't an additional cost. Wise women do what they must to stretch their dollars and keep their family and home happy and comfortable and every little trick or tip helps :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

Just a couple of things:

Please don't use your comments to advertise your business or goods for sale, any such comments will be removed.