Health hacks to save $100 every week

Dr Nick Fuller

Grocery shopping is a significant expense for most of us. The average household spends approximately $200 a week at the supermarket and it’s much more when you add in everything else that we spend on our health – vitamins, supplements, diets, gym memberships, or that visit to your local naturopath.

Luckily, there are many clever ways to make grocery shopping more affordable. And I’m not talking about the type of spending halt where you can’t dine out or enjoy that drink with your friends.

Start with these 6 tips:  

1. Don’t waste your time with anything labelled ‘organic’

Organic farmers and food producers are supposed to grow food without using synthetic chemicals such as pesticides and artificial fertilisers. But, as a matter of fact, there is no regulation on the use of the word ‘organic’ in Australia. Anyone can slap the term on their food and you just have to trust the seller that they’re not telling you little white lies. Even packaged foods such as muesli bars can have ‘organic’ on their labelling but mislead you by containing both ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ ingredients.

Organic food is double the price point of conventional produce. The only way to know you’re buying organic is by getting a food that is ‘certified organic’ – these companies have paid to have their foods tested by a third party.

2. Use commonsense

One of the latest crazes that everyone is talking about is the ‘noom diet’. It’s an APP that tells you that fruit, vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates, and dairy is good for you, and that processed and fast foods like sweets and pizza need to be kept to a minimum. But you don’t need an APP that costs you $50 a month to tell you this. And the last thing you need is online advice from a ‘health and wellness' coach to answer all your questions. You need someone with credentials that actually knows what they’re talking about.

3. Ditch the bottled water

Given the fact that tap water is subject to more stringent safety checks and healthier than the bottled variety, why do we insist on purchasing something that is free? All the clever marketing and packaging doesn’t make it any better for you and some of the brands just bottle treated tap water. The same goes for that alkaline water you might be buying – it’s is one of the biggest scams of the 21st century.

Save yourself the $4 on buying bottle water. You’re much better off getting a reusable water bottle and filling it up at the tap.

4. Get rid of those trendy ingredients

We waste so much of our time nowadays pondering the supermarket to look for obscure ingredients that have no difference in nutritional value. Tracking down certain sugars such as muscovado, rapadura, or demerara sugar because you believe it is healthier or ‘clean’ is a complete waste of time and money. There is no difference in nutritional value to white or brown sugar. The only difference between white and brown sugar is the taste.

Don’t waste your time with the other latest trend which is buckwheat; go with rice instead, it’s half the cost!

5. Don’t eat out of season

You will save a lot of money if you buy what’s in season. If you’re not sure, go to your local fruit and vegetable retailer and talk to the grocer. You’ll be surprised at how helpful and informative they can be. Cauliflower, for example, will cost you $5 in summer but only half that in winter.

6. Grow your own

It’s all to common that we buy a whole bunch of coriander, to only use a tiny amount in the recipe, leaving the rest to wilt and go to waste.

You don’t have to have a huge garden to grow your own. Even if it’s just some herbs in a window box or pot, you can save some serious money, prevent a lot of food waste, and also have a lot of fun with it. All it takes is something to grow them in, some good soil, and a little bit of love.