The choice of what we eat not only influences our physical well being – our weight, sleep, energy, mood – but also our pockets. In fact, food is one of the biggest sources of household spending each and every month.

In this quick ACTION guide we’re going to show you how a few small adjustments to your eating habits can, not only save you substantial money, but also help you feel healthier and more energised.

You see, many people assume that eating healthier is more expensive but that’s not necessarily true.

Let us show you why!

Below are top healthy eating money saving tips, categorised by meal type, that lead to both a healthier diet and a healthier hip pocket.

Pick the ones that resonate with you the most and start making changes today.

1. Breakfast

Try breakfast alternatives – Instead of cereals, eat non-instant oatmeal with some raisins and sliced bananas. Oats cost next to nothing and are much healthier than the processed, sugar-laden cereals with all the artificial flavours.

Another easy and inexpensive breakfast alternative is a healthy smoothie that incorporates one scoop of plant based protein powder, a few ice cubes, and freshly cut fruit.

And if you’re a coffee drinker, make your coffee at home or at work, rather than buying it each day. Skipping on one cup of coffee a day from your favourite coffee shop could save you around $1,000 a year!

2. Lunch

Taking your lunch to work rather than eating out every day can save you thousands of dollars a year. It’s also healthier as you know exactly what is in your meal.

Quick tip: When you make dinner or breakfast, make a little extra and put it in a container for lunch the next day.

3. Dinner

It’s worthwhile to learn to cook at home because it can save you both money and calories. You don’t need to be a chef or spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen to prepare healthy, tasty, and inexpensive meals.

Pasta, rice, and noodles, for example, are extremely easy to prepare, very inexpensive, and provide good sources of complex carbohydrates. You could add variety by adding cooked chopped vegetables or a healthy salad.

When you’re eating out, avoid ordering drinks, appetisers, and desserts. This will reduce your bill by as much as 50%.

Concentrate on socialising with your family, friends or date instead. 

How to save money at the supermarket?

Below are simple ways to save on your groceries.

Pick the ones that resonate with you the most and start making changes today.

Compare frozen vegetable prices when fresh produce goes through the roof. Another advantage with frozen fruits and vegetables is that there is absolutely no waste – you can keep them in your freezer for a very long time.

If you enjoy cooking Asian style meals such as sushi, curries and stir fries, check out your local Asian supermarket. These supermarkets may look a bit cluttered and less organised that your local Coles or Woolies but they usually sell quality products at great prices.

Buy plain oatmeal instead of sugary cereals and sweeten it with honey, berries, or bananas. Oats cost next to nothing and are much healthier than the processed, sugar-laden cereals with all the artificial flavours in them.

Don’t fall into the trap of brand loyalty. The quality of generic brands is often identical, or even better, than the branded products and that has been proven in many blind taste tests conducted with shoppers. When you buy branded items, you usually pay for the name, packaging, and expensive marketing. Before you buy, think if it’s really worth it. Since the arrival of the German giant Aldi to our shores, more and more of the generic brands across all major supermarket chains are now made in Australia (we reckon it’s a bit ironic that the arrival of a foreign-owned competitor was what gave Woolies and Coles the push to source more of their generics locally but either way, it is very welcome!) so you are still supporting Aussie jobs when you buy them. Just check the label.

Shop fortnightly and avoid impulse buys in-between. Also, make sure you prepare your shopping list (on paper or using an app) BEFORE you visit the Supermarket and never come there on an empty stomach. The feeling of hunger will make you buy more.

Check your local food markets and fruit & veg shops. Buying your fruit and vegetables there rather than from the supermarket can be cheaper and the the produce is usually much fresher. You’re also supporting farmers directly as well as your local small business owners rather than the ‘all conquering’ retail behemoths.

At the risk of sounding ‘Un-Australian’, we suggest you give up alcohol for a month and put $5-$10 for every day you don’t drink into your saving account. You’ll be amazed at how much your alcohol habit is costing you.

Minimise waste and save money by freezing your own fruit for smoothies and shakes.

Buy non perishable items like washing powder and toilet paper in bulk when they go on sale. The savings can be significant.

Compare prices online when compiling your shopping list. It only take a few minutes and you can make some big savings that way. There are several free services which allow you to do that easily and one such service we have personal experience with is Trolley Saver. It compares prices between Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores in your local area based on their weekly catalogues.

When comparing similar products, make sure you always compare like with like by using unit pricing. Often, a product which seems more expensive is actually cheaper when you look at the unit price (e.g. price per 100g). Unit pricing has been made mandatory a few years ago (despite a lot of push-back from the big Supermarkets) and we strongly suggest you make the most of it.

Before you fall for the ‘two for one’ promotion, ask yourself – Do you really need two items? Do the savings really justify the purchase of an extra item? Most importantly: If it’s perishable, will you be able to use both items by their use-by date or will one item go to waste and end up in the bin?

Get into the habit of comparing prices of items on the lower shelves. Food companies usually pay the supermarkets a premium to get their products placed at eye level. In general, beware of product positioning. Sometimes, the better priced items are located at the higher or lower shelves or even in a different aisle altogether.

Cut back on soft drinks and drink water instead. If you can’t live without sugary drinks, Make your own flavoured water, or better yet, squeeze in some fresh fruits and make a fresh lemonade or orange juice. They are not only healthier but usually cheaper than the bottled versions. Speaking of water, buying bottled water simply cannot be justified in a first world country like Australia. Tap water is perfectly fine to drink and can be up to 50 times cheaper than bottled water (yep, that’s FIFTY times!).

Pick wholegrain bread over white. It’s not only much healthier but it also sustains energy longer (it has lower GI index) which means less snacking, hence more savings.

If your plan is to only buy a few things, use a basket instead of a trolley. You’ll be less inclined to buy unnecessary items if you are carrying something instead of pushing it.

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