Mum of three reveals secret to spending just $280 per fortnight on groceries

One of her easiest ways to save may just surprise you!

As thousands of Aussie families face the weekly financial struggle at the supermarket, one savvy mum has revealed how she spends just $280 a fortnight.

At the end of 2023, food inflation was sitting at 7.5 per cent, with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing an increase of 1.5 per cent since 2022. So it’s no wonder Aussies are doing everything they can to get the best bang for their buck at the checkout.

Kayla, a mum of three from Noosa, Queensland recently shared her impressive money-saving methods on a budgeting Facebook page, attracting serious praise for spending just $280 on her fortnightly shop.

It didn't happen overnight

Sticking to a strict budget, her ambitious grocery research and planning appears to be paying off for her family of five. Talking to Yahoo Lifestyle, she revealed her saving success started by establishing realistic meal plan options and a budget.

“Like many others just trying to get by in today's crazy economy, I initially had to work out what my lowest fortnightly budget could be that would see us get 12 dinners, plus school lunches and whatever other basic needs were required and went from there,” she says, adding that her family usually orders take out on a Friday night.

Grocery shopping
Grocery shopping

“Our family consists of two adults, one teen, one preteen and one toddler and our fortnightly grocery shop is always between $275-$290 but I tend to use $280 as my base.”

Here's how she does it

After setting a meal plan for the week from a comprehensive list of go-to meals, Kayla says she writes down exactly what she needs for each meal before checking out the weekly supermarket catalogue and specials.

But the most surprising element of her method, which she says is essential, is shopping exclusively at just one store. Unlike many others on the post who said they shop at multiple stores to save money, Kayla says it’s unnecessary.


“I have definitely tried the multi-shop approach. I was getting certain things between Woolies, Coles and Aldi. It just wasn't for me,” she says.

“Woolworths online ordering suits our family the best and the online system is KEY to my budgeting success. I check the specials and catalogues as I go and sometimes I overfill my cart and then knock things out if my budget goes beyond say the $300 mark.

“I know the brands they have are ones my kids like and stock is relatively consistent.”

Her method also means that she isn't tempted to pick up unnecessary extras and has now become streamlined after setting up her shopping lists and weekly specials lists in the app.

While the deals are only available online, shoppers will be able to score some big savings and bonus offers. Source: Woolworths
While the deals are only available online, shoppers will be able to score some big savings and bonus offers. Source: Woolworths

While her approach works for her family, she does say there are some weeks that her cupboards look a little bare.

“Sure some shops make our cupboards look pretty sad but other times when there's great deals we stock up and get treats. It's actually been an amazing lesson for my kids too and they are much more snack-savvy when the goodies appear in our cupboard,” she says.

But the meals she's able to put together on a tight budget are pretty impressive with her go-to list consisting of Thai red chicken curry, chicken parmas, mince and rice burritos, spaghetti bol with homemade garlic bread or chicken burgers.

What about non-food items?

When it comes to budgeting for non-food-related items, Kayla says she works that into her budget too. She opts for budget-friendly brands for cleaning products, nappies and wipes which she buys in bulk.

“Cleaning items are definitely an "on special" thing. I tried a fair few brands of different products before I was sure that some of the cheapest dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent actually worked really well,” she says.

Shopping trolley in grocery store
Kayla says not all purchases need to be big brands and that she's found some that work for her that are store brands. Source: Getty Images

“If higher priced items do happen to come on sale I will occasionally purchase them as a "luxury" item.”


Making use of the Woolworths member's Everday Rewards program also offers some pretty good incentives and benefits with Kayla saying the program helps her save for her big Christmas shop at the end of the year.

“Everyday Rewards is absolutely wonderful! I utilise their Bank for Christmas point system and with the points I accumulated over 12 months last year it paid for the entirety of our Christmas and Boxing Day food,” she says.

Kayla’s top grocery budgeting tips:

  1. Meal plan - Kayla plans everything right down to the number of onions or the number of eggs needed for each recipe. When it comes to planning lunch boxes, she makes a lot of snacks herself by buying supermarket-brand cake mixes to make cupcakes.

  2. Shop specials - Kayla says she always shops meat products first in line with what’s on special and moulds her meal plan around this. If the meat she’s after isn't on special that week she makes changes to her meal plan. She also stocks up on her favourite products when they are on sale. “Being adaptable and buying spares is a great way to keep in budget and eliminates replenishing EVERYTHING with every shop,” she says.

  3. Buy in bulk - Kayla says she purchases things like mince in bulk and then separates it for two meals. “I purchase one kilo of mince for around $11 and then divide that into two meals instead of buying two smaller packets for $7-$8 each,” She says. “I then put the split 1kg into separate freezer bags and you've created 2 meals for less.” “I also purchase the 15pack of schnitzels and split those to create two or three meals by putting 3-4 schnitzels in each freezer bag and again, I've made multiple meals for less."

  4. Have a range of recipes - Have a few meals that can be made using one type of meat. This way, you can make sure you get the best-priced shop and change up your meals.

  5. Brand names don't matter! - Kayla says that saving money is about giving non-brand name items a chance. “Each to their own of course, but I can truly say the $1 taco seasoning tastes just as good as the $3+ brand name one and Woolworths bread is just as good as Tip Top or Sunbeam,” she says. “Since doing this alone I probably save close to $20 per shop.”

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