Coles and Woolworths grocery tips: Australian mum spends $33 on shop: How to budget


A thrifty mum who found herself with just $33 left for her weekly grocery shop has revealed how she fed her family and the exact meals she planned. 

The Melbourne shopper, who lives with her husband and their child, planned a week’s worth of meals using bits and pieces she already had in her pantry and a carefully planned shopping list of just 11 items to fed her her partner and baby. 

In a post in a Facebook budgeting group, she said the family was left with just $33 for their weekly shop which normally costs about $150 and decided to challenge herself to stick to a strict budget. 

A thrifty mum who found herself with just $33 left for her weekly grocery shop has revealed how she fed her family and the exact meals she planned

A thrifty mum who found herself with just $33 left for her weekly grocery shop has revealed how she fed her family and the exact meals she planned 

She had written a meal plan for the week that cost the normal $150 but ‘threw it in the bin and started again’ to make the $33 limit work.

‘We have started a separate food only bank account to ensure we stick to our weekly budget. On Sunday we went out for a fancy celebratory lunch, which left us with $33 for our weekly food shop,’ she wrote. 

‘We decided to take on the challenge to see if we could stick to our budget. We planned our meals at home, checked prices on things before going to the shops, and are pleased to say we made it work!!’

The mum-of-one said she planned for porridge and smoothies or breakfast, tuna sandwiches for lunches, curry, fried rice, and spaghetti Bolognese and a variety of snacks including avocado crackers, vegemite toasties and popcorn. 

She went to her local Coles in Collingwood and picked up just 11 items including milk, tuna, oats, chicken breast and eggs with nothing costing more than $8. 

She went to her local Coles in Collingwood and picked up just 11 items including milk, tuna, oats, chicken breast and eggs with nothing costing more than $8

She went to her local Coles in Collingwood and picked up just 11 items including milk, tuna, oats, chicken breast and eggs with nothing costing more than $8

She said it was not a usual weekly shop due to the tight budget, used lots of things that were already in the pantry and freezer and did not splash out on staples.

‘This is not a weekly budget thing but to show you can have the odd tight week by using what you have and spend the time to check and plan,’ the money saver wrote. 

Mum’s budget $33 weekly grocery shopping list

$3.00 – Coles tuna in brine

$1.00 – Coles corn kernels

$4.50 – Coles full cream Milk 3L

$1.33 – Paul’s Smarter Milk 3L 

$4.90 – Coles free range eggs 700g

$1.65 – Coles rolled oats 900g 

$7.01 – Chicken breast fillets

$3.76 – Bananas at $4.50 per kilo

$1.10 – Brown onions at $3 per kilo

$2.80 – one bunch of spring onions

$2.50 – White sandwich loaf  

= $33.55 

‘This week is probably a little lighter on meat and veg than normal for us, but that’s ok for a one off week,’ she added. 

She said each dinner would make enough left overs for two more meals and because they are breastfeed and using cloth nappies and wipes, her baby boy costs $0 a week in groceries. 

Hundreds were wowed by the savvy mother’s penny-pinching efforts with one saying she was an ‘inspiration’.

‘This shows it can be done. If everyone did something like this once a month and gradually built on this, just think of the savings. I know it is not for everyone, but think about it,’ one woman said.

‘Awesome!!! You have motivated me!!! Plus, the idea of a separate food bank account is brilliant!!! I can’t believe I never thought of doing this. Thank you for sharing,’ another exclaimed.

‘It’s been brilliant! For us it covers groceries and going out, coffees etc. So it’s incentive if we eat at home more/are savvy then there’s money left for meals out,’ the mum replied adding they have also given up their weekly Uber Eats. 

Others offered their own money-saving tricks they’ve been using amid the rising cost of living. 

‘It’s totally doable I managed $50 shop this week with a lactose/egg intolerant child and a fussy teen,’ one mum said.

‘We are having fruit salad for lunch, toasties, sushi, spaghetti, snags, chips, veg and roast, Marylands with veg and gravy. They also have yoghurt and other things we also have cake mixes etc. It’s all about mindset.’   

‘Plant your spring onions as soon as you get home. Don’t put them in the fridge. They will keep growing and you can cut as you need. Very hardy plant!’ another recommended.

What meals did the thrifty mum make for the week with just $33? 

Breakfast:

Porridge with oats, milk, honey, cinnamon and banana

Smoothies with banana, oats, cacao, peanut butter and milk

Lunch – two serves:

Tuna sandwiches (tin tuna, tin corn, spring onion, mayo and cheese)

Dinner/lunch left overs – three serves each:

Japanese curry (Japanese curry packet, chicken, carrot, potato, rice)

Dinner/lunch left overs – three serves each:

Fried rice (rice, eggs, frozen veg, frozen sausages, soy sauce)

Dinner one serve each:

Spaghetti Bolognese – frozen sauce with pasta

Snacks:

Variety of things from the cupboard: avocado on Salada crackers, Vegemite toasties, muesli bars, and popcorn



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