Aussies Spend $140 A Month On Coffee And Takeaway, And It's Totally Blowing Their Budgets
Australia's annual food bill is $272 billion, but there are a few ways you can shave the dollars off your groceries.
A staggering 60 percent of Australians go over the budget they allocate themselves for food, with the average person spending $300 a week on food and drink.
In a survey of more than 1,500 Australians, the Suncorp Cost of Food Report studied the reasons Australians are finding it hard to stick to a food budget, costing us thousands each year.
The findings show Aussies are driven by "instinct" when it comes to purchasing food, and our brains go on "autopilot", said Phil Slade, Suncorp Behavourial Economist.
"For example, most of us agree regularly spending money on take away food, and barista-made tea and coffee is an unreasonable expense, yet we’re spending $140 a month on these items," he said.
The report found the average Australian spent $135 a week on groceries from the supermarket, $52 on eating out, $31 on alcohol, $22 on take away, $13 on coffee and tea, $12 on food delivery services, $12 on supplements and $11 on health foods.
Food delivery services were revealed as the food item people are most likely to overspend on.
“While the rise of food delivery services are perceived as making life simpler, they’re also giving us another outlet to spend money in moments when we’re experiencing pain (hunger), which in most cases hasn’t been budgeted for," Slade said.
The study also found that 29 percent of people were spending more on groceries each week than what they allocated themselves in a budget; for eating out, it was 25 percent, for takeaway food it was 24 percent, and alcohol 23 percent.
"If people find themselves regularly overspending on a certain item, they should consider reviewing their spending behaviours, or make adjustments to their household budget to more honestly reflect the additional expense," Slade said.
So if you're the kind of person who finds themselves in this position, here's what you can do.
How To Save On your Food Budget
Plan your meals - this can help you create a list of what you need, and reduce the amount of food bought that will be wasted.
"A good trick is only planning meals a couple of days in advance, so you only buy what you need. This also allows you to buy what’s on special, and avoid food getting lost in the freezer," Slade said.
Shop online - this way you are not tempted to buy things you don't need, as you wander around the aisles of the supermarket.
Don't shop when you are hungry - this is an age-old adage for a reason. Shopping while hungry, the brain is more focused on solving the hunger than thinking about saving money.
“As we get busier, we tend to ‘throw money’ at painful problems or situations as an easy solve – hunger or boredom are examples of painful problems we tend to solve by spending on food," Slade said.
Shop around - always look out for the specials and known when your local supermarkets mark down their prices. Tailor meals around what products are on sale and have a look around before committing to a meal.
Value leftovers - don't throw them away! Add them to another meal or eat them for lunch the next day.
Grow your own food - this doesn't mean you need to have a full vegetable garden! Cherry tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli are great for growing in apartments. Even a small herb garden can cut costs at the shopping till.