Try For 5 ... with SecondBites 5 easy budget tips

Enjoy more vegetables, and stretch your food dollar further with these handy tips from SecondBite’s Nutrition Programs Team.

Plan your shop

Organise your meals for the week, make a shopping list and check the fridge and pantry before shopping so you know what foods you already have.

Shop around! Plan to buy your vegetables from the cheapest sources, such as fresh food markets. Shopping towards the end of the day can mean bargain fruits and vegetables! It pays to check out those pesky supermarket catalogues which tell you what deals are going that week.


Tighten up your food budget

Spend most of your food budget on fruits and vegetables - these provide the best bang for buck because they are filling, nutrient dense and can be used to create a variety of delicious meals! Spend the least amount of money on foods that provide little nutrition and flexibility with cooking, such as chips, chocolate, lollies and sugary drinks. 

Adapted from the Food Cents program.

Compare options and buy in bulk

Fresh vegetables are usually cheaper per kilogram (kg), but canned and frozen vegetables can sometimes be cheaper and still provide variety and nutrition. Plus, they store for longer so you’re less likely to throw away any ageing vegetables.

Compare  fresh, frozen and canned vegetables to fresh options by looking at the price per kilogram. This information can help you choose the smarter option for your wallet.

It’s almost always cheaper to buy foods in bulk. Just make sure you have somewhere to store it safely. If not, consider going halves with a friend to keep everyone’s food costs low!


Go meat-free and cook smart

In Australia we tend to base what we’ll eat around the meat item, but this can be an expensive part of the meal.

It doesn’t hurt to include some meat-free days each week to save on food spending. In place of meat you can double the vegetables or swap meat for alternatives such as eggs, tofu, lentil or legumes like kidney beans or butter beans!

In fact, a good rule of thumb for a healthy, balanced meal is to make half the meal vegetables, ¼ meat or protein food (such as legumes or eggs), and  ¼ carbohydrate food (such as rice, pasta, bread or potato).

Cook smart to get the most value out of your meals. Cooking in larger quantities and freezing leftovers or using them in other meals can be a stress free way to avoid expensive convenience meals. Cooked vegetables can find a new life in other meals such as fried rice, frittata, burritos, spaghetti Bolognese or savoury fritters.


Buy seasonal vegetables

Vegetables and fruits that are in season (the time when they are grown and harvested to eat) are lower in cost because they are more widely available. Make the most of this and eat seasonally rather than spending money on vegetables and fruits which aren’t in season and will cost more. Vegetables that are in season will be cheaper, tastier, and more readily available at local green grocers or markets. If you’re looking at a recipe that contains an expensive ingredient try to be creative and swap for something in season.

SecondBite’s Budget Bites
FoodMateTM Vegetable Fritters

This recipe is meat-free, packed full of healthy veggies and can be made with seasonal vegetables to keep costs low.

FoodMateTM Vegetarian Chilli and Polenta Crust

Stretch your food dollar and cook a hearty flavour-filled chilli without meat! Pack it full of veggies, lentils and beans and top it with delicious golden polenta.


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