Lifestyle

Studying spend trends

WEEKLY CHORE: You might be surprised about what a study of grocery spending reveals.
WEEKLY CHORE: You might be surprised about what a study of grocery spending reveals. Jupiterimages

HOW can consumers save money on groceries?

That is the question Queensland University of Technology researchers Dr Clinton Weeks and Gary Mortimer aim to answer through a national grocery shopping study.

Sunshine Coast shoppers are encouraged to take part in the Australian-wide survey which examines how we shop at supermarkets, what strategies we adopt to reduce spending, and how advertising, prices and consumer education affect what we buy.

"Supermarket shopping is the biggest most regular cost for families each week," Dr Mortimer said.

"We spend such a large proportion of our household income on groceries, yet little is known about how we go about reducing this weekly expenditure.

"Retailers are fundamentally businesses aiming to get us to spend more money."

Most people want to save money but retailers keep encouraging them to spend more through innovative marketing appeals, price promotions and manufacturing tactics, Dr Weeks said.

"We're interested in the strategies people use when shopping and the impact that consumer education can have," Dr Weeks said.

Sunshine Coast mother, author and Frugal and Thriving blogger Melissa Goodwin said saving money on groceries wasn't difficult.

"Saving money can start as a challenge but after a while, it becomes a habit. And you can start by making just a few changes," she said.

Ms Goodwin said the key to spending less on groceries was to spend as little time as possible in supermarkets.

"We do our major grocery shop once a fortnight," she said.

"Shopping the perimeter of the store and not going down aisles that you don't need to (confectionary aisle or soft drink aisle, for instance) will save you time as well as temptation."

Ms Goodwin shares the top strategies she uses to keep her family's food costs to a minimum:

Cook meals from scratch: Steer away from pre-packaged convenience foods. Ensure you're not sacrificing your family's health in the quest to save as much as you can on the groceries. Basic foods are healthy and cheaper than pre-packaged foods.

Menu plan: It's a great way to make the most of seasonal produce, discounts and, particularly, using up what's in your kitchen before it expires. A menu plan will make cooking from scratch easier and avoid wastage because it helps you prepare food in advance, bulk cook and freeze and plan leftovers. It will also make evenings easier (no deciding what to cook each night or running to the store for forgotten ingredients).

Shop around: Buy outside of the supermarket from discount butchers, greengrocers, markets, health food stores and Asian grocery stores. Save money on household goods such as toilet paper by buying at discount stores including Kmart, Big W or the $2 stores.

Aldi can also be an inexpensive alternative to the major supermarkets.

Make your own cleaning products: I make our household cleaners from vinegar and bicarb soda. We make our own laundry soap, too. Avoiding chemical cleaners means a big saving in our budget.

GROCERY SHOPPING STUDY

To participate in the QUT Grocery Shopping Study, visit survey.qut.edu.au/grocery and register. Alternatively, email grocery@qut.edu.au or post your name and address to: Grocery Study, Reply Paid 2434, Brisbane Qld 4001.

Shoppers don't have to do anything outside their normal routine of grocery shopping.

Participants will be mailed a consumer information sheet every week for 10 weeks, and then asked to send back each week's grocery receipt in a reply-paid envelope.

All shoppers who participate for the full 10 weeks of the survey will go into a draw for gift cards ranging from $20 to $1000.

>> Read more lifestyle stories.

Topics:  family, lifestyle, shopping, spending, trends


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

ELECTION 2016: Richmond candidates address affordable housing and negative gearing.

AFFORDABLE: Are places like the Kollective in Sunrise the answer for affordable medium density housing.

Will negative gearing changes produce more affordable housing

Build a fence around Byron and charge admission, says mayor

It might be the only way this tourist town can get grant funding

Is it ice cream? Is it poo? It’s Splendour art

In 2015 we learned that the infamous 'poo emoji' is actually an image of ice cream, so Mr Poopie will be a fitting Splendour homage to such a first world problem.

A fitting homage to the king of emojis

Latest deals and offers

Take a look at the draft plan for Byron’s coast

THE Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Byron Bay Embayment is on public exhibition until Tuesday June 14.

ELECTION 2016: Richmond candidates address affordable housing and negative gearing.

AFFORDABLE: Are places like the Kollective in Sunrise the answer for affordable medium density housing.

Will negative gearing changes produce more affordable housing

Build a fence around Byron and charge admission, says mayor

It might be the only way this tourist town can get grant funding

Is it ice cream? Is it poo? It’s Splendour art

In 2015 we learned that the infamous 'poo emoji' is actually an image of ice cream, so Mr Poopie will be a fitting Splendour homage to such a first world problem.

A fitting homage to the king of emojis

LETTER: Gold Coastification of Byron Bay

ROCKING BELONGIL: Members of Byron Residents Group, Andrew Murray, Kate Coorey and Dialan Pugh at last year’s Save Our Beaches rally. Photo: Lyn McCarthy

Local community group urges locals to act over Byron development.

Searching for meaning in Byron Bay with Hugh Mackay

BYRON WRITERS FESTIVAL: Author and social researcher Hugh Mackay

Social researcher Hugh Mackay will talk next Wednesday in Byron.

Failed funding bid won’t stop the show at NORPA

HIT: NORPA's 2015 production of Railway Wonderland.

No NORPA shows affected after funding rejected by Australia Council.

Perfect time to invest in Northern Rivers property

The Northern Rivers rental market is tighter than Sydney making it the perfect time for investors to get better returns out of property than superannuation or banks deposits.

Low interest rates and tight rental market are prime time to invest