Diet shopping: 8 ways to save at the checkout

If you’ve decided it’s time to drop some of those unwanted winter kilos and you’ve been wondering which wonder diet to choose, Mozo has some interesting money facts worth knowing before you fork out on weight loss essentials.

We crunched the numbers on five of Australia’s leading diets (CSIRO, 5:2, Atkins, Weight Watchers and Paleo) to find out just how much it costs to follow each diet and if you’ve been thinking that by dieting your grocery bill (as well as your waistline) will be shrinking, think again.

Some popular diets clocked in at over $550 per month once you include set up costs, groceries and branded snack foods. (See here for our full article on the cost breakdowns.)

That’s a big blow to the grocery budget each month so we’ve come up with a list of top ways to drop kilos without draining your bank account.

1. Make a list

The beauty of being on a diet is you are often given a weekly meal plan which meals your shopping list is virtually written for you. This will really help when it comes to the checkout, not to mention the waste savings.

2. Ditch the branded items

Question whether you need to be buying the suggested diet-branded foods or would low fat house brand versions do the job? This may come down to your personal preference and how exact you want to be with your diet plan but generally you will be paying a premium on ‘Weight Watchers’ ham compared to other low fat alternatives.

3. Time your shop 

Shopping at the end of the day means you can pick up a bargain on perishables like bread and fruit and veg and sometimes meat. Some days of the week are better for bargains too e.g. Mondays and Thursdays at major supermarkets and ask your local supermarket when they mark down their products.

4. Shop online 

Supermarkets are clever at making us buy more things than we really want or need with eye catching product placements so to avoid this temptation think about using online services like fresh produce deliveries or even the supermarket’s online shopping sites. Sometimes online prices can be more expensive than in store options but you might be better off paying an extra 20c for your tin of tuna than $20 on 10 items that weren’t on your shopping list.

5. Cook like an Italian Mama 

Cook more than what you need by using up the fresh ingredients you bought for the recipe, then freeze the finished meals into single portion sizes. How many times have you had to throw out a limp looking celery from the bottom of the fridge drawer?

Mozo Tip: Make sure food is defrosted thoroughly before reheating. Don’t re-freeze defrosted food. Once it’s been frozen, that’s it.

6. Shop Smart

Don’t use cost as an excuse to choose foods that don’t suit your meal plan. Sure, a $2.50 packet of biscuits might seem like a cheap option but a $6 bag of brazil nuts is a much smarter purchase in the long run – you’ll eat less, it’s healthier and it will last weeks instead of days.

7. Compare apples with apples 

Don’t be fooled by the ornate or large packaging, manufacturers use this trick to make it appear like there is more of the product than there actually is. The only way to know is to look at the unit price and compare prices by net weight.

8. Recruit a friend 

It’s always much more fun when you are doing activities with a friend so think about getting a friend involved in the weight loss journey. Not only will you have that extra motivation for sticking things out, you could also save big by splitting many of the costs. $20 for a 500 gram bag of chia seeds might be a stretch for your weekly shopping budget but split the cost with a friend and it can be more affordable. Plus by teaming up with a friend think about buying in bulk or take advantage of the “buy 1 get 1 free” promos that supermarkets are increasingly pushing.

Do you have any savvy savings tactics you’d like to share?