How to crush the cost of living for your Ramadan grocery shopping

Ramadan lanterns with bokeh and prunes

Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan approaches, which for hundreds of thousands of Australians means a month of reflection, prayer, and fasting. But the cost of living waits for no holiday, so here are eight ways to save on groceries while you celebrate (and live life in general).

1. Download a budget app

Collage of a woman at sunset in her phone.

First thing’s first: get on top of your spending. Create a budget to lay out how much you want to spend and what you want to spend it on during Ramadan. 

To get started, play around with Mozo’s free budget calculator or download a free budgeting app to track your spending for you.

2. Buy locally and in season

Woman smiles while carrying a grate of fresh local produce.

Make sure to hit up your local fruit and veg stores for cheaper produce, or buy from Australian owned brands that align with your needs. 

Local groceries, such as seasonal produce grown in Australia, often have shorter supply chains, which can cut back on the transport and storage costs built into the final price. These savings can make local food a cheaper option for frugal Aussies shopping for Ramadan.

Even better, local groceries can often be an ethical option, too, which is great news for anyone on a Halal diet.

3. Don’t forget the protein!

Collage of a woman grinning at all her high protein vegan food options.

When shopping for iftar and sehri meals, opt for foods jam-packed with nutrition, especially protein. Eating a variety of healthy foods can help keep you feeling fuller for longer as you fast until sundown, and stretch your budget farther. 

Protein doesn’t have to just come in meat form, either, since meats like chicken and beef can be among the most expensive foods per kilo at the shops. High-protein foods can include:

  • Free range eggs.
  • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese. 
  • Seeds and nuts, which can be added to cereals in the morning for sehri. 
  • Legumes, like beans, mushrooms, and lentils. 
  • Protein powders, which can go nicely in everything from smoothies to plain water. 

However, if you’re looking to buy meat, try out your local butcher for a potentially cheaper option.

4. Share shopping with relatives and friends

Friends hanging out after dark for a meal.

Ramadan can be an important time to spend with the community, so why not share the grocery shopping with fellow Muslims? Pool together with some friends or relatives to buy, prepare, and enjoy meals between fasts. While this may take a bit of coordination, your budget will thank you! 

Money apps like Beem can also make bill-splitting easy – heck yes.

5. Compare grocery stores

Collage of hands holding different foods.

Whether you’re a regular shopper with Coles and Woolworths or living with a dietary requirement like Halal, it’s essential to compare prices between supermarkets. 

Doing this can give you an idea of which stores have sales on, and even which stores have more options for you.

6. Meal plan and prep

Collage of a hand holding a bowl of premade food.

One of the perks of Ramadan is you know well in advance when you’re going to eat. So why not take advantage of the lead-up and do some meal planning?

Meal planning simply means you draft up a roster of what you want to eat and when. You can break meals down by flavours or cuisines, and even plan ahead which groceries you’ll need. Doing this has a lovely side-effect of preventing impulse buying, which can keep costs down. 

If you’re feeling extra organised, start prepping some meals ahead of time and stash them in the freezer. Your tired and hungry future self may thank you!

7. Don’t shop when hungry

Collage of a woman grimacing at food.

Hungry eyes will buy almost anything, so if you can, avoid grocery shopping either in-store or online until you’ve already eaten. 

For convenience, ideal times to do your shopping could be in the morning right after sehri (between 7 and 9 am) or in the evening just after iftar (between 8 and 10 pm). Speaking of which…

8. After sundown is when shops markdown

Collage of a woman grocery shopping after sundown.

7 pm is the magic hour for grocery sales. Store clerks check and mark down perishable items, like produce, milk, and bread, close to expiry, making it a great opportunity for you to pounce on discounts! 

Most grocery store promotions also start on Wednesdays. If you have a spare evening in the middle of the week, your budget may thank you for waiting to shop till then. (Again – don’t shop when hungry).

Hands eating Ramadan desert and tea on a table.

Ramadan Mubarak! For more cost of living tips, browse our family finances hub. Compare savings accounts below.

Compare savings accounts - last updated 19 June 2024

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