The budget

My food and grocery budget is:

$150 AUD per week, or $5.35 AUD per person per day for a family of four (which includes a teenager and one vegetarian child).

This includes:

  • all fresh foods including produce;
  • all baking products (i.e. flour, sugar, chocolate chips, craisins);
  • all toiletries including sanitary products for two women, toilet paper, toothpaste, but does not include cosmetics;
  • cleaning products;
  • dairy products and eggs;
  • some meat (chicken, bacon);
  • tea, coffee beans;
  • cereals, breads, tacos, tortillas etc.

Twice per year we also buy a hindquarter of beef and a side of lamb, which costs $500 AUD each time. The meat is grass fed and higher welfare, from a local butcher. That adds $19 per week to our food bill, but I save for it over each six month period. While the cost of this seems high, the quality and ethical value of this meat is worth it to me.

This budget covers:

  • all dinners with the exception of one takeaway meal per month, which is budgeted separately and one three course extravaganza dinner per fortnight at my mother’s (bless her);
  • all breakfasts;
  • entertaining such as having friends around for brunch or dinner;
  • all lunches including work lunches and school lunches;
  • snacks;
  • the imperative coffee and tea.

How does this compare?

The Department of Immigration prepares a standard ‘sample’ budget for skilled migrants considering coming to Australia to live. They estimate that the average Australian family of four people spends $250 per week on food and groceries, including $200 at the supermarket, and $50 on fresh fruit and vegetables.

The ASIC MoneySmart website estimates that the average couple with kids where the eldest is aged between 14 and 24 spends about $314 per week on food and drinks. That probably includes eating out, which we do occasionally, but not to the extent that we are spending double our grocery budget.

Therefore, my $150 per week is considerably less than Government estimates (between 66% and 100% less). Even accounting for our twice-yearly meat purchase, we are still lower than the national average. I think this is an achievement considering I do work full-time outside the home, and do not have the same amount of time that people working inside the home might have to prepare food from scratch or grow their own produce (emphasis on the might – having been a SAHM, I know this is not always the case either).

This blog will include a weekly description of my grocery bill so you can see what I have spent to achieve the meals I have prepared. I usually do one large shop and one small shop each fortnight.