April 2024 Food Champions Challenge . Buying food to save money

As the cost of living keeps rising the price of food seems to rise at a comparable rate .

I have changed my buying strategies to try and save money .

The bread I buy is usually $3.50 a loaf . When on special it drops to $2.00 . I buy 8 loaves and freeze them . This is a saving of $12.00 .

For this months Challenge let us know ways you are buying food to save money.

Congratulations to @redeye @Chris5 @BevT1 .You have been awarded a Food Champions Badge for your contributions to the March Challenge . Thanks to everybody who contributed .

@Gaby @phb @vax2000 Food Champions .

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One my strategies is to stockpile non-perishable foods when on ‘special’
for example not long ago I bought a 1Kg Lavazza Oro coffee for $22.00, it’s usually just under $40.00…Cobram Evoo a 3 litre container on special for 52.00 dollars.
I also watch out for specials on biscuits, tinned foods, pasta, tomato sauce…chocolate gift boxes at half-price (as long as the use by date is not too short).
Also, laundry and dishwashing liquid often go on special at half-price and can be stored for a while until needed.

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i bake bread, foccaccia etc. Lasts in the freezer and has zero preservatives. I used to pay $10+ per loaf.

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Taking note of the Use-by/Best-before date stamped on the packaging is a good idea.
My Cobram oil has a best before: 19 September 2025.
Lavazza coffee: 30 May 2025.
Both are currently being used.
Chocolate gift boxes usually have a lot shorter use-by date and are purchased as near to the ‘gift’ time as possible and stored in a ‘chiller’ bag.
Anyway, this is a topic for another time. Apologies to @vax2000

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I make our everyday bread, which I slice and store in the freezer. Started doing this some years ago because we could no longer get the commercial grainy wholemeal we liked, and we didn’t like / were not prepared to pay high prices for the alternatives. It is a lot cheaper to make your own.

I also make plain yoghurt instead of buying it. I use powdered milk, which not only costs less per litre than fresh milk, but can be bought in bulk and will keep in the pantry until required. It happens to be simpler to make yoghurt from powdered milk than from fresh, which is a bonus :slightly_smiling_face:. And we don’t have to acquire and recycle single-use plastic yoghurt containers weekly.

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For Lavazza 1kg it is at the moment around $38. I used to buy it (4 packs or so) when half that, the use by dates are on the packet. Now I have paid $17 on an Amazon Prime subscription and it is delivered free once every two months. Easily skipped easily cancelled.

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Fresh yogurt has nutrients.

buy it one time and keep it going, but you need whole milk.

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Hi Anna, is the yogurt easy to make? Do you just use commercial yogurt as a starter? I too make my own bread, so would be interested in yogurt if it’s easy. Have you tried making any non-dairy?

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Buy seasonal fresh veg & fruit. Buy reduced priced perishables & use on that day. I eat " clean" ( not a sauce, marinade kinda person) so that may save as I don’t use extra things ( no reason, I just like tge food to taste of the food itself).

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The Kuvings yoghurt maker is pretty expensive, and there isn’t much information about it on their site. This Green Living Electric Yoghurt Maker is much cheaper and there’s a good deal more information about the device and how to use it.

You can also buy yoghurt starters from that website. I use one of their starters, which works well.

I haven’t used any type of yogurt maker, so can’t comment on them.

We all have our preferences. To each their own.
Some of us are satisfied with everyday big brand full cream milk. It’s the milk solids (fat content) that is important.

To note nationally the brands of “organic” milk tend to be specific to the locality one lives in. For those living in regional Australia the choices are often very limited with milk being the one or two name brands stocked at the local supermarket. Organic options not being offered.

P.S.
We used a wide mouthed thermos and alternately an insulated ice bucket with lid to make yogurt. There are options which can save adding one more gadget to the kitchen. Also a way to save by not needing to outlay to make your own.
Three Ways to Make Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker | The Kitchn

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That seems rather hyperbolic. The ingredients listed for standard milk includes several things that are nutrients.

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I buy my bread-making supplies from the retail shop at the flour mill. They have a range of specialty flours in bags starting from 2 kg’s at prices the equivalent of the cheapest regular flour from the cheapest supermarket, also any other products needed to produce wonderful loaves, including sourdough starters. That’s a big saving. I bake, slice then freeze my bread as required. Other regular grocery items I buy when on “special” or “half price” and store in my “re-stock” cupboard. Foods such as legumes and spices are much cheaper from Asian grocery stores.

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Agreed. I’ve had no experience with yoghurt makers because I haven’t felt the need for one. I started making yoghurt ~50 years ago when living in Brisbane, where wrapping the container in a towel and putting it in the cupboard under the sink was sufficient to keep it warm and set it quickly. :slightly_smiling_face:

I got lazy somewhere in the intervening half-century, and only went back to yoghurt (and bread) making a couple of years ago. In Canberra, it does take a little more effort to maintain a good setting temperature. I use the oven method mentioned in your link, with pilot light on (it keeps the oven at about 50 deg C if preheated to around that temperature first). Adding a pizza stone is a good idea.

(Bread used to rise well in Brisbane without extra warmth. I now use the oven method for bread-rising, too.)

If I need the oven for other things at the time, the yoghurt container goes into a Sistema insulated lunch bag, which happens to be just the right size to fit a 1L yoghurt container and two jam jars of warm (~42 deg C) water, or two 1L containers (which then keep each other warm in the insulated bag).

In both cases, the yoghurt will typically set firmly in 5 hours.

I use ~1/4 cup of plain yoghurt from the previous batch as the starter to make 1L yoghurt, or the Green Living yoghurt starter as per their instructions. It’s a good idea to ‘refresh’ the yoghurt culture from time to time with a known culture (which can be plain commercial yoghurt with live culture) rather than constantly re-using from the previous batch, to make sure that the bacteria are still the right ones in the right proportions.

Although it’s not unusual for topics to branch out in any proposed thread on the forum, this one just takes the cake.
It looks like that only a few have taken the trouble to ‘read’ the topic of the challenge which is ‘Buying food to save money’ and have instead got on to say how they save money by ‘Making’ their own food and onto how to make yoghurt ?!
As admirable a skill that is, it is quite outside the topic and if I were @vax2000 I would be very annoyed.

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It looks like people have, from the start, interpreted the topic as including the more general saving money on food by making one’s own, rather than only saving money when actually buying as opposed to making one’s own food.

Yes, we have unwittingly strayed away from the strict topic and should rein ourselves in, but is it a serious misdemeanour? It’s still been about how to save money on food in these costly times.

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Sorry, I can’t see any implied mention of Making food to save money.
But it could make an interesting next challenge.

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A polite suggestion on how to save money, when making your own yogurt. Buy the cheapest full cream milk. It’s worth keeping an eye out for milk marked down with a short expiry. It may not last as long as one needs for making coffee and tea etc. Used same day for your homemade yogurt - no problem.

Note:
The past $2 milk campaign by the supermarket demonstrated, many Australian consumers are sensitive to the price of milk. These days with inflation the majority of consumers make their choices in response to the increased cost of living. The volume of store and national brands (eg Dairy Farmers) is what fills the supermarket fridges.

For 2 litres of full cream milk Woolies/Coles store brand $3.10, Paul’s Farmhouse $4.40; or Harris Farm - Norco $4.00; etc.

Basic Greek styled yogurts retail for around $6-$7 per kg

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My ways to save money when buying food / pantry items:

  • Take advantage of genuine sales of items we use regularly. This means staying aware of the normal prices of such items, so I can spot real sales. 1kg bags of coffee beans are a good example. Both Coles and Woolies regularly mark coffee beans down by anything up to 50%.
  • Buy in bulk where that makes sense, ie, only items and volumes we can use before they go ‘off’, or that will last a long time in the pantry, or that can be frozen (and if we have enough freezer space). Throwing out spoiled foodstuffs doesn’t save money!
  • Buy "imperfect’ vege packs when available - ugly doesn’t mean poor quality.
  • Buy milk powder instead of liquid milk for some purposes, such as making yoghurt or adding protein to home-made bread. It’s cheaper per reconsitituted litre and keeps well in the pantry.
  • Always check unit prices when comparing alternatives. Larger packs aren’t always cheaper per unit.
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