Managing food costs

A piggy bank, calculator and a calendar sitting on a pink desk

Plan and write down the weekly menu

To minimise wastage, write a list of the food and drink items you need for the week’s menu and only buy what’s on the list.

Buy from wholesalers, butchers and greengrocers

You can save around $2 per child a week* by using wholesalers, greengrocers and butchers instead of supermarkets. Wholesalers may also deliver.

Buy in bulk

Look for non-perishable items like rice, pasta, oats, flour, dried and canned legumes, canned fruits/vegetables and cooking oils.

Buy fresh produce that is in season

Seasonal produce is cheaper and tastier. Swap the vegetables in your usual recipes for cheaper, ‘in season’ options.

Visit to find out which fruit and vegetables are in season now.

Buy generic or ‘home brand’ products where possible

Avoid pre-prepared foods

It’s usually cheaper and healthier to prepare meals from scratch, including dips, such as hummus and tzatziki, or custard and milk-based snacks.

Grow your own herbs

Herbs add beautiful flavours to food, and planting and maintaining a herb garden is a fun, health promoting activity for children.

You can use volunteers from the community to teach children about gardening, and sell leftover produce to families to raise money.

Use leftover/unused fruit and veggies

Try making smoothies or baking muffins with any fruit that is left over at the end of the week, or use leftover vegetables in casseroles or bolognese sauce.

*Based on costings conducted by the Healthy Eating Advisory Service, August 2013.

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this document show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This document may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this document, ‘Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Koori/Koorie’ is retained when part of the title of a report, program or quotation. Copyright © State of Victoria 2016

Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

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