The cost of living is increasing

The cost of meat rose by 3.8%, but in absolute terms, a kilogram of fillet steak could reach A$60.

Australians spend about 15% on meat, and the other half (7.4%) is spent on dairy products.

According to, 43% of households believe that grocery prices cause financial stress. Half of these people are trying to cut back on their spending.

How can you cut costs on meat and milk products without sacrificing nutrition?

Read more: How to save $50 off your food bill and still eat tasty, nutritious meals.


Meat contains iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

The recommendation is to consume no more than three servings of lean-cooked red meat per week. It can be beef, lamb, or veal. Kangaroo is also acceptable. A serve is 65g cooked. It means buying 270-300g of meat per person per week.

Prices and specials are available online. The less expensive cuts are oyster blade, chuck steak, or rump (between $22 and $25 per kilogram). These cuts are tougher and better suited for slow-cooking or casseroles, such as this beef Stroganoff.

The exception to this rule is mince. Products with higher stars, lower fat, and more expensive prices shrink less when cooked compared to regular, which shrinks between 25-30%.

The star-shaped mince will shrink less when cooked. Emanuel Ekstrom/Unsplash

Add vegetarian protein sources, such as beans or legumes, to casseroles and mince dishes in dried or canned form.

A 400g can contain 240g cooked beans and costs around $1.50. This is equivalent to about 1.6 standard servings. Add any canned legume (black beans, adzuki beans, butter beans, chickpeas, or four-bean mixture) to the recipe. You can also use dried lentils that do not require pre-soaking, such as dried red lentils.

This contains a variety of nutrients, including iron, zinc, and calcium.

Read more: Love meat too much to be vegetarian? Go ‘flexitarian’


Dairy products contain important nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc. They also provide vitamins B2, B12, and A. Australian recommendations recommend two to three servings a day per adult and four for women aged over 50. One serving is equal to one cup of milk or 40g of cheese.

UHT milk, which costs about $1.60 a liter, is less expensive than fresh milk, depending on the brand and type. Powdered milk is even cheaper ($10 for a kilogram, making ten liters) and costs $1 per liter.

Substitute yogurt for sour cream. Michelle Henderson/Unsplash

Using a powder mixture and a yogurt machine ($25) to make yogurt costs $5-6 per kilogram. Divide the yogurt into smaller tubs once it has set. Use to replace cream or sour cream.

Fresh yogurt is priced between $11 and 18 dollars per kilogram. Individual servings and flavored varieties are more expensive, but not always. Check for specials and compare prices per 100g or kilogram.

Prices for cheese can vary greatly, so it’s important to compare them per kilogram. Block cheese is generally cheaper than pre-sliced cheese or grated cheese. Branded products are more expensive than home brands. The mature cheeses cost more, and the processed cheeses cost less. If you slice block cheese very thick, you will end up using more. Block cheese can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 per kilogram, while pre-sliced cheese packets range from $18 to more than $30.

Pre-grated and processed cheeses are available in a range of $14 to $30 per kilogram, with the majority being around $20. Mix grated carrots with grated cheese (about $2 per kilogram) to extend the shelf life of grated cheese. Use it as a topping for pizza, tacos, and wraps. For toasted sandwiches, use processed cheese slices. Most recipes are successful when you use less cheese than the specified amount.

Cans of salmon are a good alternative to cheese for sandwiches. However, at $6-$7 per can (or $15-$30 per kg), you may not be able to save much money.

Read more: Eggs are so expensive right now. What else can I use?

Three tips to save on your food bills

1. Budget your household’s food

Make sure everyone understands how to save money on food.

Around 50% of household food dollars are spent on take-out, dining out, coffee, alcoholic beverages, food delivery services, and extras. So, set aside a budget to cover discretionary items. You can save a lot of money by avoiding these items.

You should give your family an incentive to stick with the budget by voting on what discretionary items you spend food dollars on.

Set a budget for food and decide on discretionary items. Viki Mohammed/Unsplash

2. Plan your weekly meals

Write down your grocery list using the meal plan. Check to see what you have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

You can start by looking at our No Money, no timefor one person, or a family with young children.

3. Food waste is a problem

Australians throw away 7.6 million tonnes of food every year, yet 70% are edible. Check your refrigerator before heading to the shop.

Turn left-overs in to tomorrow’s dinner or lunch. Pack leftovers into containers when you clear the table. This will make it easy to grab them in the morning.

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