How to Shop at Coles, Woolworths, or Aldi on a Low Income

If you’ve been feeling like life is just too expensive lately, we’re with you. The cost of living has risen steadily in the past years and doesn’t look like it is slowing down anytime soon. That doesn’t mean you and your family need to eat less though if you follow some of our tips.

There are ways to buy food at major stores on the low income without sacrificing quality. Read on for how you can shop at Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi without breaking the bank.

Essentials on a Low Income

Everyone falls on hard times eventually. Maybe you are a one-parent household or you’re living off a pension. Maybe you went a little overboard last month. Whatever has brought you to this page, don’t worry! We’ve got tips to keep you eating like kings.

Times to Shop

Get out your calendars, we’re about to tell you just when the best deals are to be found. If you’re looking to buy bread, buy it in the late afternoon. Stores are trying to get rid of it to make room for tomorrow’s batch.

Late in the evening, around the time the stores close or a little before produce and meats are cheaper. Since the dates on these products are important to customers, they want to sell them fast to get a fresh load on the shelves as soon as possible.

In Season

It’s very important to know when produce is in season. Not only does produce in season taste better and fresher, but it’s better for the environment. When you buy fruits and vegetables out of season, they have to be transported from somewhere they are in season.

This also means that to stay fresh on their journey to Australia they are sometimes inserted with chemicals to help them keep their shape/taste. Occasionally the produce is picked before it is ready and they use chemicals to ripen it on its journey.

If you needed another reason, buying in season generally translates to buying local produce and who doesn’t want to support their local economy? You can see what is in season here.

How to Shop at Coles, Woolworths, or Aldi on a Low Income

To start, make sure you’re checking online offers or coupons in local papers for each store. Some stores have price matching policies, so keep them with you! Keep your eye out for half price specials, something both Coles and Woolworths offer. Make sure to check often since the offers change weekly or even daily.

Once you’ve got your coupons or offers in hand, try to find a plaza with two competing supermarkets. Since they’re in such close proximity, they will want to have lower prices than the competition store. This is bad for their bottom line but great for you!

It’s also worth it to shop the stores once in awhile. You might find that Aldi has cheaper one type of thing than Coles or Woolworths. We’re not suggesting you always shop three stores unless you have that kind of time. But it’s worth looking once in awhile for special items.

When you can, buy big portions on sale. Then go home, cut them up and freeze them for later. If you can find big portions for a sale price, then definitely buy them! Especially if it is meat and you’ve waited until the end of the day as we suggested above. The stores will want to sell it before it goes bad to not waste a large amount of product.


Prepackaged = More expensive

Generally, if a store has to put effort into arranging something, weighing it, and packing it will cost more. This is especially true for anything that goes bad quickly like meats and produces.

These products are convenient, yes but it is definitely worth the effort to cut them up or portion them yourself. Take the time to go to the deli and order meats. The butcher will generally cut them into portions for you if you ask nicely. The only issue with this is you might run out of freezer space before long!

Reward Programmes

Woolworths and Coles both offer reward programs with incentives from spending money in the store. This can be a great way to save on items you wouldn’t usually have been able to fit into your budget.

The more money you spend at the stores the more incentives you will collect. Sometimes that is discounts to use of products or for Coles, they have a fly but rewards program that can earn you plane tickets for buying groceries!

Harris Farm markets and The Odd Bunch

Have you ever thought about all those poor fruits and vegetables that never get put on the shelf? The ones that get rejected because they don’t have that perfect shape and size. Woolworths has. They created the odd bunch program to give those misshapen veggies a new life.

This programme creates less waste and lower costs. They might look a little funny, but once you cut them up and serve them no one will be able to tell the difference. Farmers make more money by being able to sell these misshapen products and you save money – what’s not to love?

With all the curveballs life throws at you, you should never need to for-go eating to make ends meets. These tips take more effort than just running into the store to pick up dinner, but your wallet will thank you for the time you spend.

If it’s still not enough and you are thinking about a loan, did you know you’re eligible for one if you’re on Centrelink? See how here.

Do you have any tips we missed? Let us know!  

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