Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***

Saving money with weekly grocery boxes from your local

There’s been a discussion on mustbethrifty about the virtues of fruit and veg market shopping; unfortunately, I rarely go to markets but end up at Coles instead due to a combination of Flybys incentives, a weird work schedule and possibly laziness. The problem with Coles is that I believe its fresh produce is overpriced and doesn’t have staying power. I really need to stop buying fresh food from Coles.

Meanwhile, a new grocer has opened near my work. I thought I’d take advantage of their weekly home (and work) deliveries.

Organising a weekly fruit and veg drop off ticks all the right boxes:

  • You pay a set amount of money each week, making it easier to budget for.
  • Your grocer usually puts together seasonal produce that tends to be tastier and better value for money than out of season produce.
  • Your grocer usually bulk orders for all of their customers and packs them into boxes on the same day, which means fresher fruit and veg for less.
  • The convenience of a weekly delivery means less frequent shops at the supermarket.

Half of the family box option from the local grocerWhat I like most about the arrangement is that I get to try food that I would not normally select if left to my own devices. For instance, I would never eat apricots since I’m not a huge fan of them. But after trying the super tasty in-season ones in my box, I’ve been converted.

My weekly buy also forces me to cook more instead of eating out since I have a set amount of perishables that need to be used up by a certain date.

But how does buying a fruit and veg box from the local grocer compare to the local supermarket? I’ve been weighing my weekly boxes to ascertain their comparative supermarket value:

half of a family fruit and veg box from the local grocerCouple's fruit and veg box from the local grocer

As predicted, buying the family box and going halfies with the work colleague was WIN. I saved $5.99 (nearly 25%) by going to the local grocers instead of my local supermarket*. Buying a couples box also saved me $4.22 (around 13%)*.

Of course, these savings would be negated if some of the food gets thrown out**. To minimise waste, buy less than what you’d eat in a week. For instance, if you’re a three-person household, opt for couples box instead of the family box.

Personalised service from a boutique business doesn’t necessarily cost more. Make friends with your local grocer and organise a weekly box. Not only will you save money, you’ll get to converse with people who are genuinely excited about produce and can point you towards the best flavours/bargains of the day. As an added bonus, they’ll greet you by your name.

*I used the Coles online shopping website to calculate the comparative costings. Costs are based on today’s prices for my local area.

**In spite of my best intentions, this does happen, especially when Melbourne has a 40 degree C day kind of week and all your peaches go kind of squishy after one day of sitting on the kitchen bench.

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