© Quickmeme

11 Tips to Save Money on Food in New Zealand

© Quickmeme
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Article Single Pages©
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How to Save Money on Food Shopping When Travelling on a Budget

Compared to some other countries, food in New Zealand can seem pretty expensive. Some backpackers want to claw their eyes out when they see the price of dairy products, for instance. But, alas! We have found a few money-saving solutions when food shopping in NZ! So take a look at these ways to save money on food when backpacking in New Zealand!

For more ways to stick to a food budget, follow our tips on where to buy food from in New Zealand and check out some of our recipes like 10 Easy Meals to Cook in a Hostel in 10 Minutes. Finally, see the typical cost of food in How Much Does it Cost to Travel New Zealand?

1. Don’t Drink Too Much

The biggest expensive on most travellers’ food budgets is alcohol. Being an alcoholic is costly, especially when buying drinks in bars. Keep drinking nights to a minimum and suggest to do other awesome stuff with your travel mates. Besides, it’s not like there isn’t enough to do in New Zealand…

Pexels© Pexels

2. Cook in Your Accommodation

Every hostel, holiday park, Airbnb and many motels in New Zealand have a kitchen. Use it and save! Here are some easy meals to cook in a hostel, if you need inspiration.

Pixabay© Pixabay

3. Check the Price per KG

For the love of backpacking, check the price per kg on every item! Price and packaging can be very misleading but supermarkets will tell you the price per weight or quantity as a tiny price in the corner of the food label.

© Consumer NZ

4. Always Check the Free Food Shelf in Your Accommodation

Travellers who leave their food behind in a hostel or a holiday park practically donate to other travellers. The best time to rummage is after 10am (check out time) every day.© Quickmeme

5. Use Accommodation that Offers Free Breakfast

Because it’s free breakfast!

Pixabay© Pixabay

6. Don’t Cook Too Much

It’s pretty hard to cook for just one person so keep quantities to a minimum and save and eat any leftovers. Everything in the bin is money out of your pocket. However, it’s best to store food in your own food container rather than bowls and pots in the hostel. For more hostel etiquette, check out How to Live in a Hostel.

Kathleen Franklin on Flickr© Kathleen Franklin on Flickr

7. Do Your Food Shopping Just Before Closing Time in the Supermarket

Fresh items will be reduced for a quick sale.

Bryan Mills on Flickr© Bryan Mills on Flickr

8. Don’t Go Food Shopping When You are Hungry

You’ll get “eyes bigger than belly” syndrome and buy much more!

Pixabay© Pixabay

9. Get a Loyalty Card

Such as the New World club card and OneCard in Countdown. This way, you will qualify to get the “club deal” prices on a great deal of the items in-store. New World also offers tourist cards which will get you the same discounts as a club card.©

10. Find Cooking Friends

Cooking with others means you can split the cost of food and make slaving over a hot stove fun.

USAG- Humphreys on Flickr© USAG- Humphreys on Flickr

11. Buy Versatile Ingredients

So you can use them in many meals again and again and again! Some ingredients are listed in Backpackers’ Food Shopping List: 10 Must-Have Food Items.

U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr© U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

If You are Reading This, Then We Guess You Like Food…

Here are a few more articles to help your food shop on a budget:


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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