A Queensland mum has explained how she was able to cut her weekly grocery bill to just $50 while providing for a family of four.
After Jody Allen was let go from her office job amidst caring for two new babies and building her dream home, she knew she was going to have to get creative to make her food budget stretch.
Now, eight years later the 41-year-old’s thriftiness has become a way of life and she’s sharing her experience with others in her new book, The $50 Weekly Shop.
“We were in the middle of building our dream home from scratch, we only had one wage and two babies born just 12 months apart,” Allen told the Daily Mail.
“We did everything we possibly could to make end meet – we got rid of our phones and all sorts – but we realised that we would have to cut our grocery bill if we were to have any hope of keeping our home.”
Allen explains that after the initial shock of the situation her and her husband found themselves in, which left her “falling to the floor in a heap of desperation,” the first thing she did was crunch the numbers.
She took a “stock take” of everything that was in her kitchen and made sure she used all of it up with her family meals.
“Next up, I put a plastic container into the fridge which became the ‘use by container’ and threw all of the vegetables into it that were approaching their use by date.”
“I made sure we ate those first, so nothing went to waste,” she explained.
“It’s easy to buy and waste so much when you’re working and have a disposable income, but that all went out of the window on the $50 budget.”
“No wine. No Tim Tams. Just food,” she added.
Following her pantry cull, Allen dug up some old fundraiser cookbooks to find simple, delicious – and more importantly – inexpensive recipes.
Then, she began shopping as her grandmother had done, embracing alternative methods such as sourcing meet from lay-bys.
“I would buy half a beef from a lay-by because my husband is a big meat eater and I would cook some of it and freeze the rest,” she said.
“You can buy meat on a small budget, you just need to think outside the traditional square.”
Allen also got more in touch with the idea of eating from the land, growing her own fruit and veg from seedlings.
But her biggest tip for saving money? Avoid the supermarket as much as you can, and only buy there what you can’t get elsewhere.
“It involves more running around and you have to be organised, but it’s much better for your wallet,” she said.