The average Australian spends hundreds of dollars on groceries each week.
But for one savvy woman, this spend is completely over-the-top and unnecessary.
Jody Allen is the Stay at Home Mum, and she survived on $50 a week for four years. Her hugely popular blog is dedicated to surviving as a family on a frugal budget.
“We ate really, really simply,” she explains. “And we have a veggie patch, we gets eggs from Mum; things like that. I show you how to get a good deal at the market too — it’s about thinking outside the square,” she explained.
Her latest book, The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners, is full of easy, family-friendly recipes that are designed to save money.
“My book isn’t saying you must spend only $50. If you want to go to that extreme, I’ve given you all the information you need. It’s about getting your bill down to a manageable amount — every family is different,” she said.
Here are some of her best tips and tricks:
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to buy anything on sale or anything new. Just because it’s discounted, you’re still spending money on unplanned food.
- Try to use what you have in the fridge or pantry when you’re following a recipe. That means substituting ingredients for others you already have (e.g. replace mayonnaise with the Greek yoghurt you already have; use spaghetti instead of noodles; peanuts can replace cashews). You’ll reduce spending on individual items, which can add up in one recipe.
- Avoid major supermarkets and try out Aldi.
- Lay-by half a beef from a local farmer at the start of winter, and keep it in a storage freezer. Divide the meat up for meals and you’ll drastically reduce your cost of beef per kilo.
- Join the forum at Stay at Home Mum and get practical new ideas for saving money from other parents.
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry.
- Set a tight budget and stick to it. Take a calculator with you to the supermarket so you don’t have a blow-out.
- Keep a pantry of staples, like flour, sugar and milk, so you can whip up a meal with anything left in your fridge.
- Buy in bulk on absolute essentials with no expiry date, like toilet paper and toothpaste.
- Keep frozen veggies in the freezer – they won’t go off in the bottom of the fridge and it eliminates waste.
The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners by Jody Allen, published by Penguin Random House, will be available from October 30, RRP $24.99.