How this Aussie mum hacked her grocery list so it would feed a family of four on just $50 a week

Jody allen stay at home mum blogYoutubeJody Allen of Stay at Home Mum

After an unexpected layoff in 2011 left Jody Allen struggling to support her growing family, she learned how to feed herself, her husband and her child on one third of their former budget.

Pregnant with her second child at the time, the 39-year-old Australian woman challenged herself to feed her entire family on only $50 a week, reports the Daily Mail. Previously, they’d spent about $150 per week on food.

Four years later, Allen now makes a living by blogging about all of her inexpensive-living tricks — but she says she still feeds her family on $50 a week.

So how does she do it? In order to stick to her tight budget each week, Allen first had to simplify her grocery list.

“I began cooking from scratch, getting eggs, fruit and vegetables from my mum’s house in return for housework,” Allen told the Daily Mail. “I shopped like my grandma did — buying chicken, flour, potatoes, sugar, veggies, lentils, mince and sausages.”

Allen’s weekly shopping focuses on basic ingredients: grains, proteins, produce, and dairy. She notes that it’s important to take the time to plan out meals in advance, allowing her to take stock of foods already in her kitchen.

Also, Allen recommends avoiding traditional supermarket options. Instead, she buys directly from greengrocers and butchers to keep costs down.

But Allen didn’t stop at shrinking her shopping list. She started looking for hacks in all areas of her life, buying on-sale clothing for her sons to grow into and even making a year’s supply of laundry soap for six dollars.

While her methods might seem extreme, Allen’s tips are often little things people tend to overlook. For example, Allen writes that she cuts electricity costs by being “a pain in the arse about the power bill” and recommends putting food items nearing expiration at the front of your cupboard for easy access.

Four years later, Allen’s methods have been so successful that she’s turned them into a full-time job. The lifestyle that began out of necessity has grown into a full-scale business. She started a website, Stay at Home Mum, that offers advice on everything from cooking and cleaning to parenting and entertainment.

In fact, Stay at Home Mum is so successful that Allen now manages 40 employees, including her own husband.

For Allen, the new lifestyle brought her family more than just financial stability. She told the Daily Mail that since making the change, “we eat tastier, healthier food.” She also uses fewer chemical products in her home and monitors portion control to keep food costs low.

While Allen acknowledges that her family’s existence is not the most glamorous, she says the peace of mind that comes from living comfortably within their means is well worth it. She told the Daily Mail she’s hoping her thrifty methods will catch on.

“I’m out to make saving money cool,” she said.

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