A Queensland mother-of-two says it’s still possible to feed her family on the cheap, despite soaring grocery prices across the country.
Jody Allen considers herself the queen of saving money at the supermarket, but even she admits it’s getting harder and harder.
“The weekly $50 shop is no longer possible, even for me, I tried it,” Ms Allen said, referring to her popular shopping guide. The $50 Weekly Shop.
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The local Gympie chapter published the book after struggling with its own budget.
Ms. Allen had been laid off from her job, had two small babies and found that after paying her family’s bills, she only had $50 a week left for groceries.
Now, his weekly shopping plan has been hit hard by soaring grocery prices and a COVID-19-induced supply chain crisis.
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The avid shopper has now said $70 is the new $50 when it comes to your grocery bill.
So, armed with her shopping list, Mrs. Allen showed A topical matter what she can buy for $70 in her area.
Ms Allen visited supermarkets Drakes, Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, buying similar baskets of staples.
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On the program: bread, milk and eggs; oats, spaghetti and rice; apples, potatoes and onions; canned tomatoes and apricots; and essential proteins from chicken, ground meat and bacon.
At the first Drakes store, the cart was $69.36.
At Coles it was $68.27 – helped by plenty of discounted items.
At Woolworths a similar store was $71.29, while at Aldi it was $51.02.
But at Aldi, two of the items on Ms. Allen’s list were unavailable, which would have added about $4 to the total.
There were also some variations in the size and cut of the meat across the stores.
Ms Allen said that to really get a bargain, always look for sales, especially when buying more expensive items.
“Bone-in chicken is always a really good option because it’s probably the cheapest protein, meat-wise, you can buy,” she said.
The price pain, however, could continue – and even get worse.
Consumer expert Gary Mortimer predicts prices won’t stabilize until later in the year.
“I think we’re going to see them climb over the next six months,” he said.
“I guess the positive is that as we see these inflated food prices now, as we start to open the borders and international backpackers are coming back to Australia – as fruit pickers start to take on this work – we will see fruit prices fall.
“Meat prices will start to fall.”
Ms Allen said that for the budget to work, there is always a trade-off.
Cheaper groceries mean more time in the kitchen cooking from staples, but she said it’s an easy way to control her spending.
“Roast chicken, lots of casseroles, stir-fries, muffins for school,” Ms Allen said.
“There’s a lot of cooking involved, but that’s the payoff.”