EAT WELL FOR LESS
Grocery shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Anooska Tucker-Evans asks author of The $50 Weekly Shop Jody Allen for some of her top tips to save money at the supermarket and in the kitchen
MANAGING the weekly food budget can be a nightmare, especially if you’ve got a family to feed. But there are plenty of easy ways to save and still eat well, says mum-of-two and best-selling author Jody Allen.
Following on from her stand-out book The $50
Weekly Shop, Allen has
released The $50 Weekly Shop Weekday Dinners, offering tips on how to cut your grocery bill, along with easy, tasty meals that will satisfy the fussiest of eaters.
“I’m not reinventing the wheel. I’m just passionate about normal food and making mums’ lives easier,” she says.
She shares some of those exciting tricks with Taste readers.
“If you go straight from your current budget to $50 a week, you’re going to fail,” she says. “But the one thing I try to get across is start small and do little things. Get on top of that and then try something new.”
The easiest place to start is by swapping name brands for generic brands, Allen says.
She insists you won’t be able to tell the difference by swapping olive oil, flour, sugar, butter, milk, cheese, canned tomatoes and beans, and frozen vegetables.
And cereal and grain products, such as oats and puffed rice, are among the products that happily stand the generic-brand test. “My husband is a real brand fan,” she says.
“He’ll only buy Uncle Tobys oats, so I bought the cheap brand and I put it in the Uncle Tobys packet and I left it for four weeks and he didn’t know any better.”
“When I shop I tend to avoid all the middle aisles, so I’ll do all the outside of the supermarket because you’ve got your bread, your milk, but also the ends of the aisles are where all the specials are so I tend to buy a lot of them,” she says.
“You can buy your really big yoghurts on special and then I put them in little containers and freeze them for the boys for lunches or ice blocks.
“Things like that only take a little bit of time, but when you buy individual yoghurts for kids they can be $2 or $3 each, so you make your money stretch a lot further.”
For the family staple of cheese, Allen says the best way to save money is to buy a 1kg block of a generic brand — she prefers Aldi — and grate it at home in the food processor before freezing it in a zip-lock bag.
“It goes a really long way compared to the smaller pre-grated bags and is so much cheaper,” she says.
But she insists there are some things that are actually cheaper to buy pre-prepared, such as lasagne and frozen