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

The Sunday Times - - TASTE -

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.

GET­TING STARTED

“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.”

SHOP SMART

“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

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