This past weekend I was at my local Big W store looking to pick up a copy of this book, which so many people have been raving about.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t even ONE COPY available to purchase. So instead I grabbed a copy of this book, The $50 Weekly Shop by Jody Allen.
the $50 Weekly Shop
The title sounded really intriguing and I wanted to find out more…
Is it really possible to buy weekly groceries for a family of four for just $50?
Well, apparently it is, according to Jody Allen, blogger at The Stay At Home Mum.
This book comes out of Jody Allen’s own experience over a four year period. The Allen family went from living on a double income to having two babies in quick succession and only one income.
After adding up all their expenses, they only had about $50 leftover in their weekly budget for food.
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Now I don’t know about you, but I think I would just panic in that situation. Well, at least initially!
Jody Allen, instead found a way to make it work for her and her family.
So in The $50 Weekly Shop, Allen shares the tips and recipes she used to save money on their weekly grocery shop while living on a tight budget.
I love how the author is insistent and passionate that any person or family, can do similar.
Allen does emphasis that the minimum budget amount would vary for YOUR family, depending on the age and number of people in your household.
For example; you may have a minimum grocery spend higher than $50 a week because you are feeding 3 growing teenage boys or buying for a family of 6.
Also, the weekly grocery budget as described in The $50 Weekly Shop is only talking about food and does not include things such as toiletries, cleaning products, pet food etc.
Still the idea is the same, when you need to, it is possible to spend LESS on groceries than you might think you can.
What I liked about The $50 Weekly Shop
This book has such a practical and inspiring message to help people save on food and still feed their family well.
It positively shouts, “YES, YOU CAN DO IT!”
I also really like how it talks about your minimum grocery spend as a goal.
Progress not perfection!
When you are changing habits like buying takeaway several times a week, you are more likely to be successful, says Allen, by making small changes slowly.
“In the first week my goal was to spend $150 on groceries instead of $200. And to my surprise, it was pretty easy! … so the next week I aimed for $100. To be honest, that was a lot harder, but I was just so determined- there was no way we were going to lose the house!” – Jody Allen, The $50 Weekly Shop
While each chapter contains lots of helpful tips and ideas for saving money on groceries, I would love to have seen an action plan included.
Currently, you read the book and then you need to work out how to apply the ideas to your own situation.
I think, including a guide that leads you step by step through that process would have been really helpful. So here’s my summary of it!
Pin It and Save for Later…
The $50 Weekly Shop book would be helpful for you if…
- You are living on a tight budget and need to cut back spending somehow.
- You feel your grocery spending has gotten out of control and you want to reduce it.
- You are facing extra bills or debt that needs paying off.
- You want to start or increase your emergency fund.
- You just want to have some extra money to put towards a home deposit, a holiday or a car etc.
- AND you are willing to have an open mind to making it work. That means, being willing to try new foods, new ways of cooking and even building new habits.
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Thankfully, I am not in a season of needing to be extremely strict about my family’s grocery spend.
But I do love the idea and the challenge of reducing our weekly shopping a bit more and putting that money into our emergency fund account. I will let you know how that goes.
How I Have Applied The $50 Weekly Shop
(Update July 2018)
OK I haven’t needed to use these ideas until recently when hubby’s work hours cut back unexpectedly to 2 1/2 days a week. Our weekly grocery shop was one of the few expenses in our budget that wasn’t fixed in stone.
Our usual food budget is about $170-$200 a week for 2 adults, 3 growing kids and 3 cats. That includes non-food items as well.
My goal… to reduce our grocery spend to just $100 a week, plus $20 extra for cat food. That was still double the amount Jody Allen allocated for their weekly groceries.
- Week 1 – $90 (I was very pleased with my shopping skills)
- Week 2 – $123 (Ended up with more meat in the shopping trolley that week)
- Week 3 – $130 (Creeping up…)
- Week 4 – $118
- Week 5 – $129
In the end, I just wasn’t able to meet my goal of $100 a week for our groceries. But it was still worthwhile, in that just 5 weeks we saved $170 or more.
It did require seeing it as a positive challenge – how low can I go? Rather than feeling the pain of less choice, doing without some stuff and it being a very paired back shopping trip.
How to Save On Groceries
- I bought the cheapest brand of most products.
- I didn’t buy any “extras” – like the kids’ muesli bars I normally get after working out the cost per kg.
- I tried to only buy specific brands of food, like my Nerada Roobois Tea, if it was on special.
- At the same time I didn’t buy things we usually don’t get every week just because they were on special.
- I bought more meat in bulk. Eg One week I got a large chook for $3.50 per kg. That did a few meals!
- I only got fruit & veg that was in season, as the price was a lot cheaper.
- I looked out for markdowns.
What do you think of the $50 Weekly Shop Challenge? Possible?