How mum-of-nine slashes food costs by 70 per cent
A TRINITY Beach mum has shared her top secrets to cutting household costs and how self-sufficiency has saved her huge amounts of money.
Community services sector manager Rachaelle Mann grows her own vegetables and uses permaculture methods, makes her own washing powder and buys groceries (toiletries and meat) in bulk in order to provide for her family.
"We're just using our space more effectively," Ms Mann said.
Ms Mann also makes her own skincare creams for her teenage daughters.
In addition, she has opened a 'community drop-off' point for people to give them their recyclables and compost to use.
Nothing goes to waste in Ms Mann's household, which results in massive cost savings.
She has slashed her grocery costs by 50 to 70 per cent, depending on the season.
"In summer we grow less," she said.
"During our winter period, where growing is excellent, we save a lot more."
Ms Mann has advised fellow Far North residents who want to become more frugal to start at a level they're comfortable with.
"(With growing permaculture), I recommend people undertake a basic course or workshop," she said.
Planning for meals in advance and in bulk reduces takeaway and other costs related to eating out.
"At the end of the day, (frugal living) is a lifestyle," Ms Mann said.
"However, it's a lifestyle you can choose to do at whatever level you're comfortable with."
Ms Mann has received positive feedback from other people who have looked at her methods.
REDUCING YOUR DEBT
MANY residents in the Far North have also been seeking advice from financial consultants on how to tighten their budgets.
Salvation Army financial counsellor Amanda Rees said people have been depending on payday loans to get by.
"People who are in a vulnerable position turn to these options in desperation," Ms Rees said.
"It then makes things a lot worse."
According to Ms Rees, payday loans are rife with charges, fees and a very high interest rate.
"People then fall in to more trouble when they miss payments and there's late fees and default fees added," she said.
She has tips for all Far North residents to reduce their debt and their dependence on loans and credit cards.
Ms Rees recommended people have a small goal to their savings, such as $5 a week.
"Even though it's a small amount, it kinda gets you in to that habit," she said.
"Little things add up over time."
She also recommends people write a grocery shopping list and stick to it.
"When you go grocery shopping, only buy what's on that list," Ms Rees said.
"Only buy what you need for the week."
If you require personalised advice, Ms Rees recommends seeing an adviser to help you sort out your finances.
TOP TIPS FROM MS MANN AND MS REES TO SAVING GROCERY BILLS
- Plan meals in advance and in bulk
- Stick to your grocery shopping list
- Use up existing food in your house in your meal plan
- Don't shop when you're hungry
- Try shopping online rather than in-person to reduce temptation
- If you can, buy groceries in bulk.
- Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season
- Write up a food inventory every fortnight
- Get your kids involved and teach them how to save
- Join Facebook groups and share ideas
TOMORROW: Find out how you can save a bundle on travel and holidays. If you have a super saver or debt buster story you'd like to share, email email@example.com.