finance

Meet the woman who feeds an entire family for just $42 a week.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Barbie

In 10 weeks, Penina Petersen can save you $1400 dollars.

“It’s a family holiday. My car registration just came up and I’m like, ‘yeah, I’ll use the money I saved on dinner’”.

But you need to be organised, strict and resourceful.

And as you’ll hear in this week’s I Don’t Know How She Does It podcast, it’s not as difficult as you might think:

Penina Petersen’s Tips

BUY LONG LIFE MILK

It’ll save you needing to ‘pop in’ to the supermarket for milk, where you’ll inevitably get stung!

“If you go into a shop to buy milk … supermarkets will walk you through a zillion aisles to get you through to the milk … by the time you get to the milk … you’ve already bought a trolley load of stuff. The trick is to have long life milk in the pantry … avoid the supermarket if possible.”

MINCE IS NOT THE ANSWER 

Meat is so expensive. “Even mince”, Penina says.

So, if you want to stretch your meals out and really help them go the distance, “go for chickpeas and lentils. Anything that will bulk up a meal that is healthy or nutritious and is going to stretch it out”.

SAY NO TO TROLLEYS AND BASKETS 

If you absolutely must go to the supermarket to pick up one or two items, “only grab what you can carry … that way you’re going to save because you’re not going to fill a basket”.

Penina Petersen
Penina Petersen's Grocery shop

FREEZE SNACKS 

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Do your kids eat all their school snacks before they’ve hit the lunchbox? Me, too! Here’s the best hiding spot: the freezer. “Children never think to go in there.” Plus, it’s a cheap and nutritious way of creating lunchbox treats: in Penina’s cookbook, “we’re cooking 24 scones, then we’re doing muffins as well. Say it might be three snacks for two kids over the five weeks. Baking is really economical.”

PACK SNACKS IN YOUR CAR

“Instead of randomly stopping at garages … stock up before you go and have items in the boot of your car. For example, go to Aldi and buy your ten bottles of water, put your non-perishable snacks in the back of your car … because garages are so expensive. No random service-station shopping either.”

Penina Petersen $150 meals

HAVE A BUDGET

Embrace the technology, it’s the only way. “There’s some amazing apps out there”.

Penina uses Get Pocket Book. “You punch in your bank account into the app and it’ll tell you when you’re not budgeting properly.”

BE CONSCIOUS

Don’t just spend, spend, spend. It’s hard to leave the house without spending money. Penina says, keep a notebook.

“Keep tabs on what you’re doing. We’re all so busy, running all over the place … we’re not being conscious enough of our actions, what we’re doing and what we’re spending”.

“The associated costs of leaving the house and doing all those things during the day are going to add up.”

SHOP ONLINE

“I love shopping online because you don’t have to go to the supermarket and it’s easy to keep your blinkers on because you’re not walking through the aisles of temptation.”

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Penina Petersen

EMPTY YOUR CUPBOARDS

There’s so much food in there, right?

“The grocery shop starts before you even go grocery shopping! I start in the kitchen and we use everything in the pantry and freezer before we even start shopping and that is a saving before we even start.”

Yes! Lentils. Here we come.

PLAN YOUR SPENDING  

Penina ensures that she only shops at the supermarket once every five weeks and then every week at the green grocer for fresh items.

Getting thrifty hasn’t come easily to Penina. These days, she’s saved enough money for a renovation on her family home, but there was a time when that was far from her reality.

“We had a fat lot of bills we had to buy off. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t a pretty year of my life.

“We were swimming in debt. I literally had an A4 folder of bills, I’d come home from work and pay a bill off and then go to work and then come home and pay another bill off.

“It wasn’t until we were properly debt free that we started properly budgeting because I said to my husband, I’m not going back there”.

You can buy Penina’sYou can buy any book mentioned on our podcasts from iBooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.

This content was created with thanks to our brand partner Barbie

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