teens

The mum whose saving tips have the whole country hooked.

Do you consider yourself a savvy shopper? Well, wait til you meet Wendy.

In 2005, Wendy Gower and her husband lost their jobs. They’d always been careful with their money, paying off a $100,000 mortgage in just five years, however the reality of life with two children meant they had to tighten their belts even further.

Life quickly went from being busy keeping up with the demands of their family to trying to figure out how to pay their bills and put food on the table.

Wendy says she and her family don't miss out on anything.

They decided to sit their daughters down and explain the changes they needed to make so they could live. Wendy says her children took it well.

"If my girls didn't understand why we made some changes, we explained the situation and reassured them that all their needs would be met".

And that has been the key for this family and their "Super-saving Mum"...learning the difference between a 'want' and a 'need'. Now, Wendy feeds her family of four for just $270 per month. Most of us struggle to achieve that amount in a week.

Now Wendy's frugal tips have made her famous, with the amazing mum appearing on A Current Affair on Channel 9 to share her advice, and we're not the only ones sitting down taking notes. We had a chat to Wendy and she has kindly shared her top money-saving advice with you.

Wendy, why do you think families are so focused on spending money instead of saving it?

Wendy: We are bombarded with ads telling us we need to buy the latest and greatest or to go everywhere and do everything.  Parents may feel that this will make the family happy when in actual fact,  pure joy comes from a simpler lifestyle with the bills paid,  food on the table and savings in the bank.

Australian families spend more on groceries percentage-wise than most other countries in the world. How do we save on shopping?

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Wendy:  Write out a list of all the meals you can cook.  Then write a monthly menu plan from the meals list.  Write a shopping list based on the menu plan and make sure you check to see what ingredients you already have on hand.  Buy ingredients to make your meals and snacks.  Try no-name products first.  You might be suprised at how good they are.

How about those high winter electricity bills?
Wendy
:  Set your heating thermostat at no more than 20 degrees.  Put an extra jumper on and use a blanket or heat pack to stay warm.  Use the two-light rule when possible.  Close the curtains just before the sun goes down.

Is it still possible to have some fun with your family, while still saving money? What are some ideas for affordable activities for families?

Wendy:  Go to the movies on discount days. Take your own snacks from home. Make it a special occasional  treat not an every day treat.   Have friends over for a movie night or share a meal together.  Go on a picnic or have barbecue in a park.

In additional to these amazing tips, Wendy and her family save money by growing their own vegetables, keeping chickens for eggs and Wendy even makes her own cleaning spray and laundry powder.

Wendy writes a blog called My Abundant Life where she shares even more tips and tricks. CLICK THROUGH to see some:

Images courtesy of A Current Affair on Channel Nine.

What are your top money-saving tips?

Like this? Then try:

Save yourself $789 on 10 baby products you'll never use.

Who should teach our children about money - parents or teachers?

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