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Stacey Calder reveals her budget meal prep tips – and the plan she swears by to make life easier

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A thrifty mother has shared her simple supermarket and meal prepping tips after spending less than $190 to feed her family-of-six for two weeks.

Stacey Calder, 32, from Victoria, said her grocery bill came to a total of $186.21 after spending just $151.98 at Aldi and $34.23 at Woolworths.

‘I couldn’t believe it. I budgeted $300 because I thought I’ll buy extra,’ the founder of The Healthy Money Splurger said in her latest YouTube video.

The mother-of-four – who usually does her grocery shop on Thursdays – said she spends the day preparing two week’s worth of her family’s breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.

Here, she shared her budget meal prep tips – and the plan she swears by to make life easier for the whole family.

A thrifty mother has shared her incredible grocery haul after spending just $190 to feed her family-of-six for a fortnight

A thrifty mother has shared her incredible grocery haul after spending just $190 to feed her family-of-six for a fortnight

The mother has been meal prepping all her family meals, as well as their holiday food

The mother has been meal prepping all her family meals, as well as their holiday food 

What her grocery bill includes

  • Chicken breast fillet 1.5kg – $13.59
  • 24-pack thin sausages – $9.49
  • Beef mince 500g X 2 – $4.99 each
  • Soft wraps – $2
  • Four-pack honey ham – $4.69 
  • Frozen baby spinach – 89 cents
  • Frozen blueberries 500g – $3.69
  • Frozen raspberries 500g – $3.69
  • Oats 750g – $1.08
  • Crackers – $1.99
  • Sliced mushrooms 375g – $4.499  
  • Table salt – 80 cents 
  • Vinegar – $1.20 
  • Two-litre milk – $1.89
  • Laundry powder 4kg – $3.69
  • Penne pasta – 60 cents 
  • Brown onion – $1.99
  • Olives – $1.89 
  • Tinned dice tomatoes – 60 cents
  • Coconut cream – 99 cents
  • Pasta sauce 700mL – $1.39
  • Potatoes 2kg – $4.99
  • Cabbage – $2.99
  • Bananas – $3.49 per kilo
  • Combo pack of toothpaste and toothbrush X 4 – $2.50 each

In her latest grocery haul, she said the family were going away – but she still wanted to prepare all their meals to take away with them on the road.

‘We still need to prep food because we’re taking food away with us so I just thought I’ll buy extra food but like I’m way under budget.’

Showing off her fresh produce, Stacey said she purchased 1.5 kilos worth of chicken breast fillets, in which she would use to cook up different meals for her family.

‘I love thigh chicken because it’s so tender and it’s so good but this is so much cheaper and so I’ve got nearly kilo and a half of chicken which will be perfect for what we want,’ she said.

‘I’m gonna do chicken curry with rice and I’ll do some country chicken as well so I’ll use about a kilo in the country because I will slow cook that.’

For $9.49, she purchased a 24-pack of thin sausages.

‘I will do some sausage rolls out of them, we’ll do sausage and veg, will bake them and we’ll do that twice for dinners which will be perfect a perfect amount,’ she said.

‘These are really nice and sometimes I just drizzle honey over them and do a honey sausage or you can do any kind of spices you like – it’s so good and cheap.’ 

Showing off her fresh produce, Stacey said she purchased honey ham, beef mince and thin sausages, in which she would use to cook up different meals for her family

Showing off her fresh produce, Stacey said she purchased honey ham, beef mince and thin sausages, in which she would use to cook up different meals for her family

Stacey showed her family's weekly meals. For Friday and Saturday, Stacey explained the family would be on holiday so they would treat themselves to takeout meals. She also plans take out on the following Thursday when she does her grocery that evening

Stacey showed her family’s weekly meals. For Friday and Saturday, Stacey explained the family would be on holiday so they would treat themselves to takeout meals. She also plans take out on the following Thursday when she does her grocery that evening

Stacey Calder, from Victoria, said her grocery bill at Aldi came to a total of just $151.98 - nearly 50 per cent below her budget of $300

Stacey Calder, from Victoria, said her grocery bill at Aldi came to a total of just $151.98 – nearly 50 per cent below her budget of $300

Stacey purchased two packs of 500 grams of beef mince for just $4.99 each and a four-pack of honey ham for just $4.69. 

‘I will still freeze some if I don’t use it so I’ll do up all the sandwiches and freeze them for toasties and sandwiches and we’ll probably also put them in wraps,’ she said.

She also purchased frozen baby spinach, which she uses in spaghetti and curries.

‘I cook with it mainly so I put it in my spaghetti and curries so I just chuck a block in. It costs 89 cents – it’s so cheap compared to buying it fresh.’

For smoothies and snacks, she purchased frozen blueberries and raspberries for $3.69 each, which comes in a resealable bag, in which she later reuses to keep frozen vegetables inside.

‘We put this on breakfast yoghurt, have it as a snack, and we also do smoothies out of this as well,’ she said.

‘I love that it comes in with a resealable bag inside because we reuse those for frozen veggies that don’t have resealable. So when I open the spinach, I’ll probably pop them into a bag like this.’

She also spent $34.23 at Woolworths, which included The Odd Bunch fruits - 1kg of apples for $2.50 and $2.50 for 1kg pears (far left and right)

She also spent $34.23 at Woolworths, which included The Odd Bunch fruits – 1kg of apples for $2.50 and $2.50 for 1kg pears (far left and right) 

She shared her family's holiday snacks, lunches and breakfasts, which includes homemade toasties, smoothies, porridge, sandwiches and sausage rolls

She shared her family’s holiday snacks, lunches and breakfasts, which includes homemade toasties, smoothies, porridge, sandwiches and sausage rolls

What are Stacey’s tips for cutting your grocery bill down?

  • Use what you have from your pantry before you go out and buy more
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat – such as chicken and sausages instead of beef and lamb
  • Know your prices, do your online price comparisons and browse supermarket catalogues where possible
  • Don’t shop with kids  
  • Don’t shop when hungry
  • Stick to your shopping list
  • Meal prep everything to keep it fresher 

At just $1.08 for a bag of 750 grams of oats, Stacey said she uses it for porridge, smoothies, and for baking muesli bars for her family for an entire fortnight.

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For $1.99, Stacey highly recommended Palazzo milk chocolate butter cookies.

‘They’re basically like chocolate and biscuit together. You guys have to try them -they’re so yum, I don’t like sharing them but I’m sure I will share them because I’m the nice mum,’ she said, laughing.

‘I just take them away divide them up into little snack bags and this will be our holiday treat.’

For $4.99, she got a 375g pack of sliced mushrooms, which should uses for spaghetti, chicken curries and stews.

She also purchased a bottle of vinegar for just $1.20, which she will use for both cooking and cleaning. 

When it comes to her tips, the clever mum said the most important thing to do is have a very strict plan - and then stick to it  (pictured: some of her meal plan for various weeks)

When it comes to her tips, the clever mum said the most important thing to do is have a very strict plan – and then stick to it  (pictured: some of her meal plan for various weeks)

She purchases vegetables and meats - which she uses to cook different types of family meals

She purchases vegetables and meats – which she uses to cook different types of family meals

‘We also got seven lots of milk from Aldi and they cost $1.89 each for two litres so that’s how we buy our milk,’ she said.

‘It’s so much cheaper right now so that’s what we do and we’re fine, we’re still living.’

 She also purchased four kilos worth of laundry powder for just $3.69.

‘It’s cheap and we’ve got fairly sensitive skin and we haven’t had any issues yet so I’m stoked about that this,’ she said.

Her shop at Woolworths included four packs of toothbrush and toothpastes for just $10 and The Odd Bunch fruits – 1kg of apples for $2.50 and $2.50 for 1kg pears.

‘I did the majority of my shop at Aldi like I always do and then I just did little bits and pieces at Woolworths,’ she said. 

‘I got two kilos of apples and two kilos of pears and it was the cheapest way to get fruits because apples were nearly $5 a kilo.

‘I did a little bit of stockpiling because Woolworths had our toothpaste for half price so I just bought basically one in each color because it comes with a toothbrush.’

How much do Stacey’s family meals cost?

Spaghetti

  • Mince – $4
  • Pasta sauce – $1.60
  • Tomato paste – 20c
  • Carrot – 20c
  • Zucchini – $1.50
  • Onion – 20c
  • Pasta – $1
  • Red capsicum – $1
  • Bacon – $2.50
  • Baby spinach – $1.50 

TOTAL: $13.70 – $2.28 per serve

Vegetable frittata

  • Eggs – $3
  • Milk – 40c
  • Cheese – $2
  • Onion – 20c
  • Potato – 80c
  • Vegetable stock powder – 50c
  • Mushroom – $2
  • Baby spinach – $1
  • Zucchini – $1

TOTAL: $11.10 – $1.85 per serve

Beef stroganoff 

  • Beef – $12  
  • Sour cream – 50c
  • Sauce – $1
  • Mushrooms – $4
  • Onion – 20c
  • Pasta – 60c 

TOTAL: $18.30 – $3.66 per serving

Banana bread

  • Banana mix – $3
  • Milk – 20c
  • Eggs – 60c
  • Oil – 30c 

TOTAL: $4.10 – 35c per serving

Sandwiches

  • Bread – 18c
  • Cheese – 10c  
  • Ham – 28c
  • Butter – 5c

TOTAL: 60c per sandwich

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