After the breakdown of a relationship left Leanne McLeod unable to feed her son, she had to rely on charity.
So when she was financially able, she came up with a clever pantry hack to make sure her family never went without again.
Here she tells her story in her own words.
This is it!’ I exclaimed to my daughter, Sarah, 28.
We’d been looking to buy a house, and we’d finally found the perfect one.
However, it wasn’t the layout I loved – it was the laundry!
It was the ideal size to install shelving and start stocking up on groceries – lots, and lots of groceries…
I’d started stockpiling food five years earlier following my marriage breakdown.
Sarah had moved out, and I didn’t have enough money to feed my youngest son Alex, then 13, and had to rely on charity.
It was terrifying.
So, as soon as I got a job, I began buying extras.
Ooh, these are good value, I thought, spying six soaps for a dollar at a chemist sale.
Then I spotted half-price deodorant, so I bought four.
Soon, my bathroom was chockers with discounted shower gel and shaving cream too.
‘Wow Mum, it’s like a shop in here,’ cried Alex.
Next, I turned my attention to cleaning products.
After that, I began buying extra food.
I quickly learnt that items such as cereal and muesli bars became stale before we could use them. So instead, I concentrated on accumulating canned goods and jars of food, with expiry dates years ahead.
I’d rarely visit supermarkets, and I never paid full price for anything.
Instead, every Monday, I’d check out the half-price items in supermarket catalogues.
Then, when the items went on sale on Wednesday, I’d place my order online.
I also visited Costco, the massive membership-only warehouse club, where I’d load up on bulk buys.
‘Look at these bargains!’ Icried to Sarah, as we filled the boot.
‘Score, Mum,’ she laughed.
Soon, my two freezers were full of spinach and feta rolls, spring rolls and cheesecakes.
It’s not as easy to find half-price fresh fruit and vegies but it hurts me to pay full price so I keep an eye at my local grocers for cheap produce. What wasn’t in my freezers, or filling up huge baskets, was neatly ordered in my laundry.
My granddaughter, Scarlett, three, loved it.
‘It’s like a shop,’ she said happily, choosing some lollies from a shelf.
Some people call me a hoarder, which is nonsense, as my supplies are organised and they’re all there to beconsumed.
Besides, I don’t collect anything else – I’m a complete minimalist in every other aspect of life!
Today, I have enough supplies to last us six months or more – which means I didn’t need to buy anything extra in the weeks leading up to the terrible coronavirus pandemic.
It also means that when big bills come in, I can skip grocery shopping for a while, giving myself time to financially recover.
I reckon I save at least $100 a week shopping this way, which is around $5000 a year, or $25,000 over the past five years.
Plus, I’ve saved around the same amount again in credit card interest, because I don’t ever need to use one.
In total, that means my My supplies are organised!
I’d recommend doing what I do if, like me, you’re keen to slash your bills – and you hate running short.