Home » Rachel ‘hit the jackpot’ when she found meat for 74 cents. She posted the bargain online to help others deal with rising costs

Rachel ‘hit the jackpot’ when she found meat for 74 cents. She posted the bargain online to help others deal with rising costs

Single mum of seven Rachel Gibson said “it felt like winning the lotto” when she saved more than $150 on a week’s worth of groceries.

The 42-year-old stay-at-home mum thought she was “seeing things” when several packets of meat were marked down to as low as 74 cents, still days from expiry. 

The avid bargain hunter posted her “jackpot” findings on a discount shopper’s Facebook group where thousands of Australians tip each other off to the best buys across the country.

Rachel deep freezes meat to stretch out the expiry date.(Facbeook: Rachel Gibson)

Rachel joins a growing number of people struggling to make ends meet as the cost-of-living crisis worsens across the country.

From sharing discount alerts and stretching out meals to using food banks, these are just some of the ways people are cutting costs to get by.

Life hacks for grocery bill savings 

A graphic showing markdown receipts, a pot full of beans, and a screen showing a facebook group for markdowns.

Many Australians are struggling under cost-of-living pressures.(ABC News: Cordelia Brown )

Rachel’s biggest hack is buying in bulk when things go on sale and “deep freezing” almost everything, from meat to tomato paste to make them last longer.

With five kids still living at home, she said to get by she “budgets my butt off”.

To stretch meals, she adds kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils to “bulk up” dishes.

“Me and the kids hate all of those things but when blitzed and cooked in the slow cooker you can’t notice them.”

Rachel said shopping fortnightly instead of weekly lessened her chance of buying unnecessary items, while she also tried to maximise her value for money by purchasing bigger products which are cheaper per gram.

Rachel, who lives on the NSW Central Coast, said her recent discount haul was not common and it was all about timing.

To get the big savings, she goes shopping when products are being marked down toward the end of the day.

An inside view of Footscray market showing a meat deli selling pork and red meat, a woman and her son at the counter.

Footscray market is a popular choice for budget savers who want to by fruit, meat and vegetables at cheaper prices.(ABC News: Zena Chamas)

For Josephine and her family of six, travelling 20 minutes to the Footscray market in Melbourne’s west to buy meat in bulk was her top way to cut down costs.

She said it was worth the commute as she had noticed meat prices had soared in recent years.

On an average trip she would purchase about $70 worth of meat which would last her family two weeks and cost half as much as at the major supermarkets.

“We try to budget where we can … before [we’d spend on a shop] $100, but now it’s $200,” she said.

Adrian holds his young son and stands next to his wife as they smile for a picture at their front door.

Adrian says his family has made lifestyle changes to deal with the rising cost of living.(ABC News: Natasya Salim)

Adrian Jong, who lives with his wife and young son in Adelaide, said his family was sacrificing things to make ends meet.

He said he was hopeful of government action that would keep prices down.

“Not sure how the government can help but keep the inflation rate steady,” he said.

“It will help us a lot.”

Shopping in the suburbs and avoiding hairdressers

It’s not just families feeling the pinch, others like international students are also facing pressure.

The ABC spoke to many who said their biggest cost-cutting tips were to pay using cash to avoid card surcharges, only eat out occasionally, and buy items shortly before they expire to get them on sale.

Woman in green top sits with her hands on her lap for a photo behind her is a lake

Yeganeh Soltanpour, president of The Council of International Students Australia (CISA)(Koleksi pribadi)

Searching “cheap eats” on TikTok and student forums has helped many find the best value-for-money places to eat in each state.

Yeganeh Soltanpour, president of the Council for International Students of Australia (CISA), said many students travelled to outer suburbs for their grocery shopping where it’s cheaper.

To help ease costs for other students she posts tips on social media.

“I put alerts out when things go on sale, it’s one of my favourite things to do.”

Yeganeh said she also saved money by avoiding the hairdresser.

“We [students] give each other haircuts … we are just finding ways to continue to persevere given current circumstances.”

But stigmas surrounding wealth make it hard for some to speak up, Yeganeh said.

She said many found financial struggles “really embarrassing to talk about” because of a misconception that international students come from wealthy backgrounds.

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