Ever had too much month left at the end of your money?
Sharon and Tony Mashford did. In fact, until a few weeks ago, they were up to their necks in debt.
"Mobile phones were threatening us with legal action. And then there was the freezer. They wanted to pick up the freezer because that's on pay as you go. Just everything. We got all these letters from lawyers and that, all in one week,” says Sharon.
With five mouths to feed, plus their own, something had to give.
“In the past, we'd buy what we thought we'd need for a week, and the leftovers, most times, rotted in the fridge just a complete waste of money."
It was a slippery slope to bankruptcy.
But Sharon's solution is not only saving them thousands, it's brought the Adelaide family of seven closer than they've ever been.
The kids are pitching in, which makes for a hectic kitchen.
Thanks to a little extra effort, this family's gone from bust to boom.
And it starts with the food bill.
Forget the big chain stores, buying in bulk from farmers' markets has cut their expenses by an incredible eighty per cent.
“For $84 at the farmers’ market, we’ve got 12 tins of tomato puree, which we use for a lot of recipes, 20 kilos of carrots, 20 kilos of onions, 20 kilos of potatoes."
Including meat, this family has slashed its food bill to three hundred dollars a month. Seven mouths fed three times a day for just ten dollars.
"I reckon in a month we save in excess of $800. Yep. Close to $1,000,” Tony says.
Find your local Farmers’ Markets by clicking here
Most families would be happy enough with that.
But the Mashford’s attention has now turned to the laundry.
"Instead of buying washing powder from the supermarket, we make our own. I can make a whole tub for about $5 and it'll last me the year, because I only use a teaspoon a wash’” Sharon says.
Add to that home-made window cleaner, grout remover, bath salts and more, it's the difference between stress, and success.
Find out how to make your own Clean and Green cleaning products here
AND detergents here
Nothing goes to waste. Sharon's trying to cut back on the fruit and veggie costs even further by kicking off her own backyard crop, and the kids can't get enough of helping in the garden.
Now others are taking notice too.
Sharon's writing a weekly money savers' column for Take Five magazine. The family's spending A LOT more time together, and the kids are learning the value of a dollar.
Something their parents were almost too late to realise.