ANNE Murphy is picky when it comes to food – only the cheapest of staples make it to the checkout on her fortnightly grocery shop.
The budget-conscious Capalaba woman said she spent fewer than $150 every fortnight to feed her family of four.
While it might sound too good to be true, Ms Murphy said savings could be made with careful restaurant-style planning of meals and snacks.
Her pantry is stocked with items like home-brand pasta, tinned tomatoes, crackers and flour.
Nothing goes to waste in the Murphy household, which Ms Murphy said meant more money kept in the hip pocket.
Home-brand bread bought for less than a $1 a loaf is used for toast at breakfast and her children’s lunches.
As bread has a shelf life of a few days, Ms Murphy prepares all of her children’s school lunch sandwiches in advance with spreads and freezes them to keep them fresh.
She said they did not go soggy.
The Keep It Simple cooking method is also used for dinner, with the gourmet creations made according to the day of the week.
Her family prefers burgers, chicken, Mexican, pasta, nachos for weeknights, with weekends reserved for easy treats of home-made pizza or eggs and bacon.
Ms Murphy said her top tip was to keep an inventory of base ingredients and top-them them up only when needed.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are bought in season.
Her budget-savvy ways have allowed her to save money and to think creatively.
“I have always saved money,” she said. “It is how my mum and nanna lived.”