Real Life

Australia’s thriftiest mum: “I feed eight kids on $100 a week!”

This savvy single mum spills her secrets for feeding a big brood without breaking the budget.
Von Demaagd

Sit down for dinner at Von Demaagd’s house and you’d never guess what this masterful mum plates up for eight children each week, all for just $100!

Von’s seven kids and live-in granddaughter Armanie enjoy a balanced diet rich in garden-fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and fish, grains, eggs and sweet treats such as blueberry muffins and Anzac biscuits.

Working as a school bus driver and occasionally caretaking at a nearby bed and breakfast, Von’s weekly food budget is $100.

So how does this matriarch manage to get such good quality grub on the table for such a small amount of money?

“I live by the four Bs – budget, bargain, barter and bulk buy,” explains Von from her rambling home at Richmond Hill in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

Budget: Von says you must stringently stick to your budget. Her tip? Planning is 
key: no extras, no packaged foods, and no shopping on 
an empty stomach!

Bargain: Grab bargains whenever you see them, and network with friends to keep each other posted. Sunday evenings are the best time for supermarket mark-downs.

Barter: If the family has an excess of eggs or pumpkin, they swap with neighbours for other things they need.

Von’s a big believer 
in buying in bulk, and says 
she couldn’t live without her huge freezer. She’ll often buy veggies and meat on special, then freeze them until she needs them later.

And considering the size of her brood which includes Chloe, 25, Tory, 22, Jake, 13, Zac, 12, Nickola, 11, Lukas, 9, Georgee, 5, and her granddaughter Armanie, 4, Von knows how to make her tight budget go the distance.

To find out exactly what healthy meals Von feeds those eight hungry mouths, be sure to pick up the latest issue of Woman’s Day, on sale now!

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