As Aussies continue to panic buy across the country thanks to the spread of coronavirus, one Perth mum has gone viral after revealing her $50 stockpiling hack.
In a now viral Facebook post in the group Budgeting, Food, Stockpiling, Saving Ideas, Life Help Australia, Zara Avila revealed how she keeps her pantry constantly stocked with everything she could possibly need and how she does so year-round, not just during tough times.
While most supermarkets at the moment have bare shelves, the mum-of-two is feeling prepared for any shortages that come her way.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Zara said she wanted to write the post to help those who may be receiving the government's $750 grant and aren't sure how to make it last.
Zara added that she was worried with how supermarket shelves have been left empty as many people panic buy.
"It's definitely a concerning development. I personally stockpile, I've always done that, I've done that for a few years now and I've kind of been looking around thinking more people maybe need to stockpile in the future. Perhaps not now when everything is already under pressure, but once everything settles down I think it's a really good case for why you should be prepared."
When asked if she's feeling happy with how stocked up her pantry is, Zara revealed she's actually still feeling uneasy.
"I'm actually still feeling anxious, which makes me feel quite silly really because I am prepared, but I still feel anxious because I know a lot of people who are struggling. I've got a friend who is returning from Brazil tomorrow and she's got a young child and she's sent me a message saying 'I don't know how I'm going to get any food' because she's got to go into two weeks of isolation. And I said I've got things and I can go to the shops and I actually went today to look for her and I couldn't find anything that she wanted.
"So that makes me feel anxious as well that there are people who are really vulnerable in our society that aren't able to access things that they desperately require."
In Zara's Facebook post she explained that she first thinks about everything that she needs to buy and then when she sees items are 20 to 50 per cent off she'll buy enough of that item to last four to six weeks.
"Every week you should buy 1-3 items on your list in bulk as they go on special. One week you might get tonnes of shampoo, the next week you get tonnes of dishwashing tablets. If nothing is on special you buy an extra 1-2 of things that are never on special (like homebrand stuff) as your back up, and save the rest of your budget for next week when something new is on sale," she wrote.
Zara added that she has a system where she always has two of everything when it comes to things like sauces, tinned vegetables, pasta and oil – one is being used and the other is a backup.
She explains that this way you will never buy expensive things at full price again and while at first you might feel like your shopping is more expensive, you're actually saving more money every week.
Zara told Yahoo Lifestyle, "It's actually a really difficult system to get going, you kind of have to grit your teeth for about three months... It takes a little bit of time because you can't purchase everything at once."
She added that her family has always shopped this way and they even thought it was quite funny that her post had gone viral because they didn't realise that not everyone shops this way.
Zara said that her friends think she's quite funny for being so organised, "I've always been a little bit on the eccentric side in terms of the budgeting and housekeeping side of things... I'm the person at playgroup who will rock up with eight zucchinis and say 'I've got too many of these, does anybody want one?' And they all smile."
If you only had $50 to do your weekly shop, Zara recommends you buy mince, lentils to bulk meals out, pasta, flour and yeast to make your own bread, milk, fresh vegetables including carrots, celery and zucchini, and dried beans.
She also added that if you can, it's a good idea to buy oats because they're filling and can also be ground up in a blender to become flour.
She added that because she's lucky enough to have a vegetable garden and chickens at home she could happily survive on what she's already got for a month, or if they were really trying to be careful and needed to ration, her family could stretch it out to three months.
While she's always shopped this way, Zara is definitely not encouraging panic buying and doesn't think people should stockpile the way she has been doing for years right now. She is simply preparing people for when things are better and they can stockpile.
"I want to be really clear that my method is probably not appropriate for this current climate... I'd hate if my words encouraged people to go out and strip the shelves of things," she explained, adding that she is always very respectful of other people when she does buy things and will never leave shelves bare.
"I never empty the shelves because I want to make sure there's enough for other people... It's about being respectful and remembering you're part of a community and part of a society and especially with what we're going through right now, we all have to pull together."
Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at email@example.com.