Stay At Home Mum founder Jody Allen admits that her phenomenally successful site was a happy accident, rather than the result of a calculated master plan.
As she tells host Sarah Harris in the third series of Game Changers – The Carousel’s hit video and podcast series showcasing inspiring Australians – her path to suburban savant began for entirely selfish reasons.
After being made redundant while on maternity leave, her and husband Brendan worked out that if they were going to keep their dream home, they’d need to find a way to feed their young family for just $50 per week.
After exhausting subsistence ideas from family and friends, Jody then reached out to the wider Facebook community for help.
“Within two weeks I had 10,000 followers; it just went nuts,” Jody tells Sarah.
“I thought, Oh man, I’m on to something here.”
Jody, who now has more than 510,000 Facebook fans, has since parlayed Stay At Home Mum into a series of hit books too; Live Well on Less, Once a Month Cooking, and her latest tomb, The $50 Weekly Shop. And in breaking news, Jody has just delivered the manuscript for the next $50 shop book to publisher Penguin and is belting away at the keyboard for book five.
“It has been crazy busy to get these books done but it is a pleasure to work with Penguin and I love love love the thought that my stuff is helping families survive day to day,” gushed Jody.
Asks an incredulous Sarah: “I don’t believe you can do a $50 weekly shop.”
“But you can,” promises Jody. “I did it for four years.
“I was really lucky because I kept all my notes during that period. Even now, I’d never go above $100 a week. I’d be mortified – I’m a real tight-wad.”
Jody says the secret to her success is to simply make every dollar stretch.
“Every time I go to the supermarket, which I love to by the way, I pick up every single item and think, ‘Do I really need it, and how can I make it cheaper, but still good?’”
As for tips on how to juggle home life with a successful business, Jody tells Sarah there’s also a simple formula, the same one she’s followed from Day One at her Gympie, Queensland, home office.
“I don’t consider myself the sharpest crayon in the box. You just need to give it a go, and not be worried about what other people are doing.
“I’ve still not got a business plan; it’s just been day-to-day and see where it goes – and so far it’s been good.”