Supermum-of-16 Jeni Bonell has offered a glimpse into what it’s really like to do a half-weekly grocery shop to feed her growing family.
The mother and her husband Ray have 16 kids – aged four to 29 – including Jesse, Brooke, Claire, Natalie, Karl, Samuel, Cameron, Sabrina, Tim, Brandon, Eve, Nate, Rachel, Eric, Damian and Katelyn.
And while their five eldest children no longer live at home, the parents, from Toowoomba in Queensland, still have 11 kids living under their roof.
Taking to YouTube, the 49-year-old mother visited her supermarket to do her shop, which included 24 litres of milk, four dozens of eggs and 54 beef patties.
With two shopping trolleys filled to the brim, she purchased 151 grocery items for $520.55 for a family-of-13 – costing an average of $40.04 per person a week.
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Supermum-of-16 Jeni Bonell has offered a glimpse into what it’s really like grocery shopping for her growing family
Jeni and husband Ray have 16 kids – aged four to 29 – including Jesse, Brooke, Claire, Natalie, Karl, Samuel, Cameron, Sabrina, Tim, Brandon, Eve, Nate, Rachel, Eric, Damian and Katelyn
What’s in the Bonells’ shopping trolleys?
- 6kg of potatoes
- 2kg apples
- 1kg tomatoes
- 2.69kg bananas
- 750g of zuchinnis
- 1kg corn cobs
- 2kg frozen beans
- 2kg of dried pasta
- 8 bottles of 3L milk
- 54 burger beef patties
- 4 dozens of eggs
- 2 loaves of bread
- 2 bottles of 500mL tomato sauce
- 2 bottles of 500mL BBQ sauce
- 7 boxes of cereal
- 12 packets of chocolate biscuits
- 6 tins of 1kg Milo
- 4 packs of 12 toilet paper
With her husband Ray working full-time, Jeni decided to take her daughter Natalie, who lives with her partner, grocery shopping.
For savings on fresh produce, the thrifty mother said she usually buys the odd-shaped fruits and vegetables.
‘If you want to save a little bit of money, you can buy ‘The Odd Bunch’ so they’re all a little bit different but much cheaper,’ she said.
Jeni grabs four dozens of eggs, as she revealed: ‘[It’ll last us] two meals. At least two dozens for a meal if we’re just doing bacon and eggs.’
For breakfast, Jeni said she usually gets a variety of cereals, including Weet-Bix, homebrand corn flakes and rice pops, Uncle Tobys, fruit rings, for her kids.
‘We keep quite a range of cereals for the kids so I’m just going to buy one of everything, everything the kids eat,’ she said.
The doting mother visited her supermarket to do her weekly shop, which included 24 litres of milk, four dozens of eggs and 54 beef patties
In her shopping trolley, she included six large tins of 1 kilo Milo for her growing kids to drink
Jeni had to get a second shopping trolley so she could add eight bottles of 3 litre milk
With two shopping trolleys filled to the brim, she purchased 151 grocery items for $520.55 for a family of 13 – costing an average of $40.04 per person a week
Jeni said she’s always on the lookout for ‘specials’ and ‘clearance’ items.
During her big shop, the mother also adds six tins of the 1kg Milo to her trolley.
‘So mum’s trolley is packed. We only got through four aisles for groceries and then mum sent me to get another shopping trolley because she’s full,’ Natalie said.
Jeni then proceeds to put eight bottles of 3L milk to the new empty trolley.
’24 litres, half a week’s worth,’ she said.
As the pair make their way through the aisles, Natalie films her mother while saying: ‘she’s pushing and pulling the trolley as she shops.’
During her shop, the mother-of-16 was seen pushing and pulling two trolleys at the same time
Jeni revealed four dozens of eggs would only give her growing family-of-13 two meals
In the meat aisle, she grabbed six packs of 9 burger beef patties for her hungry children
Her daughter Natalie spent $91.72 to feed a couple, while her mother forked out $520.55 for her family of 13.
‘When you think about it, for 13 people, that’s not actually that much more expensive. If you average that out per person, I probably spent more per person than you did,’ her daughter Natalie said.
‘It says on mum’s docket, she had a saving of $95. She saved what I spent. It’s very interesting. She’s got two massive trolleys worth, I thought it was going to be an $800 shop but just by looking out for sales, and seeing what’s on special, she saved like $100 worth of groceries. Whereas on mine, I only saved $14 because I never look for sales or homebrand items.’
Jeni said she was impressed with the outcome of her grocery shop – but she still needs to run out to the supermarket later in the week to top up her fridge.
For savings on fresh produce, the thrifty mother said she usually buys the odd-shaped fruits and vegetables
Jeni said she was impressed with the outcome of her grocery shop – but she still needs to run out to the supermarket later in the week to top up her fridge
‘I’m pretty pleased with that, [I’ll need to] do a small meat shop in the week and of course, we need to buy more milk and maybe a top up of fruits and veg,’ she said.
‘I tend to shop backwards. I tend to make my own shop at home and then we work out our meals from that.
‘And now we have the job of getting it home, unpacking it, taking it all inside, unpacking it again. It’s a big job, it really is.’
Last September, Jeni revealed the family spent $875.85 on a ‘stock up’ shop just to fill their freezer up.
The grocery shop included eight packs of 22 sausages, eight packs of chicken breast, pork chops, three kilos of mince, chicken nuggets, frankfurts, sliced ham and frozen vegetables.