Grannies Targeted – Supermarket Pricing, Write-offs and what lands on my Kitchen Table

I love granny smith apples. Always have. Would only eat them as a kid, refusing anything red, occasionally trying a golden delicious. Too tart for many, they’re so crunchy and perfect for this lemon lover. This is why allegations that Coles has been marking up their Granny Smiths more than other apples troubled me, but also made sense, given how many I’ve gotten free from foodbanks the past few weeks.

If they’re more expensive, why would you be getting them free, Fiona? Well, the food that comes to our local foodbanks, via Foodbank, OzHarvest or the local old fella collecting baked goods directly form out the back depends on what is not being sold. This may just be because they over-estimated the amount of while bread what would be bought that day, or they have a shelf of cross-promotional products like Vegemite Brownies or Zopper Dooper milks that were a novelty that weren’t really cared for. Other stuff might be a bit externally roughed up, short dated, or there might be new labels coming in. Happy to receive most of these things and give them a go for free or cheap but it does feel a bit meh to always have things that have been rejected for some reason.

So, my theory on the granny smith glut this month is they’re good apples, but perhaps the over-pricing has turned way too many people off buying them in the supermarket, so they’re being left on the shelves. So Coles has to pass on things that aren’t moving, and Ozharvest are getting them all. Coles, of course, gets to claim credit (financial and moral) for donating these overpriced but otherwise great apples. I get to have daily fruit but the supermarket shopper is priced out of being able to buy the apples they want, despite them being in good supply.

In other news, the welfare rate indexation from March 20 officially came out Monday, and JobSeekers will be getting less than a dollar a day extra, I’ll be getting $1.05/day extra on my DSP. Definitely not enough to buy my own overpriced apples in store.Allowances
Family Situation Previous Amount 20 Mar 2024 Increase
Single, 22 or over, no children $749.20 $762.70 $13.50 pf
Single, 22 or over, with children $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf
Single, 55 or over, after 9 months $802.50 $816.90 $14.40 pf
Partnered (each) $686.00 $698.30 $12.30 pf
Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test* $970.20 $987.70 $17.50 pf

Pensions
Adult Pension Rates
Single* Previous Amount 20 Mar 2024 Increase
Base $1,002.50 $1,020.60 $18.10 pf
Supplement $80.10 $81.60 $1.50 pf
Energy Supplement $14.10 $14.10 - pf
Total $1,096.70 $1,116.30 $19.60 pf
Partnered (each)
Base $755.70 $769.30 $13.60 pf
Supplement $60.40 $61.50 $1.10 pf
Energy Supplement $10.60 $10.60 - pf
Total $826.70 $841.40 $14.70 pf

Rent assistance indexation comes in around $3/fn for most. The press release reminds us that it went up 15% last time ($13) so we should be grateful and stuff.

Rent Assistance - for payments under the Social Security Act
Maximum Payment
Family Situation Previous Amount 20 Mar 2024 Increase
Single $184.80 $188.20 $3.40 pf
Single, sharer $123.20 $125.47 $2.27 pf
Couple $174.00 $177.20 $3.20 pf
Partnered, illness-separated $184.80 $188.20 $3.40 pf
Partnered, temporarily separated $174.00 $177.20 $3.20 pf

So, I’ll munch on my grannie smith for morning tea and wonder how it’s okay for people to not be able to afford the basics while supermarkets continue to increase their profits and we’re reminded how little tax fossil fuel companies are paying.

January Foodbank Snax

So most foodbanks close over the Xmas and new year period – some still offer emergency hampers and the like for people struggling, but their regular free fruit and bread isn’t there and the other groceries which are my staples. One had its first week back the 8th, another not opened til the 17th, and the little church one I frequent only went back today since it’s when school went back.

$12 Bag

So of course I’d cleared out a bunch of stuff in the move and we ran down some of the other items over the shutdown period. I’ve only gotten to Southlakes once so far, and gotten one lot of the $12 grocery bag from Cardiff, but only two weeks of Ozharvest and the like because they were closed for the public holiday last Friday. I’m not sure yet if I’ll have the car tomorrow or if I’ll be on public transport so I may have to give that a miss again this week.

It was good to restock some instant noodle cups and sauces, I LOVE the cinimini cereal but can’t bring myself to buy it at the supermarket – I only get wheat biscuit there. I haven’t had the Chicken Crimpies yet but again they’re a favourite so always keen to get some cheap. I think Bruce ate the LCMs.

$7.50The melted Xmas bikkies were fine with a coffee, and the other chockies good, if a tad melted. Last time I got te marzipan I wasn’t really fussed, so this time I was reminded that I wasn’t that into them. But they were 60c at southlakes, along with the chocolate almonds.

The Crispy Riceberry Bars were a nice little change. A lot like LCMs, but not sticky. And they had a sneaky little cashew sliver in them.

Bubble tea is something I don’t do much, but these were in the $12 bag, I like the black tea one, not quite won over on the matcha, but I’m not really into matcha either.

I have a nice little stash of hot cross buns in the freezer now for morning and afternoon tea, they’re mini ones so I can just defrost one and have it, it goes well.

I stocked up quite well this morning at the church, I had $18 of stuff but got $2 more so I wouldn’t feel bad giving them a $50 note. I also got some apples so there was some healthy things :p

Re-finding a new routine, with added players

A blurry baby photo. The baby is wearing pink and in is her mother's arm who is wearing a green dressing gown. They are in my kitchen

Bub has been in the world 17 days, kids have been living with us for 22 days. It’s busy and lovely and stressful and new and I’m slowly figuring out here I fit in all this, what I can look after and control, what works and doesn’t work for me and what I just have to remember is out of my control.

My kitchen with clen dishes

I’m doing my dishes in the morning still, cooking dinner for everyone in the evening. We’re still getting Everyplate boxes – upped it to four serves which is $50 extra a week, which makes it better value. Just trying to figure out what meals everyone likes and eats. I mean everyone eats every main, I just suss out the preferred meals. I’d love it, if you haven’t yet, sign up for a free trial box and I’ll get $25 credit towards ours 🙂

Our landlord moved us to a new real estate agent, so they’ve booked an inspection for September 26. They’ve also organised for a plumber to do a water efficiency check on the property tomorrow, and I replied to their email about the inspection asking if the requested repairs from the June 2 inspection had been handed over, because the last real estate didn’t follow up on any of them, and of course not. So I re-requested the bathroom light and exhaust to be looked at since it is dodgy as and doesn’t always turn on with the lightswitch, and the two hotplates whose thermostats don’t kick in and the kids burned things the first time they cooked here since I hadn’t given them the rundown on which hotplates to avoid or use with caution.

We’re of course anxious about meeting a new real estate agent and what their expectations will be. We’re also out of lease and hope to get a new one – bearing in mind that the kids aren’t ON the lease and as adults should be to live here on a regular basis. Even though they were kids when we moved here, and still living at their mums, but the whole *situation* necessitated it and they’ve got a lot on their plate and public and social housing is this mythical unicorn, and who’s gonna rent to two new parents on youth allowance? So, it’s engaging with those services, social workers, mental health etc etc that I’m also supporting the kids to do. At least Bee could get into the non-bulk billing GP I go to since they were on their booked from when they tried living with us three years ago.

We have managed to acquire a bunch of home stuff from my Nanna’s deceased estate – a kettle, sandwich press, microwave, toaster, crockery and cutlery , much needed TOWELS (mine were all on their last legs without there being extra people!), and I’m getting the fridge and bed once the photos are taken for sale. So that’s been super helpful. I picked up another baby gate off marketplace to keep Maxi out of the kids room without permission. We’ve also sorted so much more of our own stuff, and moved everything car parts and computer parts wise out to the garage. Not sure yet if and when Ash, Bruce’s son will be joining us, but we’re as ready as we can be, ey?

I’m still going to my weekly Antabuse group, we did our urine tests this week to check whether we’d been taking other meds to cope with not being able to have alcohol, and surely I passed.

I’m excited and nervous about our Australian Unemployed Workers Union meetup this Thursday in town. 1pm at Bernie’s Bar (the Old Star Hotel) – you should RSVP and come! There’s gonna be free food and beanies and scarves and comrades!

me nd Maxi in our life jackets on the boat
Maxi and Bruce have been keeping me grounded

I want to say thank you again to family and friends who have been so supportive in so many ways from hugs to an ear to listen to me to cash to packets of nappies and biscuits off our wishlist. If you wanna help out materially, use those links or Buy Me A Coffee?

What we ate last week

Mueslie, pills and coffee

It’s time, my frens, for me to start posting a weekly foodage overview, including anything that doesn’t feel worthy of its own post, such as regular dinners, breakfasts, snacks I’ve tried, that sort of things. We start with my breakfast of choice at the moment – muesli (usually aldi Almond and apricot) with a banana and milk, a coffee – Fox Coffee Dusk blend with light milk, and assorted morning meds.

For our EveryPlate meals this week we had jacket potatoes with  creamy bacon sauce, tex-mex chicken with corn salsa, rissoles with  onion chutney, South American chicken, Vietnamese style beef bowl and garlicky chicken with sweet potato wedges. Next week we’ll try for more in-focus photos. I really liked all the dishes this week! I made the top chicken recipe of Monday night before heading to my first Japanese class, as so packed it to take with me but ended up just eating it before I left. Super fast though, so no issues cooking it at 4.30pm.

One large disappointment this week with the Everyplate box – the rissoles were meant to be pork but they left out one of the portions of pork mince, so I had to substitue with some beef mince we had in the freezer. They gave a generous credit for it, but it’s highly disappointing and it made me feel guilty for giving it such hype last week. If you wanna share in my disappointment, I was live on Twitch when I was unboxing it, and have archived that video over here on YouTube. So I apologise for anyone who having one of the serves of meat left our will throw even more than me, I hope you persist. It was all there this week…

On Saturday, after the mega long day going down to Sydney for the Ausgrid panel, I was relived that Bruce had ordered pizza and returned to brain-deadidly eat a slice of each and half a garlic bread. Thank you Dominoes. There was a third pizza but I didn’t have any of it. How good is cheap and nasty garlic bread though?

bacon pizza anchovy and cheese pizza slice garlic bread

Tea and biscuits at each of my hospital appointments to get me through! These Gumnut bikkies are still a novelty.

tea and biscuits tea and biscuits

And also from Thursday, $5.50 well spent on out of sate and short dated snacks at the food bank at the local church along with free bread. Oh and mayo. Unfortunately they only take cash so I had to walk back up with my fist full of coins later in the morning cos I don’t carry cash.

snacks from food bank

Any food highlights for you this week?