Rising prices mean many families are now spending hundreds of pounds on their food shop – but one mum has revealed how she does it for just £30 a week, and sometimes even picks up meals for 10p.
Money-saver extraordinaire, Fiona Hawkes, 32, is a blogger who documents everything from how to save for a deposit to how to cut down on travel costs – and she's got some handy tips to share.
The mum, who lives in Somerset with her husband Pete, 28, and daughter, said: "I started my blog in 2016 because I wanted to document all the ways my husband and I had saved up our £50,000 house deposit.
"We then continued with our saving to be able to afford our wedding and Las Vegas honeymoon and a trip to Disneyworld for my thirtieth birthday.
"One of my favourite ways to save money is by cutting right back on my grocery spending.
"It's one of the easiest areas to save money in and one where most households typically overspend.”
Fiona says the key to cutting down on food shopping is to be organised, seek out bargains and combine cheap ingredients with coupon offers.
"I love hunting out yellow sticker bargains and combining with other cheap ingredients or coupon offers to create super thrifty and tasty meals for my family," she told money-saving community Latest Deals.
"A great example of this is a beef curry I recently made using yellow sticker braising steak and sauce which cost 10p from a coupon offer – it worked out at 47p each for two adults with enough for our toddler too and some leftovers as I couldn't eat all of mine.
"Some of best my yellow sticker hauls have included lamb chops at 16p for two, rib-eye steak for 26p and braising steak for 18p. Reducing the cost of meat means each meal I cook costs significantly less as meat is usually the most expensive part. I also stick to the basics range for things like rice and pasta and make the majority of sauces at home.
"I also get lots of yellow sticker bread and bakery items. As well as the obvious sandwiches and toast, bread can be used for so many things such as making croutons, melba toasts, bread and butter pudding, summer pudding, breadcrumbs and of course it freezes well.
"I'm a sucker for a sweet treat and will always check the bakery reduced section for cheap cakes and doughnuts. Birthday cakes often end up in the reduced section too and they can be frozen until needed meaning you could save 70-90% on the RRP.”
"It includes lots of branded items such as Strongbow cider, Mcvities biscuits, McCain roast potatoes and Butterkist popcorn,” Fiona explains. "I also got my Christmas turkey for £2 by using a £10 off a £40 in Lidl voucher.
"We currently spend between £30 and £40 a week on our food shop with the odd top-up shop on top. We could cut that back quite a bit if we needed to though as it includes treats like Ice cream and lidl own-brand cola. The average for a family of three is around £330 a month so I think we're quite a bit below that.
"I think we eat really well and the cupboards are always well-stocked – I rarely get down to only having a few bits in and we often have steak, lamb and so on!"
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals – where Fiona posted her savings – said: "Food shopping is always a painfully expensive part of the week, but Fiona has so many excellent tips for cutting down on unnecessary costs, and it’s great to get ideas from reading her blog.
"Simple but effective tips include buying own-brand supermarket staples, using cashback apps and seeking out yellow sticker items – these simple changes can make a huge difference when it comes to cutting out wasteful shopping!"
Fiona's top tips for reducing the cost of your weekly shop
• Always make a meal plan starting with the ingredients you already have. Make a list of the ingredients you need to complete the meals.
• Check cashback apps such as CheckoutSmart and Shopmium for offers and free items – filter these by the supermarket you're going to.
• Use the supermarkets' own apps to see what's on offer before you go. I do this with Lidl's weekend offers.
• Take any vouchers or coupons you can find – if you have Nectar card these often come in the post, Farmfoods flyers often have discount vouchers on them.
• Look in the reduced section no matter what time of day you shop – while the best bargains are usually in the evening, reductions are made all day.
• Buy wonky fruit and vegetables or try one of Lidl's £1.50 veg boxes.
• If you find a bargain, adjust your meal plan accordingly. Beef curry can easily become chicken curry and so on.
• Buy own brand basics on things like pasta and rice.
• Look for end of line reductions on non-perishables. These are usually in date and are cheap due to a packaging or ingredient change.
• Always scan your loyalty card to collect points.
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